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

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #9

"Showdown on a Wasteland World!"
March 1978

In a Nutshell
Han and his group of spacers battle the Cloud Riders. 

Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
Illustrators: Howard Chaykin & Tom Palmer
Colorist: Tom Palmer
Letter: John Costanza
Consulting Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
En route to the village they've been hired to protect, Han and his band of spacers help fight off an attack by a group of scavenging High-Hounds, rescuing a young woman in the process. Reaching the village, Han learns the woman he rescued is Merri, daughter of the village's spokesman, and the group begins preparing for the imminent attack by the Cloud Riders. Meanwhile, believing he's found a suitable location for a new Rebel base, Luke breaks communication silence to contact Leia, but is mysteriously cutoff, prompting Leia to declare she's going to find him. Back on Aduba-3, Merri introduces Han to her grandfather, who insists he has a mystical way to combat the Cloud Riders, but Han blows him off. Just then, the Cloud Riders attack. In the course of the battle, Effie is destroyed and Don-Wan is seemingly killed, with no end in sight to the Cloud Riders. But as the battle rages, Merri's grandfather conducts a ceremony, and suddenly, a massive reptilian creature emerges from the nearby mountain.

Friday, June 26, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #27

"The Lazarus Project Part 1: Predators and Prey!"
Late July 1990

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine is drawn into the Lazarus Project. 

Writer: Jo Duffy
Artists:John Buscema & Dan Green
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Lowtown, Wolverine and Tyger Tiger fight a group of street toughs, aided by Karma, then retire to the Princess Bar, where Wolverine learns that Prince Baran has hired Jessica Drew as his bodyguard. Meanwhile, on the island of Rumika, a group of villagers are given custody of the Master Form. Meanwhile, Andover discusses the Master Form, key to the Lazarus Project, with his business partners, General Coy and Prince Baran, as Jessica patrols the palace. She overhears a scientist named Page discussing an attack on Rumika, and Page orders a massive robot named Pinocchio to attack Jessica. Later, Wolverine finds a badly beaten Jessica in the streets, and sends both her and Lindsay McCabe back to America for their own safety. Investigating the palace himself, Wolverine discovers Page and is attacked by Pinocchio, who proves resistant to his claws. When Page tosses a beaker of chemicals in Wolverine's face, he dives in pain out of the palace, eventually staggering off the docks and into the ocean.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

X-amining New Mutants Summer Special #1

"A Mutant in Megalopolis"
May 1990

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants are transported to a strange world built around personifications of media. 

Writer: Ann Nocenti
Artist: Bret Blevins
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Greg Wright
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Upset by the horrible state of the world she sees on TV, Rahne runs outside, chased by Boom-Boom, only to discover the nearby river is horribly polluted. Overhearing them, a group of local children resolve to clean up the river. Meanwhile, the TV-obsessed Warlock picks up what he believes to be a new TV channel, but is actually a signal generated by the alien Vidiot, who proceeds to transport Warlock, Boom-Boom, Rahne and Roberto into a strange world inside the TV. The New Mutants are immediately bombarded by personifications of media theorems like situational ethics, mutually assured destruction, and constant, blaring advertisements. Eventually, they journey to the center of the world, a city named Megalopolis, and help oust the leader, the Mediamogul, thereby freeing the people of Megalopolis. Back on Earth, the local children stage a sit-in at the river, creating enough of a spectacle to attract the local news, which then forces the company which polluted the river to clean it up in the name of publicity. Returning home, the New Mutants gather up their TVs and prepare to destroy them but, learning how the kids were able to use the media to clean up the river, they relent. Conflicted, the New Mutants ultimately decide to keep their TVs, if only to keep watching their favorite show, Twin Peaks.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

X-amining X-Men Annual #14

"You Must Remember This"
1990

In a Nutshell 
The truth about Franklin is revealed as Ahab is defeated. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Art Adams
Inker:Dan Green, Bob Wiacek, Al Milgrom, Art Thibert, Steve Mancuse
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Manhattan, Rachel stops a diner robbery before sensing Franklin's presence. Flying off, the two meet again, and Rachel accepts that Franklin is the man she knew. The pair meet with the Fantastic Four and X-Factor at Four Freedoms Plaza, apologizing for all the recent damage Franklin did. When Mr. Fantastic tentatively broaches the subject of Franklin's younger self's continued torpor, along with the missing Christopher and the continuing threat of Ahab, Franklin alters the minds of his parents, as well as Cyclops and Marvel Girl, to assuage their concerns. However, after Rachel and Franklin depart, Ben Grimm makes them realize what Franklin has done. Meanwhile, Storm and her companion Gambit sneak into the X-Mansion subbasement, only to be caught by Cable. Apprised of the situation, Storm insists they must find Franklin at once, as the man the New Mutants have met is either an imposter or worse. At Four Freedoms Plaza, Ahab attacks Cyclops and Invisible Woman, capturing them and transforming them into Hounds.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Game of Thrones 5x10: Mother's Mercy


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Braavos -> Meereen -> Dorne

It's no secret that Game of Thrones has a tendency to be cruel to its characters. This episode seemed to double down on this approach. All over characters are having a rough time. It was kind of the theme of this episode. Well, that and ambiguous deaths.

Winterfell
The snow is melting thanks to, according to Melisandre, the sacrifice of Shireen. Shockingly, however, people are uncomfortable following a leader who burns his young daughter at the stake. So Stannis is informed of numerous deserters in his ranks. IF you're going to sacrifice an innocent, young girl, maybe you shouldn't make your army watch.

Soon after, Stannis is alerted to the fact that his wife has committed suicide. (Presumably, due to the guilt over what happened to her daughter.) Then Stannis is notified that Melisandre had go see a guy about thing that's somewhere way far away from where Stannis and his doomed army is. But...the snow has melted. So Stannis has that going for him.

Stannis and his army arrives at Winterfell and prepares his men for a siege. Stannis then gets even more bad news. There won't be siege. Ramsay is bringing the battle straight to Stannis.

Stannis knows he is screwed but there's not much that can be done about that now. The two armies collide and I'm fairly sure I see some of Stannis' men running in the wrong direction. Congratulations Stannis, you murdered your daughter simply to open a path to your destruction.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #8

"Eight for Aduba-3"
February 1978

In a Nutshell
Han Solo assembles a team of spacers to defend a group of settlers. 

Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
Artist/Co-Plotter: Howard Chaykin
Embellisher/Colorist: Tom Palmer
Letterer: J. Constanza
Consulting Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
On Aduba-3, Han Solo gets in a bar fight, then listens to the proposition of a group of farmers, who every year are raided by Serji-X and his Cloud-Riders, who steal their livestock, burn their crops, and take their wives and daughters. Though they can't pay him much, they'd like to hire Han to defend their town from the raiders. Han agrees, on the condition that he can hire some additional help. Han interviews prospective candidates, assembling a team of eight (including himself and Chewbacca, as well as the carnivorous rabbit named Jaxxon) to confront the Cloud-Riders. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker departs Yavin 4 along with the droids, tasked with scouting the galaxy for a new Rebel base. Back on Aduba-3, Han and his team are confronted by Serji-X on the outskirts of the space port. Serji-X offers to pay Han to walk away, but he refuses, and Serji-X flies off, declaring Han will soon be one more lifeless corpse twisting in the desert wind, as Han tells his team of Star-Hoppers to mount their banthas and head out for the village. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

X-amining X-Factor Annual #5

"Act of Faith"
1990

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor joins the fight against Ahab as Rachel Summers and Franklin Richards meet in the present. 

Writer: Witty Weezie Simonson
Penciler: Jovial John Bogdanove
Inker: Amiable Al Milgrom
Letterer: Just Joe Rosen
Colorist: Brilliant Brad Vancata
Editor: Bib Boy Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom "Yah Readahs Are Dyin' Off" DeFalco

Plot
As X-Factor trains inside Ship, Franklin Richards appears outside, declaring it isn't right before making Ship disappear. As X-Factor scrambles to get to the ground safely, Franklin vanishes. As Ahab dispatches a pack of Hounds to attack Franklin, Ben Grimm, She-Thing, Human Torch and Forge, tracking Franklin's energy signature, meet up with X-Factor, and X-Factor agrees to help locate Franklin. They find him near Liberty Island, but just then, Rachel Summers arrives. Franklin, believing Rachel shouldn't be so powerful and Rachel, believing Franklin to be dead, battle one another until Franklin disappears again. Jean Grey, drawn to Rachel's Phoenix effect, confronts her, and learns the young woman is her daughter.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

X-amining New Mutants Annual #6

"The Once and Future Mutant"
1990

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants get drawn into the conflict between Franklin Richards and Ahab. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Pencilers: Terry Shoemaker, Chris Wozniak
Inkers: Williams, Milgrom, Thibert, Candelario
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Franklin Richards arrives at the X-Mansion. Disturbed to find it destroyed, he transforms it into the place he remembers. Meanwhile, Ahab dispatches ones of his Hounds and a group of scout ships to destroy Franklin. Back at the school, as the New Mutants finish a Danger Room session, a group of students, including Franklin and Doug Ramsey, suddenly appear. When Doug reacts violently to Rahne, Rictor attacks him, and fight between the two groups breaks out. Eventually, Cable leads the New Mutants out of the Danger Room, where they encounter an older Banshee, allowing cooler heads to prevail. When the New Mutants realize Doug and the rest are all illusions created by Franklin, Franklin freaks out and disappears, and the mansion returns to normal. Just then, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman and Banshee arrive, having tracked Franklin to the school. As they compare notes on the situation, Ahab's Hound and the drones suddenly materialize, and attack.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

X-amining Fantastic Four Annual #23

"When Franklin Comes Marching Home"
1990

In a Nutshell 
Adult Franklin Richards appears in the present, attracting the attention of the Fantastic Four, Forge & Banshee, and the villainous Ahab.  

Writer: Walter Simoson
Penciler: Jackson Guice
Inker: Geof Isherwood
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Richard Rasche
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Returning from a picnic, the Fantastic Four are stunned to discover their Four Freedoms Plaza headquarters replaced by their old Baxter Building. Going inside, they're attacked by the building's defenses, followed by past versions of themselves. Just then, an adult Franklin Richards appears, looking for someone named Rachel. Realizing Franklin is responsible for the changes, Mr. Fantastic tries to convince him everything he's created is an illusion, which prompts a disturbed Franklin to fly off. Everything then returns to normal, but a force field appears trapping the Fantastic Four inside the building. At Excalibur's lighthouse, Rachel Summers experiences a telepathic sensation she thought she'd never feel again, then flies off, telling Meggan this is something she has to do alone. In New York, adult Franklin appears before Banshee and Forge, but realizing they're younger than he remembers, he gets upsets and disappears again.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #7

"New Planets, New Perils!"
January 1978

In a Nutshell
After being robbed by pirates, Han and Chewbacca lay low on the planet Aduba-3.

Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
Artist/Co-Plotter: Howard Chaykin
Embellisher: Frank Springer
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Consulting Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Eager to pay off Jabba the Hutt with the treasure they received from the Rebellion, Han and Chewbacca say goodbye to Luke, Leia and the droids and head for Tatooine.  En route, however, they're boarded by pirates led by Crimson Jack, who take the treasure for themselves. Realizing Jabba will soon have a price on their heads, Han and Chewie resolve to lay low for awhile, and land on the remote world of Aduba-3. Nearing the local cantina, they spot a group of spacers mobbing a priest and scare them off, learning that the priest is intending to honor the dying wishes of a cyborg who wishes to be buried on Spacers' Hill, much to the objections of the spacers, who hate all kinds of robots.