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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #156

"Pursuit!"
April 1982 

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men and the Starjammers pursue Deatbird into space.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Don Warfield
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As Tigra deals with the police, doing her best to use her status as an Avenger to keep them at bay, the Starjammer arrives above the city and teleports the X-Men aboard before racing for deep space in pursuit of Deathbird's ship. As the X-Men reunite with the Starjammers, their medic begins working to save the life of the gravely injured Colossus. Meanwhile, aboard the Shi'ar flagship, Nightcrawler and Kitty are shown a recording of Deathbird's attack on the X-Men by Admiral Lord Samedar, which ends with Colossus' apparent death, devastating and enraging Kitty. Samedar then contacts Deathbird, revealing a secret alliance between the two. Aboard Deathbird's ship, a captive Professor X awakens from a nightmare beside Lilandra, and learns that Deathbird is her sister. On the Starjammer, Corsair tells Cyclops about the Shi'ar attack that separated their family, and how Corsair witnessed the death of his wife at the hands of Emperor D'Ken before escaping and forming the Starjammers.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

X-aminations in June

Another straightforward month, and the last before New Mutants enters the mix!

June 6th: Uncanny X-Men #157
June 13th: Uncanny X-Men #158
June 20th: Uncanny X-Men #159
June 27th: Uncanny X-Men #160

Friday, May 25, 2012

Last Week in TV #33

 The Simpsons: Lisa Goes Gaga


By all accounts, an episode featuring Lady Gaga should have been pretty horrible. But this wasn't. While the satire wasn't as sharp (or as present) as it could (or perhaps should) have been, give the writers credit for engaging the guest star and having some fun with her - and for Lady Gaga, someone who I've always imagined doesn't have much of a sense of humor about herself, allowing the show to have some fun at her expense. Not that any of the jabs were particularly pointed - again, the satire was toned way down - but the escalating ridiculousness of her costumes (I loved the dress of live hummingbirds that became a dress of Grammys) and the general tongue-in-cheek-edness the episode seemed to display regarding her pseudo-philosophy were genuinely amusing. And for all the hubbub over Gaga's appearance, it was nice that the episode embraced her presence, working her significantly into the story, instead of just having the Simpsons attend a Lady Gaga concert in the opening act, or something like that.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #155

"First Blood"
March 1982 

In a Nutshell 
The first appearance of the Brood.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Aboard the Blackbird, Cyclops is arguing with Corsair for abandoning his children when the plane is teleported aboard a Shi'ar Dreadnought. They are shortly joined by the rest of the X-Men and are informed that Lilandra has been kidnapped and taken to Earth, and that Corsair has been implicated. Xavier uses his position as Imperial consort to delay the Shi'ar from invading Earth for 24 hours, allowing the X-Men time to locate and rescue the empress. However, Nightcrawler and Kitty are left behind on the ship as a show of good faith, with Xavier downloading all his knowledge of the Shi'ar into Kitty's brain before leaving. On Earth, the X-Men contact both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers for help, but only Avengers member Tigra is available to help. Back aboard the Shi'ar ship, Kitty tells Nightcrawler that she's been able to use her computer skills and Professor X's knowledge to tap into the ship's primary computers. On Earth, Storm is showing Corsair around New York when they are attacked by Deathbird and an alien Brood.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Last Week in TV #32

Though most every show wrapped up its season this week (if it hadn't already), we're still mostly playing catch-up, so we'll have at least a few more "Last Week in TV" posts before my summer TV blogging hiatus sets in, to finish up the second season of Game of Thrones and continue with the late coverage of other shows. So I'll get to things like the HIMYM and Once Upon a Time finales (and Alcatraz, and Glee, and...) in the next few posts (I am also current on all the Fox animated shows; I just didn't have the time to write or much to say about Bob's Burgers (the best show of the night), Family Guy (the Tea Party episode was pretty funny) or American Dad (ol' reliable) this week. But feel free to sound off on them in the comments if you're so inclined).

The Simpsons: The Spy Who Learned Me


At this point, episodes where Homer is an ass than resolves to become a better person constitute a pretty large subsection of Simpsons episode, so whatever enjoyment there is to be had from them is going to depend on the execution. This one largely worked, thanks, for the most part, to Stradivarius Cain, voiced by Bryan Cranston, one of those great original Simpsons characters (like McBain) that parody a specific pop culture character. Cain's various pseudo-James Bondisms helped inject some fun into an otherwise basic plot, and I wouldn't mind having the character show up again in some capacity.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Avengers Assembled

A long time ago I reacted to the news that Marvel had devised a plan to produce separate super hero movies and then...ahem...assemble those super heroes into one blockbuster titled "The Avengers." I expressed both an appreciation of the ambition of this project but also a healthy dose of skepticism that this plan could be executed properly. As much as I wanted this plan to work I saw numerous pitfalls.
Now, unless you've been living under a rock, you know this plan had come to fruition over two weeks ago when The Avengers hit theaters. I saw it opening weekend and there are rumors I may have seen it twice. But the question is, did Marvel Studios' plan work? There were six total movies (so far). Since I'm such a fan of ranking, why don't I rank these movies from worst to best:

6. The Incredible Hulk: I'm not a fan of absolutes so I won't say it's impossible to make a good Hulk movie but, when I think about it, I don't see it happening. The Hulk is supposed to be an unstoppable beast of pure anger and rage. Unfortunately, that sounds more like a villain than a hero. And really, that's the interesting dynamic to The Hulk. But when the Hulk is the star of a movie it means he has to be more the hero and the consequences of Hulk's destruction is kept to a minimum. So what you end up with is a super hero who's indestructible. That tends to be boring.
This movie ended up being better than the 2003 Hulk movie, but that's feint praise. If you don't dive into the psychology and violence of the Hulk you're left with what this movie was, a fairly boring action movie. If you dive too far into the psychology of it all you end up with a boring melodrama. To make a truly good Hulk movie would require a deft and subtle touch that I'm unsure any director who would take on a Hulk movie would have.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #154

"Reunion"
February 1982 

In a Nutshell 
Corsair returns to Earth chased by a group of alien bounty hunters.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inkers: Bob Wiacek & Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: D. Warfield
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Cyclops and Storm are playing handball in the mansion's gymnasium, eventually calling the game a draw as they are too evenly matched. Meanwhile, Corsair races toward Earth, pursued by a Shi'ar Dreadnaught. In the Bermuda Triangle, the rest of the X-Men are moving equipment into Magneto's old island base, Professor X having decided to relocate their headquarters in light of the damage to the mansion and growing anti-mutant sentiment in the country. In space, Corsair nears Earth, but his ship is damaged by the Shi'ar. At the mansion, Storm and Cyclops are having dinner together and discussing their respective desires for leading the X-Men when they're interrupted by Corsair's ship crashing into the lake. They pull him free, and when he awakens back at the mansion, Cyclops demands to know why Corsair has a locket containing a picture of Cyclops and his brother as children. Corsair tells him the children are his sons. Cyclops doesn't believe him, but Storm tells him it's the truth. Just then, a Sidrian Hunter bursts into the room, pursuing Corsair.

Monday, May 14, 2012

SpringCon 2012

This Saturday and Sunday, May 19th and 20th, is the annual SpringCon comic book convention hosted by the Midwest Comic Book Association. Located in the Grandstand on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, doors open at 10 AM and $11 gets you admission for both days while children 9 and under are free (and get a dollar off admission with a food shelf donation).  

Special guests this year include Fables writer Bill Willingham, Scrooge McDuck artist extraordinaire Don Rosa, and New Mutants artist and co-creator Bob McLeod, whose work we'll be covering in X-aminations in just a few months time. In addition, the Grandstand will be stuffed with creators, dealers and tons of great comic book swag. Panels run throughout both days, and, as always, Sunday afternoon closes out the show with a charity art auction, the best place to buy original art and help out a couple great causes (the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Lupus Foundation).

So if you're in the area this weekend or feel like making a trip, come check it out. And if you do, be sure to stop by the creator check-in table at some point and say hi to me and Mrs. Teebore. If you can't make it yourself, be sure to tell your friends.

More details, including the full guest and dealer list as well as the panel schedule, can be found on the MCBA website here.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Last Week in TV...

...is taking this week off. What with traveling and all, I've barely had any time to watch TV, let alone write about it, so look for an extra large post next week (and expect posts later into the summer as we continue to keep up with Game of Thrones and catch-up with other stuff).

In the meantime, I'm going to try and respond to the backlog of comments...

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #153

"Kitty's Fairy Tale"
January 1982 

In a Nutshell 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As the X-Men recover from their battle with the Hellfire Club and repair the mansion, Colossus and Kitty put Illyana, Colossus' little sister, to bed. To help her go to sleep, Kitty tells her a story with characters modeled after the X-Men. In the caliphate of Nhu Yorkh, Pirate Kitty and Colossus meet a wizard named Xavier and a cursed prince named Cyclops who are on a quest to save Cyclops and his kingdom from Xavier's apprentice, Princess Jean, who has been consumed by darkness and transformed into Dark Phoenix. Just then, Jean attacks, destroying Pirate Kitty's boat, but Xavier is able to drive her off with a crystal containing her soul and Pirate Kitty is able to prevail on the dragon Lockheed to provide them transport. Outside Illyana's room, Wolverine joins Nightcrawler listening in on Kitty's story.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Last Week in TV #31

So in addition to what I write about below, I also watched some other stuff (like Glee, HIMYM, Community and Parks and Rec), but since I'm going to be out of town most of next week for work (and thus unable to watch much TV), I'm going to hold those to help flesh out next week's post. Anyways, here's thoughts on what I did watch and bother to write about. 

The Simpsons: A Totally Fun Thing Bart Will Never Do Again


Maybe it's just because I could relate to Bart's angst regarding his vacation, but I really enjoyed this episode. I more or less spent a good chunk of every vacation doing my best to not think about how many days are left before I have to go back to real life, so Bart's realization that the super awesome cruise he was on would probably be the highlight of his life struck home. Along the way, there were plenty of laughs as well, first from the insane activities on the cruise and then in watching society on the cruise break down. The ending even did a nice job of resolving Bart's fears without belittling them (he wasn't wrong, but older Bart had simply learned to treasure the variety of good memories that occurred along with the drudgery of real life), and was touching without being overly sappy.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

To Better Know a Team: The Avengers

Unless you've been living under a pop culture rock lately, it's no secret that tomorrow marks the debut of Marvel's much-hyped, years-in-the-making blockbuster feature film starring the Avengers. In an effort to piggy back on that hype and to enable our readers to nod approvingly at whatever winks to the fans are included in the movie, here's a look at Earth's Mightiest Heroes (and here are links to past "To Better Know a Hero" profiles on the various Avengers appearing in the film: Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, and Iron Man).  

First Appearance
The Avengers #1, Sept. 1963

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #152

"The Hellfire Gambit"
December 1981 

In a Nutshell
Kitty and Storm-as-White-Queen help free the X-Men from the Hellfire Club.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Bob McLeod
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Don Warfield
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
White Queen, in Storm's body and having learned of Storm's escape from the Massachusetts Academy, attacks the car being driven by Storm in White Queen's body. When the unconscious Kitty awakens and sees who she believes to be the White Queen driving, she phases out of the car, causing Storm-as-White Queen to crash. White Queen-as-Storm, clumsily reacting to the resulting fireball, flies away. Kitty comes across the unconscious body of Storm-as-White Queen and contemplates leaving her to die, but ultimately saves her and eventually accepts that Storm's consciousness is trapped in the body. At the mansion, Sebastian Shaw and White Queen-as-Storm gloat over the captured X-Men, with Harry Leland and a trio of guards mercilessly beating Wolverine to death.