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

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

X-amining X-Men #115

"Visions of Death!"
November 1978

In a Nutshell
The new X-Men fight Sauron

Rabelaisian Raconteurs: Chris Claremont & John Byrne
Illuminatin' Inker: Terry Austin
Looney Letterer: Rick Parker
Crafty Colorist: Francoise Mouly
Edifyin' Editor: Roger Stern
Earnest Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter 

Plot
As Sauron gloats over the fallen Storm, Wolverine charges him and is quickly hypnotized. Seeing the X-Men as monsters, Wolverine turns on them, but is taken out by Cyclops. Working together, the X-Men weaken Sauron, forcing him to seek out more mutant energy. He finds Colossus and begins to absorb his energy when Cyclops tells Colossus to transform into his armored form. The sudden rush of energy is too much for Sauron, who breaks the connection and runs off, transforming back into Karl Lykos. Just as a recovered Wolverine is about to attack him, Ka-Zar arrives, telling the X-Men he and Lykos were seeking out the X-Men's help.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Retro Review: Dog of Death

Or the One Where
The Simpsons have to cut their expenses to pay for Santa's Little Helper's expensive operation.

The Setup
Caught up in lottery fever, the family fails to notice the dog's failing health.

Notable Notes
The veterinarian in this episode is based on the main character from TV's Ben Casey show.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

One Sentence Reviews

Who wants some one sentence reviews! Anybody....anybody? I'll just pretend those crickets I hear means "everybody does!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

X-amining X-Men #114

"Desolation"
October 1978

In a Nutshell 
The return of Sauron and the Savage Land

Writer/Co-Plotter: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin Letterer:Jean Simek
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Beast summons the strength to continue carrying Phoenix across Antarctica. Over the roar of the blizzard, he hears a helicopter approaching, and manages to awaken Phoenix, whose burst of power draws the attention of the copter, securing them rescue, but they leave with a heavy heart, believing the other X-Men dead. However, the X-Men have survived the destruction of Magneto's base, thanks to Storm cooling the lava flow as Cyclops and Banshee tunneled out the base, and emerged into the Savage Land. Stretching out and taking to the air, Banshee is attacked by a pterodactyl. After Wolverine fights it off, the X-Men head for a village Banshee spotted while being unknowingly followed by a shadowy figure. Meanwhile, Beast and Phoenix arrive in New York and inform Lilandra and Xavier that the X-Men are dead.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Doubling Down On Oscar No Longer A Sure Thing


Surprisingly not content to rest on their laurels, the governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka the Oscars) recently changed the number of Best Picture nominees yet again, after expanding the field to ten films two years ago. According to the new rule change, the number of best picture nominees will vary each year, from no less than five to no more than ten, the total determined by the number of films which receive at least 5% of first place votes from academy members during the nomination process*.  According to a survey the Academy did with the accounting firm which tabulates the votes, from 2001 to 2008 (before the category was expanded to ten nominees) under this system there would have years with five, six, seven, eight and nine Best Picture nominees (and, notably, never ten).

Friday, June 17, 2011

To Better Know A Hero: Green Lantern

Note: this is a slightly-updated and reformatted version of a post that was original published in September of 2008. I am both lazy enough to not re-write it yet shameless enough to re-post it in order to take advantage of the buzz surrounding the release of the Green Lantern film.

Real Name

Harold "Hal" Jordan

First Appearance

Showcase Presents 22 (Oct. 1959)

Nicknames and Aliases

Highball, the Emerald Knight, Parallax, the Spectre

Powers and Abilities
Hal possesses a ring which enables him to will into existence green physical constructs of anything he can imagine, including shields, cages and giant baseball gloves; the ring also enables Hal to fly, survive in space for extended periods of time, travel great distances, and understand alien languages. Hal is also an accomplished and fearless test pilot and a detective of moderate skill.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

X-amining X-Men #113

"Showdown!"
September 1978

In a Nutshell
The X-Men break free and defeat Magneto, but get caught in the destruction of Magneto's volcanic lair.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Byrne
Plot: Claremont and Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: A. Kawecki
Colorist: G. Wein
Editor: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter 

Plot
In the week since capturing the X-Men, Magneto has been carrying out a series of raids against research complexes in Australia and New Zealand, pilfering their technology. On the island of Kirinos, a vacationing Professor X worries about the X-Men as he's lost his telepathic rapport with them. Back at Magneto's Antarctic base, the X-Men are tended to by Nanny. After she leaves them for the morning, Storm, who has spent the last several days building her control and observing Nanny, manages to move her head enough to drop her headdress containing hidden lockpicks onto her lap. Though Magneto's chairs force the X-Men to function at the level of an infant, at six months Storm possessed the coordination of a young girl. Picking up a lockpick with her mouth, she attempts to pick the lock on her shackles, recalling her childhood training as thief in Cairo. Just as she's about to free herself, she loses control of the lockpick and Nanny returns, replacing a devastated Storm's headdress.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Thoughts on DC Comics' Recent Big Announcement, Part 2


At it's core, both parts of DC's announced plans for September (the re-launching of all of its titles and the same-day availability of its comics as digital downloads) are about one thing: attracting new readers. As was discussed in the comments section of one my recent posts, the modern day comic book market is a shade of what it was once, and more disconcerting, it is a market that is increasingly shrinking, as existing buyers leave the hobby or cutback the number of titles they buy (for a variety of reasons) faster than new buyers replace them (we existing comic geeks can only churn out so many kids and turn them onto the hobby ourselves, after all). So more than anything, DC is after new readers; after all, they know there is a willing audience out there, or at least an audience open to the idea of stories involving superheroes. My last post discussed the cancellation/re-launch/re-tooling of DC's stable of comic book characters as one part of that new reader drive. Today, let's look at the other element of their strategy: the digital side.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Thoughts on DC Comics' Recent Big Announcement


For those of you that haven't heard, DC Comics (publisher of comics starring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern, amongst others) recently announced that in September, they would be canceling all of their existing comics (including, presumably, Action Comics and Detective Comics, two series which have been in continuous publication since the 1930s) and replacing them with fifty-two new comics starting with issue #1, some to be re-launches of existing titles while others will be entirely brand new. Additionally, the new comics will feature DCs existing stable of characters in new or altered costumes designed by superstar artist Jim Lee and feature "updated" origins, and Lee would be providing the regular art for the re-launched Justice League, featuring all of DC's "big guns". Also, it was announced that with the debut of the new comics, DC will launch a new digital comics policy, which will enable readers to download issues of the comics on the same day the print issues hit stands.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

X-amining X-Men #112

"Magneto Triumphant!"
August 1978

In a Nutshell
Magneto brings the X-Men to his volcano base and defeats them.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Bruce Patterson
Colorist: M. Titus
Editor: Jim Shooter

Plot
Magneto stands before the X-Men and the fallen Mesmero, declaring his intent to take his revenge on them. He explains how he followed Beast to the carnival after discovering the X-Mansion deserted, then took out Mesmero as the villain attempted to hypnotize Beast. Cyclops orders everyone out of the trailer, and Nightcrawler teleports outside, only to discover the trailer is now high in the atmosphere, held aloft, and the X-Men kept alive, by Magneto's power. After being trailed by a Peruvian fighter jet and jettisoning Mesmero, Magneto and the X-Men arrive at his Antarctic base, hidden inside a volcano. They trailer explodes as Magneto gloats that the X-Men won't be leaving his home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Last Week In TV #36

This will probably be my last regularly-scheduled (such as it is) "Last Week In TV" post until the 2011-2012 TV season kicks off next fall. I've still got a ton of stuff leftover from the end of the last season to catch up on (like the last four Parks and Rec episodes and the rest of The Event) as well as some summer-debuting shows (like Burn Notice and that one with Noah Wylie fighting aliens) that will likely prompt at least a few posts over the next few months, but I doubt I'll be watching enough stuff worth writing about to promise a weekly post. In the meantime, let's wrap up the 2010-2011 season with a couple of finales.

(I am curious if there's anything you guys are looking forward to watching this summer, so if there is, let me know in the comments).  

Friday, June 3, 2011

To Better Know A VILLAIN: Magneto

Real Name
Max Eisenhardt

First Appearance
X-Men #1, Sept. 1963

Nicknames and Alias
Erik Magnus Lensherr, Master of Magnetism, Erik the Red, Michael Xavier, Creator, Grey King, Buckethead

Powers and Abilities
Magneto has the ability to manipulate electromagnetic energy, principally magnetism, allowing him to move and control magnetic metals from small (the iron in blood) to large (a nuclear submarine). Magneto can also manipulate other elements of the electromagnetic spectrum, including light, electricity and gravitons, which enables him to, amongst other things, fly, generate protective force fields that block out matter and energy, create electromagnetic pulses and grant him limited immunity to telepathy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

X-amining X-Men #111

"Mindgames!"
June 1978

In a Nutshell
The X-Men are turned into circus performers by Mesmero

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Byrne
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Mary Titus
Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
A stunned Beast stands outside a carnival in Texas as a carnival barker who looks a lot like Banshee sells the crowd on performers that resemble the other X-Men. Going inside, Beast, who is unfamiliar with the new X-Men, isn't sure if the performers are really the X-Men or doppelgangers until he sees performer Miz Destiny use telekinesis during her trapeze act. Certain now that she is really Jean Grey, Beast confronts her, but she has no memory of him and a fight breaks out between Beast and the other carnies, led by a brainwashed Cyclops. Beast is eventually caught in front of an enthralled Wolverine and brought before the ringmaster of the carnival: Mesmero, who has hypnotized the X-Men into becoming carnival performers to extract revenge on them for his previous defeat.