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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #290

July 1992

In a Nutshell
Forge leaves the team, ending his relationship with Storm.

Plot & Script: Scott Lobdell 
Pencils: Whilce Portacio
Inks: Scott Williams
Letters: L. Lois Buhalis
Colors: Kevin Tinsley
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

As Iceman and Hiro battle the Cyberai, Colossus makes travel arrangements for he and his brother to return to Russia, and misses his brother accidentally turning a delivery boy into a tree. Meanwhile, Storm considers Forge's proposal, while Forge discusses Storm's reaction with Jean. When Jean refuses to tell Forge whether or not Storm truly loves her, he rushes off. Back at the restaurant, Hiro tells Iceman to get Opal to safety while he holds off the Cyberai. At the mansion, an increasingly-insane Mystique taunts Bishop about the death of Randall, but is shielded from his retaliation by Forge. As Iceman and Opal flee the restaurant, Hiro detonates his armor, killing the Cyberai and himself, to Opal's shock and horror. Back at the mansion, Storm prepares to give her answer to Forge, but he cuts her off, telling her he's leaving to help take care of Mystique, believing she needs him more than Storm ever will, that Storm will never leave behind her responsibilities with the X-Men to be with him. Saying he now knows she'll never marry him, he departs, leaving a crushed Storm to quietly whisper that she was going to say yes.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

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

The only season of the show that truly has a season-long arc is the first, although Season Seven comes pretty close with the extended drama of the Kirkendall family.  I sincerely doubt this was a plan; it seems as if David Milch had wrapped up Jill’s story with the death of her ex-husband, and was content to then move on with other ideas for the rest of the year.

Then, Andrea Thompson announced she was leaving the show.

X-aminations in November 2016

The Image Exodus concludes this month, as we look at Jim Lee's final X-Men issue, thus forcing reinvention on the X-universe once again now that the creators who forced reinvention on it less than a year before have all left.

Then we spend Thanksgiving week with the third series of Marvel Universe trading cards, and the month wraps up with a couple of X-centric one-off guest appearances in other titles as Wolverine continues its bi-weekly summer shipping.

On Sale May 1992
November 2nd: X-Men (vol. 2) #10
November 3rd: Excalibur #52
November 4th: Wolverine #57

On Sale June 1992
November 9th: Uncanny X-Men #291
November 10th: X-Force #13
November 11th: X-Factor #81

November 16th: X-Men (vol. 2) #11
November 17th: Excalibur #53
November 18th: Wolverine #58

November 23rd: Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Universe Series III

November 30th: Avengers #350-351
December 1st: Spider-Man #25
December 2nd: Wolverine #59

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #50

"The Crimson Forever!" / "Rage in the Red Nebula" / "Against the Scarlet Night"
August 1981

In a Nutshell
Luke is inflicted with the Crimson Forever as part of Domina Tagge's revenge scheme.

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Al Williamson, Tom Palmer & Walt Simonson
Colorist: Don Warfield
Letterer: Ed Stuart
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Lando & Chewbacca are pulled from their search for Han Solo by Leia. Luke has contracted the Crimson Forever, a disease he acquired when he led a team of Rebel pilots aboard a seemingly-derelict Star Destroyer carrying a large red jewel. Now near death, Leia needs Chewbacca's help to save Luke, as she recalls Han telling her of a similar encounter with such jewels. Through C-3PO, Chewbacca recounts the tale of his and Han's adventure in the Red Nebula, in which they were pressed into service by a pirate gang and forced to help steal a pair of red jewels from a planet inside the nebula. However, Han tricked the pirates into leaving with fake jewels, though one of the pirates died as a result of briefly separating the jewels, and Han leaves the jewels with their caretaker in exchange for a ship to take them off-world.

Friday, October 21, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #56

"We Got Cylla, Can Mothra Be Far Behind?"
Early July 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolverine's fight with Cylla leads to a confrontation with the Hand at the home of Clan Yashida.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

As Wolverine fights Cylla, Gambit & Sunfire continue to battle Hand ninjas. In the course of their fight, Sunfire accidentally destroys the police station. When Cylla emerges from the wreckage to find herself facing Gambit & Sunfire as well as Wolverine, she flees. Meanwhile, Jubilee & Yukio set about finding Wolverine, while Reiko attempts to leave the country. However, she's captured by Hydra, led by Silver Fox, who offers to trade her protection from the Hand in exchange for use of her skills as a poisoner. Elsewhere, Wolverine decides to seek out Mariko's help in finding Jubilee. He arrives at the ancestral home of Clan Yashida, along with Gambit & Sunfire, just as Silver Samurai is admonishing Mariko for her leadership of the clan. Wolverine & Silver Samurai are poised to attack when they're interrupted by news that the Hand has surrounded the complex. Outside, Matsu'o sends an envoy to Mariko, telling her to give herself up, while Jubilee & Yukio watch from cover. When Jubilee asks who lives on the estate, she's shocked when Yukio answers that it's Wolverine's true love.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

X-amining Excalibur XX Crossing

"XX Crossing"
July 1992

In a Nutshell
Excalibur is forced to fight the original X-Men.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Steve Lightle, Ron Lim, Dweayne Turner, Joe Madureira, Jae Lee, Malcolm Jones, Rick Leonardi
Inkers: Jimmy Palmiotti, Al Gordon, Joe Runstein, Shawn McManus, Jae Lee, Malcolm Jones, Al Williamson
Letterers: Michael Higgins/Janice Chiang
Colors: Moreshead/Thomas/Corvese/Tinsley
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Auditioning to become Dr. Doom's personal assassin, Sidestep targets Excalibur, using his power to pit each member of the team and against a member of the original X-Men, plucked from the past and inserted into a different historical time period, with the X-Men having home field advantage in each era. One by one the members of Excalibur defeat the X-Men, Frustrated, Sidestep brings both teams to the present, before Doom, and the X-Men attack. But Professor X, using Nightcrawler's astral self as a temporal anchor, reads Sidestep's mind and learns all his power comes from his vest, a lost weapon of the Kree. With that knowledge, Nightcrawler teleports the vest away from Sidestep, at which point both Excalibur and the X-Men are returned to their places of origin. Dr. Doom proceeds to dispatch the now-powerless Sidestep, then calls forth the next applicant.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

X-amining Ghost Rider #27

"Vengeance. Pure and Simple."
July 1992

In a Nutshell
Ghost Rider and the X-Men defeat the Brood Queen beneath New Orleans.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Ron Wagner
Inker: Mike Witherby
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

In the catacombs beneath New Orleans, the X-Men & Ghost Rider track down the Guild children captured by the Brood. While the rest of the X-Men work to free the kids, Ghost Rider, Gambit & Wolverine set out in search of the Brood Queen, seeking vengeance. Meanwhile, just outside the city, Johnny Blaze learns Ghost Rider is in the French Quarter and sets out in search of him. Beneath the city, the X-Men are attacked by more Brood, as well as the shadowy figure targeting members of the Thieves Guild, who taunts Gambit about his murders. Just then, the Brood Queen appears. Ghost Rider attacks her, and manages to use her tail spike to pull the skin from her body. But the skeletal queen rises up, declaring she has no need for flesh. Just then Blaze arrives, and blasts the queen in the head with his Hellfire shotgun, seemingly killing her. Just to be sure, Wolverine, Gambit & Cyclops each take a turn destroying the head. Later, the X-Men say goodbye to Ghost Rider & Blaze, with Gambit thanking him for helping avenge Bella Donna. But as the leave, the shadowy killer watches, declaring he'll be seeing them all again soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Season Seven, Cast and Guest Stars

Does anyone remember the Sela Ward drama Once and Again?  I don’t, but I do know that it’s responsible for the seventh season of NYPD Blue debuting in January 2000 instead of its normal Fall premiere date.  The deal Steven Bochco struck with the network, which wanted to permanently grant the struggling drama Blue’s time slot, was for Blue to stay on Tuesdays at 10:00, but to debut months later in the midseason.

Another drama signified more of an existential threat to the series -- by the end of 1999, The Sopranos had debuted on HBO, soaking up all of the critical accolades that used to belong to Blue.  Even though NYPD Blue did manage to defeat the Sopranos pilot for an Emmy this year, the writing was already on the wall.  Prestige programs had moved on to pay cable, and the shows critics and TV snobs wanted to dissect and discuss weren’t going to be on network TV anymore.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Force in Focus: Rogue One Trailer #2

The second full Rogue One trailer (and third look at the film counting the initial teaser) was released earlier this week (along with the official movie poster), and it was once again packed with a ton of cool images and teases about the film's story. By all accounts, this will be the final trailer for the film (barring the likely TV spots as it gets closer to release), so here are some final thoughts on the images presented thus far, at least until the movie is released.

Friday, October 14, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #55

"Thirty Slashes Over Tokyo (Or Sayonara Yellow Brick Road)"
June 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Gambit go to Japan to bail out Jubilee.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Marc Silvestri
Inks: Dan Green
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Wolverine & Gambit board a plane for Japan, though they're forced to call Nick Fury for authorization due to Wolverine's metal bones. That call alerts the cyborg Cylla to Wolverine's whereabouts. In Japan, Jubilee uses her power to fend off a pair of fellow inmates, causing one of the inmates to recognize her and alert the Hand. When Wolverine & Gambit get off the plane, they're attacked by Hand ninjas sent by Matsu'o, who calls Mariko to confirm Wolverine isn't in the country at her behest. Wolverine & Gambit arrive at the police station just as Jubilee is driven away in a police van. Inside the van, Jubilee is joined by Reiko, who has been sent to kill Jubilee by Matsu'o in exchange for restoring Reiko's eyesight. At the station, Cylla attacks Wolverine, just as Sunfire arrives ahead of more Hand ninjas. He & Gambit fight the ninjas while Wolverine battles Cylla. Meanwhile, Reiko learns Jubilee is a friend of Wolverine's, so she releases her, saying that her debt to him is thus repaid. As she leaves, Jubilee is met by Wolverine's old friend Yukio.