Three guys talking about comic books, sports, movies, TV shows and the numerous other pastimes that make us Gentlemen of Leisure.

Friday, September 23, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #54

"Station Identification"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolverine meets Shatterstar.

Guest Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Darick Robertson
Guest Inker: Don Hudson
Letterers: Brousseau & Heisler
Colorist: Kelly Corverse
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
A group of teenagers calling themselves the Vid Kids chase down a Morlock, beating him to death while filming the whole thing, after which they send the tape to a news station. Seeing the story on the news, Shatterstar decides to investigate. Meanwhile, Rogue & Wolverine are training in the Danger Room, after which they too see the news report, and Wolverine leaves to track down the Vidkids as well. Soon, he and Shatterstar cross paths and attack each other, until Shatterstar recognizes Wolverine and kneels to him in deference. Together, they track down the Vidkids, who are in the midst of stalking another homeless mutant, and defeat them, but Shatterstar is shocked to learn they fight for no other reason than the fun of it. However, Wolverine doesn't let Shatterstar kill them; instead, he smashes their video camera, saying the best way to punish kids is to take away their toys. Later, they watch as the police arrest the Vidkids, with Wolverine noting they're still getting the attention they wanted, and Shatterstar left unsure about his place in the world.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #50

"Winner Loses All"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Phoenix battles Necrom

Writer/Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Necrom taunts Rachel, but Kylun is able to drive him off. However, Feron decides to face Necrom anyways, and runs off, with Kylun following to protect him. As the two attack Necrom, they're joined by Micromax. Necrom survives their attack, but is weakened. Meanwhile, inside the lighthouse, Excalibur realizes they can combine their various bodies to form a single being, capable of navigating and repairing the collapsing realities. They reach Otherworld, home of Merlyn & Roma, but Necrom is waiting, and Rachel decides to unleash the Phoenix Force to fight him, even at the cost of her memories. The two battle in a brawl that spills out into space. Ultimately, reasoning it's more power than he can handle, Rachel sends all the power of Phoenix into Necrom, causing him to explode. A comatose Rachel then emerges on Otherworld, thanks to Roma, and Merlyn explains to Excalibur how he had carefully manipulated these events. But Meggan, after Roma telepathically suggests the idea, uses the remaining cumulative power of the Captain Britains to blast Merlyn's tower, thus destroying all other towers across the multiverse, including Excalibur's lighthouse, and with it the source of Merlyn's power. Returning to Braddock Manor on their Earth, Excalibur is greeted by their friends & allies, who fled the lighthouse at Roma's prompting. Though Nightcrawler remains suspicious, Captain Britain trusts Roma, and declares theat they're nobody's pawns now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #8

"Tooth and Claw"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Bishop meets the Blue Team, and the X-Men meet Gambit's wife.

Plot & Pencils: Jim Lee
Script: Scott Lobdell
Finishes: Lee & Thibert
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colors: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Wolverine searches fruitlessly for more information about his past, Professor X & Storm introduce Bishop to the Blue team. Upon meeting Gambit, he recognizes him as the Witness from his timeline, and tells the X-Men how they are betrayed and murdered by one of their own in the future. Nonplussed for the time being, Xavier insists on continuing with the X-Men's planned picnic, saying they need some downtime. At the lake, Gambit & Rogue attempt to have a picnic together, but they are interrupted by Bishop, who angrily attacks Gambit. The two fight until Rogue's fury over the destruction of the pie she baked causes them to laughingly stop, at which point all three are blasted from behind by a woman named Bella Donna, whom Gambit says is his wife. Back at the X-Mansion, Gambit & Bella Donna explain how their marriage was meant to maintain a peace between their rival Guilds, until Gambit was forced into exile. Now, that peace has been shattered, and Gambit feels it his duty to return to New Orleans to try to rebuild it. His fellow X-Men agree to join him and depart for the city, at the same time that Ghost Rider arrives there as well.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #48

"The Third Law"
June 1981

In a Nutshell
Princess Leia and Darth Vader attempt to outwit one another on a banking world.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Carmine Infantino & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Plot
Princess Leia arrives on the financial world of Aargau alongside Viscount Tardi, hoping to secure financing for some new X-wings. After being briefed on Aargau's rigorous and specific rules laws, they encounter Darth Vader, claiming to be on the planet as part of diplomatic mission, but Leia easily recognizes the three members of his retinue as assassins. Throughout the course of their stay on Aargau, as they work through the complicated process of getting the loan, Leia proceeds to defeat each of Vader's assassins in turn, all the while operating withing Aargau's strict laws. Finally, Leia goads Vader into breaking the rules and killing Viscount Tardi, who turns out to be a droid imposter. The real Tardi died weeks earlier, and needing him to secure the financing, a carefully programmed droid took his place. But, Leia explains to Vader, she needed Vader to slay "Tardi", as the process of leaving Aargau would have revealed the ruse, thus defrauding the loan. But Vader in turns reveals a ruse of his own: he has no interest in stopping Leia's loan. Instead, he's acquired the Alderaanian jewels she put up as collateral and was thus equally willing to dispatch Tardi so as not to draw attention to the missing jewels if Leia's ruse was discovered. Vader then leaves, advising Leia to keep all this to herself, for fear of how it may affect her credit rating.

Friday, September 16, 2016

X-amining X-Force Annual #1

"The Mirror Liars (Shattershot Part 4)" / "The Crush" / "X-Force Villain's Gallery"
1992

In a Nutshell
A future iteration of X-Force returns to Mojoworld to help set Shatterstar's reign right.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza, Gavin Curtis (2nd Story), Dan Slott (3rd Story)
Penciler: Greg Capullo, Gavin Curtis (2nd Story), Sandu Florea (3rd Story)
Inker: Harry Candelario, Dan Panosian (2nd Story), Brad Vancata (3rd Story)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos, Joe Rosen (2nd Story), Richard Starkings (3rd Story)
Colorist: Mike Thomas, Ed Lazellari (2nd Story), Dana Moreshead (3rd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On Mojoworld, the Spineless Ones battle bipeds in the arena for sport, overseen by the new Master Programmer, Shatterstar. Meanwhile, Arize and a pair of Spineless allies arrive on Earth, seeking the help of the X-Men to undo what they did when they helped install their former teammate in power. Disturbed to learn that Shatterstar now oversees a regime as bad as the ones run by the various Mojos through the years, Cannonball and his X-Men agree. They arrive in the midst of another arena battle, and the sight of Arize and his former teammates fighting for the Spineless Ones motivates Shatterstar into action against his nefarious Master Scheduler. In the wake of his victory, Shatterstar agrees to build a new world, one governed not by ratings but true democracy, a decision which pleases a watching, aged, Longshot, and which reminds Cannonball that no matter how hard it is, freedom is always worth fighting for.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

X-amining X-Factor Annual #7

"The Historians of Tales Come (Shattershot Part 3)" / "Drowning in Paperwork" / "Cal & Guido"
1992

In a Nutshell
X-Factor tries to stop Spiral from killing Arize

Writer: Fabian Nicieza, Peter David (2nd & 3rd Story)
Penciler: Joe Quesada, Darick Robertson (2nd Story), Joe Madureira (3rd Story)
Inker: Joe Rubinstein, Andrew Pepoy (2nd & 3rd Story)
Letterer: Richard Starkings, Dave Sharpe (2nd & 3rd Story)
Colorist: Kevin Tinsely, Gina Going (2nd Story), Kelly Corverse (3rd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Enraged that the pirate network led by Mojo II is beating him in the ratings, Mojo resolves to convince Spiral to kill Arize for him. On Earth, Val Cooper briefs X-Factor on their latest mission: to bring in Spiral, who has been causing trouble, a mission that means more than most to Val since Spiral was once a member of Freedom Force. They track her to South Dakota, where Spiral has in turn located Arize, and interrupt her efforts to kill him. During the course of their fight, Spiral explains that she was once Ricochet Rita, and she wants to kill Arize because he's destined to transform Rita into Spiral. Arize admits as much, as well as the fact that the sorry state of Mojoworld is his fault. He asks Spiral to bring them both back to Mojoworld, so they can begin to make amends, and Spiral agrees.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men Annual #16

"The Masters of Inevitability (Shattershot Part 2)" / "Angel of Death" / "The Roots of the Past"
1992

In a Nutshell
The Gold Team battles Mojo II's Death Sponsors

Writers: Fabian Nicieza, Chris Cooper (2nd Story), Skip Dietz (3rd Story)
Pencilers; Jae Lee, Herb Trimpe (3rd Story)
Inkers: Jan Harps & Joe Rubinstein, Jan Harps (2nd Story), Tom Palmer (3rd Story)
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski & Lois Buhalis, Richard Starkings (2nd Story), David Sharpe (3rd Story)
Colorist: Joe Rosas, Steve Buccellato (2nd Story), Kevin Tinsley (3rd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Mojo II sends his agents, the Death Sponsors, to Earth, in order to capture Arize and boost their pirate ratings by doing what Mojo failed to do. Meanwhile, the X-Men battle Apocalypse in a Danger Room scenario meant to test them in a no-win scenario, a situation which highlights Bishop's unique approach to combat. Later, Jean is attempting to put back together Arize's fractured memories when the Death Sponsors attack. In the course of the battle, Arize's memories are restored, and Bishop is able to disrupt the Death Sponsors attempt to escape, sending them back to Mojoworld without Arize, Now knowing that he's responsible for the terrible state of Mojoworld, Arize goes off on his own, resolving to discover what is right about Earth in order to learn how his world has gone wrong.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Milch Studies - Hill Street Blues, Season Six (Part One)


After working on the show as a writer for three seasons, Milch was named co-executive producer of Hill Street Blues for the sixth season, following the dismissal of Steven Bochco.  (Jeffery Lewis is also credited as an executive producer this year, but Milch is consistently referred to as the showrunner by fans of the series until the end of its run.)

Bochco was allegedly fired for cost overruns, although the thought of David Milch being brought in to bring fiscal responsibility to an operation is at least slightly amusing.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #47

"Droid World!"
May 1981

In a Nutshell
Artoo & Threepio run into trouble on a world populated by droids.

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Gene Day
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Chased by a hoard of angry droids, Artoo & Threepio find themselves trapped above a massive furnace, prompting Threepio to recall events that led to their current predicament. After accidentally damaging a captured Imperial war droid while examining it, Threepio and Artoo agree to seek the help of Kligson, a reclusive droid expert residing on a moon that has come to be known as Droid World. Kligson agrees to help repair the war droid so long as he can keep it, a deal Threepio accepts because Artoo can simply record the repair work to gain the knowledge they need. However, when they land on the planet, they find themselves in the midst of an Imperial-backed uprising led by Imperial security droid ZX3, and end up poised above the furnace after ZX3 seemingly kills Kligson. However, Artoo & Threepio are saved by Kligson, who faked his death via a robot duplicate, having used the presence of the Rebel droids to confirm his suspicions about ZX3. Kligson proceeds to use the repaired war droid to put down the uprising, and Artoo leaves with the information the Rebellion needed. As Luke flies them away from Droid World, Threepio expresses concern that the Empire will ultimately find Kligson and ruin the peace & solitude he seeks, only to see Droid World itself flying away to a new location.