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

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture...

...will return next week, on account of the holiday and a lack of time to do much of anything pop culture-related (I still haven't seen last week's SNL, which I hope to do this weekend and have a post up about it Monday).

So look for a return to normal next week. In the meantime, you'll just have to enjoy all that shopping and leftover food without my pop culture ramblings.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 29, 2013

X-amining X-Factor #14

"The Mutant Program!"
March 1987

In a Nutshell 
Cyclops vs. Master Mold. 

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

Plot
In Alaska, Master Mold is drawn to Cyclops, just as a pair of police officers arrive at the site of his destroyed home. Suspecting Cyclops of blowing up the house, they arrest him. In New York, Jean and Bobby leave to visit Warren in the hospital, leaving Hank to oversee Boom-Boom's training session, much to her disappointment. In Alaska, Master Mold attacks Cyclops, killing one of the police officers in the process. His glasses knocked off by Master Mold's attack, Cyclops is able to convince the other cop to give him his visor, allowing him to fight back. In New York, reporter Trish Tilby suddenly bursts into Warren's hospital room, demanding to know the truth of his involvement with X-Factor, but Jean and Bobby are able to shoo her out. The commotion, however, causes Warren to pass out. In Alaska, Cyclops and the remaining cop are chased by Master Mold into an oil refinery.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #50

"Father's Day"
April 1987

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants reunite and defeat Magus. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jackson Guice
Guest Inker: John Beatty
Letterers: Orzechowski & Buhalis
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Co-Creators: Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod

Plot
Alone in Limbo, Illyana fights off a horde of demons infected by the transmode virus, led by a similarly-infected S'ym. Desperate to stop them, she plunges her Soulsword into the crowd, thinking of Professor X as she hopes to disrupt Limbo itself. Later, on an alien world, the Starjammers barter for supplies, when Charles Xavier suddenly detects a familiar mental presence. He tracks it to a slave auction, where a captured Illyana is being sold off. He claims her as his own, blowing the Starjammers cover and forcing them to quickly retreat to their ship. Illyana is relieved to see Xavier again, and fills him in on all that has happened in his absence. Realizing he can read her mind for the first time, Xavier theorizes that Illyana's attempts to destroy limbo instead purged her of her demonic side while casting her out, her mutant power sending her to the last person she was thinking of. Hoping to reunite the New Mutants, Xavier and Illyana return to Limbo, where Illyana is forced to reclaim her demonic side in order to hold S'ym at bay and keep Limbo under her control.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #215

"Old Soldiers"
March 1987

In a Nutshell 
Storm runs afoul of three World War II-era superheroes. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Guest Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The X-Men, including new members Dazzler and Longshot, as well as Callisto, prepare to leave for Muir Isle with the wounded X-Men and Morlocks. Leaving Rogue in charge, Storm and Wolverine head upstate. Meanwhile, in San Fransisco, the red-haired Jane Doe awakens and tells the doctors her name is Madelyne Pryor. In New York, Storm and Wolverine arrive at the home of Sara Grey to find it burning, victim of a fire bomb. Checking the wreckage for clues on the culprit, Wolverine detects first the scent of Cyclops, then Jean Grey - the later of which causes him to go berserk and accidentally knock out Storm. To the east, as the Blackbird races towards Muir Isle, the ghost-like Kitty visits her teammates, though Longshot is able to sense her presence. Elsewhere, Storm awakens shackled in a dungeon. Easily picking the locks, she escapes her cell and finds herself in some kind of hunting lodge.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Walking Dead 4x07: Dead Weight

Well, when a person is wrong they have to admit they were wrong. Me? I was wrong. So this Thanksgiving week the bird I’m apparently eating is crow.

After last week’s episode I lambasted The Walking Dead for trying to redeem the (in my opinion) unredeemable Governor. It’s honestly where I thought the series was headed. Instead, by the end of this episode the Governor is back to being his old, villainous self. However, that just makes me ask this question: What was the point of the last two episodes?

How I Met Your Mother 9x11: Bedtime Stories


More clever and amusing than outright funny, this was, nevertheless, a pretty enjoyable episode. There wasn't much more to it beyond the central gimmick (well, I suppose James Van Der Beek returned), but it was another episode set away from the inn, it didn't involve sitcom-y wedding hijinks, and the gimmick did generate a few laughs all on its own (mainly from seeing how certain words got rhymed and/or fit into the meter - Barney in particular had some impressive ones).

Maybe it's just the English major in me, but I thought this was tons of fun. As far as stunt episodes for long-in-the-tooth sitcoms go, this could have been much, much worse. What it ultimately boils down to is whether or not you enjoyed the gimmick. I did.

Monday, November 25, 2013

X-aminations in December

This year, with Christmas and New Years Day falling on Wednesday and me feeling the grind of doing three X-aminations posts every week (on top of everything else), I considered giving myself a little two week break from posting on account of the holidays. 

But, I have yet to miss a week posting something X-related since I started this crazy X-aminations project, and that's a feat of which I'm especially proud. So, in a compromise between my pride and my laziness, I am taking a little break for the holidays this year, by only doing one post the weeks of Christmas and New Years, first New Mutants Annual #3 on Christmas (because who doesn't want the Impossible Man for Christmas?) and then the Fallen Angels limited series on New Years Day (and yes, I recognize the irony of taking it easy by reading Fallen Angels). After that, we'll be back to the usual three-posts-a-week (usually, at least. There's a chunk of limited series and annuals we'll look at in January that'll throw that count off again).

Anyways, before we get to all that, here's a look at the otherwise-normal month ahead.  

December 4th: Uncanny X-Men #216
December 5th: New Mutants #51
December 6th: X-Factor #15

December 11th: Uncanny X-Men #217
December 12th: New Mutants #52
December 13th: X-Factor #16

December 18th: Uncanny X-Men #218
December 19th: New Mutants #53
December 20th: X-Factor #17

December 25th: New Mutants Annual #3

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #9

A short one this week, as I have family in town and thus significantly less time to watch TV...

The Simpsons: Labor Pains 


Another meh episode, with an intriguing and original premise (for this show; it's a sitcom cliche, but The Simpsons have never really done a "deliver a baby in an elevator" story before) which the script didn't seem to know what to do with (along with a B-plot that played out in the most perfunctory manner possible). The funniest parts of the episodes were a couple running gags: the ongoing poker game at Carl's apartment (that Homer was increasingly ignoring) and the other guy in the elevator ("And the funny thing is, I’m a doctor."), plus a pair of lines I'll quote below. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

X-amining X-Factor #13

"Ghosts!"
February 1987

In a Nutshell
Cyclops returns home. 

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

Plot
Scott leaves for Alaska, stopping on his way to the airport to visit Jean and Warren. Meanwhile, in the Alaskan waters, Master Mold, long-dormant, awakens. Back at the hospital, Hodge discusses the fraud charges being leveled at Warren. Hours later, Scott arrives in Alaska and returns to his house to find it for sale, the locks changed. Using his power to blast the locks, he goes inside to find the house empty and deserted. Offshore, Master Mold, sensing Scott's presence, uses an oil platform as raw material to rebuild himself. In Anchorage, Scott continues to search for Maddie, but finds no record of her, with the realtor, his grandparents' airline, even the police.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #49

"Ashes of the Soul"
March 1987

In a Nutshell
The other half of the team finds themselves in their own dystopic future. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Guest Artist: Bret Blevins
Guest Inker: Val Mayerik
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Creators: Chris Claremont & Bob McLeod

Plot
In a future New York City, Doug and Warlock evade a pair of Arbitrators, the city's police force, before scrawling a message in support of humans on the side of a building. Elsewhere, Dani visits Heroes Plaza, a memorial to the deceased X-Men and New Mutants, before leaving with Sam on a mission to retrieve food and medical supplies for the city's disenfranchised human population. Dani and Sam's actions brings them to the attention of an elderly Katie Power, even as the Chief Arbitrator is similarly made aware of their presence. Meanwhile, in downtown, the New Mutants distribute the supplies to the human population as Katie introduces them to her own group of young mutants, whom she's trained to fight in defense of humans. Just then, the gathering is attacked by Arbitrators, and the New Mutants, along with Katie, are captured.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #214

"With Malice Toward All"
February 1987

In a Nutshell 
Dazzler joins the X-Men. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Barry Windsor-Smith
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
In Denver, Dazzler, performing at a concert as part of Lila Cheney's band, is goaded by Malice into taking the spotlight from Lila, exposing herself as a mutant in the process. After the concert, Lila chastises her, and Dazzler, fully possessed by Malice, quits the band. In New York, Storm, Rogue and Psylocke declare Cerebro damaged beyond their ability to repair it as Wolverine and Callisto spar in the Danger Room, when they receive a call from Lila, concerned about Dazzler. The X-Men track her to a nightclub in Dallas where she performs with abandon, making no secret of her mutant abilities. When she spots the X-Men, she attacks, and when the X-Men overpower her, Malice abandons Dazzler and takes control first of Wolverine and then Rogue. The possessed Rogue blasts out of the club, attacking the police gathered outside.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Walking Dead 4x06: Live Bait

I gave last week’s episode of The Walking Dead very high praise. I liked the energy, suspense, plot and acting. The only real negative I brought up was my disappointment that the Governor showed up at the end. I have nothing against the Governor coming back, per se, but I felt it was too early to bring him back. The show was on a role so there was no need for him in the narrative. Save him for when the plot is lagging.

So, after expressing my disappointment regarding his cameo at the end of the previous episode, what do we get this episode? A whole heapin’ helpin’ of the Governor.

How I Met Your Mother 9x10: Mom and Dad


Aaaand we're back to broad, wacky wedding hijinks.

The whole "Barney wants his parents to get back together" plot was patently ridiculous, on multiple levels (even if the show did acknowledge it via Robin's insertion into Barney's musical dream), so the saving grace of this episode was Ted's feud with Billy Zabka. I'm a sucker for Ted-as-incompetent detective (he can't even detect sarcasm) and the feud played out much better than I'd feared when it was first introduced. Plus, the trials and tribulations of Billy Zabka were pretty funny (I especially loved that his mom booed him over the phone); it was a fairly unrealistic, broad bit (I also liked that everyone always had popcorn to throw, wherever he went), but it's less problematic when a peripheral character playing a caricature of himself goes broad than when the main cast does it.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Saturday Night Live: Lady Gaga


This was a pretty solid episode: a few sketches I liked less than others, but nothing completely awful or deeply flawed in conception, everything generally amusing on some level and quite a few sketches I genuinely enjoyed. In terms of Lady Gaga, I recall thinking, when she'd pop up in sketches during her various turns as a musical guest, that she'd make for a decent host. She passed my first test for any celebrity with an air of pretentiousness about them: the ability to display a sense of humor about themselves. Beyond that, while most of her sketch work played off her image to one extent or another, preventing her from disappearing into roles the way, say, Kerry Washington did, she acquitted herself well. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #8

My stupid DVR failed to record Top Chef for whatever reason, so we'll have to talk about that next week. In the meantime, here's some stuff my DVR managed to record properly. 

The Simpsons: YOLO


Pleasant and amusing, if not terribly funny (though there were some good lines on the fringes). But while Lisa's manipulation of her classmates was pretty great, I'm not sure why she ever thought the whole honor code thing would work (nor why it ultimately did). Sure, she got Nelson to sign a pledge, but since when does Nelson give a crap about signing a pledge? Wouldn't he just go back to cheating immediately, pledge or not, even if he was tattled on by goody goodies like Martin or Milhouse (ditto Bart, Dolph, Kearney, etc.)?

Friday, November 15, 2013

X-amining Mephisto Vs. #1-4

"Give the Devil His Due!" / "Sympathy for the Devil" / "The Devil You Say!" / "His Satanic Majesty's Request"
April - July 1987

In a Nutshell 
Mephisto battles a variety of superhero teams in search of a powerful innocent soul. 

Writer: Al Milgrom
Penciler: John Buscema
Inks: Bob Wiace, Al Milgrom (issue #3)
Letters: Rick Parker
Color: George Roussos
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Issue #1: Mephisto lures the Fantastic Four to his realm, yearning to acquire an innocent soul. He tricks the Invisible Woman into giving up her soul in exchange for her teammates' lives. Issue #2: Eager to improve on the quality of the soul he's acquired, Mephisto uses Invisible Woman to draw out X-Factor, promising each member a different boon in exchange for their soul. Ultimately, Marvel Girl agrees, to protect her teammates and to free Invisible Woman. Issue #3: Reed Richards, happy that his wife has been returned but worried that Mephisto, having traded up souls once, may be targeting the soul of a god. He contacts the X-Men to warn them that Mephisto may be after Storm, who was once worshipped as a goddess. But when Mephisto appears before the X-Men, he targets Rogue, letting her learn that he intends to take the souls of all the X-Men. To protect them, Rogue flies to each of her teammates and touches them, absorbing their memories and, in effect, their souls, in order to protect them. But Mephisto reveals this was his plan all along, as he transports Rogue, along with the souls of her teammates, to his realm, returning Marvel Girl to Earth in the process.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

X-amining Thor #373-374

"The Gift of Death" / "Fires of the Night!"
November-December 1986

In a Nutshell
Thor rescues Angel from the Marauders. 

Writer: Walter Simonson
Art: Sal Buscema
Lettering: John Workman
Colorist: Max Scheele
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Issue #373: Thor returns to Earth after a lengthy absence and gets back into the life of Sigurd Jarlsson, his secret identity. Learning from the frogs in Central Park about the massacre going on underneath the streets, he transforms into Thor and enters the Morlock Tunnels. Overhearing Angel's screams, he discovers the mutant being tortured by the Marauders, and fights them off. Issue #374: Thor once again fends off the returning Marauders as he endeavors to take the badly injured Angel to the surface for medical attention. Elsewhere in the tunnels, Blockbuster, chafing at being twice beaten by Thor, vows to kill him. Nearby, Thor encounters Artie, and offers to bring him to the surface as well, but just then Blockbuster attacks, breaking Thor's arm.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

X-amining Power Pack #27 & Daredevil #238

Power Pack #27
"Whose Power -- ?"
December 1986

In a Nutshell
Power Pack faces off against the Marauders

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Jon Bogdanove
Inker: Al Gordon
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Carl Potts
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Alerted to the massacre of the Morlocks thanks to Franklin Richards' power, and concerned about the welfare of their Morlock friends, Power Pack sneaks into the tunnels to investigate. They're quickly attacked by Sabretooth, but manage to escape by blasting the tunnel ceiling, collapsing it on top of him. They then run into Wolverine, who orders them out the tunnels before leaving to track down Sabretooth, but they decide to stay and keep searching for their friends. Meanwhile, X-Factor and a group of rescued Morlocks arrive at X-Factor headquarters, and though they are still dealing with a variety of injuries, the team decides to head back into the tunnels to find Angel and rescue more mutants, including the still-missing Artie. Back in the tunnels, Power Pack encounters Leech and the injured Caliban, just as they're attacked by a group of Marauders. Power Pack manages to hold them off until X-Factor arrives, prompting the Marauders to flee. Power Pack helps Leech deal with the loss of Annalee, and X-Factor promises to look after him. As Power Pack leave the tunnels, Beast and Iceman head back to their headquarters with Leech and Caliban as Cyclops and Marvel Girl continue to search for Angel and Artie.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Walking Dead 4x05: Internment

About three years ago I watched The Walking Dead pilot. I wasn’t sure where the series was headed but I knew it had potential. As the series progressed I would get frustrated by The Walking Dead's inability to live up to that potential. (And by its lack of nudity, but whatever.) This season has had its ups and downs.  I liked the premiere but the following episodes were uneven for me. Then came this week's episode: Internment.
 
Internment is everything I envisioned The Walking Dead could be when I first watched it.

How I Met Your Mother 9x09: Platonish


Nine episodes into the season and we finally get a legitimate "the wedding weekend is just a framing device for a flashback" episode promised by the creators before the start of the season. I was expecting (and hoping for) more of them, frankly, but hopefully this wasn't the last. Needless to say, this episode was a marked improvement on the previous one, and while I'm not as down on the overall setting of the season as some (there are good stories that can be told set at Farhampton, the show just hasn't told very many of them yet), there's no denying that this episode benefited from a trip back to familiar places and a story built around something other than the usual Robin/Barney pre-wedding plots.

It also benefited from the presence of the Mother, echoing her role in the season's premiere episode to do something other than pop up in the last five minutes to hang out with Ted in a flashforward. The idea that Barney met the Mother, before Ted, before Farhampton, and that she played a significant role in his life by making him realize he wanted to be with Robin, is the kind of coincidence that you almost only ever see in Hollywood, but gets something of a pass on a show like this, one built around the idea that coincidences and unseen connections can play a significant role in a person's life in general, and that has specifically established previously that the Mother, unbeknownst to Ted, has been hovering within his sphere of influence for several years now.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #7

The Simpsons: Four Regrettings and a Funeral


Look, you can either be structurally clever, or really funny (or, ideally, both). This episode tried to do both and succeed at neither.

In case you're wondering, Fox was supposed to air "Bart the Lover" in the 6:30 slot, in remembrance of Marcia Wallace, but apparently had issues getting the episode back from syndication, so they aired "The Ned-liest Catch" instead, making Bart's sad chalkboard message that opened "Four Regrettings and a Funeral" the best tribute of the night. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

To Better Know a Hero: Thor

Note: This is a slightly-edited re-posting of an earlier "To Better Know a Hero" post about Thor, to celebrate the release of the character's second feature film (because I ran out of time to do a "To Better Know a Villain" post on Loki). 

Forsooth! Verily, Thor doth star in a new film, in theaters now! Before seeing thy film, feast thy eyes on these runes to vanquish thine ignorance about the mighty Thor!

Real Name
Thor Odinson 

First Appearance
Journey Into Mystery #83, August 1962

Nicknames and Aliases
Dr. Don Blake, Sigurd Jarlson, Eric Masterson, Jake Olson, Siegfried, Siegmund.

Powers and Abilities
Thor possesses super-human strength, speed, endurance, durability and longevity thanks to his godly nature. He is also a skilled warrior.

X-amining X-Factor #12

"Boom Boom Boom!"
January 1987

In a Nutshell
X-Factor takes in Boom-Boom

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

Plot
At the hospital, Warren is told that he'll die if his wings aren't removed, but he refuses, saying he'd rather die than lose his wings. Meanwhile, at X-Factor headquarters, Hank, Bobby and X-Factor's charges, including the rescued Morlocks, are having breakfast when they receive a call from Boom-Boom, telling them she's found an evil mutant. Though their headquarters is already overcrowded, Hank and Bobby decide to investigate. Back at the hospital, Jean sees a news report about the firebombing of an apartment believed to belong to relatives of a mutant, followed by an interview given by her sister, Sara, expressing support for mutants. Realizing Sara may be in danger, Jean tries to call her, but doesn't get an answer, so she and Scott leave to warn her in person. At an arcade in Manhattan, Vanisher tracks down Boom-Boom, and agrees to give her a larger cut of the money she steals if she returns with him.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #48

"Ashes of the Heart"
February 1987

In a Nutshell
Half the New Mutants end up in a future ruled by Sentinels. 

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

Plot
Accidentally scattered through space and time by Illyana, Sunspot, Magma, Karma and Wolfsbane find themselves in a future ruled by Sentinels, in which most of their teammates have been killed. They're are quickly attacked by Sentinels, but are rescued by adult versions of Sam and Dani from this timeline. Meanwhile, at Xavier's mansion in the present day, Magneto discusses the New Mutants' absence with Stevie Hunter, repeating his belief that they are still alive, and that he won't abandon them. In the future, Sam tells the New Mutants about the history of his timeline and how the world turned against mutants, while Rahne is shocked to learn just how cold and distant the adult Dani has become. Sam explains that most of the surviving mutants have fled Earth to live on Lila Cheney's Dyson Sphere, something which rankles Roberto. Just then, the Sentinels announce they've captured Lila and intend to execute her.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How I Met Your Mother 9X08: The Lighthouse



Other than the last five minutes, this was a pretty terrible episode. Centered around the asinine feud between Robin and Barney's mom (a plot line for which the best thing going for it is that it ended in this episode) and featuring far too many "whacky hijinks" in the Daphne/Marshall subplot (can Marshall get to Farhampton already?), the best part of this episode was the final five minutes, in which, for the first time since the premiere, we finally got to spend more time with Ted and the Mother.

And look, I'm glad we got those five minutes, but when I said I wanted the Mother back, I meant in a more substantial role (imagine, if you will, a version of this episode in which the Robin and Marshall storylines are reduced or jettisoned and the spine of the plot was a parallel narrative featuring Ted visiting the lighthouse with Cassie in the present and the Mother in the future, leading up to that proposal). If all we're going get out of the Mother this season is little five minute snippets like this, set in the future in order to fill out a punch list of significant events between her and Ted, while the rest of the season is devoted to an endless litany of cliche and asinine Robin/Barney pre-wedding A-plots, then it's going to be a long (and disappointing) season.

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #213

"Psylocke"
January 1987

In a Nutshell 
Psylocke joins the team as Wolverine and Sabretooth fight once again. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Guest Penciler: Alan Davis
Guest Inker: Paul Neary 
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Psylocke telepathically surveys the mansion with the help of Cerebro, checking in on Rogue, who is patrolling the perimeter, and the injured X-Men. Meanwhile, Wolverine, Storm, Magneto and Callisto check the Morlock Tunnels, confirming that the energy which blasted through the tunnels has scoured it of anything flammable. Magneto, believing he has failed the missing New Mutants, mentions the Hellfire Club's offer to become their White King. Storm quickly shoots down the idea, but Callisto notes that the X-Men could use the help, especially in the face of the Marauders. Meanwhile, at the mansion, Psylocke detects a stranger entering the grounds, but when she tries to read his mind, the resultant feedback knocks her out, and in LA, Malice continues to exert more control over Dazzler. Back at the school, Rogue is knocked out by Sabretooth. As Psylocke regains consciousness, she tries to warn the X-Men, but Sabretooth attacks her.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Saturday Night Live: Kerry Washington & Eminem


I'm not sure if this was the best episode of the season so far, but it was easily the most consistent, with almost all of the sketches landing on some level, flawed at times and humorous at others, all in the same sketch. Nothing was brilliant, but nothing was terrible either.

And most of the credit for that goes to Kerry Washington, who was a fantastic host. She ended up appearing in nearly every sketch to varying degrees, and did a lot to elevate some of the lesser material. Having not watched Scandal, I'm not terribly familiar with Washington's work (I know her mainly from her minor role in the Fantastic Four films and Django Unchained), but based on this episode, I'd be happy to see her back hosting again any time (or on a sitcom someday).

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Walking Dead 4x04: Indifference


To quote Harry Dunne, “Just when I thought you couldn't possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this...and totally redeem yourself!” Alright, that might be a bit drastic but I was getting very annoyed with this episode (and with Rick in particular) but, thankfully, this episode’s ending saved itself.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Last Week in Pop Culture #6: All Halloween Edition

TV and movies make a big deal out of most of the major holidays, but Halloween, arguably, gets the biggest inflation in scope from "real life" to "fiction". Once you've outgrown trick-or-treating, there isn't a whole lot to the day. I celebrate it by going to a party (in costume, of course), listening to appropriately-themed music in the weeks leading up to the holiday, and watching suspense/horror/Halloween-themed movies and TV shows.

Yet while Christmas remains my favorite real world holiday, Halloween is probably my favorite when it comes to fictions about the holiday itself, as the stories, imagery and sensations on display in fiction are so much larger and impactful than they are in real life. And as much as there are some Christmas movies I love, and some fantastic Christmas-themed episodes of favorite TV shows, I have much more fun plowing through the fiction of Halloween every October than I do that of Christmas in December (in part because there's plenty more real world stuff to do associated with Christmas).

Anyways, here's my thoughts on some Halloween-themed TV shows I watched last week.

Sleepy Hollow: John Doe


So the lost colony of Roanoke is lost because the Horseman of Pestilence (aka Conquest) infected it with a plague then sent it forward in time so Pestilence could be unleashed on the modern world, but the colony was protected by the ghost of Virgina Dare, who gave the water healing properties, at least until one of the colonists was lured out by the Horseman and pierced the time barrier, entering the modern world and bringing the plague along with him?

Goddamn, I love this show.

Friday, November 1, 2013

X-amining X-Factor #11

"Redemption!"
December 1986

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor tries to help a group of displaced Morlocks. 

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

Plot
In the Morlock Tunnels, Beast and Iceman, having rescued Leech and Caliban, are attacked by a group of Morlocks called the Tunnelers, who believe them to be the Marauders. Elsewhere in the tunnels, Cyclops and Marvel Girl, along with Artie, are bringing the gravely-injured Angel back to their headquarters when they overhear the fight between their teammates and the Morlocks. The battle stops when the leader of theTunnelers, Berserker, recognizes X-Factor as the X-Terminators. Cyclops offer them sanctuary, and the group returns to X-Factor headquarters, where the Tunnelers quickly realize that the X-Terminators and X-Factor are one and the same. Even though the other rescued Morlocks vouch for X-Factor, the Tunnelers aren't convinced, and sneak out of the complex as Scott and Jean take Warren to the hospital. They reach the river and stop to decide their next move, but are confronted by a street gang. A fight breaks out between the two groups, with casaulties on both sides, but one of the gang members manages to call the police before Berserker strikes him down.