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

Thursday, August 30, 2012

X-amining Marvel Graphic Novel #5


"God Loves, Man Kills"
1982

In a Nutshell
The X-Men team-up with Magneto against a televangelist's crusade against mutants. 

Writer: Christopher Claremont
Artist: Brent Eric Anderson
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Steve Oliff
Editor: Louise Jones
Associate Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot 
In Connecticut, two mutant children are hunted and killed by a group of Purifiers, who string up the children's bodies on a local playground to set an example. But before morning, Magneto arrives and lays them to rest, swearing vengeance. In New York, Reverend William Stryker is briefed on the X-Men. That evening, the X-Men gather to watch Professor X debate Stryker on TV, and thanks to some clever editing, Stryker comes out looking better. As the X-Men burn off their frustrations in the Danger Room, Cyclops and Storm escort Xavier home, but are ambushed by Stryker's soldiers, the Purifiers. At the mansion, the X-Men are told their teammates died in a car accident.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #168

"Professor Xavier is a Jerk!"
April 1983

In a Nutshell
Kitty lobbies for her place on the X-Men. 

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

Plot 
As Kitty and Illyana walk to dance class, Kitty rails against Professor Xavier's decision to demote her to the New Mutants. At the mansion, Wolverine and Nightcrawler discuss Xavier's decision as Wolverine packs for a vacation to Canada, while in the Danger Room, Professor X continues his physical therapy with Lilandra's help. At dance class, Stevie Hunter convinces a still-angry Kitty to fight for her place on the team. That night, Storm attempts to reconnect with nature, but finds her recent experiences have damaged her rapport with nature. As Christmas draws near, Kitty does her best to convince Professor X she belongs on the X-Men. In Florida, Cyclops reconnects with Lee Forrester while Nightcrawler does the same with Amanda Sefton in New York. The next day, Kitty is running a scan of the mansion when she notices an anomaly in a maintenance tunnel.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

X-aminations in September

Here's a look at what's ahead in September, a pretty routine month that finds us back in the groove of the two series before finishing up with a look at Wolverine's first solo miniseries.

September 5th: Uncanny X-Men #169
September 6th: New Mutants #4

September 12th: Uncanny X-Men #170
September 13th: New Mutants #5

September 19th: Uncanny X-Men #171

September 20th: New Mutants #6

September 26th: Wolverine #1-4

Friday, August 24, 2012

Retro Review: So It's Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show

Original Airdate
April 1, 1993

Or the One Where
With Homer in the hospital, the Simpsons recall past episodes...of their lives.

The Setup
After Homer continually pranks Bart on April Fools Day, Bart gets him back by shaking up a can of beer in a paint mixer, causing an explosion that lands Homer in the hospital.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

X-amining The Uncanny X-Men and New Teen Titans #1


"Apokolips...Now!"
1982

In a Nutshell
The X-Men and Teen Titans team-up to defeat Deathstroke, Darkseid and Dark Phoenix. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Walter Simonson
Finisher:Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Consulting Editor: Len Wein

Plot 
At the Source Wall, New Gods Metron and Darkseid strike a deal: Darkseid receives the Psychon-Wave device while Metron receives a Omega-Phase Helmet that will allow him to pierce the Wall. Darkseid goes to Earth, and uses the Psychon-Wave to extract from the X-Men their memories of Phoenix. The X-Men are awakened by a screaming Kitty, just as an apparition of Phoenix appears before them and begs for their help before disappearing. At Titans Tower, Raven has a prophetic dream of a fiery bird attacking her. Recognizing it as the Phoenix, Starfire summons the rest of the team. As the Titans come together, the X-Men visit Jean's parents, who received a similar visitation. Just then Professor X alerts them to reports of strange occurrences at places where Phoenix manifested her power. The X-Men depart to investigate, while Starfire tells the Titans about Phoenix, and Deathstroke the Terminator is sent by Darkseid to the "last siphon point".

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

X-amining Special Edition X-Men #1


"A Day Like Any Other"
February 1983

In a Nutshell
Kitty gives Illyana a tour of the mansion.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Dave Cockrum & Hilary Bart
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski, David Cody Weiss
Colorist: Andy Yachus
Editor: Louise Jones
Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot 
Feeling down, Kitty works out in the Danger Room until Illyana joins her. Kitty proceeds to give Illyana a tour of the mansion and its grounds, not knowing they are being watched. When the girls reach the hanger, Kitty notices an intruder alert, and they rush off to investigate. Reaching the living room, Illyana throws Kitty inside, where the X-Men, New Mutants and Starjammers surprise Kitty with a birthday party.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 9)

It's the the top 20! Huzzah! We're getting to some quality shows and one that can definitely be labeled a classic. Not much more of an intro in this post, but, as always, the rules to my list are here:

20. Todd McFarlane's Spawn: Al Simmons made a deal with the devil and it went about as well as...actually it went a little better than most deals with the devil. Not to say there weren't Catch 22s but he did get super powers. You don't want to know what I'd do to get super powers.

Spawn was an animated HBO show based on the Image comic book of the same name. It is dark, gritty and filled with adult situations. And not just Skinemax adult situations. This is a series that dealt with some heavy and disturbing stuff. But watching a man battle evil demons and protect a family that believes him dead and has moved on is interesting. It's too bad that this series ended after the third season right when an apocalyptic war between heaven and hell was promised.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Retro Review: Last Exit to Springfield

Original Airdate
March 11, 1993

Or the One Where
Homer becomes the head of the power plant's union and takes on Mr. Burns.

The Setup
When it turns out Lisa needs braces, Homer accepts a position as head of the union in order to get back their dental plan.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

X-amining X-Men Annual #6

"Blood Feud!"
1982

In a Nutshell
The X-Men fight Dracula. Again. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciller: Bill Seinkiewicz
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In upstate New York, Rachel Van Helsing returns home to discover Dracula waiting for her. Meanwhile, at the X-Mansion, Kitty is tremendously upset upon learning her parents are getting divorced, and runs off to her room, where she fails to notice an encroaching shadow. That night, Storm dreams of draining the X-Men's blood and reuniting with Dracula. When she awakens, she realizes Dracula is summoning her and departs to meet him, unwilling to endanger her friends' lives. Kitty watches her go, then attacks Colossus. Storm arrives at a manor in Cornwall, and is greeted by Rachel, now a vampiric thrall of Dracula. Breaking his word to release his hold on her, Dracula sends Storm to steal the Darkhold, a book containing the Montessi Formula, a spell capable of destroying Dracula once and for all. Once she retrieves the book, she's attacked by Kitty and Colossus, the later now a vampire, who take the book for themselves and leave Ororo to flee the police with Dracula.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #167

"The Goldilocks Syndrome! (Or: "Who's Been Sleeping in My Head?")"
March 1983

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men return to Earth. 

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

Plot
The New Mutants are watching Magnum P.I. when the X-Men burst into the mansion, hoping to take Professor X by surprise. The New Mutants fight back, but Kitty manages to sneak into Professor Xavier's study. However, she hesitates firing on him, at which point he transforms into a Brood Queen and attacks her. As the Brood Queen taunts the X-Men, Cyclops blasts her outside. The X-Men give chase, and their combined efforts are enough to allow Professor Xavier's lingering consciousness to briefly take control of the Brood's body. He begs the X-Men to kill him before the transformation is complete, but Cyclops is unwilling to do so, determined to find another way to resolve the situation.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Retro Review: Duffless

Original Airdate
February 18, 1993

Or the One Where
Homer gives up beer for thirty days at the same time Lisa conducts an experiment to determine whether her brother is smarter than a hamster. 

The Setup
Following a trip to the Duff Brewery, Homer gets a DUI, prompting Marge to ask him to give up alcohol for a month, while Bart earns himself a place in Lisa's new science project after he destroys her steroid-enhanced super tomato.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #3

"Nightmare"
May 1983

In a Nutshell 
The New Mutants come face to face with one of the Brood. 

Writer/Co-Creator: Chris Claremont
Penciller/Co-Creator: Bob McLeod
Inker: Mike Gustovich
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Dani is haunted at night by visions of the Brood, the Demon Bear which killed her parents, and her dead teammates, though when she wakes up, she discovers the knife she used to attack the bear in her dream has blood on it. When she goes to tell this to Professor X, she overhears him talking with Moira MacTaggert, saying he believes Dani may be suffering from extreme paranoid schizophrenia. Despondent, Dani contemplates whether she should even go on living. On Muir Isle, Moira hangs up with Xavier, frustrated he hasn't used his telepathy to accurately diagnose Dani's condition. Banshee comforts her, even going so far as to propose to her, but Moira turns him down. The next morning, Banshee finds Illyana singing a song to the rising sun, as though she's praying. He believes she is honoring the missing X-Men, but she is really singing for the X-Men she saw killed while growing up in Limbo. Back at the mansion, Dani discusses her situation with her teammates, all of whom believe her. Suddenly, as the landscape around them turns alien, they are attacked by a Brood Queen.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #166

"Live Free or Die!"
February 1983

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men defeat the Brood. 

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

Plot
On the planet Madrizar the Brood work to enslave another Acanti when an enraged Binary appears and attacks the facility. Storm appears before her, and she brings Binary to the Acanti where the X-Men are waiting. Storm then tells the X-Men how the Brood enslaved the Acanti, including their Prophet Singer, keeper of the Acanti's racial soul. Even after his death, the soul remained captive on the Brood homeworld. Thus, the Acanti are unable to free themselves from the Brood. She explains that the Acanti in which they reside is the first new Prophet Singer in generations, but was born prematurely when it's mother was captured by the Brood. When the Acanti came across Storm's dying form in space, they bonded her consciousness to the newborn, giving him the awareness he needed to survive while his mind developed in exchange for using his natural healing abilities to repair Storm's body. Storm offers her teammates the opportunity to spend their last moments not on vengeance, but fighting to help free the Acanti from the Brood.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Retro Review: I Love Lisa

Original Airdate
February 11, 1993

Or the One Where
Ralph Wiggum crushes on Lisa. 

The Setup
After Lisa takes pity on Ralph and gives him a Valentine, he becomes enamored with her, much to Lisa's frustration. 

Notable Notes
This episode established that Ralph is Chief Wiggum's son (both characters had obviously appeared before this, but this is the first time their relationship to one another was established).

Thursday, August 2, 2012

X-amining New Mutants #2

"Sentinels"
April 1983

In a Nutshell 
The New Mutants are attacked by Sentinels

Writer/Co-Creator: Chris Claremont
Penciler/Co-Creator: Bob McLeod
Inker: Mike Gustovich
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Dani races through the Danger Room, pursued by a monstrous creature. She climbs a cliffside to escape it, hoping to reach an exit, but suddenly she encounters a Brood. Recoiling, she falls off the cliff and is knocked unconscious. Meanwhile, at the Salem Center Mall, the New Mutants and Stevie Hunter emerge from a movie. The kids mingle with some students from the local public school, unknowingly watched by Project: Wideawake. Henry Gyrich and Sebastian Shaw examine the new model of Sentinels Shaw has built, but Gyrich insists he won't need them in order to capture the New Mutants. Shaw, however, secretly wants to heighten the New Mutants fear of humans. At the mall, Stevie is accosted by Colonel Michael Rossi, telling her she'll need his help. Government agents arrive to arrest the New Mutants, and uncertain what to do, Shan tells her teammates to go along peacefully.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #165

"Transfigurations!"
January 1983

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men deal with their impending deaths.

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

Plot
With the hole in the hull of the ship caused by Binary's abrupt departure threatening to suck the X-Men out into space, they work together to seal the breach with a piece of deck plating. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Moira brings Xavier a letter from Reed Richards asking for help with a young Vietnamese mutant named Karma. When Xavier declines, Moira suggests sending the girl to Magneto or Emma Frost's Massachusetts Academy if Xavier refuses to help. After Moira leaves, Professor X accepts that he has a responsibility to help young mutants, and calls Richards. Back in space, aboard a Shi'ar shuttle, Storm drifts through a nebula, trying to decide what to do with the Brood egg growing inside her. Suddenly, she begins to transform into a Brood, but when her ship breaches the nebula, the bombardment of starlight fills her with energy, reversing the transformation. Realizing what she has to do, Storm absorbs as much energy as she can and explodes her ship, killing both herself and the embryo.