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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #35

"Dark Lord's Gambit"
May 1980

In a Nutshell
Darth Vader learns Luke's identity and plots to destroy him.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Gene Day
Colorist: Nelson Yomtov
Letterer: John Costanza
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Plot
Darth Vader returns to his Star Destroyer, having learned the name of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star: Luke Skywalker. He then rendezvous with General Tagge, revealing that his older brothers Orman and Silas still live, but are in stasis. He agrees to keep them that way, in exchange for the general's loyalty. Later, near Yavin, Luke helps rescue a civilian ship, which proceeds to land at Yavin Four. It contains representatives of the Order of the Sacred Circle, led by Sister Domina, A religious group devoted to the circle of life, they have remained neutral in the war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, but are currently being swayed by the Empire to join their side. In order to maintain balance, they are seeking a representative from the Alliance to make a similar pitch. Though Leia, as one of the Rebel's best diplomats is tagged for the job, Domina takes a shine to Luke, and asks that he perform the mission. Luke is eager to do so when he learns the Imperial representative is Darth Vader.

Friday, April 29, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #72

"Multiple Homicide"
November 1991

In a Nutshell
X-Factor formally debuts, along with new uniforms and a codename for Guido.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Larry Stroman
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist:Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Val learns about Madrox's death from the news, then teleports via Lockjaw with Quicksilver to Guido's home, where Alex, Lorna and Rahne are staying. Together, the group teleports to the scene of the murder, and identify the body as Jamie's, just as Jamie himself turns up, alive and well. Meanwhile, Professor Vic Chalker is watching the news, disgusted at the sight of all the mutants. Back at the crime scene, Jamie explains that he was suspicious when someone knocked at his door, so he created a duplicate to answer it, and it is that dupe that was killed. But when Jamie tries to reabsorb it, he can't, which freaks him out. Two shadowy figures watch the entire scene unfold on the news, with one counseling patience to the other. Later, back at X-Factor's headquarters, Val announces that she's organized a press conference to formally debut X-Factor. Alex and Lorna go for a walk, discussing their relationship, and end up helping rescue a family from a burning building. Later, at the press conference, X-Factor is unveiled to the media, and Guido takes the codename Strong Guy. As they take questions from the audience, a man who looks like Jamie steps forward, claiming he's the real Multiple Man and the one on stage is an imposter.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X-amining X-Force #4

"Sabotage: Part 2"
November 1991

In a Nutshell
X-Force & Spider-Man fight Black Tom & Juggernaut

Plot/Art: Rob Liefeld
Balloon Stuffer: Fabian Nicieza
Print & Bigger Print: Rosen/Eliopoulos
Stays Inside the Lines: Bryan Murray
Recovering Nicely: Bob Harras
Lost-But-Happy: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Spider-Man and X-Force fight Juggernaut, while in the tower above, Cable tracks down Black Tom. They each fire at the other, with Black Tom getting blasted into an open elevator shaft. Clinging on for life, he surrenders to Cable, but Cable shoots him instead, sending him plummeting down the shaft, where he's teleported away by Deadpool, on orders from Mr. Tolliver. On the street below, GW Bridge and SHIELD arrive on the scene just as X-Force is able to remove Juggernaut's helmet. Cable then joins them, declaring he's going to finish Juggernaut once and for all. But before he can, Deadpool pops in and teleports away with Juggernaut as well, leaving X-Force face-to-face with Bridge, who formally announces that Cable is under arrest. Cable responds by teleporting the team back to their ship, As they fly home, Cannonball asks Cable what Bridge has against him, and Cable responds that he wishes he knew.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Walking Dead 6x16: Last Day On Earth


In today's day and age, season finales are a big deal. They're epic. They're game changers. They leave you wanting more.

The Walking Dead has been no different. They've always wanted to go out with a bang. But then there's Last Day on Earth. Hooo...boy. The only thing epic about this episode is its running time.

I've talked about The Walking Dead artificially lengthening episodes in an attempt to gain unearned gravitas before but this episode takes the cake. So little happens in this episode that I doubt it would feel satisfying filling up a regular length show let alone an episode with an extra 50% running time.

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #282

"Payback"
November 1991

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Bishop.

Plotter - Penciler: Whilce Portacio
Inker: Art Thibert
Scripter: John Byrne
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Dana Moreshead
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The X-Men return to the mansion with news of Fitzroy's attack and Jean's death, which shocks Xavier, as he didn't telepathically sense it. Meanwhile, Fitzroy visits Shinobi Shaw and claims leadership over the Upstarts. Back at the mansion, Forge has used data taken from a fallen Sentinel to locate Fitzroy's base, disguised as an Arctic iceberg, They X-Men, accompanied by Forge and Xavier, fly there, and when they get near, Xavier confirms his suspicions: that Jean has transferred her consciousness into the body of the nearest telepath: the White Queen. Inside the base, Fitzroy uses his mutant power to drain the life force of the captive Hellions and open a portal to the future, bringing forth his criminal allies. Jean, in the White Queen's body, attempts to stop him as the X-Men arrive. Better prepared, they make short work of Fitzroy's mercenaries and Sentinels, prompting Fitzroy to finish harvesting the Hellions and open a massive portal, through which dozens of criminals pour out. However, as Fitzroy gleefully watches the X-Men battle the criminals, he's shocked when three additional figures emerge from the portal, led by a man named Bishop, who declares that Fitzroy's little game just got a lot deadlier.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Season Three, Wrap-Up


Following an uneven second season, NYPD Blue could have gone in any direction in Season Three.  Bochco and Milch could’ve made the call to keep pushing the limits of network television, or simply allowed the show to lose its rough edges and evolve into a generic weekly procedural.  With Season Three, they’ve found a nice balance.  Not every episode is The Most Important Show You’ll Watch All Year, some are relatively straightforward stories of cops chasing crooks, but when the series decides not to play it safe, it fully commits.  Again, I feel silly mentioning spoilers for something that aired twenty years ago, but if you don’t want to be spoiled about an important death, be warned.

X-aminations in May 2016


May is kind of a crazy month for me - the annual MSP Comic Con show is the 14th & 15th, and I've got a bunch of setup stuff to do for that, plus both my wife's birthday and mine are at the end of the month. And, with both Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse coming out, I'll likely have more articles than usual to write for Pop Optiq.

So it'll be short month, X-aminations-wise, featuring two weeks with less than three reviews (which is also somewhat motivated by the fact that Marvel randomly shipped two issues of Excalibur in September of '91, which kind of screws with my usual rotation). Consider it a late spring break.

But we will get more on Bishop, a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and the first appearance of Wolverine baddie Cyber!

On Sale September 1991
May 4th: X-Men (vol. 2) #2
May 5th: Excalibur #43
May 6th: Wolverine #48

May 11th: Excalibur #44

On Sale October 1991
May 18th: Uncanny X-Men #283
May 19th: X-Force #5
May 20th: X-Factor #73

May 25th: Marvel Comics Presents #85-92 (Wolverine story)

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Walking Dead 6x15: East


I talked about magic entering The Walking Dead universe before. It certainly feels out of place even though zombies defy all laws of physics. Yet it looks I have to get used to it. Once again we have people with the super human ability to just teleport to wherever they'd like.

This time it's Daryl's new nemesis, Dwight, and his group of people. Speaking of Dwight and his group, are they a part of the Saviors? I wouldn't think so. He hated them, right? So why is he acting like this? I'm so confused.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #34

"Thunder in the Stars!"
April 1980

In a Nutshell
Luke races against time to destroy Omega Frost.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Petra Goldberg
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Plot
As Han leads the Rebel fleet towards Junction, Silas Tagge oversees the preparation of Omega Frost in the asteroid field leading to the planet. Nearby, Luke abandons the effectively-useless TIE fighter he used to escape from Baron Tagge, trusting in his jet pack, and the Force, to lead him to one of the Omega Frost towers. As the Rebel fleet drops out of hyperspace and enters the asteroid field, Silas gives the order to hold until they're halfway into the field to activate Omega Frost. Luke manages to reach the asteroid carrying one of the towers, but it is protected by a force field, preventing him from damaging it. Spotting Luke, Silas gives the order to activate the weapon, but the Rebel fleet is just outside the freezing effect. However, Silas is confidant they'll be unable to stop or turn around in time, at least not without destroying the fleet in the process. However, Luke is able to cut into the ground beneath the tower, to where the field is no longer protecting the device, and destroys the tower, ending the Omega Frost effect. Unfettered, the Rebel fleet emerges from the asteroid field, attacking the Tagge ship and Imperial cruiser waiting there, while Han prepares to rescue Luke from his asteroid.

Friday, April 22, 2016

X-amining Wolverine: Rahne of Terra

1991

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Wolfsbane get transported to a medieval fantasy dimension.

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Andy Kubert
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Sherilyn Van Vaulkenburgh
Assistant Editor/Designer: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The New Mutants are worried about Rahne, who has suddenly gone mad, raving that she's a princess. On another world, a bloodthirsty Wolverine attacks the Mage, while at the nearby castle, Princess Rain's servant Tabby worries about the prophecy saying a beast will kill her on her nearing birthday. Briefly, Rain sees her guards as the New Mutants. Outside, Wolverine attacks one of the guards, Samuel, who races back to the castle to warn of the beast's approach. Shortly thereafter, the elderly king, Rain's father, dies, Elsewhere, Magnus reveals he's brought Wolverine to his world to fulfill the prophecy, then brainwashes him again. Over the objections of her guards, Rain sneaks out to attend her fathers funeral, encountering a familiar-seeming peasant named Doug along the way. At the cemetery, Wolverine attacks, but Rain transforms into a werewolf, driving him off, before fleeing to the castle.