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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #78

"Let's Make a Deal!"
August 1989

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants battle Freedom Force en route to being sent to Asgard. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The New Mutants, still watched over by Dr. Strange, work together to gather up Dani and the massive ice machine keeping her fiery rampage in check, determined to get her back to Ship before the machinery fails. Watching from Hel, Hela plots to use the Valkyrie against Odin and get revenge on Thor, and moves to keep the pressure on the New Mutants. Back on Earth, Freedom Force arrives in Manhattan, called in by reports of Dani's attack and believing Rusty is responsible. They attack the New Mutants en route to Ship, with Destiny insisting Rusty must be apprehended to ensure Freedom Force's survival, and both teams land on Liberty Island.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #247

"The Light That Failed"
August 1989

In a Nutshell 
Rogue and Master Mold enter the Siege Perilous

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Foreman: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Just as Master Mold is about to blast Rogue, the X-Men arrive, called by Psylocke and teleported to New York by Gateway. Though there is nothing they can do to save Senator Kelly's wife, mortally wounded helping Rogue, they're able to destroy Master Mold, aided by their invisibility to his sensors. Back in Australia, Jubilee explores the town but decides to stick close to her hiding spot for fear of getting caught. In New York, the seemingly-destroyed Master Mold re-constituents himself. His integration of Nimrod's programming complete, he's now able to detect the X-Men and hold his own against them. As Dazzler stumbles into a crater created by a reflected blast and discovers the Siege Perilous in her jacket pocket, Rogue absorbs Colossus' mutant power, transforming her flesh into steel. She flies into space, then comes racing back down, her speed aided by gravity, and crashes into Master Mold with the force of a meteor.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Walking Dead 5x03: Four Walls and a Roof


So, everything came to a head pretty quickly, huh? I figured the Terminus group would be hunting our protagonists for a good half of a season. Instead, they barely got two episodes. Not that I'm complaining.

Not only did everything come to a head quicker than I thought, it came without much fanfare. The Terminus group tried to set a trap for Rick's group. However, Rick's group (predictably) flipped the tables on them, Gareth gets hacked by the machete Rick promised to hack him with and that was that.

The anticlimactic nature of the Terminus/Rick's group showdown fit with this episode. "Four Walls and a Roof" was mostly focused on character work. In the end the Terminus group weren't so much antagonists as they were catalysts for Rick's group to look at who they currently are and what they may become.

Monday, October 27, 2014

X-aminations in November


It's a relatively "normal" month, as we stay mostly within the realm of the five regular series. But we do welcome Jim Lee to Uncanny X-Men (only as a fill-in artist...for now!) as all five series kick off long, multi-part stories and both X-Men and Wolverine begin bi-weekly shipping for the summer.

On Sale April 1989
November 5th: Daredevil #269
November 6th: Excalibur #11
November 7th: Wolverine #10

On Sale May 1989
November 12th: Uncanny X-Men #248
November 13th: New Mutants #79
November 14th: X-Factor #44

November 19th: Excalibur #12
November 20th: Wolverine #11
November 21st: Wolverine #12

On Sale June 1989
November 26th: Uncanny X-Men #249
November 27th: New Mutants #80
November 28th: X-Factor #45

Also, just for fun, here's two pages of an interview with Bob Harras from Marvel Age #78 (on sale May of 1989), about upcoming stories in the X-Books. It's kind of interesting to see the stuff that comes true, and the stuff that doesn't.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

X-amining X-Factor Annual #4

"I Must Go Down to the Sea Again"
August 1989

In a Nutshell
Beast and Marvel Girl battle Attuma

Story and Pictures: John Byrne
Embellishment: Walt Simonson
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Editor: Bob Harras
Down the Hall, Turn Left: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Pulled by a tractor beam cast by Ghaur, Beast grabs onto a flying, comatose Marvel Girl. Desperate to break the pull of the beam, he manages to get through to Jean enough for her to use her telekinesis to free them and send the two teammates crashing into the ocean, much to a watching Ghaur's dismay. In the water, Beast and the still-comatose Marvel Girl are attacked by an Atlantean force led by the warlord Attuma. Recognizing Marvel Girl as Phoenix, he claims her as his own and orders his troops to kill Beast. However, Beast is saved by the arrival of Attuma's daughter, Andromeda, and her rebel forces, and they agree to work together to thwart Attuma and rescue Jean.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem

"Mojo Mayhem"
1989

In a Nutshell 
The X-Babies enlist Kitty's help saving them from Mojo. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Arthur Adams
Inkers: Terry Austin, Bob Wiacek, and co. 
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski & Jade Moede
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh 
Assistant Editor: Kellp P. Corverse
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On Mojoworld, Ricochet Rita and the X-Babies run from Mojo's troops. They're chased into a massive building housing the entrance to the Forbidden Zone, and the ensuing fight collapses the structure, seemingly killing them, much to Mojo's dismay. However, Major Domo realizes the X-Babies have merely been dimensionally displaced, and Mojo tasks the Agent with retrieving them and forcibly signing them to long-term contracts. Meanwhile, Kitty Pryde is aboard a train bound for London, having attended a concert in Edinburgh, when the X-Babies suddenly appear. They introduce themselves and explain they've fled Mojoworld for Earth, but need Kitty's help finding Rita. Kitty realizes the best way to do that is to call on Excalibur, so they go to a local police station to call her teammates. However, Kitty discovers the phone lines are out, and when Psylocke signs a document offered by the officer on duty, the officer transforms into the Agent, absorbing Psylocke and adding her power to his own. Kitty and the X-Babies escape by stealing a car and head for London, losing Havok to the Agent along the way. In London, the Agent manages to absorb  more of the X-Babies, until only Storm and Longshot are left with Kitty.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Walking Dead 5x02: Strangers


You can read my fellow Gentleman of Leisure Austin's X-aminations to find out all about the “Claremont quiet issue.” "Strangers" certainly had that feel. This episode came after a big climatic episode and, instead of non-stop action (like the preceding episode), it dealt with the characters and their interactions with each other. But that's not to say there weren't some big moments.

I suppose the most notable moment is the introduction of a new character. Father Gabriel Stokes is a priest who seems more-or-less unphased by the zombie apocalypse. However, he's obviously a coward which makes you wonder how he survived in this world for so long. They've made it very clear that Father Stokes is hiding something. I'm fairly sure I know what that something is but I should keep my mouth shut since I've read some of the comics.

I suppose the other big revelation is that some of the citizens of Terminus are still out there (including Martin whom I thought was killed by Tyreese) and they're stalking the group. They got to Bob, who was walking by himself while being upset about something. And while it was disturbing seeing them eat Bob's leg in front him at least Rick can make good on his promise to kill Gareth with his machete.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Retro Review: Secrets of a Successful Marriage

Original Airdate
May 19, 1994

Or the One Where
Marge kicks Homer out after he shares intimate secrets about their relationship. 

The Setup
Realizing that his family and friends consider him dumb, Homer decides to enroll in an adult education class, but ends up teaching one on marriage instead. 

Notable Notes
This is the second episode Greg Daniels wrote for the show, and it was built around the idea of Daniels trying to come up with something Homer could be really good at it (being a husband).

One of the secrets Homer tells his class is that Marge dyes her hair, and is, at this point, naturally gray. Though seemingly a throwaway bit like so many others, later writers will remember this fact and occasionally reference it, even building the plot of an episode ("The Blue and the Gray") around it. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

X-amining Wolverine #9

"Promises to Keep"
July 1989

In a Nutshell 
In a flashback story, Wolverine stalks a group of mercenaries.

Writer: Peter David
Art: Gene Colan
Inker: Al Williamson
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colors: Mark Chiarello
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the past, a group of mercenaries, on the run from Wolverine, rent a cabin, but he tracks them down, killing one of them then disappearing into the night. One of the remaining mercenaries, Rollins, takes first watch. As another merc, Malone, sleeps, he dreams of when this first started, back in Iraq. He wakes with a start to find Rollins dead. Malone, along with the remaining mercs Bruno and Needle, head out into the woods, recalling their job in Iraq, in which they helped a group of militants take over the American embassy, and how Malone tormented one of the female hostages until special forces retook the embassy and they fled. They suddenly realize Wolverine was amongst the operatives that freed the hostages, an operation which ended five years ago tomorrow.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

X-amining Excalibur #10

"Widget"
July 1989

In a Nutshell 
Captain Britain fights Hauptmann Englande

Writer: Chris Claremont
Guest Penciler: Marshall Rogers
Guest Inker: Terry Austin
Letterers: Mas & Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Referee: Tom DeFalco
Creators: Chris Claremont & Alan Davis

Plot
At the Tower of London, Captain Britain battles Hauptmann Englande, though Captain Britain, still suffering a decrease in his power, is easily over-matched by his foe. Below, Reichsminister MacTaggert and Callisto attempt to escape with their hostage, Brigadier Stuart, while the family of lizard-like tourists wander into the battle. As debris from the battle threatens the young Calvin, Captain Britain manages to save him, but it leaves Captain Britain open to an attack from the Lightning Squad's Shadowcat and Nightcrawler. Seemingly defeated, he musters enough strength to knock out Hauptmann Englande just as the Lighning Squad's Meggan reveals she's actually Excalibur's Meggan. She takes out the alternate Nightcrawler and rescues Brigadier Stuart as a revived Phoenix defeats the alternate Shadowcat.