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

Monday, March 2, 2015

Retro Review: Itchy & Scratchy Land

Original Airdate
October 2, 1994

Or the One Where 
The Simpsons visit Itchy & Scratchy Land. 

The Setup 
After seeing Krusty's commercial for Itchy & Scratchy Land, Bart & Lisa convince their parents to take the family there on vacation instead of the bird sanctuary, promising lots of family togetherness and good memories.

Notable Notes
This episode was created in response to newer, more stringent censorship laws, which had led to a decrease of Itchy & Scratchy cartoons on the show. The goal was to craft an episode that was as violent as possible, and showrunner David Mirkin had to fight Fox to keep much of it intact. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Walking Dead 5x11: The Distance

Trust. Trust is tough to earn and even tougher to give. How do you know who is trustworthy? What can someone do to gain a person's trust? Especially when the people whose trust they're trying to earn have been burned by trusting others so many times before.

In the zombie apocalypse, trust is even harder to give. If you trust the wrong person you could very well end up dead. Sure, Rick's group's incredible distrust of everyone can be annoying a lot of the time but I do sympathize with their dilemma. For the most part, Rick's group just runs into cannibals, kidnappers and megalomaniacs. So when a stranger named Aaron arrives offering to take them to a safe haven, who can blame them for being a bit suspicious?

Friday, February 27, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #19

"Heroes & Villains"
Mid December 1989

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine battles Tiger Shark in Tierra Verde. 

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Layouts: John Byrne
Finishes: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Mike Rockwitz
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Wolverine arrives in Puerto Verde, the capital city of Tierra Verde, in the midst of a battle between Tiger Shark and freedom fighter La Bandera. He intervenes when Tiger Shark gains the upper hand, and helps drives him off. Urging the young La Bandera to go home, Wolverine meets with a CIA contact as Caridad expresses his anger at Kingpin for sending Tiger Shark to his country without permission. Caridad and Geist then meet with Caridad's top scientists, who have located the specific field from which the altered cocaine that enhances physical abilities hails.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

X-amining Excalibur #17

"From the Crucible -- A Captain?"
December 1989

In a Nutshell 
Excalibur oversees the selection of a new world champion. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterer: Jade Moede
Colorist: Nel Yomtov
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Party Pooper: Tom DeFalco
Creators: Chris Claremont & Alan Davis

The narrator continues her story, telling her bar-bound audience of how Nightcrawler's plan to feed Phoenix to the alien being feeding on the life force of the planet succeeded, destroying the creature and releasing its victims. Though still powerless, a massive celebration ensued, during which Rachel slipped away, ruminating on life without the Phoenix force. On her own, she takes a job working for the world's version of Jean Grey until she's killed by a group of slavers, whom Rachel slays in turn. This leads the remaining slavers to send an assassin after Excalibur, who are in the midst of overseeing a tournament to determine a champion for the world. Quickly, the contest comes down to three candidates: Kymri, Lockheed and a masked woman whom Kitty easily recognizes as Rachel.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Acts of Vengeance" Part 2

Amazing Spider-Man #327, Avengers #312, Avengers Spotlight #27, Avengers West Coast #53, Captain America #365, The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #9, Thor #412
December 1989

In a Nutshell 
The West Coast Avengers realize the team is under attack and heads east while the eastern Avengers deal with the fallout of the sinking of Avengers Island. 

Amazing Spider-Man #327 by David Michelinie & Erik Larsen
Avengers #312 by John Byrne, Paul Ryan & Tom Palmer
Avengers Spotlight #27 (second story) by Dwane McDuffie & Dwayne Turner
Avengers West Coast #53 by John Byrne
Captain America #365 by Mark Gruendwald & Kieron Dwyer
The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #9 by Terry Austijn & Mike Vosburg
Thor #412  by Tom DeFalco, Ron Frenz & Joe Sinnott

Thor #412: Working with the New Warriors, Thor is able to defeat Juggernaut by transporting him to another dimension. Cloak & Dagger #9: As the Avengers hold a public forum to discuss the Superhero Registration Act, they're attacked by a group of villains led by the Jester. Amazing Spider-Man #327: Testing out his new, increased powers, Spider-Man is attacked by Magneto, believing the powers may be an indication that Spider-Man is a mutant. But he breaks off his attack when he realizes the sheer breath of Spider-Man's abilities mean he cannot be a mutant, and Magneto leaves hoping to find another way to utilize Spider-Man's powers for the betterment of mutants. Captain America #365: The Red Skull is offered a place with the Prime Movers, and while he stews on the offer, his agent Crossbones enlists the Controller in setting Namor the Sub-Mariner against Captain America. Dealing with the loss of Avengers Mansion, Captain America is attacked by Namor. During the fight, he manages to damage the Controller's control disc, knocking Namor out but leaving the disc attached. Meanwhile, the Red Skull decides to join the Prime Movers.

Monday, February 23, 2015

X-aminations in March 2015

Simpsons Retro Reviews will return next Monday. In the meantime, here's a a look at what's coming up in X-aminations in March, featuring the last stories of the 80s, including more "Acts of Vengeance", the end of two long-running storylines (but not "Cross Time Caper", because it will never end), and, at last, the official arrival of Rob Liefeld on New Mutants.

As always, let me know if you think something is missing!

On Sale November 1989
March 4th: Uncanny X-Men #257
March 5th: New Mutants #85
March 6th: X-Factor #50

March 11th: "Acts of Vengeance" Part 3: Amazing Spider-Man #328, Avengers #313, Avengers Spotlight #28 (Second Story), Avengers West Coast #54, Captain America #366
March 12th: Excalibur #18
March 13th: Wolverine #20

On Sale December 1989
March 18th: Uncanny X-Men #258
March 19th: New Mutants #86
March 20th: X-Factor #51

March 25th: "Acts of Vengeance" Part 4: Amazing Spider-Man #329, Avengers Spotlight #29 (Second Story), Avengers West Coast #55, Captain America #367, Avengers Annual #19 (Second Story)
March 26th: Excalibur #19
March 27th: Wolverine #21

Friday, February 20, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #49

"Power Struggle"
December 1989

In a Nutshell 
Iceman and Archangel battle in the arena. 

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

As the Chosen stream into the arena in anticpation of the Archangel/Iceman match, Lev continues to take bets against Iceman before flying off to visit him, where he tells her he'll kill Archangel if he can, and assure the ascendancy of the Dualers in the process. Meanwhile, Beast and Agrom lead a group of Rejects into the city through the sewers. They attack a group of guards, hoping to use their uniforms as a disguise, but the guards turn out to be Cyclops and his band of Beginagains, having already done the same. Meanwhile, Palik visits Archangel and blinds him. That way, he explains, Iceman will easily win, foiling Rask's grab for power, but an autopsy will reveal the blindness, which Palik can blame on the Dualers, thus crushing their newfound power. However, a Dualer overhears this and rushes off to warn Lev, but he arrives just as Iceman enters the arena and the fight begins. Meanwhile, on Earth, Apocalypse ponders if the strange alliances amongst Earth's villains are of a sign of the armageddon he's long anticpated.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #84

"The Sword's Edge"
Mid-December 1989

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants acquire allies for the fight against Hela. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

In Hel, the New Mutants wait until Hela's forces retreat, then emerge from the volcanic smoke where they were hiding, protected by Sam's blast field. In Asgard's icy wastes, Tiwaz shows the rest of the New Mutants the location of the Warriors Three, who are being held by Queen Ula and her troll swarm, and they set out to rescue them. Meanwhile, Volstagg's children commandeer Thor's goats to take them to Balder and Karnilla, the Norn Queen, and they warn Balder of Hela's attack. Back in New York, the Vulture receives a package containing a set of wings created by the Tinkerer and uses them to escape his cell, but Rusty burns through his own cell and grabs the Vulture on his way out, trying to stop him.

The Walking Dead 5x10: Them

I think this week's episode of The Walking Dead should've been sponsored by the Mars candy company. Because everyone was hungry, crabby and in need of a Snickers. Of course, in this case it wasn't a caramel, peanuts and nougat candy bar that satiated everyone but dog meat. The Walking Dead everyone!

Actually I have very little to say about this episode. Not a whole lot happened. The group was on the road, struggling to survive and sad because, as we discussed last week, living in the zombie apocalypse sucks. That was pretty much the episode.

Daryl, Maggie and Sasha are all mourning Beth/Tyreese in their own ways. Daryl needed to find a private place to cry. Maggie just took her anger out on a cowardly priest. Sasha alienated everyone with her words and actions. She disregarded strategy in favor of head on combat with a horde of zombies. Rick and company help her out and nearly get killed in the process. Way to go Sasha.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #256

"The Key That Breaks the Locke"
Late December 1989

In a Nutshell 
Psylocke is transformed into an Asian ninja assassin by the Hand. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Taipan: Tom DeFalco

Having killed his guards, Matsuo Tsurayaba confronts the Mandarin in Hong Kong, offering him the services of the Hand. Elsewhere, Psylocke experiences a bizarre, shifting reality in which she's stalked by Mojo and Spiral as she relives moments from her past, growing older in the process: playing with her brother Brian, joy riding with her brother Jamie, and reconnecting with Dough Ramsey. Along the way, she picks up a series of rings. Eventually, she enters a salon called the Body Shoppe and is reunited with Storm before Mojo and Spiral transform her into an Asian woman. In reality, she is being held by the Hand. Her mind fractured by the Siege Perilous, one of the Hands' psychics works to reshape her mind as it heals, making her a loyal assassin, whom Matsuo offers to the Mandarin.