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.