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

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

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Force in Focus: Return of the Jedi #2

"The Emperor Commands"
November 1983

In a Nutshell
The Star Warriors escape from Jabba the Hutt, and Luke learns he must face his father again.

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
As Jabba's guards prepare to push Luke into the Sarlaac pit, Luke issues Jabba one final warning to free him and his friends, or die. Then Artoo launches Luke's lightsaber, hidden inside Artoo, and Luke attacks the guards, alongside the previously-disguised Lando. Aboard the sail barge, Leia takes advantage of the confusion to strangle Jabba to death. As the sail barge blasts the skiff hovering over the pit, Lando is knocked overboard, and as Han & Chewie try to rescue him, they inadvertently trigger Boba Fett's jetpack, sending him flying into the Sarlaac's maw. Luke leaps over to the sail barge as Han retrieves Lando and Artoo frees Leia before herding Threepio off the barge. Together, Luke & Leia turn the barge's gun on the ship, destroying it, and they fly away aboard the other skiff with their friends. As the group departs Tatooine, Luke promises to rendezvous with the Rebel fleet, but first goes to Dagobah. Meanwhile, the Emperor arrives on the Death Star, and assures Darth Vader everything is going as he has forseen. On Dagobah, Yoda confirms that Darth Vader is Luke's father, and the spirit of Obi-Wan reveals that Leia is his sister, before insisting to Luke that he must confront his father again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

X-amining Generation X Ashcan / Opening Volley / Collector's Preview


"Opening Volley"
1994

In a Nutshell
A trio of promotional books hyping Generation X.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Lettering: Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Bucellato & Electric Crayon

Plot
Banshee ruminates on his new charges and co-headmaster as he takes up the reins of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. After a game of volleyball, Jubilee writes Wolverine a letter sharing her thoughts about her new classmates. 

Monday, November 19, 2018

Remembering Stan Lee

The question of the extent of Stan Lee's involvement in the creation of the plethora of characters he's frequently credited with creating (especially in more mainstream sources who aren't as intimately familiar with the longstanding, burning debates of comic book fandom) is both a valid one, and one to which we'll likely never have a definitive answer. Comics are a collaborative medium, and Stan Lee, essentially writing, editing and running Marvel Comics for much of the sixties, adapted a system which further blurred the lines between writer & artist when it comes to who is responsible for what within any given story. Those lines were further muddied by Stan himself (without malice, I genuinely believe), a consummate showman and modern day PT Barnum, who welcomed the media spotlight he received as the "creator" of Marvel Comics, was happy to use that spotlight to further the business interests of the company (and his own personal brand/persona) and wasn't particularly inclined to school audiences in the inner mechanics of comic book creation.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Force in Focus: Life Day

Happy Life Day everyone!


If you're looking for a way to celebrate this momentous Wookiee holiday, might I suggest checking out the Star Wars Holiday Special episode of A Very Special Episode, the podcast co-hosted by me & Doctor Bitz (and friends)?

However you choose to celebrate, we'll see you back here next week for Return of the Jedi #2!