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

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

X-amining Bishop #1-4

"Escape from Tomorrow" / "One Man Posse" / "Future Intense" / "Final Reckonings"
December 1994 - March 1995

In a Nutshell
Bishop battles the remaining fugitive from his time, Mountjoy.

Writer: John Ostrander
Pencils: Carlos Pacheco
Inks: Cam Smith
Letterer: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: Following yet another Danger Room session in which Bishop replays the circumstances surrounding Malcolm & Randall's deaths, Storm & Xavier order Bishop to accompany Storm into the city to attend a play. On his way out, he passes his holoprojector to Forge, telling him it contains memories of his sister but is in need of repair. Meanwhile, in the wake of Fitzroy's death, Bantam is being hunted by Mountjoy, a fellow time traveler whom only Bantam is aware is in the present time. Calling the X-mansion to get Bishop's help, he learns he's in the city, and tracks him down. When he does, a fight breaks out between Bishop, Storm & Mountjoy. Bishop is able to force Mountjoy out of Storm's body & drive him off, but is injured in the process.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #2 - Patreon First!

"Synge City Blues"
November 1993

In a Nutshell
Xi'an's condition worsens as the X-Men search for evidence he was framed for Synge's death.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inkers: Adam Kubert & Mike Sellers
Letterer: Tom Smith
Colorist: Ken Lopez
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Xi'an's X-Men race away from Nuevo Sol, pursued by the Synge Casino enforcers. They receive an unexpected assist from Bloodhawk, who helps fight off the enforcers and takes the X-Men to a secure location, saying his debt to Xi'an for freeing him from Synge is complete. Back at Nuevo Sol, Lytton Synge admonishes Junkpile for the botched assassination of Xi'an, ordering him to finish the job. Later, a drunk Desdemona crashes her father's memorial service, reminding Lytton she now owns equal shares in the casino. Elsewhere, with the injured Xi'an mysteriously being covered by a cocoon-like red carapace, the X-Men split up, with Meanstreak, Krystalin & Metalhead heading to Synge's casino in order to find evidence that Xi'an was framed for Synge's murder. After they leave, Junkpile tracks down the remaining X-Men guard Xi'an. At the casino, Meanstreak & Metalhead are captured by the Rat Pack, while Junkpile makes short work of Cerebra, Tim and Tina, only to discover Xi'an fully encased in his cocoon.

What to read the rest? Become a patron via Patreon!

Monday, January 14, 2019

G. I. JOE # 14 - August 1983 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)


He's the terrifying enemy of G.I.Joe
Destro is his name
(Destro is his name)
G.I. Joe a real American Hero
Fighting Cobra and Des-trooo

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #80

"Ellie"
February 1984

In a Nutshell
The "Search for Tay Vanis" concludes as Luke & Leia find their long-sought-after quarry.

Plot & Script: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Ron Frenz
Finisher: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Posing as traders, Luke, Leia & Threepio arrive at an Imperial base on planet to which they were directed by Tay Vanis' last message. They ask Ellie, the droid managing the flow of supplies in the hangar, to search for Vanis, which triggers an alarm. Luke & Leia manage to escape the Stormtroopers which arrive in response, taking Ellie with them. She tells the Rebels Vanis is being held at a nearby castle, but on the way, they spot a crashed X-wing. Investigating, they discover a recording from Vanis stating he left the sought-after data tapes with Ellie, with orders to destroy them should no Rebels contact her in two days. However, Ellie has vanished, so the Rebels proceed to the castle, where they track Vanis to a locked room. Entering, they trigger a recording from Darth Vader, who reveals he captured Vanis some time ago but, knowing Luke would eventually find him, let the search for Vanis continue to occupy both the Rebels & bothersome Imperial officers. Deeper in the room, the Rebels find a vegetative Vanis. Luke wants to bring him back to the Alliance, but Ellie says saving Vanis would be no kindness. She withdraws the tapes, having held onto them despite Vanis' orders to destroy them, knowing someone from the Alliance would come for them one day. With that, she embraces Vanis, and self-destructs, killing them both. Determined to leave a monument to both Ellie & Vanis, Luke causes the castle to explode, then contacts Admiral Ackbar, telling him they retrieved the tapes, but that Vanis was already gone before they arrived.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

X-amining Cable #17

"The Dark Ride Part 1: The Calling"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable encounters the new Dark Riders in the Morlock Tunnels.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Steve Skroce
Inks: Mike Sellers with Ryan & Dvorak
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Egypt, Foxbat is killed by the new Dark Riders. At the X-Mansion, Cable informs Storm that some of the Morlocks may have survived the apparent murder-suicide triggered by Mikhail Rasputin, and she demands he take her into the tunnels immediately. Once there, they encounter Caliban, who is being targeted by the Dark Riders. Cable, Domino & Storm intervene in his defense, and battle the Dark Riders until Harddrive puts a stop to the fight, as the Dark Riders have orders not to interfere with Cable. As the Dark Riders teleport away, Cable demands to know who is giving them orders, but receives no answer. Caliban thanks Cable for saving him, and Cable declares they're going to patch up Caliban and use his mutant tracking ability to track down the Dark Riders.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

X-amining Wolverine: Evilution

"Evilution"
1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Boom-Boom team-up when a teen cult raises a demon.

Writer: Ann Nocenti
Layouts: Mark Texeira
Penciler: John Royle
Inkers: Phillip Moy & Andrew Pepoy
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Monica Bennet
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
A strange dream leads Wolverine to the small town of Prescott, which is dealing with the pollution caused by a recently-closed nuclear power plant in town. Boom-Boom is also in town, as she periodically visits the mall there, and they both encounter members of the Devos, a cult of young people dedicated to destroying technology and returning the world to a more primitive state. Using rituals involving animals & technology, the Devos manage to summon an ancient demon. Wolverine tells Boom-Boom to leave town, but she doesn't, and is captured by the Devos. With the help of a local, Red Water Fall, Wolverine tracks the Devos to the abandoned power plant, where they intend to sacrifice Boom-Boom. Wolverine & Red Water Fall rescue her, and then Wolverine & Boom-Boom team-up to defeat the demon and shut down the Devos, but the demon swears he will return.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #1 - Patreon First

"The Gathering"
October 1993

In a Nutshell
Tim Fitzgerald is asked to join mutant leader Xi'an's X-Men just as Xi'an is betrayed by one of their own.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Adam Kubert
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the year 2099, mutant drifter Tim Fitzgerald arrives at the seemingly-abandoned Nuevo Sol. He is ushered inside by Junkpile, where he discovers a thriving community of societal outcasts, and is shown around by Tina. Meanwhile, mutant leader Xi'an confronts casino magnate Noah Synge, warning him his attacks on Xi'an's people must stop. Elsewhere in the casino, environmental activist Bloodhawk is sentenced to death via a game show, only to be rescued by Meanstreak & Krystalin, two of Xi'an's operatives. Though grateful, Bloodhawk refuses to join Xi'an's group, and flies off on his own. Later, Lytton & Desdemona Synge discover their father has been killed in a manner consistent with Xi'an's disintegration power, and Lytton demands vengeance. Meanwhile, Xi'an arrives back at Nuevo Sol. After checking in with Cerebra, his second-in-command, Xi'an addresses the crowd, including Tina & Tim, speaking about the strength of the diversity of the gathered crowd and their desire to create a better tomorrow. As Krystalin & Meanstreak join the group, Tim spots a sniper in one of the balconies, and uses his power to blast him. However, the assassin still gets off a shot, grievously wounding Xi'an. Just then, Synge's casino enforcers arrive, and as Cerebra leads the escape of Xi'an's followers, the barely conscious Xi'an tells a stunned Tim he knew he'd join Xi'an's X-Men.

What to read the rest? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars in Concert

Thanks to a birthday present from my wife's aunt last year, my wife and I recently attended "Star Wars in Concert", an event in which the Minnesota Orchestra plays the complete score to Star Wars while the film unfolds above it on a big screen. As both a huge Star Wars and film score fan, this was a supremely fun & unique experience ("concert films" are somewhat in vogue these days; the Minnesota Orchestra alone has done or will be doing similar performances of everything from Jurassic Park to Prisoner of Azkaban to Star Trek Into Darkness; when my wife and I were discussing what performances would be fun to see in this setting, I basically settled on "most anything"). Here's a few observations and reactions I had during the performance.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

X-amining Deadpool: Sins of the Past #1-4

"If Looks Could Kill!" / "Luck of the Irish" / "Deadpool Sandwich" / "Mano @ Mano"
August - November 1994

In a Nutshell
Deadpool teams up with Siryn & Banshee against Black Tom & Juggernaut

Writer: Mark Waid
Pencils: Ian Churchill, Lee Weeks (issue #2), Ken Lashley (issue #3-4)
Inks: Jason Minor, J. Minor, B. McCleod, B. LaRosa (issue #2), Bud LaRosa (issue #3), Bud LaRosa & Tom Wegryzn (issue #4)
Letterer: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Moreshead/Thomas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1 Juggernaut breaks Black Tom out of a government facility working to cure him of the wood infection ravaging his body, taking with them Dr. Killebrew and some files on Deadpool. Weeks later, Deadpool is attacked at a bar by armored soldiers sent by Black Tom. He is joined by Banshee & Siryn, on the trail of Black Tom, and together they incapacitate the goons. With the trail to Tom cold, Siryn stays with Deadpool while Banshee goes to check with an old Interpol contact. Just then, one of the goons wakes up and attacks Deadpool, slicing off his hand before Deadpool kills him. Siryn is concerned about his injury, but Deadpool insists his healing factor will take care of it, just before he passes out.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

X-aminations in January 2019...and Beyond!

Three words:

Age
Of
Apocalypse

That's right, the next six months of reviews will find the X-books gearing up for, and then diving into, the "Age of Apocalypse", the X-books' most ambitious and sweeping crossover yet, in which every series is technically cancelled & relaunched under a new title set in an alternate reality ruled by Apocalypse, a status quo that will last for an entire four months of publication time. This storyline had a huge influence on me back in the day, and represents something of the high-water mark of my initial Marvel Zombie/all-in/"everything the X-books do is great because they're doing it!" mentality. As a result, reaching it in X-aminations is benchmark for me on-par with hitting with the '91 relaunch or the beginning of the "All New, All Different" X-Men, and I'm excited to finally be approaching it.

But first, we've also got three months' worth of regular X-books to cover, as the series are forced to pivot quickly from "Phalanx Covenant" to "Age of Apocalypse" (to varying degrees of success; pour one out for Generation X, which gets "cancelled" and thrown into an alternate timeline only four months after it debuts). "Legion Quest", the crossover-before-the-crossover, unfolds across Uncanny & X-Men (and to a lesser extent, X-Factor & Cable), the mystery of Reignfire is (sort of) revealed in X-Force before reality gets blown away, and Wolverine returns to the mansion 15 issues after he left. Plus, there's three more solo limited series (a second Deadpool mini, plus Rogue and Bishop's) and, of course, more superfluous Wolverine oneshots.

As always, if there's anything that looks to be missing or you think should be covered, let me know!

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Force in Focus: Star Wars #79

"The Big Con"
January 1984

In a Nutshell
Lando & Chewbacca go undercover to discover the final location of Han Solo.

Script & Plot: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Ron Frenz
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Lando & Chewbacca, looking for information on Han's whereabouts, arrive on Arcan IV to meet with a gang led by Lemo & Sanda, who had previous dealings with Han. Aware that the gang is hunting for a pair of relics, the Dancing Goddess & the Minstrel, Lando sells them the idea that Han is an accomplished treasure hunter who can help them, if they in turn can locate Han. The gang invites Lando to dinner, planning to find out what he knows about the relics, then kill him. At dinner, they get him drunk, but also let slip that Han will soon be arriving at Jabba's palace. However, the intoxicated Lando accidentally blows his and Chewbacca's cover, leading to a speeder chase that culminates in Dafi, one of Lemo & Sanda's gang, spotting the Minstrel in Lando's possession. Claiming it for herself, she turns on the rest of the gang when they arrive, and in the ensuing confusion, Lando & Chewbacca return to their ship, pleased to have finally located Han, and as they leave the planet, Lando wonders what the gang would have done had they known he also possessed the Dancing Goddess all along.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Masterpiece Series III

Fleer 1994

Vital Statistics
140 cards (including the checklist card), plus a ten card holofoil insert set, available in four variants (red, bronze, silver & gold), a ten card Masterprints insert set, and a nine card PowerBlast insert.

Additionally, there is a parallel set in which all 140 of the main cards are produced with the Hildebrandt brothers' signatures reproduced on the front of each card in gold foil.

Cardfronts are full bleed, featuring only the character name center-bottom and the Marvel Masterpiece logo on the top left corner, both presented in gold foil.

Cardbacks are landscaped, featuring a zoomed-in reproduction of the cardfront image, along with a brief character bio and a behind-the-scenes quote from the Hildebrandt brothers regarding the creation of the card specifically (or the set in general).

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Force in Focus: Return of the Jedi #4

"The Final Duel!"
January 1984

In a Nutshell
The Rebels destroy the second Death Star as Darth Vader turns against the Emperor.

Adapted by Archie Goodwin
Art by Al Williamson, Carlos Garzon, Ron Frenz & Tom Palmer
Colored by Christie Scheele & Bob Sharen
Lettered by Ed King
Edited by Michael Higgins & Jo Duffy
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Based on the Story by George Lucas
Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan & George Lucas

Plot
As the Rebel fleet arrives at the Death Star, Han's team of Rebels penetrate the shield generator bunker & Luke is brought before the Emperor, who revels he has orchestrated recent events to lead the Rebels into a trap. Outside, the Death Star begins targeting Rebel ships, while on Endor, Han's team is captured, prompting Luke to strike at the Emperor in anger. But Darth Vader stops him, and the two begin to duel. On Endor, the Ewoks mount a counter attack, allowing the Rebels to escape and get back inside the bunker to set charges. As the Rebel fleet holds its own against the Empire's ships, Luke gives in to his anger and overpowers Vader, cutting off his hand. Realizing he's becoming Vader, Luke tosses away his lightsaber, declaring he's a Jedi, like his father before him. The Emperor responds by blasting him with Force lightning, but the sight of his son in pain moves Vader into action, and he tosses the Emperor down a nearby shaft, killing him. Just then, the Rebels on Endor destroy the shield generator, allowing Lando to lead a group of fighters into the Death Star to destroy it. Aboard the Death Star, Luke removes Vader's helmet and says goodbye to his dying father, then escapes just as the station explodes. Luke returns to Endor, where he is reunited with his triumphant friends.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

X-amining Generation X #1


"Third Genesis"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
Generation X rescues new member Chamber from an attack by Emplate.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letterer: Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Dawn at the new Xavier's School for Gifted Youngers finds Paige, Jubilee & Monet preparing for class, while Jonothan Starsmore is flying to the school via the red eye from London. At the school, Synch trains with Skin, ending with the two tangled together. Banshee admonishes them for using their powers against each other before fully controlling them, but Emma tells him it was her idea. Meanwhile, the villainous Emplate waits at the airport for Jonothan's arrival. After Banshee, Jubilee & Synch leave to pick him up, Gateway suddenly appears at the school, and Monet realizes Emplate has returned. At the airport, Emplate attacks Jonothan, attempting to feed on his genetic material, but is interrupted by Banshee, Jubilee & Synch. He soon overpowers them, until the rest of the team, along with Emma, arrives via Gateway. Together, they drive off the villain, after which, Jubilee welcomes Jonothan to Generation X. Elsewhere, Emplate returns home to discover someone he's been holding prisoner is gone, At the school, Banshee confronts the mysterious Gateway, who speaks a single word - penance - before revealing he's left an unconscious young woman with red, diamond-hard skin on the lawn.

Monday, December 17, 2018

G. I. JOE: Season 3.5 -- Endings without Worlds


Gene Kendall here, announcing the release of my final G. I. Joe novel. It took several months to complete, and because I’m not in a mood to tease any lawyers, it's free for you to download in any format at Smashwords.
In an ideal world, this would’ve been published under the Kindle Worlds banner. That was not to be. Still, I felt an obligation to finish the story, and the mental gymnastics required to pull these threads together turned out to be quite the writing challenge.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Force in Focus: Star Wars #78

"Hoth Stuff!"
December 1983

In a Nutshell
Wedge Antilles reveals what happened to him after the Battle of Hoth.

Plot/Script: David Michelinie
Pencils: Luke McDonnell
Plot/Inks: Bob Layton
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
AT-ATitor: Jim Shooter

Plot
After their long range sensors detected a nearby Rebel transport, Luke, Leia & Lieutenant Hightower investigate, with Luke fervently hoping Wedge Antilles, missing since the Battle of Hoth, must be on board. But once they enter the ship, they find it abandoned, with a only the ship's log, left by Wedge, to tell the tale of how Wedge & Wes Janson survived the battle only to be marooned on the Hoth, unable to signal for help for fear of alerting the TIE fighters, left behind to monitor the planet by the Empire. After Wedge & Wes eeked out a survival existence for several months, a group of scavengers arrived on the planet. They killed Janson, but Wedge managed to steal one of their ships, leading the rest of their craft into the path of the TIE fighters. But Wedge's stolen ship was damaged in the escape, and the log ends with Wedge noting that it is now adrift. Just then, Wedge appears outside the viewport, having been performing exterior repairs using material in the ship's hold that had been previously scavenged. Luke is overjoyed to be reunited with his friend, and the Rebels return to Arbra for a lengthy celebration.

Friday, December 14, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #83

"Bend Sinister"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
Warren Ellis' run begins as forces converge on the Soulsword.

Writer; Warren Ellis
Artists: Terry Dodson & W.C. Carani
Letterer: Jon Babcock
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Chief Editor: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Bishop arrives on Muir Island with a shipment of research equipment, and new clothes for Kitty, courtesy of Jubilee. On vacation in Egypt, Amanda Sefton encounters her mother Margali, who warns her that Gravemoss, a sorcerer ahead of Margali on the Winding Way, is plotting to retrieve the Soulsword and use it to cement his power. Back on Muir Island, Meggan suddenly goes into convulsions while sprouting spikes all over her body. As Moira anesthetizes her, she asks Kitty for help, but Kitty ignores her. Instead, she disdainfully goes through the clothes Jubilee sent. In London, a sorceress who feels crippling pain whenever the Soulsword is drawn vows to kill the possessor of the weapon. On Muir, Kitty searches through Moira's room. When Moira discovers her, Kitty knocks her over, then draws the Soulsword from her chest & declares she'll have to kill Moira. Nightcrawler, responding to the crash of Moira's fall, attempts to teleport to her room, but in the split second he travels through an alternate dimension while teleporting, Gravemoss takes control of his body.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

X-amining X-Force #40

"Holding On"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
Thornn is arrested as X-Force moves into a new base.

The Ringleader: Fabian Nicieza
The Juggler: Tony Daniel
The Human Pretzels: Conrad (pp 1-18, 21,22) & Townsend (pp 19,20)
The Barker: Chris Eliopoulos
The Beardeed Lady (just kidding!): Marie Javins
The Elephant Trainer: Bob Harras
The Elephant: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the tunnels beneath Manhattan, Detective Hidalgo arrests Thornn for the murder of her family, murders she insists she didn't commit. Elsewhere, Domino introduces the rest of X-Force to their new headquarters: Arcade's abandoned Murderworld. Outside Hidalgo's Bronx precinct, protesters gather, stoked by the Friends of Humanity, and at X-Force's base, Cable reveals Thornn has contacted him for help. Cable, acting as Thornn's lawyer, convinces her to tell him what really happened to her family, and then convinces Hidalgo to help expose that truth. He arranges for Thornn to be transferred to Ryker's Island, and when her transport is commandeered by the Friends of Humanity, X-Force intervenes, rescuing Thornn. Along with Hidalgo, they return to Thornn's abandoned childhood home in the Bronx, where they find Feral waiting for them. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #38

"Smoke And Mirrors"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
In the wake of "Phalanx Covenant", the X-Men relax and recoup.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letters: Bill Oakley
Color Art: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Special Thanks: Aldred J. Kehn Jr. and Dr. David Berger

Plot
As Xavier, Scott & Jean ruminate on the recent changes to the school, Beast continues his research into the Legacy Virus while Iceman & Rogue hang out by the pool. Later, Psylocke & Phoenix train in the Danger Room before giving way for Cyclops, who is overseeing Sabretooth's daily exercise regimen. However, Gambit enters the control room tells him Jean needs his help, offering to oversee the session himself. Elsewhere, Carter Ryking is visited in prison by Adam X. Back at the school, Xavier & Bishop discuss the loss of data caused by Banshee's necessary destruction of Xavier's ready room. Elsewhere, a comatose Legion experiences a vision of Destiny. Back at the mansion, Gambit dials up the intensity of Sabretooth's Danger Room session, then attacks himself, soundly beating Sabretooth. With Sabretooth at his mercy, Gambit tells him won't kill him, because being part of the X-Men means too much to him now, and that the best way to fight Sabretooth is by being happy together with Rogue, a fight which a passing Rogue wonders if they can win. As Beast takes a break from his research to go out to dinner with Iceman, Xavier, Scott & Jean meet again, and Xavier finds that, despite the group's losses & setbacks, he remains more hopeful than ever for the future.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Force in Focus: Return of the Jedi #3

"Mission to Endor!"
December 1983

In a Nutshell
The Rebels arrive on Endor in order to destroy the protective force field around the Death Star.

Adapted by Archie Goodwin
Art by Al Williamson & Carlos Garzon
Colored by Christie Scheele & Bob Sharen
Lettered by Ed King
Edited by Michael Higgins & Jo Duffy
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Based on the Story by George Lucas
Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan & George Lucas

Plot
At a fleet gathering, Mon Mothma, Admiral Ackbar & General Madine brief the Rebels on the plan to destroy the new Death Star, including the fact that Han has been chosen to lead the mission to neutralize the shield protecting the Death Star & that Lando is leading the attack on the station itself. Just then, Luke returns, and offers to join Han's team. Later, Han's team arrives on Endor, and gets split up when they encounter a group of Imperial Scout troops, with Luke & Leia giving chase when they speed off. During the chase, Luke & Leia are separated, with Luke returning just in time to be captured by the native Ewoks. Believing Threepio to be one of their gods, the Ewoks bring the Rebels to their village, where they are reunited with Leia. After Luke uses the Force to make Threepio appear to have god-like powers, the Ewoks release the Rebels & agree to help them. That evening, Luke tells Leia that Darth Vader is his father, and that she is Luke's sister, then leaves the Rebels, allowing himself to be captured & brought to a waiting Vader. Luke insists he can sense conflict in Vader, but Vader tells Luke he's being brought to the Emperor, prompting Luke to admit that his father is truly dead.

Friday, December 7, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #87

"Showdown in Lowtown"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Gambit team-up in Madripoor.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inkers: Farmer, Green, Townsend, Rubinstein
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Gambit, concerned about the presence of Sabretooth in the X-mansion, joins Wolverine in Madripoor, and the pair bust into the Princess Bar, suspecting foul play. But it simply turns out to be a surprise party thrown by Wolverine's friends, celebrating his return. The fun is cut short, however, when a pair of dead Hand ninjas break through the ceiling. As they investigate, Wolverine tells Gambit a tale of his past when he worked as a government operative alongside Maverick & Sabretooth, during which Sabretooth acted selfishly, yet also was instrumental in getting Maverick & Wolverine out alive. Shortly thereafter, they're attacked by the mysterious assailant who killed the ninjas, who turns out to be Maverick. Infected by the Legacy Virus, Maverick hoped to be slain in battle by Wolverine, a warrior he respected. Wolverine scoffs at the notion, telling him needs to face death head on. Maverick admits he's right, then adds that maybe Wolverine should take his own advice.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #108

"Promised Vengeance"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Factor hunts Mystique who is hunting Legion.

Plot: John Francis Moore
Script: Todd DeZago
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Forge revisits the events of Mystique's apparent death with Rogue & Nightcrawler, suspecting she may have survived. His suspicions prove correct when Nick Fury shows Forge & Val Cooper footage of Mystique posing as a secretary at the Israeli embassy, in order to obtain a visa for Avalanche & gain info on Gabrielle Haller. After Havok & Strong Guy fail to capture Avalanche, X-Factor realizes Mystique is targeting Haller's son, Legion, to make him pay for killing Destiny. X-Factor travels to Te Aviv & confers with Haller at the hospital where the comatose Legion is being treated. As they hunt for Mystique, Mystique poses as Haller and prepares to inject Legion with a lethal drug via syringe. But the real Haller enters the room, and begs Mystique to spare her son. Shortly thereafter, X-Factor also arrives, triggering a standoff which ends when the syringe is telekintically suddenly flung from Mystique's hand by a now-conscious Legion.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #318

"Moving Day"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
Jubilee leaves the X-Men

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Roger Cruz
Guest Inker: Tim Townsend
Letters: Grover Eliopoulos
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Skin, intending to return to Los Angeles, gets a ride to the airport from Beast, telling him not to bother trying to convince him to stay. Meanwhile, Banshee, Storm & Bishop take Jubilee, Monet, Everett & Paige shopping. On the road, Skin is distracted by Beast and loses control of his skin, lashing out at Beast. Back at the mansion, Iceman confronts Emma, demanding she tell him how she used his powers so effectively while in his body, but Emma tells him he needs to grow up and figure it out himself. On the road, Beast gives Skin the keys to the car, telling him he's free to go wherever he wants in order to ignore the world. At the mansion, Gambit helps Cyclops & Jean move into the boathouse, while Professor X bids goodbye to Banshee and wishes him luck as the headmaster of the new Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in Massachusetts. Then Jubilee emerges, quietly thanking Xavier for knowing when to hold on, and when to let go, before driving off with Banshee. Moments later, Skin returns, and tells Xavier he would like a place at his school. Xavier sends him after Banshee, then reflects on how he's reached a point where he has more to learn from his students now than he could ever possibly teach them.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Miles & Austin X-Plain the X-Men!

Art by David Wynne. Wanna buy the original? Drop him a line!

I recently had the opportunity to fill in for Jay on an episode of "Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men", and that episode is now available for listening/downloading! If you're not familiar with it, "X-Plain the X-Men" is basically an aural version of my X-aminations reviews, in which the hosts review issues of X-Men and the assorted spin-offs in chronological order, often featuring funny voices and recurring gags along with their cunning analysis.

In this week's episode, Mile and I revisit New Warriors #10 and #31, in which we discuss the nebulous nature of Tarot's power, lament the lack of justice for Butter Rum, and I get to rant about the ill-advised Nova Roma/"Allison Crestmere" retcon once again! Give it a listen, and if you do, let me know what you think!

Check out the episode here (links to download via various podcasting platforms are there as well).

Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Monday, December 3, 2018

G. I. JOE # 11 - May 1983 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)


Who's ready to revisit the most inventive dodging of FCC regulations of the 1980s?

The second wave of G. I. Joe figures has arrived -- Doc, Snow Job, and Gung Ho receive the bulk of the commercial’s attention (which teases Destro’s debut), while the published comic also brings in Wild Bill and Airborne.  New accessories you’ll have to bug your parents for include the Polar Battle Bear, the Falcon glider, and Wild Bill’s beloved Dragonfly copter.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Force in Focus: Star Wars Annual #3

"The Apprentice"
1983

In a Nutshell
The Galactic Civil War comes to Belderone.

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Klaus Janson
Inker: Klaus Janson
Colorist: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Joe Sharpe
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Aboard a Star Destroyer, Darth Vader discusses his plan for the subjugation of the Belderone system with a group of Imperial officers. On Belderone, Flint enthusiastically urges his friend Barney to come with him to see a landing Rebel ship, but Flint's mother warns him not to be late for his mandated shift in the Imperial factory. They spot Luke, Leia & Lando departing the Millennium Falcon, and when Flint sees Luke's lightsaber, he asks Luke if his father was a Jedi like Flint's. Luke lies, but Flint agrees to take the group into the city, bringing them to his mother's tavern. There, they are recognized, and the local Imperial general sends a trio of assassins to kill the rebels. However, the rebels fight them off, thanks in part to Luke's skills, which convinces Flint he is a Jedi. As Luke & Chewbacca return to the Rebel base on nearby Kulthis to warn them of the Imperial presence on Belderone, Flint & Barney take Lando & Leia to the Imperial factory to show them what the Empire is building.

Friday, November 30, 2018

X-amining Cable #16

"The Phalanx Sanction"
October 1994

In a Nutshell
The "Phalanx Covenant" concludes.

Script: Larry Hama
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inkers: Mike Sellers & Batt
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Cable, Cyclops, Phoenix & Wolverine approach the Phalanx citadel in the Himalayas, Stephen Lang, now fearing the Phalanx are out of his control & a threat to all humanity, enlists the captive Psylocke's aid in helping the X-Men oppose them. After the X-Men crash their jet into the citadel to create a distraction, they scale a nearby mountain without using their powers, in order to sneak into the citadel undetected. Once inside, Cable, Cyclops & Phoenix launch a frontal assault as Wolverine seeks out the captive X-Men. He manages to penetrate the containment unit holding Bishop, which allows him to  absorb the Phalanx' energy. Elsewhere, the Phalanx are on the verge of overwhelming Cable, Cyclops & Phoenix when Wolverine and the freed X-Men arrive. With the tide turning, Hodge draws on all the Phalanx energy resources around the world, effectively killing them all, in order to mount a defense. Lang, having expected this, then releases his hold on the citadel, sending it plunging down the mountain, destroying the remaining Phalanx. The X-Men manage to escape, but Hodge drags Lang down with him. Elsewhere, in a nearby galaxy, a techno-organic figure senses the loss of the Phalanx on Earth, and decides its time to take a more active role in the mission against the planet.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

X-amining X-Force Annual #3

"In Deep" / "Siryn Song"
1994

In a Nutshell
Moonstar and the Mutant Liberation Front team-up with the Chinese 3-Peace.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza, Jim Krueger (2nd Story)
Penciler: Mike Wieringo, Arnie Jorgensen (2nd Story)
Inker: John Lowe, Bud LaRosa & John Lowe (2nd Story)
Letterer: Pat Brosseau, Jeff Powell (2nd Story)
Colorist: Ariane Lenshoek, Dana Moreshead (2nd Story)
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Dani Moonstar leads the MLF in a training session, she contemplates the recent events in her life that have led her to the group. Meanwhile, in China, 3-Peace, consisting of mutants Jade Dragon, Collective Man, & Nuwa, are arrested by China Force. However, Reignfire comes to their aid, offering to help their cause if they join up with the MLF. The MLF help 3-Peace break into a government facility to get some information, during which Reignfire kills one of China Force. Later, the MLF & 3-Peace infiltrate a complex holding captive mutants, but China Force is waiting: Reignfire cut a deal with the Chinese government, double-crossing 3-Peace. However, Nuwa is able to use her power to help 3-Peace escape, and when they encounter a waiting Moonstar, she lets them go. Back at MLF headquarters, Reignfire tells her that the Chinese government doesn't suspect her of allowing 3-Peace to escape, but Dani knows that Reignfire does.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) Annual #3

"Heart & Soul" / "A Moment of Silence"
1994

In a Nutshell
Shinobi Shaw tries to recruit Storm to his new Inner Circle.

Writer: Ian Edginton, Jim Krueger (2nd Story)
Penciler: Gene Ha, "Steve Yeowell (2nd Story)
Inkers: Rubinstein, Lowe, Green, Wiacek, Sellers, Pepoy, Moy
Letterer: Joe Rosas, Dave Sharpe (2nd Story)
Colorist: Pat Brosseau, Dana Moreshead (2nd Story)
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Storm receives an invitation to dinner at the Hellfire Club, sent by Shinobi Shaw, along with a bouquet of roses, one of which pricks her finger. Storm accepts the invitation, but acts unusually cool towards her teammates on her way out. At dinner, Shaw presents himself as having changed, possessing a desire to make the world better, with her help. Storm is intrigued, but doesn't immediately accept his offer of an alliance. She returns home, and that night, has nightmares in which her powers are stripped away and given to someone who will use them to more directly to improve the world. Returning to the Hellfire Club, Storm finds Shaw amongst his new Inner Circle, and he reveals he drugged her in order to bring her dark side to the surface. She then rejects him outright, triggering a conflict with the Inner Circle. Just then, the X-Men arrive, having been alerted to Storm's trouble by Professor X. They defeat the Inner Circle, and Storm refuses to kill Shaw, an act which, when she returns home, Xavier cites as proof that Shaw wasn't able to corrupt her morals.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

X-aminations in December


After what seems like months and months of build up, this month finally sees the release of Generation X #1, the eighth(!) monthly X-book! Meanwhile, fresh off "Phalanx Covenant", X-Factor begins the lead-up to "Age of Apocalypse", all the books get the Deluxe treatment, and we look at the third series of Marvel Masterpieces cards.

On Sale September 1994
December 5: Uncanny X-Men #318
December 6: X-Factor #108
December 7: Wolverine #87

December 12: X-Men (vol. 2) #38
December 13: X-Force #40
December 14: Excalibur #83

December 19: Generation X #1

December 26: Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Masterpieces Series III