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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #19

"Siege"
September 1984

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants defend Dani from the Demon Bear. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
A critically injured Dani is rushed to the hospital and put into surgery. The New Mutants explain to Officer Tom Corsi of the Westchester County Police that as near as they can tell, Dani was mauled by a bear. As the kids wait at the hospital for word on Dani, they're tended to by a nurse named Sharon. Musing that the Demon Bear is likely to come after Dani to finish her off, Sam has the New Mutants suit up and stand watch. Rahne shifts into her wolf form to monitor Dani through their rapport. Dani tells Rahne that the bear is afraid of Dani, but Rahne pulls back before she can explain further when Dani fights against her anesthesia to communicate with her.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #184

"The Past... of Future Days"
August 1984

In a Nutshell 
The first appearance of Forge. 

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

Plot
In Dallas, Texas, Val Cooper and Raven Darkholme meet with Forge, a mutant inventor working for the government. He shows them a prototype weapon designed to remove mutants' powers as well as a scanner that can detect whether a person is a mutant or an alien. Meanwhile, in New York City, the time traveling Rachel watches a news report on the X-Men, confused by the differences she sees in the X-Men compared to the ones in her past. Selene, drawn to the girl's raw power, reaches out to her, intending to make Rachel her apprentice, but, telepathically sensing Selene's hunger, Rachel flees. She runs into a night club to hide, but is overwhelmed by the thoughts of all the people inside. Tossed out by the bouncer, the club owner, Nick, takes pity on her and brings her to his house.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

X-aminations in February

Another relatively straightforward month, as we plunge further into Sienkiewicz's New Mutants, reach the acclaimed "Lifedeath" and look at the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine miniseries (and, in case you're wondering, I did ultimately decide to skip over "Dazzler: The Movie" in Marvel Graphic Novel #12, for a variety of reasons, first and foremost because, while flipping through it, it seemed neither good enough nor bad enough to generate much discussion). 

February 6th: Uncanny X-Men #185
February 7th: New Mutants #20

February 13th: Uncanny X-Men #186
February 14th: New Mutants #21

February 20th: Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1-6
February 21st: New Mutants Annual #1

February 27th: Uncanny X-Men #187
February 28th: New Mutants #22

Monday, January 28, 2013

One Sentence Reviews

Hey, why don't I review some things I've recently (and not so recently) seen/read? And, just for a change, why don't I do each review in one sentence?

Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (Book, James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales 2011) - It was interesting but not as salacious as I was expecting.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Last Week in TV #18



A short one this week, as the Fox comedies took Sunday off (for some reason) and I spent most of the rest of the week out of town and away from a TV. But here's what I did watch: 

Once Upon a Time: The Outsider

 
Regina's fate is still a wild card, but this episode filled me with a lot more confidence for the back half of this season than the last episode did. Having Archie escape from Hook and turn up in front of Henry and Emma so soon was a pleasant surprise, as was bringing the Hook/Gold confrontation to the forefront so quickly (I expected that to simmer all season long). I can't complain too much about annoying plotlines if they get resolved relatively quickly.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #18

"Death-Hunt"
August 1984

In a Nutshell
The debut of new series artist Bill Sienkiewicz. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Bill Sienkiewicz
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Outside the mansion, a ratty red-haired girl works up the courage to approach the school. Inside, Cannonball, Sunspot and Magma practice in the Danger Room as Dani and Illyana observe. Illyana can tell something is troubling Dani, but Dani refuses to tell her about the recurring dreams she's experienced of the Demon Bear since their return from Massachusetts. The doorbell rings and Illyana answers it to find the red-haired girl. She asks to see Professor X, but Illyana tells her he's away, spooking her after Illyana introduces herself. Meanwhile, in space, a being named Warlock is pursued by his powerful father. Back at the mansion, Illyana runs Dani through a Danger Room sequence in which she fights a large bear.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #183

"He'll Never Make Me Cry"
July 1984

In a Nutshell 
Colossus and Kitty break-up, after which he gets into a bar fight with Juggernaut. 

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

Plot
On a hill top overlooking the lake, Colossus tells Kitty that while he and the X-Men were away on the Beyonder's planet, he fell in love with an alien woman. He admits that while he still cares for Kitty, he no longer feels the love and commitment for her he once did, ending their relationship. Kitty puts up a brave front until she returns to the mansion, where she bursts into tears, and is comforted by Illyana. Meanwhile, Storm watches as Rogue puts herself through a grueling Danger Room exercise and offers to help her deal with her emotional situation, but is rebuked. That evening, Wolverine takes Colossus into the city, accompanied by Nightcrawler, while Kitty tells Storm she'll be leaving the school for awhile to visit her dad and clear her head. In Dallas, Val Cooper and Raven Darkholme discuss Senator Kelly's Mutant Affairs bill on their way to visit Forge, a colleague of Raven's. At a bar in Manhattan, Wolverine talks to Colossus about his break up with Kitty, insisting that Colossus really ended things because he was scared of how serious their relationship was becoming.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Last Week in TV #17



A couple quick notes. First, the snazzy new logo on the top of the post comes compliments of my brother Ian. I've long wanted some kind of image to lead off these posts every week, and he came through marvelously to spare you all from my pathetic MS Paint efforts. Second, this week and next (and probably the one after that) will be a little goofy, as things got busy this week (so I haven't yet watched this week's Once Upon a Time) and next week I'll be traveling for work and thus unable to watch much TV. So expect some double show or delayed posts as I catch up where I can. Hopefully, things'll be normalized again by the time Walking Dead returns in February. 

But enough blather! On to the TV!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #17

"Getaway!"
July 1984

In a Nutshell
Cannonball and Jetstream duel for the New Mutants' freedom. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Sal Buscema,Tom Mandrake & Kim DeMulder
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As the White Queen leads the Hellions in an analysis of their confrontation with Xavier's students, the defeated New Mutants find themselves imprisoned along with Kitty in a room with a power inhibitor. Meanwhile, in Limbo, Dani, with the help of S'ym, tends to an exhausted Illyana. When she awakens, she casts a healing spell on herself, then teleports with Dani back to the Massachusetts Academy. When they arrive, they discover their teammates dressed like the Hellions and interacting with them as though they're all old friends. Dani and Illyana quickly realize they've arrived at the school a year after their initial encounter with the Hellions, and that the White Queen has succeeded in brainwashing their teammates. Illyana teleports them again, and they arrive a week after their fight with the Hellions. Certain she won't be able to do any better, Dani and Illyana steal into the New Mutants' room to rouse them. But before they can escape, they are confronted by the Hellions.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #182

"Madness"
June 1984

In a Nutshell 
Rogue rescues Michael Rossi from the SHIELD helicarrier.

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

Plot
Rogue, having flown directly from Japan, arrives at the mansion in record time. She finds the place deserted, and checks Xavier's messages. When she hears one from Michael Rossi, aboard SHIELD's helicarrier, that is cutoff midsentence, she races off to rescue him, missing a message from Illyana explaining the New Mutants intent to rescue Kitty from the White Queen. Aboard the helicarrier, Rossi is roughly interrogated by two SHIELD agents, one of whom, Garwood, is actually a mole working for Sebastian Shaw. When he reports to Shaw that Rossi was discovered scanning SHIELD's computers for data on Shaw, Shaw orders Rossi killed. Meanwhile, Rogue storms the helicarrier, fighting her way to Rossi. She arrives just as Garwood has shot his partner, intending to kill Rossi himself and claim he died in an escape attempt. Rogue knocks out Garwood and escapes with the badly beaten Rossi.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Last Week in TV #16

The Simpsons: Homer Goes to Prep School


I haven't seen more than twenty minutes of any episode of the doomsday preppers show this episode is parodying, but nevertheless, I got a kick out of this. Pairing Homer up with a group of people similarly inclined to going to extremes led to some great laughs, and while the reveal that the world didn't end after all was so obvious it barely constitutes a twist, the reaction of the preppers to both the perceived end and the final act reveal was still pretty great.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #16

"Away Game!"
June 1984

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of the Hellions.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inkers: Mandrake & DeMulder
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Ken Feduniewicz
Editors: Jones & Nocenti 
Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
When the Hellfire Club guards move in to capture the New Mutants, Amara triggers an earthquake which disrupts the power to the lower levels of the Massachusetts Academy. In the ensuing darkness, the New Mutants manage to sneak into a store room, where they plan their next move. Knocking out a pair of female guards, the team splits up. Sam and Amara blow the generator, shutting down power throughout the campus, then go in search of Doug. Meanwhile, Illyana and Dani, dressed as Hellfire Club guards, search for Kitty, not realizing they are being followed. In another part of the complex, Roberto and Rahne search as well, but they encounter a pair of the White Queen's students, Thunderbird and Roulette, who manage to knock out the two New Mutants.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #181

"Tokyo Story"
May 1984

In a Nutshell 
Returning from Secret Wars, the X-Men defend Tokyo from a dragon attack. 

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 Japan, a group of school children witness the sudden arrival of a massive dragon, followed by the X-Men, transported to Earth following their encounter with the Beyonder. The dragon, a female whom Lockheed befriended on the Beyonder's Battleworld but arrived on Earth significantly larger, heads for Tokyo. Professor X and Storm send Rogue back to New York to check on Kitty and the New Mutants, then the rest of the X-Men follow the dragon into the city. As she approaches Tokyo, the Japanese military engage her, but are turned back. The X-Men arrive and, assisted by Sunfire, do their best to help save bystanders from the dragon's rampage.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 11)

A Happy New Year to all! We've reached the top 10 of my rankings and we have some good, quality shows. They are also very different from one another. Which just confirms for me that, regardless of subject matter, if you have a quality, interesting show I can like it. As always, the rules to my list are here:

10. Law and Order: Bum bum. This is a police procedural that generally goes against what I like in a television show. It's very episodic with no story arcs and very little character development. Oddly enough, the episodes that delve into a police officer's or D.A.'s personal life are my least favorite. For this series, I just want straight plot. Give me you're case of the week and your twists and turns and then wrap it all up (in some manner) by the end of the hour. Everyone walks away happy.
This show can be extremely entertaining and certainly isn't opposed to tackling more sensitive issues. It generally tries to be fair to both sides of an issue but whether it's successful at doing that is...open for debate.
When the show got into its later years it tended to go off the rails. The twists in the cases were very forced and could be so bizarre you wanted to bang your head against the wall. But earlier episodes of the series are phenomenal.
This show really rates so high on my list for one reason and one reason only. If I see the first five minutes of an episode I'm stuck watching the entire thing. I have no choice! I get hooked that quickly. So if there's a weekend marathon of the show...let's just say I'm not very productive that weekend.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Last Week in TV #15

And we're back! This week we'll look at some pre-holiday holdovers, including my mini-marathon catch-up on Glee, as well as the handful of new episodes that have aired post-Christmas. 

The Simpsons: To Cur With Love 


A perfectly cromulent episode, though a little underwhelming after the (admittedly unintentional) build-up following its initial preemption. The much-hyped "Homer becomes obsessed with a social media game" plot, intended to skewer things like Farmville and the Simpsons own Tapped Out (of which I am currently obsessed) also ultimately amounted to very little. Futurama's "Jurassic Bark" was a far more poignant dog story, but I'm enough of a softie (and dog lover) to still find this somewhat affecting, if, like Bart's casual and metatextual checking off of supporting character origins, pretty unexciting.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

X-aminations in January

After a little break this week, it's business as usual for the rest of the month, as we get a string of uninterrupted X-Men and New Mutants issues.

January 9th: Uncanny X-Men #181
January 10th: New Mutants #16

January 16th: Uncanny X-Men #182
January 17th: New Mutants #17

January 23rd: Uncanny X-Men #183
January 24th: New Mutants #18

January 30th: Uncanny X-Men #184
January 31st: New Mutants #19