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

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.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

X-amining The Punisher War Journal #6-7

"On the Track of Unknown Animals / "Endangered Species"
June-July1989

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine & the Punisher clash for the first time. 

Story/Layouts: Carl Potts
Layouts/Finished Art: Jim Lee
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Don Daley
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #6: Worried that the Punisher has been pushing himself too hard lately, his associate Microchip insists he take a vacation, and sets him up with an African expedition to the Congo in search of rumored dinosaurs, being headed up by an old friend of Microchip's. Meanwhile, in Madripoor, Wolverine encounters a transporter for a ring of poachers specializing in endangered species. After taking care of the transporter, Wolverine sets out for Africa to shut down the ring. In the Congo, Punisher acts as security for the expedition, unaware that the leader's wife, Nora, and one of the African guides are secretly poachers. When they kill a local boy who discovered their secrets and blame it on a gorilla attack, Punisher investigates and is attacked himself by a gorilla who escaped the poachers. Forced to defend himself, Wolverine oversees him attacking the animal and assumes he's one of the poachers. The two come to blows, with Wolverine seemingly slaying the Punisher and leaving him for dead.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Walking Dead 5x01: No Sanctuary


Hey, I'm back after a summer filled with me thinking about things I'd like to write about but never actually getting around to it. But, the summer vacation is over and The Walking Dead is back. So now I get to dive right back into that joy-filled world!

So...The Walking Dead really loves itself some Carol, huh? She single handedly navigated a zombie hoard to Terminus, took down the walls and most everybody inside (including using one of the most unrealistic ways of igniting a propane tank I have ever seen) and saved the entire group! After all that she was welcomed back to the group with open arms.

I would call this a redemption episode for Carol but I don't think that's how the show sees it. I think The Walking Dead sees this as a redemption episode for Rick. He finally gets a mean streak, realizes the “error of his ways” for “foolishly” banishing Carol and lets her back into the fold. Finally Rick has come back to his senses! At least, I think that's what they want me to think.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Retro Review: Lady Bouvier's Lover

Original Airdate
May 12, 1994

Or the One Where
Grampa dates Marge's mother, until she falls for Mr. Burns instead. 

The Setup 
After they attend Maggie's birthday party, Marge realizes that both her mom and Grampa are lonely, and suggests they spend some time together.

Notable Notes
Though by no means her last appearance, this is pretty much the last time Marge's mother is directly featured in a story until, arguably, season 21's "Moe Letter Blues". Most of her subsequent appearances are in the background of scenes or briefly in flashbacks. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #42

"All That Glitters..."
July 1989

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor battles the Troll Associates. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Arthur Adams
Inker: Allen Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the tunnels under London, the Troll Associates gloat over the unconscious X-Factor, then leave with Thomas Jones to enact their plan to destabilize Britain's economy. X-Factor, however, quickly regains consciousness, and easily defeats the two trolls left to guard them. Above, the trolls try to force Thomas to turn the Tower of London into gold, but when he refuses and insteads transforms a dog, wounded by one of the trolls, to gold to end his suffering, they get a better idea, and attack Buckingham Palace, demanding to see the Queen. Just then, the police arrive, and their lights and sirens scare away the trolls. As they fly off, they encounter X-Factor, who manages to force the trolls out of the sky and back into the tunnels, where Thomas yells to X-Factor that sunlight will destroy the trolls.