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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

X-amining What If? #60

"What If Scott Summers and Jean Grey Had Married Earlier?" / "What If Scott Summers and Jean Grey had Never Fallen in Love at All?" / "What If Phoenix Had Fallen for Wolverine?"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Three stories examine alternate outcomes to the Cyclops & Jean Grey romance

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Ron Randall
Inks: Art Nichols
Letterer: Bob Sharen
Colorist: Janice Chiang
Editor: Rob Tokar
Caterer-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As the guest arrive for the wedding of Cyclops & Jean Grey, the Watcher observes a reality in which the couple decide to get married much earlier, at the same time Beast leaves the X-Men for the Brand Corporation. This prompts the rest of the X-Men to go out on their own as well, to better spread Professor Xavier's views on human/mutant relations. However, whenever Xavier senses the awakening of Krakoa, he decides to accompany his still raw-team of new X-Men, leading him to be captured along with the rest of the mutants. While the Avengers & Sunfire eventually defeat Krakoa, it's too late to prevent the deaths of Xavier and the new X-Men.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Force in Focus: Solo

Spoilers, obviously, if you haven't seen the movie yet (and based on those box office numbers, a fair number of you haven't).


I've been on the record as saying I've never been a big Han Solo guy, and as a result, I wasn't terribly excited by the prospect of a standalone Han Solo movie. Somewhat ironically, that perspective perhaps served me best, as I ended up going into this movie with a relative shrug (I mean, it's a Star Wars movie, so I had some excitement, but nothing like I had for the previous three films of the Disney era), but came out of it having greatly enjoyed the movie, hungry for more.

Friday, May 11, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #76

"Dog Years"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Nigthcrawler & Daytripper attempt to rescue their mother from D'Spayre

Words & Pictures: Ashford, Lashley, Elliot
Letters & Colors: Brosseau, Matthys, Garrahy
Edits, Bigger Edits, Biggest Edits: Gaffney, Harras, DeFalco
Plot Assist: Scott Lobdell

Plot
In a German town, D'Spayre gloats to a captive Margali Szardos as he compels the townspeople to attack one another. In Mississippi, Amanda Sefton visits Nightcrawler, recovering in a hospital from the attack by Graydon Creed. He tells her that Creed is his half-brother and Mystique his birth mother, which prompts Amanda to tell him she needs his help rescuing her mother from D'Spayre. Meanwhile, Kitty misses a call from her dad as Rory tries to stop Britanic from leaving with a hovercraft, saying they still need to study the effect of being lost in the timestream on him. However, When Meggan insists they must aid Britanic, Kitty agrees and the three leave together. Later, Nightcrawler & Amanda arrive in Germany. As Amanda recuperates from the strain of teleporting them across the world, Nightcrawler attempts to save a young child from the angry mob, but is knocked out himself, much to D'Spayre's delight. However, Margali is pleasantly surprised that Nightcrawler has come to her aid, despite her betrayal of him, and realizes D'Spayre has no idea what her son has just given her.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

X-amining X-Force #33

"Child's Play Third Move: Rules Were Made To Be Broken"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Force battles Fitzroy

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: John Holdredge
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Guidance Counselor: Bob Harras (the mean one)
Cafeteria Monitor: Tom DeFalco (the meanest one)

Plot
Outside the Guthrie home, X-Force battles Fitzroy, tricking him into using his own life force to open a portal to the last place he's been. As X-Force jumps through, Cannonball's sister Paige follows them, over her mother's objections. Meanwhile, Justice delivers Firestar to Gamesmaster, who tells him he is well aware of Shinobi Shaw's plans to usurp him, that he knows Justice intends, in turn, to betray Shinobi, and that all the mutants captured in the Younghunt thus far are now connected to Gamesmaster, so to kill him would also kill them. In New York, the New Warriors blackmail Graydon Creed into telling them the Gamesmaster is at Shinobi's Swiss chalet, while X-Force arrives at Shinobi's penthouse and forces him to do the same. At the chalet, Karma wakes up and frees the captive mutants, revealing that she's been in control of Siena Blaze since Blaze attacked her in Madripoor. However, the Gamesmaster in turn reveals he's well aware of that, and takes control of Blaze himself, using her power to blast everyone into unconsciousness, declaring he'll use their powers against those coming to rescue them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #31

"Soul Possessions Part One: The Butterfly & the Hawk"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Revanche dies as the truth about her & Psylocke starts to be revealed.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Lavern/Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Spiral watches through Revanche's bionic eyes as Revanche seemingly prepares to attack a sleeping Charles Xavier. Just then, however, the feed cuts out, and the next morning Xavier reveals to Psylocke that Revanche left him a note saying she was leaving. Psylocke declines to tell him that Revanche left Psylocke her bionic eyes. In Japan, Matsuo recalls his past relationship with Kwannon, then meets with Spiral. At the X-Mansion, Archangel invites Psylocke to breakfast while Xavier discusses his intentions to re-open Emma Frost's school with Beast, and Gambit checks on Rogue, who has been acting strangely since they returned from New Orleans. In Japan, Revanche tracks down Matsuo. She forces him to admit the truth of her origins. Dying of the Legacy Virus, she then asks Matsuo to end her life, and he does, a sensation Psylocke feels a half a world away, as she and Archangel return to the mansion to find Spiral waiting for her, offering to answer all the questions she has about her relationship to Kwannon.

Friday, May 4, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #80

"...In the Forest of the Night!"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine fights Cyber en route to Muir Island.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Ian Churchill
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine wakes up in Zoe's car, and starts freaking out when he remembers his broken bone claws. In Edinburgh, Cyber is loaded into an ambulance, but he wakes up and commandeers the vehicle. In Alberta, a couple is attacked & killed by Bloodscream, who steals their truck. Back in Scotland, Wolverine tells Zoe about the loss of his adamantium, and she shows him video of a lecture by a molecular biologist named Dr. Munoz, discussing how to bond adamantium to bone. Just then, Cyber catches up to them, and though Wolverine is able to fight him off by triggering an oxygen tank in the ambulance to explode, Cyber manages to slash Wolverine with one of his hallucinogenic claws. With Cyber seemingly dead once more, Wolverine & Zoe reach the ferry and ask to be taken to Muir Island.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #101

"Afterlives"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Factor grapples with the loss of Madox.

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterers: Richard Starkings & Jon Babcock
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Skipping Madrox' funeral, a morose Havok goes to a diner alone. Following the service, Polaris discusses her grief with Storm at X-Factor's townhouse, while Wolfsbane & Strong Guy do the same at a nearby the park. At the diner, Havok stops a robbery attempt but, blaming himself for Madrox' death, loses control, blasting away the front of the building. Meanwhile, Forge pays Random for his help with the fight against Haven, and asks him to stay on, but Random declines. Later, Professor X uses his telepathy to help Moira relive some memories of Madrox, while Forge & Storm share a moment together. Elsewhere, Havok finally visits Madrox grave. Hoping that wherever Madrox is, he's at peace, and hoping he can forgive Havok for what he's done, Havok quits X-Factor, leaving his ID card atop Madrox headstone, where it's caught by the wind and carried away into a raging storm.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #311

"Putting the Cat Out"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
A power outage allows Sabretooth to escape

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inkers: Dan Green/Al Vey
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Buccellato/Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As an impatient Jubilee waits for Beast to finish checking the mansion's power core before taking her to a midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show viewing, Iceman checks on the comatose White Queen and Storm says goodbye to Bishop on her way to meet Gambit and an old friend in the city. Just then, the mansion suddenly loses power, and a surge blasts Iceman & the White Queen, knocking him out. With the power out, Sabretooth escapes from his cell and attacks Jubilee, who fends him off until Bishop arrives and blasts him through a wall. As Beast frantically works to restore power before the core explodes, Bishop chases Sabretooth into the tunnels beneath the mansion. With Jubilee's help, he manages to subdue Sabretooth without killing him, as Beast averts disaster and gets the power back on, but Iceman is still unconscious. In the city, Storm meets her friend, Yukio, who wanted to warn her about a threat against the X-Men. However, the threat has already found them, as members of the Phalanx appear before them.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

X-aminations in May 2018 (-ish)


I mean, some of these reviews will get published in May...

Seriously though, I am continuing to work to get caught back up to a regular release schedule, and hope to be there soon. And as I work on the full schedule for the back half of 2018, I'm going to try to build in some time to get back ahead of the reviews, to prevent these kinds of delays (which will probably mean a few weeks of "retro X-aminations" at some point, but we'll see).

Anyways, our next set of issues feature the second departure of John Romita Jr. from Uncanny X-Men followed by the debut of Joe Madureira, the completion of the "Child's Play" crossover between X-Force & New Warriors, and the first ever review of an issue of What If?, which serves as an epilogue of sorts to the Cyclops/Jean Grey wedding!

On Sale February 1994
May 2: Uncanny X-Men #311
May 3: X-Factor #101
May 4: Wolverine #80

May 9: X-Men (vol. 2) #31
May 10: X-Force #33
May 11: Excalibur #76

May 16: What If? #60

May 23: New Warriors #46
May 24: Cable #10

On Sale March 1994
May 30: Uncanny X-Men #312
May 31: X-Factor #102
June 1: Wolverine #81

Friday, April 27, 2018

X-amining Cable #9

"The Killing Field: In Humanity"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable battles Omega Red on Muir Island

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: M.C. Wyman
Inker: Jason Gorder
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Cable visits Phoenix on Muir Island to discuss their shared parentage, the Acolytes seek out Omega Red in the sewers of London, offering him the opportunity cure himself of the death spore virus which causes him to drain the life force of others. Later, WHO calls Excalibur for help dealing with attacks in London. Shadowcat & Phoenix respond, but Moira holds Cable back in order to run some tests on him. During the tests, which render Cable's bionic arm useless, Omega Red attacks, easily dispatching Moira and overcoming the one-armed Cable. When Cable regains consciousness, Shadowcat explains that Omega Red is gathering the equipment he needs to cure himself of the death spore virus, but in doing so, he will release the virus out into the world. Cable declares he will take care of Omega Red himself, but then Shadowcat reveals where Excalibur learned all this information: the Acolytes.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

X-amining New Warriors #45

"Child's Play Second Move: Sleeping with the Enemy"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Karma returns as the New Warriors are drawn into the Younghunt.

Writer: Nicieza
Pencilers: Robertson & McKinney
Inkers: Mahlstedt, McKenna & Stegbauer
Letterer: Avon
Colorist: Hondru
Editor: Tokar
Editor-in-Chief: DeFalco

Plot
As the Gamesmaster explains the details of the Younghunt to the captive Cannonball & Boomer, Night Thrasher briefs the New Warriors on his and Justice's undercover sting of Shinobi Shaw. They are interrupted by an attack from the armored Tribunal, operating in Graydon Creed's name. In Madripoor, Moonstar & Empath are attacked by Siena Blaze while trying to locate Karma, but Karma manages to take control of Blaze. Back in New York, the New Warriors defeat the Tribunal, aided by the sudden arrival of Justice, who reveals that Firestar is the next target of the Younghunt, and he needs to bring her to Shinobi Shaw in order to maintain his cover. Firestar reluctantly agrees to play along, and Justice delivers her to Shaw, who reveals he plans to use her as bait to get close enough to the Gamesmaster to use the other captive mutants to overthrow him and the rest of the Upstarts. However, though Shaw believes his plans are shielded from Gamesmaster, in truth, Gamesmaster is well aware of them. But just then, Siena Blaze contacts him, announcing that she's captured three more targets: Moonstar, Empath & Karma.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #4

"Theories of Relativity"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
The truth about the relationship between Mystique & Nightcrawler is revealed.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Richard Bennet
Inker: Steve Moncuse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Washington, Mystique kills a general allied with Graydon Creed, hoping to send Creed a message. In France, Creed receives some information about his heritage that so enrages him, he kills the man who delivered the information. Later, Nightcrawler arrives in America at Forge's request, and with Rogue, attends the general's funeral. There, Mystique sets off a bomb and, teasing Nightcrawler, tells him that if he wants answers about his own heritage, he'll need to go to Mystique's home. Creed proceeds to visit Forge in DC, threatening him, after which Rogue & Nightcrawler meet with Forge and are tasked with apprehending Mystique. Rogue takes Nightcrawler to the house in Mississippi where she lived with Mystique. Nightcrawler finds Creed inside, and he reveals the new information he recently acquired: that, like Creed, Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique. Just then, Mystique arrives, and Nightcrawler uses his image inducer to trick Mystique into confirming Creed's information. Just then, an attack helicopter arrives, called by Creed. In the ensuing fight, Mystique & Nightcrawler are thrown off a cliff, and Rogue is forced to let Creed go in order to rescue them. But Mystique lets herself fall to ensure Rogue saves Nightcrawler, for reasons known only to her. Rogue & Nightcrawler fly off, with Nightcrawler unsettled by everything he has learned about his family.