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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Week in TV #23

Slowly catching up on backlogged TV. Look for my thoughts on the Oscars sometime tomorrow.

The Simpsons: Angry Dad The Movie


This may seem funny coming from someone who not only watches but occasionally really likes later day Simpsons episodes, but I'm not a big fan of episodes which take the family far outside their normal surroundings, not necessarily literally ("Bart vs. Australia" remains one of my favorite episodes) but in terms of the situations in which they find themselves. For example, in "Bart vs. Australia", the Simpsons may be visiting Australia, but they are still a relatively normal family visiting that country. Whereas in this episode, the Simpsons are suddenly Hollywood figures scooping up awards and going to the Oscars (plus, there's the issue of the fact that no company would  involve the creators of a property in that property's film adaptation as heavily as Bart is involved with the creation of the "Angry Dad" movie).

Friday, February 25, 2011

And The Oscar Goes To...


Can I make it four years in a row winning the Oscar pool? Only Price Waterhouse knows for sure, and they ain't telling (yet). In the meantime, here's my thoughts on the major Oscar categories this year.

At first glance, it almost seems pointless to write this post, as most of the major awards have appeared locked up, with little chance of a shake-up. But the last few weeks have been interesting, awards-wise, and there's some intrigue going on just beneath the surface.

Let's start with the two surest things, the male acting awards.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

X-amining X-Men #97

"My Brother, My Enemy!"
February 1976

In a Nutshell 
Erik the Red debuts, and the X-Men fight an enthralled Havok and Polaris.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockum,
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Annette Kaye
Colorist: Don Warfield
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
Xavier dreams of an alien space battle, and in the morning, confides in Moira about the vividness of these recurring nightmares. Elsewhere, Lorna Dane is ambushed and hypnotized. When Havok returns home, she attacks him. Back in New York, the X-Men, along with Jean Grey, are at the airport seeing Professor X off on his vacation. As he boards a Starcore jet, he is attacked by Polaris and a similarly-entranced Havok. The X-Men spring into action, but Jean is knocked out by Polaris, at which point Erik the Red reveals himself, having attacked and brainwashed Havok and Polaris.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Last Week in TV #22

Sorry for the delay. I was off work yesterday (yay Presidents' Day!) and having network issues at home, thanks to the foot and a half of snow the greater Twin Cities area got hit with over the weekend.

A busier week than usual on top of cold left me with little TV watching time. Here's what I got.

The Simpsons: The Blue and the Gray


When I first read the description for this episode, I was about to go all Comic Book Guy on it for ignoring the classic Simpsons episode in which Marge gets mad at Homer for revealing she dyes her hair (amongst other things) to the marriage class he's teaching, but this episode worked that into its story, so I can't complain.

In the end, we got an unremarkable but entertaining Homer/Marge episode (and thankfully, not another Moe episode, which I feared at the beginning) with some decent bits throughout. My favorite was the kids freaking out about not knowing where their head ends and their hair begins.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

THE NERD WITHIN - Wolverine First Class 1-12 (2008)

Fred Van Lente has been infecting me.

I've enjoyed his collaborations on THE INCREDIBLE HERCULES but thought maybe it was more Greg Pak then him.

I few months back I stumbled upon a few issues of COMIC BOOK COMICS written by Fred and found myself laughing and smiling at his clever wordplay as he ran through a history of the medium we love through said medium.

I branched out to his series ACTION PHILOSPHERS! in which he runs through the history of philosophy with equal hilarity and in the same format as COMIC BOOK COMICS.


I needed more.

I discovered, thanks to MARVEL DIGITAL COMICS, he wrote WOLVERINE FIRST CLASS.

Bring it.

WOLVERINE FIRST CLASS examines the stories that took place between the pages and panels of UNCANNY X-MEN after Kitty Pryde joined the team. Wolverine is assigned by Professor Xavier to teach Miss Pryde in a one on one capacity and the dynamic of a spunky carefree teenager and a gruff and surly sasquatch brings new meaning to the phrase "odd couple".

The stories bring new depths to the classic tales TEEBORE will soon be reviewing and better explains how Kitty and Logan managed to grow so close.

Issue 12 showcases the rivalry of Cyclops and Wolverine from a new perspective as Cyke is assigned to teach Kitty for a day in place of Wolverine. A Lovecraftian monster gets involved, like you do, and Van Lente's run ends with one of his best issues.


Peter David supplied the writing until the series ended with issue 21. Of course, Peter provided what he usually does - witty writing and strong characterization, but Van Lente's issues had a heart to them that is often lacking throughout the medium.

If you're on Marvel Digital Comics, I believe the first 10 issues are available. Otherwise, the entire series is collected in TPB and can be found at your local comic store, amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, or soon to be discounted at one of Borders fine store closings.

X-amining X-Men #96

"Night of the Demon!"
December 1975

In a Nutshell
The X-Men fight the demonic Kierrok.

Author: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockum
Inker: Sam Grainger 
Letterer: Dave Hunt
Colorist: Phil Rachelson
Editor: Marv Wolfman
Plotting Assist: Bill Mantlo

Plot
As Cyclops grieves over Thunderbird's death, he unleashes his power in a blind rage, unknowingly blasting through an ancient cairn. Back at the mansion, the X-Men are training in the Danger Room when Wolverine almost kills Nightcrawler. As Xavier discusses Cyclops' mood with Banshee, Moira MacTaggert arrives at the mansion, having been asked by Xavier to look after the house while he is away on vacation. Meanwhile, Dr. Steven Lang of Project Armageddon is visited by an old friend, Colonel Michael Rossi, who has been tasked with reporting on Lang's progress. Realizing that Lang intends to launch a mutant witch hunt, Rossi decides to recommend that the project be shut down, much to Lang's displeasure. Back at the school, Cyclops suddenly bursts through the wall in battle with the demonic Kierrok of the N'Garai, who escaped from the cairn Cyclops destroyed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Last Week in TV #21

February sweeps are in full swing, but I had a somewhat hectic week and haven't caught up with some of the later-in-the-week shows yet (including last night's Fox shows).

Anyways, here's what I thought about what I did see last week.

How I Met Your Mother: Oh Honey


First of all, I am from and live in Minnesota, and I can assure our out-of-state readers that we do, in fact, ignore calls from numbers we don't recognize. Heck, I do it on an almost-daily basis.

(But I did always have to answer the phone with my last name when I was younger and living at home...)

Secondly, Zoey's back. Yay...

Friday, February 11, 2011

Retro Review: Homer at the Bat

Or the One Where
Homer is benched in favor of professional baseball players brought in to play on the powerplant softball team.

The Setup
After making a million dollar bet on the outcome of the Springfield/Shelbyville game, Mr. Burns hires nine ringers from Major League Baseball to play on the company softball team.

Notable Notes
Each of the nine guest-starring ball players recorded their part separately, over the course of six months, whenever their respective team was on the West Coast playing the Dodgers or Angels.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

X-amining X-Men #95

"Warhunt!"
October 1975

In a Nutshell
Thunderbird dies

Writer: Chris Claremont
Plotter: Len Wein
Artist: Dave Cockum
Inker: Sam Grainger
Letterer: Karen Mantlo 
Colorist: Petra Goldberg
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
As the X-Men plummet to the ground below, Storm catches Wolverine and Nightcrawler while Colossus lands safely and Cyclops waits for Banshee to deposit Thunderbird before coming back for him. Once safely on the ground, Nightcrawler teleports inside NORAD and knocks out Frog Man before opening a blast door to allow the other X-Men inside. As they penetrate deeper into the complex, Count Nefaria attempts to gas them, but the X-Men break through a wall into another chamber, where they encounter a group of hypnotized soldiers. Storm flushes out the gas and the soldiers with a flash flood, at which point the Ani-Men attack.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

THE NERD WITHIN - New Avengers: The Reunion (2009)

Skrulls.

I don't pay too much attention to the wide reaching comics blog-o-sphere so I miss a lot of the current "backlash" that runs therein, however I believe there is a common concensus that the whole SECRET SKRULL INVASION mega-event sucked unshorn donkey balls.

Hawkeye has always been one of my favorite characters. I first became aware of him at the start of my comic reading days as he smoothly advised me in the back of some issues that I could save almost $3.00 a year!


Then he died, apparently.

And came back as a ninja. Normally ninjas are sweet but I wasn't buying this Ronin thing.

Hawkeye was married to Mockingbird. Her personality was that she was the chick that hung around Hawkeye. Then, she wasn't around. Apparently, she died, too. I never really noticed.

So, then Mockingbird shows up in the middle of this SECRET INVASION thing saying "I didn't die. The Skrull who replaced me did!" and we're meant to be all "whoop-i-dee do" but I was more "whoop-i-dee don't care".

That was until I read NEW AVENGERS: The Reunion.


Writer Jim McMann transforms Mockingbird into a strong female lead you can care about and turns Hawkeye into the boy who desperately wants to get the girl but the girl is more intent on beating people up at the moment.

Hawkeye and Mockingbird are now MR and MRS SMITH ( the version in my head where the movie is clever and funny. I never saw the movie since I heard it was neither funny nor clever.)

You even get to see what happened to Mockingbird while she was a SKRULL prisoner! And it's cool! Unlike SKRULLS. Who still suck. And should have stayed cows.

For those of you who have Marvel Digital Comic Subscriptions, check out this series! For those who don't, jump on ebay or peruse your local comic shop and pick it up.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gentlemen of Leisure v3.0

Check out our new banner up top, compliments (after much cajoling...) of my uber-talented brother. You can see more of his work here.

Pretty awesome, huh?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Last Week In TV #20

Another light week (I'll discuss the post-Super Bowl Glee episode in next week's post; I haven't had a chance to watch it yet). 

Top Chef All Stars: An Offer They Can't Refuse


It's kinda funny. During his season, Tre seemed like a force, a definite contender for the finals, and there was a lot of shock accompanying his perceived early exit during Restaurant Wars. Yet this season, he's kinda faded into the background. He's obviously just as talented, since he lasted this long, but he's never seemed like the force he was during his season.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Retro Review: Bart the Lover

Yay, Retro Reviews are back!

...well, I'm excited.

Or the One Where
Bart answers a personal ad placed by Mrs. Krabappel.

The Setup
After yo-yo mania sweeps the school and Bart breaks the class fish tank doing a trick, he is sentenced to several weeks detention, during which he discovers Mrs. Krabappel's personal ad.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

X-amining X-Men #94

"The Doomsmith Scenario!/"Death O'er Valhalla High!"
August  1975 

In a Nutshell
The old X-Men leave and the new X-Men go off to fight Count Nefaria

Writer: Chris Claremont
Plotter-Editor: Len Wein
Artist: Dave Cockum, Peter Iro (co-inks, uncredited)  
Inker: Bob McLeod
Colorist: Phil Rachelson
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski

Plot
Professor X congratulates both the old and new X-Men on their victory over Krakoa, but is stunned when Sunfire angrily quits. After the new X-Men agree to stay, Marvel Girl, Iceman, Angel, Havok and Lorna Dane all announce that they are leaving as well, to pursue their own lives. Cyclops is torn between leaving with Jean and the duty he feels towards the X-Men. Ultimately, when the original X-Men leave, he decides to stay and begins rigorously training the new X-Men.