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

Friday, December 28, 2012

Last Week in TV...

With most shows on a winter break and not airing new episodes, Last Week in TV #15 will post next Friday the 4th, and will cover the handful of new episodes that aired during this week and next, as well as some older stuff I've caught up on.

Until then, everyone have a safe and happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

X-amining Secret Wars #1-12

"The War Begins!/Prisoners of War!/Tempest Without, Crisis Within!/Situation: Hopeless!/The Battle of Four Armies!/A Little Death.../Invasion!/Assault on Galactus!/Death to the Beyonder!/...And Dust to Dust!/...Nothing to Fear..."
May 1984 - April 1985

In a Nutshell 
Heroes and villains are taken by the Beyonder to fight on a far off world, with the winner receiving their heart's desire. 

Writer: Jim Shooter
Penciler: Michael Zeck, Bob Layton (issues #4,5)
Inker: John Beatt, Jack Abel & Mike Espositp (issue #8)
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Christie Scheele, Nelson Yomtov (issue #11) 
Editor: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk all find themselves suddenly teleported aboard a massive ship in outer space. Nearby, a group of villains find themselves aboard a similar ship. They watch as a galaxy is destroyed and a planet formed in its place, then a voice from beyond declares that if they slay their enemies, all they desire shall be theirs. Galactus and Doom confront this Beyonder, but both are easily dispatched and sent crashing to the planet below. The two ships land on the planet, and the heroes elect Captain America to lead them, with the villains quickly launching the first salvo.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!

However you choose to celebrate the holiday (or not at all) I hope the day finds you happy and healthy.

Also, enjoy this ad for the Charlie Brown School of Dance, thanks to Blam, who brought it to my attention.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Week in TV #14

My airing of this week's Simpsons was pre-empted for the President's speech in Newtown, so I'll write that up next week after I watch the re-airing this Sunday (which is also when the new episodes of Family Guy and American Dad originally slated for this week will air). In the meantime, here's some thoughts on what aired in the run-up to Christmas. 

Bob's Burgers: God Rest Ye Merry Gentle-Mannequins


After finally being given an opportunity to air in the fall, Bob's Burgers has so far this season given us stellar Halloween and Thanksgiving episodes. This episode completes the holiday trinity with a superlative Christmas episode in which the show puts its skewed spin on the biggest holiday of them all. The end result is a fantastic episode that hits just the right amounts of sweetness, absurdity, and laugh-out-loud funny. I can already imagine myself returning to watch this episode every Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #15

"Scaredy Cat!"
May 1984

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants take a bus to rescue Kitty from the White Queen. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Finisher: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Top Cat: Jim Shooter
Presentor: Stan Lee

Plot
Worried that no one has heard from Kitty since she left for the Massachusetts Academy with Doug Ramsey, Illyana casts a spell and travels via her astral form to the school. In the secret complex beneath the school, she discovers that Kitty is a captive of the White Queen. She overhears White Queen's intention to turn Kitty and Doug to the side of the Hellfire Club before she's detected and forced back into her body. The backlash from the White Queen's attack causes Illyana to lose control of her psychic familiars, sending demons flooding out into the school. The New Mutants manage to fight off the demons, who disappear when attacked, then confront Illyana. She admits to being a sorceress and tells them about Kitty's situation. With Professor X and the X-Men missing, the kids reach out to the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, but both teams are similarly unavailable.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #180

"Whose Life Is It, Anyway?"
April 1984

In a Nutshell 
Kitty and Storm discuss their relationship, after which the X-Men are whisked away to Secret Wars

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: John Romita Jr., Dan Green and Bob Wiacek 
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Reveling in his recently regained ability to walk, Professor X plays basketball in the Danger Room until he's hit by another debilitating psionic scanning wave. Hearing him cry out, Storm enters, and the pair discuss Storm's recent physical and emotional changes. Meanwhile, Kitty and Doug Ramsey are kicked out of an arcade after Kitty's high score breaks the game. Over lunch, they discuss Kitty's anger at Storm for changing from the woman Kitty knew into someone who scares her, as well as Doug's upcoming interview with the Massachusetts Academy. At the mansion, Colossus and Wolverine discuss Colossus' feelings for Kitty and his concern over her friendship with Doug, someone her own age with similar interests. At the botanical gardens, Storm visits her plants and stops a mugging.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Last Week in TV #13

The Simpsons: The Day the Earth Stood Cool


These days, its rare that The Simpsons churns out the funniest episode of the Sunday night animation block, but here we are (and in a pretty strong week for all the shows). Granted, making fun of hipsters is like shooting fish in a barrel, but I'll be damned if the end result wasn't still hilarious, and, for latter-day Simpsons, remarkably measured and well-constructed (and yes, I'll freely admit to having some hipster tendencies myself; heck, I read the Onion A.V. Club daily).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #14

"Do You Believe in -- Magik?"
April 1984

In a Nutshell
Illyana and the New Mutants battle S'ym. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Finisher: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Boss: Jim Shooter
Presentor: Stan Lee

Plot
Illyana watches as the New Mutants are released from class early to play in the snow. The group sees Professor X watching morosely from the window, and Amara tells them he's sad about Lilandra's departure. They decide to throw him a surprise party to cheer him up, and ask Illyana to help. They leave for dance class, not knowing they're being watched by a shadowy figure. After class, Stevie takes the New Mutants and Illyana to the mall to get party supplies. Meanwhile, at the mansion, Belasco's servant S'ym attacks Professor X. When the New Mutants arrive back at the mansion, it appears surprisingly quiet from outside. Because Professor X can't read Illyana's mind, they send her inside to see if the coast is clear before setting up the party. When she enters, S'ym appears, saying he's come to return her to Belasco. Illyana manages to teleport the New Mutants inside the school just as he knocks her out.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

X-amining X-Men and the Micronauts #1-4

"First Encounter/Into the Abyss/Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory/Doppelganger!"
January - April 1984

In a Nutshell
The X-Men team-up with the Micronauts to defeat the Entity, the dark side of Professor X. 

Writers: Chris Claremont & Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Butch Guice  
Inker: Bob Wiacek, Kelly Jones (issue #2)
Letterer: Michael Higgin, Joe Rosen (issue #3), Rick Parker (issue #4)
Colorist: Bob Sharen, Julianna Ferriter (issues #2-4)
Editor: Bob Budiansky
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Issue #1: In the sub-atomic Microverse, the Micronauts, allied with their enemy Baron Karza, lead Karza's fleet against the mysterious, seemingly all powerful Entity. The Entity makes short work of the fleet, sparing the Micronauts, and destroying the planet D'arnel. In the wake of the destruction, Karza and the Micronauts' living vessel Bioship are able to escape. At the X-Mansion, Professor X is conducting quarterly evaluations on the New Mutants when he's suddenly attacked by Karza, who has traced the Entity's power to Xavier. Despite being only a few inches tall on Earth, Karza is able to hold off the New Mutants, but is overwhelmed by the X-Men. However, when Kitty tries to phase through him, their minds are swapped. Unknownst to the X-Men, Kitty ends up unconscious in Karza's body, while Karza takes control of Kitty's body. Bioship tells the X-Men about the Entity's attacks on the Microverse, and how his power was traced to a nexus on their world near Xavier. Unsure of how that's possible but feeling responsible, Xavier sends the X-Men into the Microverse to help defeat the Entity.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Last Week in TV #12

With November sweeps behind us, things are starting to quiet down and head into reruns or preemptions for the holidays. Hopefully this means I can get caught up on Glee and Last Resort

Bob's Burgers: Tina-rannosaurus Wrecks


One of the great things about this show is that whenever I think I've decided on which of the Belcher kids is the funniest, an episode comes along that forces me to rethink it. Louise is the obvious candidate, but Gene's randomness and pop culture weirdness keep him in the running, while last episode and this one serve as reminders that Tina is absolutely hilarious in her own way as well, and worthy of carrying the title "funniest kid".

Thursday, December 6, 2012

X-amining Magik #1-4

"Little Girl Lost/Cold Iron Hot Blood/ Soulquest/Darkchild"
December 1983-Mach 1984

In a Nutshell
A look at the seven years Illyana spent in Limbo.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Pencilers: John Buscema, Ron Frenz (issue #3), Sal Buscema (issue #4)
Finisher: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein, Ken Feduniewicz (issue #4)
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Issue #1: At the mansion, Illyana watches the sun rise and thinks back over her time in Limbo. After successfully preventing the X-Men from rescuing her, Belasco fashions a piece of her soul into a Bloodstone, thus bonding her to him forever. However, older versions of Storm and Kitty Pryde, called Cat, stranded there from an alternate timeline in which Illyana escaped Limbo but the X-Men remained behind, rescue Illyana and take her to Storm's protected garden. There, Storm decides to take Illyana as her apprentice, teaching her sorcery in order to one day free her from Belasco's influence and send her home. They begin training as Illyana grows older, but she has difficultly overcoming the corruption of Belasco, tainting her attempts to transform her power into life with darkness. One night, Cat steals into the garden and promises Illyana she can return her to Earth. Together, the two run off.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #179

"What Happened to Kitty?"
March 1984

In a Nutshell 
Kitty is captured by the Morlocks in order to wed her to Caliban. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: John Romita Jr. & Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the tunnels beneath Manhattan, the Morlocks prepare Kitty for her wedding day. Meanwhile, at Bellevue Hospital, the X-Men arrive to identify the body of the young woman found dead at the Baxter Building. Although she looks exactly like Kitty, Wolverine realizes its not her because the scent is wrong, at which point Storm begins to suspect where the real Kitty may be. Back at the mansion, Nightcrawler tends to Colossus, but is unable to determine if he's even alive or dead. As Professor X attempts to probe Colossus' mind, he's once again hit by a powerful psionic scanning wave, rendering him unconscious. Elsewhere, Kitty, bewitched by one of the Morlocks, is about to marry Caliban when the illusion falters for a moment, and Kitty realizes what's happening. She tries to run, but Callisto reminds her she promised to stay with Caliban if he helped her save the X-Men, which he did. Remembering Colossus' injuries, Kitty begs for Callisto to allow her to leave to help him, but when Callisto questions how they can trust Kitty's promise to return, she runs off into the tunnels.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Walking Dead 3x08: Made to Suffer


 Well, that was intense. Which was expected, but thankfully, it unfolded in some genuinely unexpected ways. We're clearly headed for a war between Woodbury and the prison, but the show is saving that for the second half of the season, instead allowing Rick's raid on the city to come off far more successfully than expected. Similarly, events at the prison were used not to put the characters there in mid-season cliffhanger danger, but rather to introduce another potential batch of characters, and to further illustrate the differences between the Governor's way of doing things and Rick's.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Last Week in TV #11

The Simpsons: A Tree Grows in Springfield


Once again, The Simpsons gets to the party late, skewering the iPad long after it moved from the tip of pop culture's tongue. Timeliness issues aside, this episode was a vast improvement over the previous two. While still not terribly funny, it was at least amusing in places, and the last two acts flirted with the kind of introspection/deeper meaning the show was capable of handling in its earlier golden years.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #13

"School Daysze"
March 1984

In a Nutshell
Magma settles in at Xavier's school as Doug Ramsey makes his first appearance. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Finisher: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Principal: Jim Shooter
Presentor: Stan Lee

Plot
The New Mutants introduce Amara to Professor X, who welcomes her to the school and shows her to her room, which has been designed to resemble her room back in Nova Roma. That evening, the New Mutants hold a welcome barbeque for Amara, but when Sam, trying to show off, accidentally spills soda on Amara's dress she runs off, triggering an earthquake as she goes. Roberto prevents a fire from breaking out and Rahne and Dani follow Amara into the woods, but decide to respect her privacy. Meanwhile, at Project: Wideawake headquarters, Sebastian Shaw and Henry Gyrich are showing Val Cooper a Sentinel test when the machine goes wild, a victim of someone taking control of the computer system, forcing Gyrich to destroy the Sentinel. Back in New York, Kitty and her friend Doug Ramsey realize their connection to the government system they hacked has been severed, but Doug doesn't think they'll be discovered.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #178

"Hell Hath No Fury..."
February 1984

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle the Brotherhood, and Kitty is seemingly killed.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Romita Jr.  
Inkers: Bob Wiacek & Brett Breeding
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Horrified by what happened to Colossus and realizing she's no match for the Brotherhood on her own, Kitty telepathically alerts Professor X. Xavier sends Storm and Wolverine in response, but neglects to tell Rogue about the attack for fear of testing her loyalty too soon. Suddenly, he's hit by a tremendously powerful psionic scanning wave which leaves him wracked with pain. Back in New York, Kitty remembers reading about a recent invention of Mr. Fantastic's that could help Colossus, but when she contacts the Fantastic Four, she's told they're unavailable. Hoping to find the device herself, she takes a cab to the Fantastic Four's headquarters in the Baxter Building. Meanwhile, Callisto, Sunder and Masque find the body of a dead homeless girl, and Masque begins to work on her. Back at Lincoln Center, the Brotherhood attacks Nightcrawler and Amanda, but they manage to hold their own until Wolverine and Storm arrive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Walking Dead 3x07: When the Dead Come Knocking


In terms of plot progression, not a whole lot happened in this episode. Woodbury learned about Rick and company clearing out the prison, and the prison folk learned about Woodbury, but in terms of moving the overall narrative forward, that's about it. However, as the penultimate episode of the fall half of the season, the end result was an excellent exercise in increasing tension. With Rick, Daryl, Michonne and New T-Dog poised on the outside of Woodbury, with Glen and Maggie of no more use to the Governor on the inside, with Merle still a bastard but likely to choose his brother over the Governor, with Andrea still stupidly falling for what the Governor is selling, and with the Governor poised to take the prison for himself, the slack has been pulled tight, ready to explode next week. The ending, as the various players moved into position with the score pounding relentlessly, was one of the show's most ominous moments yet.

Monday, November 26, 2012

X-aminations in December

We round out the year in X-aminations with a pair of issues from each series, a pair of limited series intended to capitalize on the X-Men's growing sales success, and, appropriately enough for the day after Christmas, a twelve issue series involving most of the Marvel Universe's biggest characters created to support a toy line.

December 5th: Uncanny X-Men #179
December 6th: Magik #1-4

December 12th: X-Men and the Micronauts #1-4
December 13th: New Mutants #14

December 19th: Uncanny X-Men #180

December 20th: New Mutants #15

December 26th: Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #1-12
(depending on how my schedule shakes out, this may get pushed to the 27th, or split into two posts, with the second half on the 27th. We'll just have to play that by ear).

Also, in the interest of continuing to share cool new (to me) X-Men related blogs with you, I've added a few new sites to the blog roll.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Last Week in TV #10

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving, and remains pleasantly stuffed!

As you may have heard, Last Resort was cancelled last week, with ABC committing to running the remainder of if its full, initial 13 episode order. I do plan to finish the show out, though as I fell a couple episodes behind, the impetus to catch up is lessened by the news of its cancellation. So even though there's no review of the show in this post, I will get back to it soon and write-up the remaining episodes. 

The Simpsons: Penny Wiseguys


Another perfectly average, unexciting episode, one handed over almost entirely to Steve Carell's new character, who didn't quite fit the aesthetic of the show. Lisa once again gets the subplot, raising some interesting questions about the nature of her vegetarianism (I'm curious what Dr. Bitz thought of it) without really doing much with those questions before the plot was quietly shuffled aside. I did enjoy some of the callbacks to past episodes, like the Pin Pals or the picture of the Be Sharps on the wall at Moe's.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #12

"Sunstroke"
February 1984

In a Nutshell
Amara loses control in Rio De Janeiro, convincing her she needs to join the New Mutants. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Finisher: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: George Roussos
Editor: Louise Jones
Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In Rio De Janiero, Emmanuel DaCosta arrives to his office to find Roberto waiting for him. Roberto tells his father to forget about the Maderia, that Nova Roma is off limits, or else he and the other New Mutants will do everything in their power to stop him. His father tells him that if he leaves, it will be as though he has no son, to which Roberto replies that he's now half an orphan. Enraged, Emmanuel calls Sebastian Shaw and tells him he accepts his invitation to join the Inner Circle of the Hellfire Club. Meanwhile, Dani and Amara are enjoying the beach at Ipanema, with Amara reflecting on her father's decision to send her to Xavier's school to gain control of her power, when the girls are accosted by a group of men. When one of them kisses Amara, she triggers a volcano on the beach.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #177

"Sanction"
January 1984

In a Nutshell 
Mystique attacks the X-Men to retrieve Rogue. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Romita Jr.  
Inker: John Romita Sr.
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Eliot Brown
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Traffic Manager: Virgina Romita

Plot
In an abandoned circus, Mystique is attacked by Wolverine, but she manages to evade his attack and slit his throat, killing him. Posing as him when Kitty investigates, Mystique kills her as well, then leads Cyclops and Colossus into a fun house where a series of pre-placed amplifiers increases the power of Cyclops' optic blast, killing Colossus. Mystique then sneaks up behind Cyclops and strangles him. Donning a special suit, Mystique exits the fun house and is attacked by Storm. She absorbs the energy of Storm's lightening attack via the suit, and explodes a nearby fuel tanker, killing Storm. Inside the big top, Mystique is attacked by Rogue, but manages to blast her into oblivion. Mystique is then grabbed by Nightcrawler, who teleports her throughout the tent. Mystique is unfazed by the teleportation, but hesitates when she's about to stab Nightcrawler, who uses the opening to knock her out. Later, Mystique awakens to Destiny tending to her wounds as Arcade enters, congratulating Mystique on her performance against his robot X-Men. Mystique arranges to have Arcade run her Brotherhood through the same program.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Walking Dead 3x06: Hounded


One of the advantages of the way the show has opened itself up this season is that in episodes with multiple storylines, the ones that are duds are buoyed by the more successful ones (a condition plenty of other shows have used to their advantage, but one which Walking Dead has struggled with because its narrative had been so insular for so long). As a result, even though the ongoing adventures of Andrea, the Colossally Stupid Girl continued to fall somewhere between "boring" and "actively irritating", they were a lot more tolerable when it was only a matter of time before the narrative would return to Rick's telephonic breakdown or the Merle/Michonne hunt (for the record, if I had to rank the storylines in this episode, from least engaging to most, it would go Andrea/the Governor, Rick's phone calls, Daryl, Carl and New T-Dog cleaning out the prison, and the Merle/Michonne stuff).

Monday, November 19, 2012

Ten Pop Culture Things For Which I am Thankful

Marvel Comics the Untold Story by Sean Howe


No less than a narrative history of Marvel Comics, culled in part from new interviews between the author and a smorgasbord of Marvel creators, editors and business people, I picked this up on the strength of a review at Longbox Graveyard (well, picked it up immediately; I was going to get it eventually) and have since fallen asleep most nights reading it (because I'm forcing myself to stay awake to keep reading, not because it's boring). I'm currently coming up on the inception of the New Universe, and it's remained a compelling, fascinating and fun read. Highly recommended to any fan of Marvel Comics (though not to any fans who don't want their image of a happy Marvel Bullpen working in tandem to churn out comics with no conflict whatsoever tarnished).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Last Week in TV #9

I've fallen behind on Top Chef and Last Resort, so we'll hopefully get to those next week. But no time for jibber-jabber! Onward! 

The Simpsons: Gone Abie Gone


This was a perfectly cromulent episode; it had decent hook, a solid structure, and a mildly entertaining subplot. Too bad it wasn't terribly funny (see the two best exchanges below). I am mildly curious to see if Grampa's newly revealed love interest will ever show up again, but otherwise, this was the very definition of a thoroughly average episode.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #11

"Magma"
January 1984

In a Nutshell
Magma helps the New Mutants defeat Selene. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Finisher: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Amara attacks Selene, who defends herself by animating the rock within the cavern. That use of power leaves Selene old and frail, but she sacrifices her followers to rejuvenate herself. Turning to Dani, she entrances her, declaring her intent to use her and the other New Mutants to conquer the world. Dani fights her influence, just as Amara escapes from the rock and attacks Selene again, blasting her with lava. Dani vows to help Amara, just as Selene suddenly drains Amara's lifeforce. Meanwhile, Senator Gallio triumphantly leads Senator Aquilla away in chains, much to the consternation of Sam, Roberto and Rahne. Spying a red-haired woman amongst Aquilla's captured slaves, Roberto steals a guard's armor and follows her. Inside a dungeon, he discovers his captured mother being taunted by Castro. Roberto knocks out Castro, then frees his mother.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #176

"Decisions"
December 1983

In a Nutshell 
Cyclops and Madelyne are attacked by a giant squid on their honeymoon. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Romita Jr.  
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the South Pacific, Scott and Madelyne are flying their seaplane towards their honeymoon destination, hoping to avoid an oncoming storm. As Scott contemplates his father's offer to join the Starjammers, the plane is suddenly struck by lightening, sending it crash towards the ocean. Meanwhile, in Japan, Wolverine visits Mariko, asking why she sent him the Yashida Honor Sword. She explains that while it is his by right, she refuses to marry him until she's severed all the criminal ties she forged while under Mastermind's influence, thus restoring her family's honor. In the Pacific, Scott and Maddy work frantically to repair their plane before the storm blows in, with Scott narrowly avoiding a shark attack. In Washington DC, Henry Peter Gyrich attends a meeting held by the president's National Security Adviser, during which the NSA's assistant, Val Cooper, gives a presentation discussing the imbalance of power between nations created by mutants. She urges the government to consider drafting mutants to work for them, something Gyrich worries would only trigger further attacks from mutants like Magneto.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Walking Dead 3x05: Say the Word


Any episode that followed last week's mini massacre was going to feel like a slight letdown, and sure enough, this episode was the first of the season to really slow down and spin its wheels a little bit. That's probably not a bad thing, because the audience needs a chance to breathe as much as the characters. It also dealt , at least on the prison side of things, with the kind of "how do we function in this world" kind of issues that the show could do well to address more (like getting formula for the baby, a detail I'm glad the show turned into a plot point), while also handing over some time to watching Rick go insane.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One Sentence Reviews

Hey! It's been a while since I've done some One Sentence Reviews. So...how about some One Sentence Reviews!

Mass Effect 3 (X-Box 360 Video Game, 2012) - This was a series where the thought of them screwing up the ending never crossed my mind...they screwed up the ending.

Skyrim (X-Box 360 Video Game, 2012) - The problem with these type of games is that the ending can never live up to the copious amount of time I've put into them.

Ready Player One (Novel, Ernest Cline, 2012) - A really fun and engaging book and a must read for all geeks out there.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Last Week in TV #8

It's Novembers sweeps, so it's a full week, though I did sneak in a showing of Wreck-It Ralph on Thursday, so I'll cover this week's Thursday night shows in the next post. 

The Simpsons: Adventures in Baby Getting


This struck me as another story which would have worked better if the characters were allowed to age, however slowly. The episode at least acknowledged the idea that Maggie is still essentially a baby, but it still felt strange to watch Marge pine for a baby while Maggie is around. That aside, it was a pleasant enough character-based episode for Marge, with some particularly hilarious act breaks (after Marge declares her desire for another baby, Homer thinking, "I should have fixed the faucet"; imagining twins that look like Patty and Selma, Homer screams repeatedly).

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men Annual #7

"Scavenger Hunt"
1983

In a Nutshell 
The Impossible Man leads the X-Men on a zany scavenger hunt. 

Plot & Script: Chris Claremont
Pencils: Michael Golden, Bret Blevins (pp28-32)  
Inkers: Michael Golden (pp1-2), Tom Mandrake (pp 3-7, 24), Bob Wiacek (pp 12-13,16), Terry Austin (pp 14-15, 17-19), Brett Breeding (pp 20-23), "Wild Bill" Anderson (pp 25-27), Joe Rubinstein (pg 28), Steve Leiahola (pg 29), Sam De La Rosa (pp 30-31), "The Rube" (pg 32), Al Milgrom (pg 33-37), Brett Blevins (pp 38-39)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski, Mike Higgins (pp 31-32)
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Eliot R. Brown
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men are playing baseball when a massive space ship appears in the sky above them, from which Galactus emerges. He declares that he requires the X-Men's domicile, then disappears along with the X-Mansion. With Professor X's help, the X-Men track Galactus, whom Xavier believes isn't truly Galactus, to the SHIELD Helicarrier, where Nick Fury's eyepatch is stolen. Next, the X-Men track the alien to the Savage Land, where Ka-Zar's sabretooth tiger, Zabu, has been stolen. Back in New York, the Wasp's costumes are stolen, leading to a tussle between She-Hulk, Iron Man, Colossus and Rogue, while Dr. Strange's sigil window is stolen. At the Hellfire Club, the X-Men battle Sebastian Shaw as the alien steals the Black Queen's costume. Finally, the X-Men chase the alien through the offices of Marvel Comics, eventually cornering him and overpowering him when Rogue attempts to absorb his power, at which point he reveals himself as the Impossible Man of the planet Poppup.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Walking Dead 3x04: Killer Within


Well played, show, well played. Lori's death was genuinely shocking. Lord knows she's been a troubling character for awhile now, inconsistently written with ever-shifting motivations. Yet up until this season (which is quickly shaping up to be the show's most consistent, if not best), there was no indication that anyone involved in the production of the show viewed Lori that way. Couple that with her proximity to the main character (and the potential for drama that proximity created), and even on a show that has arguably the best claim to the notion that "nobody is safe", it felt like Lori was near the top of the short list of safe characters.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Last Week in TV #7

Things in TV Land should pick up next week with the start of November sweeps, though we did get a lot of good Halloween episodes (I love Halloween on TV because all the costumes are unrealistically elaborate and everyone can trick-or-treat in temperate, not-near-freezing weather). In addition to what I write about below, I did watch the Halloween episodes of Modern Family, Suburgatory, Big Bang Theory and Happy Endings. I don't have much to say about them (other than to say that you should be watching Happy Endings, the best non-Parks and Rec and Community comedy on TV) but feel free to bring them up in the comments if you're so inclined. 

Once Upon a Time: The Doctor


The revelation that Dr. Whale is Dr. Frankenstein (clever naming, by the way) opens a whole new avenue for this show. While it's already dipped its toes into the characters of public domain novels, in the forms of such characters as the Mad Hatter and Captain Hook, most of those dalliances involved characters with some ties to Disney. Frankenstein is the first literary character the show has used without any strong connection to the world of fairy tales and/or Disney. It opens a (potentially) troublingly deep well of characters, but with this episode making clear something the show has hinted at before, that there are all kinds of different "realms" (some a conglomerate of stories like Fairy Tale Land while others represent a specific fictional story like Wonderland or Neverland), each accessible by various magical items (like the Hatter's hat), with Storybrooke/the real world as just one more such realm, I think this expanded well of characters can ultimately work to the show's advantage. So long as the writers continue to find new and clever ways to re-imagine the characters and work them into the ongoing narrative (and in the case of someone like Dr. Whale, explain why he got pulled into Storybrooke by the curse that was placed on FTL), I have no objections to seeing a wide and varying range of public domain characters pop up on the show. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #10

"Betrayal!"
December 1983

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants are drawn deeper into the machinations of Nova Roma. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Finisher: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Consultant: Diana Schutz

Plot
The New Mutants, heralded as gods, are paraded through the streets of Nova Roma. Arriving at Senator Gallio's palace, he tells them of how Senator Aquilla, Amara's father, wishes to declare himself emperor of Nova Roma. Though both Sam and Dani sense that Gallio is lying, they play dumb. That night, Roberto goes for a walk, and sees a woman he believes to be his missing mother in the street, but Gallio's guards detain him, and following Xavier's teachings, he refuses to use his power on them, so he loses his mother in the crowd. Later, Dani sneaks out of the palace, hoping to get a sense of what Nova Roma is really like, when she's grabbed from behind. Back inside, Roberto is suddenly shot in the arm, and the New Mutants discover the gunman is Castro, who claims Senator Aquilla hired him to kill the mutants. Gallio orders the immediate arrest of Aquilla.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #175

"Phoenix!
November 1983

In a Nutshell
Mastermind is defeated, and Cyclops marries Madelyne. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Pencilers: Paul Smith (pp 1-29) and John Romita, Jr. (pp 30-38) 
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein 
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men are shocked when a Phoenix firebird appears in the sky over the mansion, followed by a falling Cyclops. Rogue catches him, and the X-Men convene in Professor Xavier's study. When Xavier attempts to use Cerebro to search for Phoenix, it backfires, knocking him out. As Nightcrawler takes him to the med-lab, the X-Men realize someone has tampered with Cerebro just as Dark Phoenix suddenly emerges from Cyclops. She easily dispatches the team, then flies off, vowing to return. The X-Men attempt to warn the Starjammers, but establish communication just as Dark Phoenix destroys the ship. They next try to contact the Avengers, but the connection is severed when Dark Phoenix destroys Manhattan. Meanwhile, an unconscious Cyclops has an out-of-body experience, and sees a vision of his mother urging him to wake up. He awakens in the med-lab, and thinking over the inconsistencies in Dark Phoenix's actions, realizes what's really going on. Stopping briefly to transfer control of the Danger Room to a handheld device in order to give him an advantage over the X-Men's real foe, finds the X-Men, but they attack him, believing him to be Dark Phoenix.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Walking Dead 3x03: Walk With Me


As I've said before, I have yet to read any of the Walking Dead comic series, yet even before the show aired, I was aware of two significant characters from the comics: Michonne, who was some kind of fan favorite badass, and the Governor, who was some kind of post-apocalypse dictator. We've met Michonne (though we still know very little about her), and this episode was handed over more or less to introducing the Governor, and Woodbury, the community he's built. To the show's credit, they don't play coy when it comes to the Governor's true nature. What could have been a drawn out, multi-episode question of whether the Governor was truly a benevolent leader or the pleasant face of something more sinister was put to rest before the end of the episode.

Monday, October 29, 2012

X-aminations in November

Another relatively straight forward month, as we welcome aboard new penciller John Romita Jr. on Uncanny X-Men and the New Mutants wrap up their adventure in Nova Roma.

November 7th: X-Men Annual #7

November 14th: Uncanny X-Men #176
November 15th: New Mutants #11

November 21st: Uncanny X-Men #177
November 22nd: New Mutants #12

November 28th: Uncanny X-Men #178
November 29th: New Mutants #13

Friday, October 26, 2012

Last Week in TV #6

Between baseball and presidential debates, a lot of shows took this week off. Which is good, since I had a busier than usual week. Here then is a shorter-than-usual post.

Once Upon a Time: The Crocodile


Judging from all the pre-season hype, the show intends to poise Hook as this season's Big Bad, or at least one of them. This episode served as alright introduction to him, though we have yet to really see OUAT's take on the character (most of this episode he was Almost Hook). I prefer my pirates with a little less angsty eyeliner, but I suppose that's the world Johnny Depp has created. The climatic moment when Hook picks up the, um, hook, would have resonated more if we didn't already know he was Hook thanks to all the ads/interviews/press releases, etc. I don't even go out of my way to look at that stuff and I still knew he was coming. That said, as the show continues to soften the edges of Regina and Mr. Gold, more villains is not a bad thing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #9


"Arena"
November 1983

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants arrive in Nova Roma.

Presentor: Stan Lee
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Finisher: Tom Mandrake
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Emperor: Jim Shooter

Plot
The New Mutants and Amara, guarded by a group of Legionnaires, arrive in the hidden Roman city of Nova Roma. Considered barbarians by the soldiers, the teenagers are locked inside a dungeon, where Amara explains that she is the daughter of the First Senator of Nova Roma, Lucius Aquilla. Roberto, concerned about his still-missing mother, doesn't trust Amara, but when he tries to smash his way out of the cell, a booby trap is triggered and all the captives are hit with darts, knocking them out. Meanwhile, at the senatorial baths, Amara's father meets with Senator Gallio and confirms that the captured males will do battle in the arena while the girls will be sold into slavery. Gallio returns home to his wife, a sorceress priestess named Selene, upset that Lucius Aquilla has prevented him from using the New Mutants' to help him seize power. Selene takes him to another prisoner, the deckhand Castro. He suggests an alliance between Gallio and Emmanuel Da Costa, intriguing the senator. Elsewhere, Dani, Rahne and Amara are cleaned up in preparation for being placed in the slave auction.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #174

"Romances"
October 1983

In a Nutshell
Scott proposes to Madelyne. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Paul Smith 
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones 
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Aboard the Starjammer, Scott and Madelyne share their first Earthrise together. As Corsair gives Madelyne a tour of the ship, they learn Carol Danvers is planning to leave Earth and join the Starjammers. Corsair asks Scott if he's still considering joining them, but Scott isn't sure because of Madelyne. Elsewhere, Professor Xavier and Lilandra continue Xavier's physical therapy, and Lilandra once again affirms that she'll need to leave soon to reclaim her throne. In Japan, Wolverine confronts Mariko following their aborted wedding, but she insists she does not love him and orders him to leave her alone. In New York, Kitty pulls Colossus away from a painting and demonstrates her ability to phase someone along with herself by air-walking them into Storm's attic. They kiss, but are interrupted by Storm.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Walking Dead 3x02: Sick


Slightly less intense than the premiere, this episode still did a good job of keeping the tension high and providing plenty of zombie-killing action. Even better, it seemed to nip the potential prisoners storyline in the bud. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see the remaining living prisoners pop up again, either as allies or antagonists, but for now, any fears of a protracted, half-season or more struggle between Rick and the prisoners for control of the prison seems to have ended with a well placed machete to the head. Compare this to last season, when a threat to the safety of the group was debated and argued and even after a decision was made, Rick still couldn't follow through, leading ultimately to his showdown with Shane (and several episodes of simmering wheel-spinning). Rick's actions in this episode are a strong sign both of how he has changed and how the show has changed as a result. Rick has become harsher, colder, more inhumane (he can't even be bothered to placate Lori), more Shane-like than ever (though still less selfish and dickish). It's a troubling turn for the character, but chronicling the transformation (along with the narrative expediency it allows) is making the show stronger.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Have a Little Extra Money Lying Around?

Then why not give a little to a couple enterprising creative projects backed by some friends of mine? Thanks to Kickstarter, it's easier then ever to make donations (and get bugged for money on the internet) and you might even get something fun in return. If not, there's always karma. Who doesn't love good karma?

First of all, my buddy Nick is working on a book that will give you accurate, useable information for surviving the zombie apocalypse, and I know of at least a few readers of this blog with an interest in that subject.  You can make donations to his Kickstarter project here.

Secondly, boots~ has created a new table top card game based on the life and death of TV shows, and from what I've seen, it looks like it'll be tons of fun. So toss a few bucks his way and help make the game a reality. His Kickstarter page can be found here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Last Week in TV #5

I was away from the house last night, so no new Thursday night shows this week. But here's what I did watch: 

Once Upon a Time: Lady of the Lake


It's good to know that whether in Storybrooke or Fairy Tale Land, Emma can be an insufferable ass. I know she's lost her bearings and has parental issues, but it's really not the best time or place to question every frickin' thing your mom says, especially when your mom happens to be a former queen of the land in which you find yourself. I really hope the little mother/daughter moment the pair shared at the end of episode means Emma will be a little less grating during her time in FTL.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

X-amining Marvel Team-Up Annual #6

"The Hunters and the Hunted!"
1983

In a Nutshell
Sunspot and Wolfsbane get injected with an experimental drug.

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Ron Frenz & Kevin Dzuban
Letters:Rick Parker
Colors: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Spider-Man swings by a warehouse containing a chop shop at the same time Cloak and Dagger arrive. The three of them take out the criminals working in the shop, then discover a group of dead teenagers in a back room. Cloak and Dagger explain that the kids were likely killed by the mobsters responsible for giving Cloak and Dagger their powers via a synthesized drug, as the mobsters are now attempting to re-synthesize that drug and testing it on runaway kids. Meanwhile, the New Mutants emerge from a Broadway play, but instead of heading back to the X-Mansion, Roberto leads them into an arcade. Inside, they get into an argument with some local kids, one of whom pulls a knife on Rahne, leading to Roberto powering up and punching her assailant. A fight breaks out, and Cannonball orders the New Mutants to run back to the bus station, but they get lost. Eventually, the kids from the arcade catch up to them, and Rahne and Roberto are knocked unconscious in the melee. Unseen by their teammates, they're taken by a pair of shadowy figures.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

X-amining The Uncanny X-Men at the State Fair of Texas

"Battle at the State Fair of Texas"
1983

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men search the Texas State Fair for a new mutant before Magneto can recruit him. 

Plot: Jim Salicrup
Script: David Kraft
Pencils: Kerry Gammil & Alan Kupperberg 
Inks: Chic Stone
Letters: Rick Parker
Colors: Marie Severin
Cover: John Romita

Plot
The X-Men are training in the Danger Room when Professor X suddenly announces that Cerebro has detected a new mutant. Determined to find the mutant and persuade him to join the X-Men before Magneto can recruit him into his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Professor X sends the X-Men to the mutant's location, in the vicinity of the State Fair in Dallas, Texas. At the horse barns, a mysterious figure approaches a young man named Daniel Wiley. Daniel tells the man about his love of horses and the first time his mutant power to transform into a Centaur manifested. Later, inside a secreted airship, the mysterious figure reveals himself as Magneto, and expresses his determination to recruit Daniel. Shortly thereafter, the X-Men arrive in Dallas and explore the fair, searching for the new mutant. With so much to see, the Professor X resolves that the X-Men will need to continue their search the next day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Walking Dead 3x01: Seed


Now that's more like it: this episode showcased what I've always wanted to see more of on this show: a group of beleaguered individuals competently tackling the problems of living in a world overrun by zombies. Finding a place to hold up, clearing the prison yard, pushing deeper inside; these are small goals, nowhere near the level of rebuilding a functional society, but they fit the scale of the show, and gave the characters believable obstacles to overcome beyond just "surviving" (and in overcoming them, they give the characters some level of victory, however small, and prevent things from feeling too hopeless). The cold open, especially, was a thing of beauty, as we watch Rick and company clear a house of zombies, scrounge for food, setup camp, only to hurriedly rush out the back and into their cars, moving on, when a wave of zombies appear. Without a word of dialogue, it's made clear exactly what the situation is, how certain characters have changed, and how the group as a whole is surviving.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Retro Review: Krusty Gets Kancelled

Original Airdate
May 13 1993

Or the One Where
Krusty's show gets, uh, cancelled. So Bart and Lisa assemble an all star list of celebrities to help launch his comeback.

The Setup
After a new children's performer, a ventriloquist dummy named Gabbo, takes Springfield by storm, Krusty's show gets taken off the air.

Notable Notes
According to the DVD commentary, the impetus for doing a star-studded episode like this was born of an attempt to emulate season three's "Homer at the Bat", but with celebrities instead of baseball players.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Last Week In TV #4

Here we go, with another big week, including some Halloween episodes. Glee is taking a few weeks off (presumably because of baseball on Fox), so we'll talk about this week's episode in next week's post.

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII


More amusing than funny, which seems to be the trend with more recent Halloween episodes. Each of the three segments (four, if you count the opening) offered a few chuckles ("Cinnamon!" drew the biggest laugh from me, and I also enjoyed Homer's 42 minute morning pee) but the audible laughs were pretty sparse. Of the three, "Bart and Homer's Excellent Adventure" was probably my favorite; I'm a sucker for a good Back to the Future homage (lack of any connection to Halloween notwithstanding), and I appreciated the effort put into recreating the setting of season two's "The Way We Was".

Thursday, October 11, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #8

"The Road to...Rome?"
October 1983

In a Nutshell
In the Amazon, the New Mutants meet a strange girl named Amara. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Bob McLeod
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the Amazon, the New Mutants play an improvised game of hide-n-seek to exercise their mutant powers. Later, they check in with Professor X, who advises them that Karma is still missing and that they should continue their trip. When Dani decides to swim back to their boat, one of the crewmen, Carlos, hoping to stir up some piranhas, empties a slop bucket into the river. Dani uses her power on the fish to scare them away, and Sam manages to pull her out of the water. They crash on the opposite shore and come face to face with a group of Native American women, who attack them. Realizing the Native Americans were watching the boat, Sam and Dani fight them off, but take one of them captive. That night, as the ship sails up the river, Roberto's mother Nina unsuccessfully tries to communicate with the captured girl. Meanwhile, in Rio De Janiero, Emmanuel Da Costa meets with Sebastian Shaw, and they discuss once again the difficulty of sabotaging Nina's expedition without hurting her or Roberto, but Emmanuel insists he will stop her from reaching the uncharted resources of the Maderia.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #173

"To Have and Have Not"
September 1983

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine defeats Silver Samurai, but is left at the altar by Mariko. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Paul Smith 
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones 
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Wolverine and Rogue tear through the Yakuza, looking for information on Nabatone Yakuse, hoping he'll lead them to Silver Samurai. Finally getting a location, they set off. Elsewhere, Storm and Yukio seek sanctuary from the Yakuza, but are turned away by Yukio's friend. Suddenly, they're confronted by a gang of muggers. Outside the city, Rogue and Wolverine arrive at Nabatone's estate, but find that the gang leader has been dead for over a week, meaning the Nabatone Mariko met with earlier that night was an imposter. Wolverine realizes they've been suckered, sent out of town and away from Mariko and the recovering X-Men. Meanwhile, Storm and Yukio make quick work of the muggers, with Storm reveling in the use of her powers. Back at the hospital, Viper and a cadre of ninjas take out Mariko's guards, but Rogue arrives and clears the room.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 10)

Yup, it's been a while. I swear I'm trying to post more regularly but life has a tendency to get in the way.

This week we have 15 through 11. There are some interesting rankings here. One series was incredibly hard for me to rank. You're also going to find that quality (well, what I believe to be quality) can trump subject matter. But first, if you don't know the history of these rankings then you should go here. Now, on with the show:

15. Lost:
Sigh. What can I say about this show? I could write a novel. Did I rank it too high? Probably. Considering how obsessed I was with this show while it was on the air maybe I ranked it too low? All I know is if in the midst of season four you told me that this show wouldn't crack my top five series of all time I would have said they must have really screwed up the ending. Guess what? They really screwed up the ending.
And that's the debate. This show was good on so many levels but the ending was flat out unacceptable. (Actually, I liked the final episode but that was only because I already knew I wasn't going to get the answers I wanted.) My main impetus for watching this show were the mysteries revolving around the island the characters were marooned on. First and foremost, I wanted answers. I didn't get a satisfactory answer to any of the big questions.
At the same time it was one hell of a ride leading up to that disappointment. The acting was superb and Lost had some individual moments that may never be topped by another television series. So while the series as a whole left me feeling unsatisfied it was can't miss television for me while on the air. However, I'm not sure I could ever go back and rewatch Lost. I think I would get to angry.

So, when it comes to ranking this show I was very conflicted. But this is where I put it. Talk to me tomorrow and I may knock it down ten spots.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Last Week in TV #3

Our biggest posts of the new season (remember when I pretended these were going to be shorter this season?), as a bunch of returning shows premiere and I continue to catch up from some irregular vacation viewing. Also, I watched the premieres of Modern Family and Elementary, but didn't make the time to write about them, so feel free to sound off on them in the comments if you're so inclined.

The Simpsons: Moonshine River


While the central premise of the episode was interesting (Bart looking up old girlfriends to find out what keeps turning off women from him), I don't think it was taken as far as it could have been, and the much-hullabalooed gamut of actresses returning to voice their various "Bart's girlfriend du jour" characters amounted, with the exception of Zooey Deschanel's Mary, to little more than a word each. It's also one of those plots that would have worked better if the show allowed its characters to age, such that Bart was a few years older when grappling with the issues he confronts in this episode. Meanwhile, the Marge/Lisa "finding cheap culture in New York" subplot contained some great gags (I especially enjoyed their attempts to see a Broadway show and the Baldwin/Sheen-Estevez feud).

Thursday, October 4, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #7

"Flying Down to Rio!"
September 1983

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants rescue Sunspot's mom from the Hellfire Club.  

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Bob McLeod
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Days after the explosion of Viper's base, the New Mutants and the X-Men continue to search for some sign of Karma. When Roberto's mother, Nina DaCosta, an archaeologist, arrives at the X-Men's camp, Professor X declares he's sending the team to accompany Nina on a trip to the headwaters of the Amazon. Though the New Mutants are reluctant to give up on the search, Professor X explains to the X-Men that he believes Karma is alive, but in light of the malevolent psychic entity he sensed, he won't risk the New Mutants encountering it while searching for Karma. A week later the New Mutants arrive at Roberto's lavish home in Rio De Janiero and suffer through a tense dinner in which Nina and Roberto's father Emmanuel snipe at each other. The next morning, the New Mutants accompany Nina into the city for Carnival, but Nina is captured by a group of Hellfire Club soldiers led by a mutant named Axe.