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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #92

"The Man Who Wasn't There"
July 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles the Acolytes

Co-Plotter: Scott Lobdell
Penciler/Co-Plotter: Joe Quesada
Script: J.M. DeMatteis
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Starkings
Background Artist: Cliff Van Meter
Colorist: Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the wake of an Acolyte attack on a hospice in Virgina, Havok, Quicksilver & Val Cooper interview one of the survivors, whose descriptions of the Acolytes' savagery stuns them. They are unknowingly watched by the Acolyte Scanner, who reports back to Cortez. Later, X-Factor interrogates Spoor, the one Acolyte captured during the attack. He is initially belligerent, but becomes reverential when Quicksilver, the son of Magneto, enters the room. Spoor proceeds to tell them the location of the Acolytes' next target, a low-level military base in Kentucky. But instead of bringing X-Factor, Val goes there only with Quicksilver, along with Random as hired help. Suspicious, the rest of X-Factor follows, and along the way they encounter a mysterious flying mutant who observes them briefly before flying off. At Camp Hayden, Quicksilver quickly learns the base is a front for Project: Wideawake, the government program to create Sentinels. Arriving shortly thereafter, X-Factor is stunned by the revelation. Just then, the Acolytes attack the base, and while they fight X-Factor, Cortez attempts to recruit Quicksilver. He rejects Cortez, who then calls for the Acolytes' retreat, saying they've succeeded in planting a seed. In the wake of their departure, Val coughs up green smoke, revealing she's been under the control of the Acolytes for the last several weeks. However, she says that she was just following the government's orders in keeping Project: Wideawake a secret from the team, and X-Factor walks away from her in disgust.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #302

"Province"
July 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle Fitzroy in Dallas.

Writes: Lobdell
Pencils: Romita Jr.
Inks: Green & Panosian
Vacations & Lettering: Eliopoulos & Babcock
Colors: Buccellato
Edits: Bob Harras
Chiefs: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Storm struggles to contain the debris from the Aerie explosion, Bishop searches the rubble for any sign of Forge, Mystique or Fitzroy. Meanwhile, Xavier worries about Illyana's worsening health. In Dallas, Storm is attacked by a mob, but a local police officer comes to her defense. In the remains of the Aerie, Forge emerges from a protective shield along with an unconscious Mystique, while on the ground, the mob reasons they can probably overpower both Storm and the cop, just as Iceman arrives and helps contain the situation. Above. Fitzroy attacks Bishop & Forge, but his armor is destroyed by Jean, while Colossus leaps into the fray, pummeling him in rage to the point that Colossus has to be pulled off the unconscious villain by his teammates. Back at the mansion, a studying Jubilee is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Kitty Pryde, who came as soon as she heard about Illyana.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x04: The Spoils of War



Opening Credits Map

King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> Pyke -> Winterfell ->
The Wall -> Old Town

Winterfell
We start with Wun Wun sitting in a wheel chair. Finally! Wun Wun is independently mobile. Littlefinger skulks into the room and hands Wun Wun the knife used to killed Bran because he, of course, thinks Wun Wun is Bran too.

I think this is some kind of power play by Petyr but it doesn't work. Wun Wun is completely disaffected and simply tells Littlefinger that "chaos is a ladder." This unnerves Baelish. My sources say that that's a phrase Littlefinger told Varys in private earlier in the series. I think Littlefinger has no clue how handle someone he can't keep secrets from and can't play mind games with.

Meanwhile, Arya saunters up to the gates of Winterfell and two guards blunder their way through not letting her in (believing the idea that she is Arya Stark is too far fetched). While these two work on their three....er....two stooges routine, Arya up and sneaks by them.

This eventually ends up with reunion between Sansa and Arya. They're happy to see each other. It's sweet. That leads to Sansa, Arya and Wun Wun reuniting. It's...not as sweet. Wun Wun just, totally doesn't care about anyone anymore. He gives Arya that sweet Valyrian steel dagger though.

We go from the Three-Eyed Raven to the Three Legged Man. Podrick the Pornstar is sparring with Brienne. He's losing of course despite Brienne's advice. Arya's advice is not to spar against someone who has defeated the Hound. I would think that, despite everything else, Podrick's third leg is interfering with his footwork.

Anyway, Arya wants a go at Brienne. Brienne goes easy on Arya to start but we know how that works out. Eventually Arya pisses off Brienne and it's on like a 1980's ape based video game. The match ends in a draw and that's cool and all but it feels like if I was shooting hoops in my driveway and some dude walks up saying he's rusty and would like to get some practice in and then throws down a 360-tomahawk jam over me. I mean, that's sweet but I'm starting to think their intent wasn't to brush up on fundamentals.

Friday, August 11, 2017

X-amining Cable #2

"Mired in Destiny"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable & Kane return to the present.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Art Thibert
Inkers: Milgrom, Wiacek
Readouts: Chris Eliopolous
Alarmed: Marie Javins
Running Behind: Bob Harras
Takes a lick' an' keeps on tickin': Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Clan Chosen infiltrate the Tinex facility, but find a cadre of Canaanite guards waiting for them. Meanwhile, General Haight assures the Canaanite Commission on Strategic Maneuvers that his men can repel Clan Chosen and that they won't impact Sinsear's mission to eliminate the other who has gone off his programming before working to ensure the ascension of Apocalypse. Back at the Tinex, Cable asks Boak to sacrifice himself to overcome the Canaanite forces, which enrages Hope, but she still accesses the Tinex in order to send Kane home. In the process, she learns someone else has already used it to go back in time. In the present, Sinsear visits Tolliver's Austrian home, and when he's told Tolliver is dead, Tolliver kills the man who told him as much, insisting Tolliver is still alive. Back in the future, Hope finds the right timeline to send Kane back to, but Cable announces he's going back with him, leaving orders to blow up the facility once they're gone. Cable & Kane are sent back in time, and the Clan Chosen flies off as they destroy the facility. Arriving in the present, Cable & Kane are surprised to find Professor offline, and Graymalkin seemingly on the ocean floor.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

X-amining X-Factor Annual #8

"Charon" / "What Have You Got to Hide" / "Crawlin' From the Wreckage"
1993

In a Nutshell
The Chalkers return as part of Charon's first appearance.

Writer: Peter David, Skip Dietz (2nd & 3rd Story)
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker, Buzz (2nd Story), Chris Batista (3rd Story)
Inker: Mark McKenna, Al Milgrom (2nd Story). Jeff Albrecht (3rd Story)
Letterer: Lois Buhalis, Dave Sharp (2nd Story), Pat Brosseay (3rd Story)
Colorist: Joe Rosas, Carlos Lopez (2nd Story), Joe Rosas (3rd Story)
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Leaving a movie with his parents, Charlie Ronalds is devastated when his parents are killed by an attacker who says he is a mutant. Years later, Charlie is injured during an accident at his school involving Guido Carosella, another mutant. In the present, Guido, along with Polaris, appear on a talk show while the rest of X-Factor trains in the Danger Room. Charlie, his hatred for mutants and Guido in particular still raging, contacts a demon named Cloot. Learning of Charlie's hatred for X-Factor, Cloot grants him powers, and allies in the Chalker family, in exchange for Charlie delivering the souls of X-Factor to Cloot. As Charon, Charlie leads the Chalkers in an attack on X-Factor, but the Chalkers quickly die once more as Charon battles Strong Guy, and when he declares he simply wants Strong Guy to die, Cloot appears, telling Charlie he's broken their deal and sending Charlie to the same hell dimension where his parents reside, leaving X-Factor confused about what exactly has just happened.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #1

"Follow the Leader"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
Sienna Blaze attacks Storm, Cyclops & Professor X. 

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Scott Bachalo
Inker: Dan Panosian 
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Assistant: Jaye Gardner
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Nudge: Bob Harras
Evil Mutant: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Antarctica, a visor-less Cyclops searches the wreckage of the crashed Blackbird for Xavier, who then helps Cyclops find Storm. Elsewhere, new Upstart Sienna Blaze is angry to learn her attack on the three X-Men hasn't killed them yet. Back at the mansion, Psylocke & Bishop set out to rescue their comrades. In Antarctica, Xavier, Storm & Cyclops recall events leading up to the crash for any information about their attacker, remembering being hit by a massive energy blast on their way home from the Savage Land and how Cyclops lost his visor trying to bring the craft down safely. With the blizzard outside the remnants of the plane raging, Storm attempts to tame it, but its size overwhelms her, triggering a massive fever. The next morning, Cyclops & Storm awake to find Xavier gone, having set out in the night in search of a psionic imprint he detected, a search which ultimately leaves him stranded in the blizzard. Storm & Cyclops set out after him, encountering Blaze, who once again tries to kill them. But working with a returned Xavier, they manage to defeat her, though she uses her power to escape, triggering an electro-magnetic vacuum that nearly destroys the X-Men. But Storm is able to protect the trio until Xavier senses the arrival of Bishop & Psylocke, who retrieve them. Later, Xavier recalls his rescue by an unseen friend, as a shadowy figure watches the Blackbird depart.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x03: The Queen’s Justice


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> Pyke -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Old Town

Dragonstone
Jon Snow shows up. That was fast! You know, I'm not necessarily upset at the show for speeding up certain things, like travel, but it is a bit jarring compared to the, possibly overly, deliberate pacing earlier in the series. However, despite not needing to spend several episodes with Jon Snow traveling, this show does seem to have difficulty conveying any passage of time between when Jon Snow left and when he arrived.

Anyway, Jon Snow and Tyrion are the first to meet and they do that Han Solo/Lando Calrissian thing where you act like you hate each other only to then show affection for each other. Not sure who they trying to initially fool but this wasn't the most egregious use of this trope. At least their “affection” was just a smile and head nod.

Tyrion and Jon Snow catch up a little bit since Jon Snow last saw Tyrion relieving himself off the Wall. Jon Snow is lead to Daenerys who, of course, immediately demands fealty because she is the rightful ruler of Westeros. She's nice enough to allow Jon Snow be warden of the North, though.

Jon Snow rejects this saying all this talk of ruling Westeros is pointless until the White Walkers are dealt with. He's not wrong but I can't help but feel he's going about this wrongly. Frankly, they both are. Daenerys needs allies but alienates them by demanding complete loyalty when they first meet doesn't seem the best way to garner support. And Jon Snow might want to try to explain the White Walkers better and not just immediately claim everybody is an idiot.

So, things are tense and seem to be going south. Beyond that, Jon Snow is kind of trapped because they took his boat. That's another way not to gain allies.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #68

"The Search Begins"
February 1983

In a Nutshell
Leia meets Fenn Shysa on Manadalore while searching for Dengar.

Script: David Michelinie
Layouts: Gene Day
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Corellian Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke, Leia & Lando depart Arbra, each in search of a different bounty hunter who may be able to provide information as to the whereabouts of Boba Fett & Han Solo. Leia, looking for Dengar, lands on the planet Mandalore. She and Threepio come across a group of Imperial-backed slavers, but before they can intervene, the slavers are attacked by soldiers wearing armor like Boba Fett's. Leia meets their leader, Fenn Shysa, and he takes her back to his village, where she learns about Boba Fett's past and discovers that Shysa has captured Dengar, who was attempting to claim a bounty on Shysa. Dengar agrees to tell Leia everything she wants to know in exchange for breaking him free. That night, while Leia distracts Shysa and knocks him out, Threepio frees Dengar. But as the three race for Leia's ship, Dengar reveals that he's altered their deal, having signaled the local Imperial troops in the hopes of capturing an even bigger bounty than Shysa, just as Leia & Threepio are surrounded by a contingent of Stormtroopers.

Friday, August 4, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #66

"Back to the Present"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
The truth between Widget is revealed as Excalibur travels to the future.

Writer/Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Dana Moreshead
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In 2013, Ahab attempts to harness the residual temporal energy surrounding Kate Pryde to follow Rachel Summers back in time. But the combination of that energy, radiation from the Sentinel attack that triggered Rachel's time jump, and Kate's phasing ability cause a malfunction that results in her being fused with a Sentinel and tossed into the timestream, emerging as Widget two years later before fleeing to warn Rachel. In the present, Excalibur returns to Braddock Manor, and Rachel immediately prepares to return to her future timeline. In 2015, Widget encounters the RCX, then senses Rachel entering the timestream just as Ahab launches a Sentinel attack, hoping to capture Widget. The link between Widget and Rachel opens a gateway stable enough for the rest of Excalibur to travel into the future, where they assist the RCX in repelling Ahab and the Sentinels. However, both Widget & Rachel are captured as Ahab retreats. Though the RCX insists Excalibur would be insane to go to the Sentinels headquarters, Nightcrawler declares that since they're stranded in the future, their choice is simple: defeat the Sentinels or die trying.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

X-amining X-Force #23

"Compromising Positions"
June 1993

In a Nutshell

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Mood: Beef Candelario
Alphabet: Spike
Our Ted Turner: Marie
MIA (Missing-in-Australia): Bob Harras
Muck-a-Muck: Tommy Dee

Plot
X-Force retrieves Crule from the hospital, offering to take down the X-Ternals if he helps them locate the group. Meanwhile, Cannonball confers with Xavier, hoping to find a way to rescue his friends while keeping his word to Gideon. In Canada, Domino & Grizzly escape Weapon: Prime with Hammer's help, while in Oregon, Gideon assures Saul that X-Force will come for their friends, likely sneaking in to attempt a rescue. But when X-Force, sans Cannonball, arrives near Saul's home, they decide to take the opposite approach, and blast their way in, taking Gideon & Saul by surprise. In Boston, Vanessa is confronted by Deadpool & Sluggo. However, they're shot from behind by Domino & Grizzly, and Vanessa tells Domino she knows where X-Force is. Back at Saul's home, X-Force has retrieved their captured friends, and Gideon expresses his dismay that Cannonball broke his word. Sunspot gives Gideon a letter written by Cannonball, explaining that while he promised to stay away, the rest of X-Force didn't. Saul says that without Cannonball, the X-Ternals may all die, to which Shatterstar declares, as X-Force departs, that if the X-Ternals don't leave X-Force alone, that will happen anyway.