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

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture #31

With the official 2013-2014 TV season drawing to a close last week, and with me (mostly) caught up on the show I comment on regularly, as well as another looming work trip threatening to throw off my regular schedule once again, this will be the last regularly scheduled "Last Week in Pop Culture" post. I reserve the right to drop one in periodically, if there's something of note I'd like to talk about, but I won't have one up (nearly) every Saturday going forward.

However, I am hoping to resurrect my Retro Reviews of The Simpsons sometime soon (once I get back into the groove after my trip and give myself a little break). So look for those again shortly! 

And, of course, I've still got three X-aminations posts a week to do, plus all my stuff at Sound on Sight and Capeless Crusader, and Dr. Bitz has three more Game of Thrones reviews to do, so you won't be lacking for content from us this summer, regardless!  

Around the Web
Just one additional post this week, my weekly Market Maven column from Monday. 

X-Men: Days of Future Past


Not bad. It wasn't the greatest X-Men film, but it was entertaining, well-constructed, well-acted. The Sentinels were handled well, most of the action scenes were top notch, and kudos for wiping out most of The Last Stand. In the middle of the pack, but near the top (I'd still put X2 and First Class above it, for sure).

Friday, May 30, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #33

"For All The World To See"
October 1988

In a Nutshell 
Beast wakes up, blue, furry and smart again. 

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

Plot
In New York City, amidst a record heat wave, the Alliance of Evil protests the Mutant Registration Act, whose deadline is fast approaching. Nearby, Marvel Girl and Iceman are taking the kids shopping for new school clothes. When the Alliance spots them, they attack. Meanwhile, aboard Ship, Cyclops monitors Beast, who remains unconscious, shifting between human and furry forms, and growing stronger. Cyclops then catches footage of the battle on TV. In the city, the kids intervene to help Marvel Girl and Iceman, though Rusty, still a wanted fugitive, stays back for fear of being recognized. Meanwhile, in a Kansas City suburb, Nanny and the Orphan Maker capture two mutant children, killing their parents. Back in New York, Rusty fashions a crude mask and joins the fray, unwilling to let his friends get hurt when he could help them.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #68

"Illusion!"
October 1988

In a Nutshell
Chasing Spyder, Gosamyr sows discord amongst the New Mutants. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Limbo, Illyana tries to repair her broken scrying glass in order to locate Lila and Spyder. She manages to locate Spyder's ship for a moment, but then an image of her Darkchild persona appears in the glass and she loses concentration. The New Mutants decide to have her teleport them aboard the stolen space ship to Spyder's last known position; even though he's likely gone from that spot now, they can track him via the ship from there. With the ship tracking Spyder, Gosamyr uses a machine to recreate Sam's uniform, as well as new clothes for herself, Dani and Rahne. As Spyder watches this, he explains to a captive Lila that it is in the nature of Gosamyr's species to destroy by intensifying the passions of those around her. Back aboard the ship, Sam finds himself drawn to Gosamyr, much to Rahne's dismay, even while Gosamyr eventually kisses Roberto.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #235

"Welcome to Genosha...a Green and Pleasant Land..."
Early October 1988

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men come in contact with the Genoshans, and Wolverine & Rogue are kidnapped. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Rick Leonardi
Inker: P. Craig Russell
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On the island nation of Genosha, a runaway mutant manages to stash his baby aboard a plan bound for Sydney, drawing off the pursuing magistrates so that the plane takes off without incident, just as the mutant is killed. A few days later, the Press Gang, a group of mutants employed by the Genoshan government, arrive in Sydney, sent to retrieve both the baby and Jenny Ransome, a mutant and nurse who has fled the country. Working with the Service Auxiliary, Jenny and her pilot, Madelyne Pryor, are attacked by the Press Gang. When the Hawkshaw is unable to get a read on Madelyne, both she and Ransome are sent back to Genosha via Pipeline, who is able to digitize and electronically transmit individuals. Later, the X-Men arrive in Sydney, looking for the missing Madelyne. Wolverine and Rogue track the Press Gang to a nearby hospital, where they discover the Press Gang kidnapping the mutant baby. Pipeline teleports in a group of Magistrates who proceed to battle the X-Men. Though the X-Men defeat the Magistrates, the Press Gang is able to escape back to Genosha thanks to Pipeline, with the baby, as well as Wolverine and Rogue.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

X-aminations in June

This month, we welcome Excalibur and Wolverine to regular coverage, as both series launch within a month of each other. Because I'm not superhuman, this also marks the beginning of rotating coverage of X-Men, as, in order to cover five regular series without driving me insane, the weeks when the title isn't shipping two issues a month will be handed over to the ever-increasing adjunct X-Men appearances, such as, this month, the Colossus feature in Marvel Comics Presents (we're getting a double dose of Wolverine and Excalibur this month to keep things lined up for "Inferno", as well as to preserve the normal X-Men/New Mutants/X-Factor rotation in at least every other week). 

On Sale Late June/June 1988
June 4th: Uncanny X-Men #236
June 5th: Excalibur #1

On Sale Early July/July 1988
June 11th: Uncanny X-Men #237
June 12th: New Mutants #69
June 13th: X-Factor #34

On Sale Late July/July 1988
June 18th: Uncanny X-Men #238
June 19th: Excalibur #2
June 20th: Wolverine #1

On Sale August 1988
June 25th: Marvel Comics Presents #10-17 (Colossus feature)
June 26th: Excalibur #3
June 27th: Wolverine #2

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Saturday Night Live: Andy Samberg & St. Vincent


This wasn't the best episode of the season by any means, but at least the show ended on a relatively strong note. Granted, the regular cast was barely on hand for much of it (I wouldn't be surprised if we've seen the last of some them; so long Noel Wells and Brooks Whelan!), as Andy Samberg returned and brought along a ton of his former cast member friends. While the highs weren't all that high, at least the baseline landed somewhere closer to "amusing" than "indifferent", which has been the case more often than not this season.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture #30

Around the Web
I have a bunch of new and old X-Men stuff up in honor of Days of Future Past; check it all out here.

Also, this week's Market Maven column, as well as a column looking at April's sales numbers, can be found here and here

Once Upon a Time: Kansas


Knowing full well going in that a two-hour finale remained, I was fully expecting the other shoe to drop as soon as things started to go well in the fight against Zelena (not unlike how Pan's seeming defeat two episodes before the mid-winter break presaged the reveal that he switched places with Henry). The only problem was whatever it is that happened was way too unclear to be much of a cliffhanger. Was that Zelena? Her magic, operating on its own? Was her death part of the spell, something that wouldn't be triggered until she was "killed"? Bottom line: you want your cliffhangers to make the audience go "whoa!", not "huh?"

Friday, May 23, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Primer


There's a big new X-Men movie coming out this weekend, and anyone who's read at least three words of my writing knows that's a pretty big deal for me. And not surprisingly, I've written a fair amount about the X-Men through the years. In order to get you ready for the movie, here's some stuff you should check out.

First, be sure to read my reviews of the two issues whose story serves as a direct inspiration for the film (and also happen to be one of the best and most significant X-Men stories ever).

Secondly, here's a list of all the relevant "To Better Know a Hero" posts on Days of Future Past's major players: Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto and Quicksilver and the X-Men.

Finally, I wrote a little article for Fanboys, Inc. predicting how well (in terms of money) the new film will do relative to the success of the previous films in the franchise. Check that out here.

X-amining Marvel Comics Presents #1-10


"The Good Guy" / "The Bad Guy" / "The Gals" / "The Ordeal" / "The Rescue" / "Things Get Bad" / "Things Get Worse" / "The Fight" / "The Confrontation" / "The Resolution"
Sept 1988 to Jan 1989

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine becomes embroiled in a power struggle for Madripoor's criminal empire. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski, Lois Buhalis (issue #7), Ken Lopez (issue #9), Michael Hessler (issue #10)
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh & Michael Higgins
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: In Madripoor, Wolverine visits the Princess Bar, looking for information. After fighting off a group of thugs threatening the owner, O'Donnell, he tells O'Donnell he was sent by Dave Chapel to find someone named the Tiger. Issue #2: The thugs chased off by Wolverine report to their boss, Roche, who tells them if they can defeat his newest enforcer, Razor Fist, they can live. Razor Fist easily kills them all, and is given the task of defeating the stranger interfering with Roche's business. Meanwhile, Wolverine tells O'Donnell that Chapel was tortured and left for dead when Wolverine found him. Suddenly, he sees a woman outside and recognizes her as Jessan Hoan. Issue #3: Wolverine confronts Jessan, but she escapes. Just then, Wolverine is confronted by Sapphire Styx, an energy vampire employed by Roche, who weakens him just as Razor Fist attacks, knocking him out.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

X-amining X-Men Annual #12

"Resurrection!"
1988

In a Nutshell 
The High Evolutionary restores the Savage Land

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Art Adams
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Australia, Storm is suddenly compelled to race to the Savage Land. Tracking her, the X-Men follow via Gateway, arriving to find the once verdant land empty and desolate. Reading the psychic history of a bone, Longshot recounts to the X-Men the destruction of the Savage Land at the hands of the alien Terminus. Storm also discovers survivors of his attack, members of various Savage Land tribes, including the X-Men's friend Nereel, who managed to safely travel to an otherdimensional world in the wake of Terminus' attack. Just then Terminus resurfaces, attacking the X-Men as well as the High Evolutionary, who has journeyed to the Savage Land with hopes of restoring it. Defeating Terminus, they discover Garokk inside the armor, compelled by an outside force to pilot it. The High Evolutionary convinces Garokk to lend his life force to the recreation of the Savage Land, and together, they manage to restore the land to its original state. In the wake of the Savage Land's resurrection, the remaining tribespeople come together as the United Tribes, and though Psylocke alters their memories to forget the X-Men, they remember the legends who helped restore their home.

Game of Thrones 4x07: Mockingbird



Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Dreadfort -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Braavos -> Meereen

King's Landing
Tyrion is back in his usual cell shooting the breath with Jaime. Tyrion requests that Jaime be his champion for the trial by combat. Jaime breaks the news that learning to sword fight with his left hand has not gone well. Tell me about it. I once tried to masturbate with my left hand and nearly ended up in the hospital!

Anyway, after Tyrion and Jaime have a laugh about ending the Lannister name with both their deaths (cheerful lot, these Lannisters...or anybody in Game of Thrones), Tyrion says he wants to see Bronn. Bronn was good for one trial by combat; surely he'd be up for another, right? Then Tyrion asks Jaime the fateful question of who Cersei's champion will be...

Cut to the Mountain. He came to King's Landing to do two things: Chew bubblegum and cleave random prisoners\sparring partners in half. And bubblegum doesn't exist in Westeros. Eventually the fodder being fed to Ser Gregor stopped even attempting to fight and just begged for mercy. I think you can all guess how well that strategy worked out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #234

"Glory Day"
Late Septemeber 1988

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defeat the Brood.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Guest Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Denver, the X-Men continue to battle the Brood-infected mutants, though Rogue and Psylocke remain under their control. In Australia, Madelyne dreams of meeting S'ym, and accepting from him power enough to hurt Scott, though S'ym tells her this is no dream. At the Red Rocks amphitheater, Reverend Conover's wife Hannah, suffering from arthritis, is tended to by Josey Thomas, Harry Palmer's paramedic partner. Meanwhile, the Brood and a hoodwinked Rogue, zeroing in on the theater, are attacked by the captured Wolverine, fighting the Brood egg implanted inside him. Nearby, the X-Men target a car carrying more Brood and Psylocke, freeing her. As Reverend Conover begins his service, Wolverine lands on the stage, in the midst of transforming into a Brood.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Saturday Night Live: Charlize Theron & The Black Keys


Wow, the most remarkable thing about this episode is how thoroughly mediocre it was. Like, I'm having a hard time remembering much of anything about it, and while that's probably understandable for everyone reading this who watched it weeks ago, I just watched it Saturday night for the first time. And I still can't remember much that jumped out at me, good or bad, though I do remember that most of what I did enjoy, I enjoyed on a more intellectual "I get why this is funny" level than because I was uproariously laughing at it. This wasn't the worst episode of the season by any means, but it almost feels like the nadir of the season nonetheless, just in terms of how the baseline has been so thoroughly established as "nothing terrible, nothing terribly good".

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture...

...is once again missing this week, as I was once again traveling for work the first part of the week, then busy with SpringCon setup, so I didn't really watch or read anything of note.

But, you can read a slightly revised "To Better Know a Hero" about Professor X on Sound on Sight, as well as my latest Market Maven column for Capeless Crusader.

Next week, we should be back to regular coverage, as we begin wrapping up the official 2013-2014 network TV season!

Friday, May 16, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #32

"The Carbon Copy Avengers"
September 1988

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles aliens posing as the Avengers. 

Plotter/Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Scripter: Louise Simonson
Guest Artist: Steve Lightle
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Petra Scotese
Editor: Bob Harras


Plot
As the Avengers donate the land on which Avengers Mansion resided to the city, they are watched by alien Xartans. Returning to their spaceship, the four warriors use their mimicry abilities to take the form of the Avengers in order to avenge the defeat of their leader's father at the hands of Thor. But before they move on the Avengers, their sensors pick up the presence of another spaceship on Earth: X-Factor's Ship. Aboard Ship, Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Iceman are tending to the comatose Beast when they're suddenly attacked by the Xartan Avengers. Ship locks the kids in their room for their safety as X-Factor battles what they believe to be the Avengers, holding back out of confusion. When the kids see a live interview with the Avengers on TV, they realize X-Factor is battling imposters, and when Ship refuses to release them in order to tell X-Factor, they break out.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #67

"Promise"
September 1988

In a Nutshell
Lila Cheney is kidnapped by Spyder. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In order to go into the city to attend his girlfriend Lila Cheney's concert, Sam promises Magneto he won't use his powers while at the concert. However, the alien Spyder has arrived in Earth orbit, and he dispatches his accountants to retrieve Lila, whom he believes to be his property. At the concert, Lila is happy Sam made it, while at the mansion, the rest of the New Mutants listen to the show on the radio. Aboard Spyder's ship, Gosamyr manages to sneak aboard the craft heading after Lila, hoping that if she saves Lila, Lila will help her in turn. She's spotted by Spyder, however, but, intoxicated, he decides to let her go and see how her adventure plays out. The aliens crash Lila's concert and a fight breaks out, with Sam doing the best he can to help without using his powers and breaking his promise.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #233

"Dawn of Blood"
Early September 1988

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men battle a group of Brood-possessed mutants. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Denver, the X-Men are attacked by a group of mutants who have been implanted with Brood eggs by Harry Palmer. Halfway between their human and Brood forms, each possesses a unique mutant ability. As the X-Men battle, they're conflicted about how much force to use against the Brood, considering their human hosts are unwitting victims. During the fight, Rogue, Psylocke and Wolverine are either mentally ensnared or captured. Meanwhile, at the nearby Red Rocks amphitheater, Reverend Conover's ministry is preparing for a large morning service. Elsewhere, Madelyne dreams of having her life with Scott ripped away, her form given to Jean Grey, until she is nothing but an abandoned nothing being. Back in Denver, Havok is forced to use lethal force on a Brood to save Storm's life, and when Colossus emerges from a collapsed warehouse with another dead alien, the losses are enough for Harry to order the Brood to retreat and regroup. When the dead Brood reverts to human form, Havok is horrified, but Storm assures him he's done the man a service, as regardless of his outer form, his life ended the moment he was implanted with an egg. It was Harry Palmer who killed him, she says, and if he and his Brood gang aren't stopped, the Earth is doomed.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Game of Thrones 4x06: The Laws of Gods and Men



Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Dreadfort -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Braavos -> Meereen

Braavos
We start off with Stannis Baratheon sailing in literally the opposite direction of the White Walkers. Instead he’s entering Braavos to go to the Iron Bank. If you think that going to a bank in the Game of Thrones universe is any more exciting than going to the bank in real life then you’re about to be proven wrong!

Apparently, like all banks, the Iron Bank makes you wait interminably long too. Finally, Stannis and Davos get to meet with the heads of the bank. Stannis is in need of cash for all this world conquering he’s planning to do. So he applying for a loan. But he is denied. Obama’s America, am I right?

Davos isn't going to take no for an answer, though. He notes that Tommen is just a pretender to the throne and, regardless, Tywin is the one really pulling the strings and, due to his age, he isn't long for this world. Stannis is the only would-be-king in prime ruling-the-seven-kingdoms-age. Davos also notes that Stannis pays his debts unlike others who only talk about doing so.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Last Week in Pop Culture #29

Around the Web
My first Market Maven column for Capeless Crusader went up this week, a new weekly column I'll be writing that looks at each week's batch of comic releases. Look for it every Monday, and eventually I'll  have some other columns up on Capeless Crusader as well. And if you like what you read, be sure to like the site's Facebook page as well.

As for Sound on Sight, this week I reviewed the first issue of my boy Cyclops' first solo series, a fun little space pirate-y story starring the time-lost version of the character (not the present day cranky Magneto-esque version). 

And hey, just because it's been awhile since I'm mentioned it, don't forget about Saved by the Bell Reviewed, the podcast co-hosted by me and Dr. Bitz. New episodes come out every week, and this week's is a doozy!

Friday, May 9, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #31

"Kiss Off!"
August 1988

In a Nutshell 
Infectia tries to kiss Iceman, but gets Beast instead. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Walt Simonson
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Greg Wright
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Aboard Ship, Infectia leans in to kiss Iceman, but a time bomb from Boom-Boom interrupts them. As Iceman chases after her, Beast swings in and tells Boom-Boom and the rest of the kids about how he knows Infectia is a danger to Iceman, even though he can't remember exactly why. Meanwhile, in Dallas, Cyclops and Marvel Girl easily free themselves and begin fighting Freedom Force. Back on Ship, the kids spend the rest of the evening doing their best to interrupt Iceman and Infectia at every turn, and even Ship gets in on the action. But when Infectia threatens to use her power to enslave him, Ship, remembering his time as Apocalypse's prisoner, relents. In Omaha, Nanny calls forth Orphan Maker and sends him into a home to slay the parents inside. The next morning, Infectia decides to take Iceman to her apartment, and Ship provides a plane to fly them back to the city.


In Dallas, Destiny calls a halt to the fight, telling Cyclops his son is alive, but that she doesn't know where he is. In Chicago, a group of cloaked figures watch footage of Death's recent attacks, agreeing to monitor the situation while continuing their plans to destroy mutants. Back in New York, Ship sends Beast after Iceman and Infectia. When the pair arrive at Infectia's apartment, she restrains Iceman. Transforming a captured postman into a monster as a demonstration, she tells Iceman she's going to do the same to him so he can capture Ship for her. Just then, Beast arrives and battles the postman monster. During the fight, Infectia leans in to kiss Iceman, but Beast breaks free and manages to put himself between them, taking the kiss meant for Iceman. The ensuing explosion frees Iceman and causes Beast to shift between his human and animal forms. Iceman apologizes for not listening to Beast's warning as the shifting Beast slips into unconscious.

Firsts and Other Notables
After being kissed by Infectia, Beast falls unconscious and shifts between his normal look and his blue-and-furry look. Ultimately, Infectia's kiss will result in him permanently regaining his animalistic look, as well as his normal intelligence, marking this issue as the end of the "Beast is getting dumber" subplot. 


Nanny's accomplice, Orphan Maker (who will turn out to be not nearly as cool as his name suggests) makes his first appearance in this issue, though he is not yet named. 


Death's hunt for Candy Southern has been noticed by a shadowy cabal - they will eventually be revealed to be the remnants of the Right. It's established they have Candy Southern, and that while she was scheduled to be killed, her termination order has been suspended for the time being. 


After Infectia transforms a postman into a monster, he recites the postman's creed. This issue is actually the first place I ever read it.


A Work in Progress
Destiny notes that, like Madelyne, time twists around Jean. She also confirms that Scott and Maddie's son is alive, though she is unable to pinpoint his location. Much of what she vaguely describes of his location will turn out to be true.  


I Love the 80s
I dunno, am I reading too much into it, or is Ship's production of that plane a sexual innuendo? 


The Awesome and Terrible Power of Cyclops
In a detail I've always gotten a kick out of, Cyclops is able to blast a small hole through Blob's arm. 


Teebore's Take
With that, the Infectia story mercifully comes to a close. Not because it was terrible, but because it was mostly forgettable, with everything happening on the periphery consistently more exciting or interesting that Infectia herself (and there's only so many times X-Factor can battle generic monsters, even ones drawn by Walt Simonson). This issue certainly continues that trend, with Death's hunt for Candy Southern and Cyclops and Marvel Girl's battle with Freedom Force (I enjoy that the pair more or less defeat Freedom all by themselves - a subtle indication of just how long they've been doing this stuff and how good they've gotten at it) proving far more entertaining than anything with Infectia.

As for the "A" plot, I actually don't mind the first half, with the kids doing their best Parent Trap imitation to keep Infectia from kissing Iceman, which is genuinely entertaining and shows that Simonson can write teenagers better than the petulant brats of New Mutants if she wants to, but once Infectia and Iceman leave Ship (for dubious reasons), it falls back into routine, forgettable territory. In the end, this three-parter essentially serves as a vehicle for resolving Beast's "getting dumber" status quo, and that's all well and good (and ultimately for the best), but Infectia herself unfortunately never manages to rise above the level of "plot device", which never a good thing for the character at the center of three part story. 

Next Issue
Next week, more Brood in Uncanny X-Men #233 and more Spyder & Gosamyr in New Mutants #67, while the Avengers sort of show up in X-Factor #32.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #66

"Sorcerer's Duel!"
August 1988

In a Nutshell
Illyana battles Forge. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Inker: Terry Austin 
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti & Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Dallas, Illyana confronts Forge, determined to kill him as revenge for his role in the deaths of her brother and the X-Men. A surprised Forge, whose magical abilities are tied to Earth, manages to hold her off, and as they battle, the rest of the New Mutants debate what to do. When they decide to intervene on Forge's behalf, Illyana teleports everyone to Limbo, where her power reigns supreme. Restraining the New Mutants, she and Forge resume their battle, during which her scrying glass is destroyed and Forge gradually realizes that Illyana is little more than an angry, grieving child, not so different than he was in Vietnam when he cast the spell the X-Men died to complete.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #232

"Earthfall"
August 1988

In a Nutshell 
The Brood are back, and on Earth. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editors: Ann Nocenti & Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Not too long ago, Harry Palmer and a group of friend are camping in the Rio Diablo Mountains when they witness a Star Shark crashing to Earth. Investigating the crash, everyone but Harry is killed when Brood emerge from the crashed shark. Harry seemingly escapes unharmed, though he frantically runs Alex Summers and Lorna Dane off the road as he drives away. In the present, Harry is in Denver, working as a paramedic. Responding to a call involving a fire-breathing mutant, Harry unknowingly infects him with a Brood egg. In Australia, Madelyne returns home to find the X-Men away. Suddenly, the computer system displays a clip of Cyclops and Marvel Girl at a press conference. Realizing that her husband left her for the resurrected Jean Grey, Madelyne punches the screen, triggering an explosion that knocks her out.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Game of Thrones 4x05: First of His Name



Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> Dreadfort -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Meereen

King's Landing
We have a new king! It's Tommen and the crowd goes wild at his coronation. I'm not sure if they're cheering out of obligation, because they like Tommen or just the fact that he's not Joffrey. I mean, after Joffrey, I'd cheer for Justin Bieber!

Margaery is making eyes with Tommen and Cersei notices this. Cersei talks about what douche Joffrey was with Margaery but Margaery plays it cool. Cersei then seems to endorse the pairing of Margaery and Tommen. I almost think she's sincere about this but when has Cersei been sincere about anything?

Later, Cersei talks with Tywin about the Margaery/Tommen marriage and the marriage between herself and Loras Tyrell. Again, she seems sincerely onboard with this. Then the bomb is dropped that the famed Lannister gold mines are dry. So the kingdom needs the Tyrell's money in order to pay back the Iron Bank. So, I suppose you could say, the Lannisters used to dig for gold but now they're gold diggers! I'm here all night folks.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Saturday Night Live: Andrew Garfield & Coldplay


This episode marks the beginning of the end of SNL's season, as it's the first of the final three new episodes of the TV year. Andrew Garfield, flush with all the Amazing Spider-Man 2 press, helps usher in the season's endgame with a worthy amount of energy and enthusiasm, though once again, the writing fails to elevate much of the material beyond mediocre. Host verve can do a lot to make an episode enjoyable (if the host is having a good time, it's easier for the audience to have one too), but it takes more than that for a really memorable one.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Last Week In Pop Culture

No Last Week in Pop Culture this week, since I was out of town and didn't have much time to read or watch anything of note (and I still haven't seen Amazing Spider-Man 2).

But hey, you can always read my "To Better Know" Spider-Man related posts, and if you haven't already, hit up your local comic book store - it's Free Comic Book Day, and in addition to all the free stuff, most shops also run some kind of sale, so pick up some back issues or a trade or two, and help support your local retailer.

Friday, May 2, 2014

To Better Know A Villain: Norman Osborn

Heading out to see Amazing Spider-Man 2 this weekend? Here's everything you need to know about Spidey's #1 foe (and be sure to check out this post on Spidey himself).

First Appearance
Amazing Spider-Man #14, July 1964

Nicknames and Aliases
The Green Goblin, Iron Patriot

Powers and Abilities
Norman possess superhuman strength, stamina, and healing abilities as a result of the Goblin serum, a chemical compound of his own design. He also possesses genius-level intelligence and business/leadership acumen, as well as an aptitude for chemical and electrical engineering.

Recently, AIM scientists gave Norman powers similar to that of the Super-Adaptoid, enabling him to absorb the super-human abilities of anyone he physically touches.

Gadgets and Accessories
As the Green Goblin, Norman routinely uses explosive and gaseous pumpkin bombs of his own design, and rides a flying "Goblin Glider" with an assortment of offensive capabilities.

As the Iron Patriot, Norman wore a suit of sophisticated armor similar to Iron Man's, outfitted with an array of weaponry.

Read the rest here

Thursday, May 1, 2014

X-amining New Mutants Annual #4

"Mind Games"
1988

In a Nutshell
The High Evolutionary targets Magma and Mirage gets a new power.

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: June Brigman
Inker: Bob McLeod , Roy Richardson (2nd Story)
Letterer: John Workman
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editors: Ann Nocenti & Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Just outside New York, the Purifiers capture Bulk and Glow Worm, determined to strip them of their dangerous mutant abilities. At the X-Mansion, Sam and Warlock train in the Danger Room before Rahne arrives with a letter from Amara lamenting her arranged marriage. At the Purifiers base, they remove Bulk and Glow Worm's power, then receive another high power level danger alert, belonging to Amara. In Nova Roma, Amara is discussing her situation with Empath when the Purifiers arrive, overpowering the pair and teleporting away with Amara. When her father contacts the White Queen for help, and the White Queen calls in the other members of the Inner Circle, the New Mutants overhear Magneto's conversation and learn of the situation. Deciding to rescue Amara themselves, they teleport to the Purifiers' base.