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

Thursday, October 31, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #47

"My Heart for the Highlands"
January 1987

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants meet Robert the Bruce. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jackson Guice
Inker: Kyle Baker
Letterer: L. Lois Buhalis
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Creators: Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod
Stars: New Mutants

Plot
In Limbo, to which Illyana teleported the team to escape Magus, Roberto wakes up to discover the rest of his friends unconscious. Suddenly, a group of demons arrives and carries Illyana away. He follows them and prepares to rescue Illyana when it appears the demons are going to kill her, but S'ym appears and explains to Roberto that the demons are merely casting a spell to revive Illyana. Sure enough, she soon wakes up, then revives the rest of the team. They discuss the situation, and Warlock offers to sacrifice himself to Magus to save everyone else, but everyone agrees to stand by him. Just then, Magus appears, having tracked the New Mutants to Limbo. They quickly find their powers are no match for him, but Karma manages to possess him long enough for Illyana to blindly teleport everyone out of Limbo.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Walking Dead 4x03: Isolation

Rick and Company have fought many different enemies throughout The Walking Dead. They’ve battled zombies, other humans and even themselves. While they’ll probably never stop battling themselves, zombies nor other humans (in that order), they have found now themselves a new foe: illness.

Perhaps this is a story that needs to be told. Heck, part of me feels like this story should have been told sooner. Considering all the bumps, scrapes and bruises that have occurred (not to mention stabbings and gunshot wounds) I’m surprised people in the group haven’t died from infections yet. However realistic, though, watching people slowly die of the flu is just not compelling to me.

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #212

"The Last Run"
December 1986

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine battles Sabretooth in the Morlock Tunnels. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Guest Artist: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the Morlock Tunnels, Wolverine stalks amongst the dead, seeking a Marauder to bring back to the mansion for questioning. At the school, the X-Men, led by Moira and Sharon Friedlander, work feverishly to save as many of the wounded Morlocks as they can. Storm, checking in on the permanently-phased Kitty and the comatose Nightcrawler, suddenly has a crisis of faith and runs off, out onto the mansion's grounds. Colossus attempts to go after her, but suddenly collapses. Psylocke is able to telepathically determine that he's still alive, while Magneto uses his power to see that Colossus is leaking energy through all the wounds he received from Riptide. In the tunnels, Wolverine once again picks up the scent of X-Factor, and his confusion over the seeming presence of Jean's scent allows his old foe Sabretooth to get the drop on him. Back at the mansion, Magneto is able to repair the damage and return Colossus to consciousness, but he is unexpectedly paralyzed.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How I Met Your Mother 9x07: No Questions Asked


This was a pretty broad, hijinks-y episode, though fortunately, most of those hijinks worked for me (in particular, all the largely-unexplained stuff surrounding Robin in a body suit, carrying a golden gun, despite my better judgement). It also addressed two important character beats: Marshall realizing he can't lie to Lily, and Robin and Barney realizing they need to work on being a couple and not a pair of lone wolfs in a relationship together.

Both realizations are long overdue, though the former is perhaps excused by Marshall's displacement from the other characters (which remains a problem in and of itself). The latter's delay is patently ridiculous: the conversation between Robin and Barney was fine, and necessary, but it should have happened before they got engaged, let alone two days before their wedding. It's good the writers addressed it (better late than never) and it remains to be seen if anything actually changes between them, but the fact that it took this long for the show to address it is pretty sad.

Monday, October 28, 2013

X-aminations in November

Another straight-forward month, as we wrap up "Mutant Massacre", including the tie-ins (and a weird little miniseries featuring Mephisto that doesn't tie-in, but does take place around this time), before plunging ahead on all three titles.

November 6th: Uncanny X-Men #213
November 7th: New Mutants #48
November 8th: X-Factor #12

November 13th: Thor #373-374
November 14th: Power Pack #27 & Daredevil #238
November 15th: Mephisto vs. #1-4

November 20th: Uncanny X-Men #214
November 21st: New Mutants #49
November 22nd: X-Factor #13

November 27th: Uncanny X-Men #215
November 28th: New Mutants #50
November 29th: X-Factor #14

Saturday Night Live: Edward Norton & Janelle Monae


I'm surprised that Edward Norton has never hosted before. I know he has a reputation (alluded to in his monologue) for being a finicky, controlling method actor, so I could definitely see him thinking that doing SNL is below him. But then he randomly shows up to host, not even to promote anything specific, so maybe he was just never asked before? Or maybe he did need thirteen years to prepare...

Anyways, he handled himself pretty well - there were a few times where he seemed to stumble on some lines, but it wasn't clear if he was or if if was just he way he was playing the character - and was given a fair amount of work to do. This was a fairly consistent episode, with very few studs or duds, so to speak. Pretty much all the sketches had at least one flaw (if not more), but most also had at least one or two entertaining moments as well.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #5

Once Upon a Time: Quite a Common Fairy


Considering this is ABC/Disney we're talking about, that was a pretty surprising admission of Mulan's feelings for Aurora, wasn't it? I mean, it wasn't like they came right out and said it, but the subtext was darn near text for two characters ostensibly based on stars of animated Disney films.

Henry's line about his family having a thing about apples was pretty great, and as much as Henry often bugs me, I have to give him credit for actually trying to shoot Pan instead of play along (as much as we knew Pan wouldn't get hit).

And while it only portends more focus on Henry, I do like the idea that he is significant because he's the child of parents born of the greatest light and the greatest darkness. But I'm a sucker for stuff like that. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

X-amining X-Factor #10

"Falling Angel"
November 1986

In a Nutshell 
Angel is crippled by the Marauders. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Walter Simonson
Inker: Bob Wiacek 
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As the Marauders begin slaughtering the Morlocks, X-Factor splits up, with Angel and Marvel Girl returning Skids and the injured Rusty to their headquarters while Cyclops, Beast and Iceman continue to search for Artie. They come across a group of Morlocks being chased by some Marauders, and manage to fight the villains off, though Beast is wounded in the process. As Angel and Marvel Girl return to their headquarters, they're greeted with the news that the press has learned about Angel's connection to X-Factor. Back in the tunnels, Artie, along with his new friends Leech and Caliban, are attacked by Sabretooth. Leech manages to hide in a small tunnel with Artie as Cyclops knocks out Sabretooth, but the hidden and mute Artie is unable to call out for Cyclops. X-Factor continues to rescue Morlocks from the Marauders, and Artie strikes out after them on his own. Back at X-Factor headquarters, Warren and Jean discuss the situation, and Jean wonders aloud how she can both love and hate Scott so much at the same. As Warren hugs Jean, Candy Southern walks in, having heard the news about X-Factor. Seeing Warren and Jean together, she angrily storms off, quitting her job and leaving Warren.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How I Met Your Mother 9x06: Knight Vision


Well, at least that was a funnier episode. And the stock pre-wedding conflict involving Robin and Barney was relegated to the B-plot. And the whole Robin/Barney's mother conflict was nowhere to be found (yet). At this point, we've got to take upside where we can find it. So even though it may just be caused my abiding affection for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but I was amused by the ethereal knight passing judgement on Ted's choices. And even though the Robin/Barney subplot reminded us again of how they have a tendency to be horrible, horrible people, seeing them together instead of arguing at least reminds us of why they are getting married (and seeing the cast play each others characters in the altered flashbacks was genuinely a hoot). We didn't get any more of the Mother, and this episode did very little to advance Ted's overall plot, but at least it did something different than the previous two episodes.

X-amining New Mutants #46


"Bloody Sunday"
December 1986

In a Nutshell
"Mutant Massacre" comes to New Mutants

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Jackson Guice
Inker: Kyle Baker
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As an alarmed Lockheed alerts the New Mutants to the return of the X-Men, Illyana teleports to Muir Isle to enlist Moira's help in treating the injured. They arrive back at the school at the same time as the battered X-Men, who are leading a group of wounded, dying Morlocks. Moira immediately sets up a triage center, and the New Mutants help gather equipment, run supplies and treat the wounded. Throughout the day they work, overwhelmed by the horror of the situation. Doug, however, notices that Warlock is acting differently, constantly scanning the sky but refusing to explain why. Meanwhile, Karma, worried that if the Marauders are targeting mutants they could go after her younger siblings, tries to call them, but gets no answer. Illyana offers to teleport her to their apartment, but they find the place deserted., and when Karma turns on the lights, she triggers a bomb.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #211

"Massacre"
November 1986

In a Nutshell
"Mutant Massacre" begins. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: John Romita Jr. & Bret Blevins
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the Morlock Tunnels, the Marauders begin mercilessly slaughtering everyone in sight, but one Morlock manages to escape and reach the X-Mansion, alerting the X-Men to the attack. The X-Men are teleported into the tunnels by Illyana, and immediately set upon by Riptide and Vertigo. Nightcrawler is able to subdue Vertigo through a series of teleports, but the effort leaves him open to an attack by Riptide, who severely injuries Nightcrawler before fleeing with Vertigo. Storm sends Illyana back to the mansion along with Nightcrawler and other wounded Morlocks, then splits the X-Men up to search for more survivors. Colossus and Shadowcat locate one group of survivors but are attacked by Arclight and Scalphunter, while Rogue, Storm, Wolverine and Callisto attempt to lead another group of survivors out of the tunnels. They are nearly hit by a stray optic blast, and Wolverine senses the presence of all the original X-Men nearby, including - inexplicably - Jean Grey. But before they can investigate, they are rejoined by Colossus and Shadowcat, having escaped from Arclight and Scalphunter, just as Harpoon, Riptide and Scrambler attack.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Walking Dead 4x02: Infected

Last week I said, "To start the season, however, I think there are good stories that can be told about people being safe, comfortable and even somewhat flourishing while surrounded by zombies." Well, so much for that! The second episode of this season immediately tried to thrust that status quo into flux.

Infected was mainly about in two large changes. First, the prison is no longer the safe haven the characters thought it to be. Second, Rick is transformed from peaceful farmer back to a man of action and leadership. Neither of these changes are surprising but the speed at which they occurred was (at least for me).

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #4

Sleepy Hollow: The Lesser Key of Solomon


Something kinda cool I realized about this show watching this episode: not only does this show have an African-American female lead who isn't romantically involved with the other lead, but one of the (presumed) supporting characters is also an African-American female, and at multiple times this episode managed to pass the Bechdel Test. Neither of those things should need to be commented on in this day and age (they should just be), but unfortunately, they do, and its kinda neat the way this show can be somewhat unique on TV even beyond its batshit crazy plot elements.

Friday, October 18, 2013

X-amining Amazing Spider-Man #282 & Web of Spider-Man Annual #2

Amazing Spider-Man #282

"The Fury of X-Factor!"
November 1986

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor is hired to capture Spider-Man. 

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Rick Leonardi
Inker: Bob Layton
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Nel Yomtov
Editor: Jim Owsley
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
After seeing their commercial on TV, Daily Bugle publisher J. Jonah Jameson decides to hire X-Factor to capture Spider-Man, over the objections of his Editor-in-Chief, Robbie Robertson. X-Factor meets with Jameson and takes the job, though they tell Jameson they aren't certain that Spider-Man is a mutant. As the X-Terminators, X-Factor tries to locate Spider-Man in order to "warn" him that X-Factor is after him. However, a fight breaks out between a suspicious Spider-Man and the X-Terminators, one which ends only when the weakened Spider-Man is knocked unconscious. As Iceman watches over Spider-Man, the rest of the team returns to Jameson and tells him they've determined Spider-Man is not a mutant, and thus outside their purview. When Spider-Man awakens, Iceman offers to help Spider-Man, but he declines, saying that when he takes off his mask, he's just a regular Joe. Iceman wishes him well, pointing out that the two of them aren't so different, as the public will always fear and distrust them both.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

X-amining X-Men Annual #10

"Performance"
1986

In a Nutshell 
Mojo takes control of the X-Men, forcing the New Mutants to battle their mentors. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Arthur Adams
Inker: Terry Austin
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men train in the Danger Room, their actions unknowingly recorded by Betsy's bionic eyes and beamed to Mojoworld, where they generate huge ratings for Mojo. Hoping to further increase his ratings with a live performance, he sends Longshot to the X-Men, who pops into the Danger Room through a portal along with an ectoplasmic substance that covers the X-Men. The next morning, the X-Men awaken to discover they are getting younger, something which Warlock and Doug determine is caused by the ectoplasm that accompanied Longshot. After Betsy picks up an image of Mojo in Longshot's memory, the de-aging X-Men decide to track him down, only to find the New Mutants standing in their way. However, Magneto, who is still old enough to possess his powers, knocks them out, and the young X-Men rush off to Central Park, where they discover Mojo waiting for them. Back at the mansion, the New Mutants regain consciousness and don new uniforms, "graduating" themselves to X-Men in order to rescue their friends.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

X-amining New Mutants Annual #2

"Why Do We Do These Things We Do?"
1986

In a Nutshell
Cypher and Warlock help free Psylocke and the New Mutants from Mojo. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Alan Davis
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Presenter: Stan Lee
Creators: Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod

Plot
In Switzerland, retired superhero Elizabeth 'Betsy' Braddock is suddenly attacked and captured by Mojo and Spiral. Later, at Xavier's School, a despondent Doug discusses his role as a New Mutant with Dani. At the same time, children all over the world, including the New Mutants and Karma's siblings, are entranced by a new animated TV show called Wildways, featuring Mojo, Spiral and Betsy. A week later, Betsy's brother, Captain Britain, is attacked at an abandoned school in Manhattan while searching for his missing sister. At the same time, an entranced Roberto is taken by Mojo and replaced with an android duplicate. Later, Roberto is seemingly killed. Warlock, however, realizes that the dead Roberto is an android. At the abandoned school, Mojo transforms the children he's ensnared, including Roberto, Rahne, Karma's siblings and three kids who befriended Longshot, into a super-powered team of adults he dubs the Brat Pack. As the New Mutants track their missing teammates to the school, they're attacked by the Brat Pack, and all but Doug and Warlock are captured and transformed themselves.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How I Met Your Mother 9x05: The Poker Game


Blech. I am so sick of manufactured Barney/Robin drama. Look, I get that the creators need to come up with A-plots for twenty-odd episodes this season, but if the best they can do is to run Barney and Robin through all the usual pre-wedding stories exaggerated to ever-more-cartoonish levels, they probably should have just ended the series last season. Even beyond the fact the show is doing little to elevate this material beyond the standard story beats, it's all rendered as false conflict even more than on a regular sitcom (where there still exists a small chance the engaged couple could call off the wedding), since we know for a fact that Barney and Robin ultimately end up together. On a macro level, that's not a problem for telling stories about their relationship, but when it gets down to this level of nitty-gritty, it just makes the plots seem all the more pointless. Basically, I wouldn't mind these kinds of bog-standard pre-wedding stories if they were telling them in either a really funny or original way. Unfortunately, so far, they are doing neither.

The Walking Dead 4x01: 30 Days Without An Accident


You may have noticed that Teebore has been late with some of his posts recently. Well, he's going through some rough stuff that, while he may not want everyone to know about it, I think it's important that our readers are aware of what's going on.
It's no secret that Teebore has been doing a lot of posts per week and Teebore was planning to add to his already lengthy list of weekly posts with a The Walking Dead review. To accommodate all the posts he was doing he needed to stay up late. He started hitting the caffeine pills pretty hard.
At first I didn’t think much of it. Then he overslept for a singing audition I set up for him with a record producer after creepily recording him and his friends in the locker room. Turned out Teebore had ODed on the caffeine pills. Even though he missed the audition and was obviously burnt out he still immediately wanted to start writing his The Walking Dead post but first he went for the caffeine pills. I had to stop him. I knew it was all too much. While it was true that he was so excited...so excited he was also so...scared.
So I’m taking over The Walking Dead posts for this season. This is bad news for anyone who likes coherent, well thought out, thematic analysis of each episode but it is good news for people who like nonsensical ramblings loosely tied to The Walking Dead that more-or-less appears to be random words strung together during an alcohol induced stupor. It may not be perfect but if Teebore’s struggles in recovery from caffeine pill addiction has taught me anything it’s that all we need push on in the face of adversity and persevere.
Anyway...on to the review!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Saturday Night Live: Bruce Willis & Katy Perry


Well, that was not a terribly good episode. Most disconcertingly, there was really only one or two non-pre-taped sketches, at best, that were even halfway decent, which is never a good sign. Bruce Willis wasn't an awful host - he was pretty good, actually. He seemed to have a sense of humor and was up for anything, and showed some real skill at sketch comedy (how many hosts are likely to have a Michael Kors impression in their back pocket?). But unfortunately, the writing seemed incapable of making the most of his talents.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #3

The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIV


The much-ballyhooed opening, directed by Guillermo Del Toro, was easily the best part of the episode. Which isn't to disparage the rest of the episode, which was decent. The middle segment, in which Bart's head is affixed to Lisa's body, was pretty awful though, and displayed none of the usual wit or imagination present in the Treehouse episodes. The first segment was amusing and featured tons of clever word play even while it wasn't tremendously funny, while the third segment, my favorite of the bunch, was a pretty decent Freaks parody and featured some of the episode's strongest gags. Not the funniest episode (Treehouse or otherwise), but the opening and first & third segments were mostly clever, imaginative and fun.

Friday, October 11, 2013

X-amining X-Factor #9

"Spots!"
October 1986

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor battles Freedom Force as the Mutant Massacre begins. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In Central park, Freedom Force confronts Rusty and Skids, but they manage to slip away again. Outside the park, X-Factor attempts to locate Rusty, but they spot Magneto entering the Hellfire Club. Jean wants to go after him, but is stopped by the others. Freedom Force catches up to Rusty and Skids, but they are attacked by a crowd who believes they're mutants attacking an innocent human. X-Factor arrives and manages to break-up the fight, reluctantly letting Freedom Force go. But in the confusion, Rusty and Skids slip away again and head underground, towards the Morlock Tunnels. At X-Factor headquarters, Artie psychically sees Rusty and Skids entering the tunnels, along with a deadly massacre being carried out. He tries to warn Hodge, who ignores him, so he traces an image of Rusty on the wall and heads into the tunnels himself. Returning to headquarters hoping to find Rusty, X-Factor discovers Artie's message, and changes into their X-Terminators gear to head into the tunnels after the boys.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #45

"We Were Only Foolin'"
November 1986

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants deal with the suicide of a young mutant. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Jackson Guice
Inker: Kyle Baker
Letterers: Buhalis & Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Creators: Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod

Plot
The New Mutants and Kitty Pryde are invited to the spring dance at the local high school. Though the New Mutants generally have a good time, Kitty is less excited until the principal introduces her to Larry Bodine, a recent transfer student. Though Larry is geeky and a little awkward, he and Kitty hit it off. However, Larry is secretly a mutant, and a group of kids, ignorant of this, bully him by threatening to call X-Factor, scaring him. After the dance, the New Mutants, Kitty and Larry go to Harry's Hideaway, and Larry, desperate to fit in, tells some of the latest mutant jokes he heard at the dance. Not surprisingly, Kitty and the New Mutants turn cold towards Larry, and call it a night. Returning home, Larry discovers an X-Factor flier the other kids stuck into his jacket, scaring him further. Unbeknownst to him, however, Rahne has followed him home, suspecting his anti-mutant jokes were part of an act, and she watches as Larry uses his mutant power to create hard light sculptures.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #210

"The Morning After"
October 1986

In a Nutshell 
The Marauders make their move as the X-Men hunt for their missing teammates. 

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

Plot
In Los Angeles, a Hellfire Club soldier named Richard and his girlfriend Tommy, a former Morlock, are hunted by unseen pursuers. Richard is struck by an energy blast, and urges Tommy to leave him behind. She slips aboard a train heading east. In San Fransisco, Dazzler is possessed by a psychic entity named Malice, a teammate of the group hunting Tommy. In New York, the X-Men search for the missing Phoenix and Nightcrawler. At the mansion, Kitty modifies Cerebro so that non-telepaths can use it. Shortly thereafter, it alarms, indicating one of missing X-Men has been detected, and Kitty, Colossus and Illyana leave to investigate. Meanwhile, Magneto arrives at the Hellfire Club and sees X-Factor from afar, whom he recognizes as the original X-Men. Inside the club, Sebastian Shaw offers Magneto the title of White King, to be claimed in his own name or the name of the X-Men. Magneto agrees to consider the offer.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How I Met Your Mother 9x04: The Broken Code


Hopefully this is the end of any "tension between Ted and Barney" plotlines for the series. I've accepted the fact that this whole Ted/Robin business is going to carry on through the end of the series (accepted, but still not liking), largely because the creators have said as much, and any lingering issues between Ted and Barney as a result of Robin are certainly something that needed to be addressed. But there's only so much "Ted's going to ruin the wedding" tension this season can sustain, and with so much else this season being atypical, the last thing it needs is tons of intergroup tension running throughout. The issues addressed in this episode needed to be addressed before the series ended, but now that they have, hopefully they won't be brought up again.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Saturday Night Live: Miley Cyrus


Say what you will about Miley Cyrus: at least she is able to have a sense of humor about herself. Or is at least able to pretend she has a sense a humor while on SNL as part of a calculated effort to quell some of the negative publicity surrounding her VMA performance. Either way, the end result was far more entertaining than if she'd been a diva and forced the writers to work around the elephant room. Beyond that, she was a perfectly cromulent host, more or less handling whatever she asked to do with a modicum of skill without ever really coming across as anything more than Miley Cyrus acting in a sketch.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #2

Real life got in the way this week, leaving me little time in the evening to watch TV, so I've quickly fallen behind on several shows. But, let's talk about some things I have watched!

The Simpsons: Homerland
Not a terrible episode, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if I was more familiar with Homeland. I know the broad strokes (solider brainwashed into being a terrorist, crazy CIA agent, Mandy Patinkin has a huge beard), but that's about it.

Also, if you haven't heard, Fox announced that Simpsons will be back for a 26th (!!!) season next year.

Friday, October 4, 2013

X-amining X-Factor #8

"Lost and Found!"
September 1986

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles Freedom Force. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Breakdowns: Marc Silvestri
Finishes: Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Joe Rosen 
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In the tunnels beneath the X-Factor headquarters, Scott and Jean clean-up the radiation left behind by Bulk and Glow Worm and discuss Scott's marriage to Madelyne. Upstairs, the rest of X-Factor watches news coverage of the "battle" between X-Factor and the X-Terminators. As Rusty prepares for a training session, he worries that someone might recognize him from the footage of him fighting alongside X-Factor. Meanwhile, Freedom Force is tasked with bringing Rusty to justice, and sure enough, Spider-Woman recognizes him from the footage. Later that night, X-Factor is awakened by Hodge, who has received reports of mutant factions battling a robot in Central Park. In part to help their public image, they decide to investigate as X-Factor instead of the X-Terminators. Rusty is eager to join them, but is angrily told to stay behind by Scott, who has just misunderstood a conversation between Warren and Jean.

Pilot Predictions

A new season of TV is upon us and with it comes new television series. I've actually watched a bunch of pilots this season so why not blog about it? Here is my analysis of the pilots I saw and my predictions on how well the series will perform.

The Blacklist: The Blacklist is...OK? This is the type of show I'd be very excited about 3 to 5 years. You've got an overall mystery in what Raymond Reddington's motives are, intrigue as to what's so important about Elizabeth Keen and questions on what the hell is up with her husband. But this is 2013 and my belief that series long mysteries end with a satisfying conclusion has been completely destroyed. So I'm very skeptical that this series' story will result in something worth watching. It is possible some individual episodes will be fun, though.

Prediction: As the season unfolds there will be ridiculous plot twists, giant conspiracies, Reddington's omnipotence will reach ludicrous levels, viewers will get impatient about not getting answers so they'll be served unsatisfying, plot-hole-filled half answers and the whole show will become a parody of itself. But it's NBC and they still believe themselves to be a television network. They need SOMETHING to show so The Blacklist will get at least two seasons.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #44

"Runaway"
October 1986

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants fight Legion. 

Presenter: Stan Lee
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jackson Guice
Inker: Kyle Baker
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Elaine Lee
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Creators: Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod
Stars: The New Mutants

Plot
Rahne is visiting Moira in Scotland when a piece of lab equipment suddenly falls over, threatening to crush Moira. Rahne does her best to push her out of the way, but Legion is nearby and David Haller is forced to hand over control of his body to his Jack Wayne persona in order to telekinetically save Moira and Rahne. Refusing to be caged again, Jack sets off an explosion in the lab and runs off. In New York, Dani is suddenly awoken by Rahne's pain, felt through their psychic rapport. She tries calling Muir Isle but doesn't get a response, so she gathers the rest of the New Mutants and explains the situation. With Magneto away, Illyana teleports the team to Scotland, but they arrive later in the day.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #209

"Salvation"
September 1986

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men and the Hellfire Club team-up against Nimrod. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Breakdowns: John Romita Jr.
Guest Finisher: P. Craig Russell
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In Central Park, a three way battle erupts between the X-Men, the Hellfire Club and Nimrod. After Nimrod blasts Shaw into orbit and incerates Von Roehm, Storm proposes a temporary alliance between the X-Men and the Hellfire Club in the face of Nimrod's power, and Tessa agrees. Elsewhere in the park, Rachel debates joining the fray, despite her injuries, when she's distracted by music and led to the Body Shoppe, whose mysterious proprietress offers to heal and remake her. Across the park, Storm has Leland use his power to increase Nimrod's mass and lower him to the ground. Seeing an opening, Nightcrawler attempts to teleport a piece of the robot, despite Storm's warning that Nimrod has likely learned to block that attack. Instead of harming Nimrod, Nightcrawler howls in pain, then disappears. Just as Leland manages to get Nimrod to the ground, he collapses, suffering a heart attack.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

How I Met Your Mother 9x03: Last Time in New York

 
It was nice to have an episode with an A-story featuring Barney and Robin as a couple that didn't also paint them as borderline sociopaths. The fear of losing the "spark" in your relationship after getting married is a genuine (albeit somewhat sitcom-y) one, but it's certainly a fear that rings more true for characters like Barney and Robin, so building a pre-wedding story around it makes sense. Meanwhile, the B-story, beyond the sword fights, tainted scotch and Waldo-eque costumes tried to tug at the heart strings as Lily discovers Ted's "before I leave New York" to-do list. It's effective, as most "melancholy Ted"/"Lily lectures Ted" stories are, though the effectiveness is somewhat undermined by the fact that we know, ultimately, that Ted won't leave New York.