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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

X-amining Excalibur #5

"Send in the Clowns!"
February 1989

In a Nutshell 
Excalibur battles the Crazy Gang inside Murderworld. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Creators: Claremont & Davis

Plot
In Murderworld, Courtney Ross comes face to face with the Crazy Gang, confused as to why Captain Britain and the rest of Excalibur aren't doing anything, not realizing the two teams' have switched minds. Determined to put some distance between their foes, Excalibur-as-the-Crazy Gang grab Courtney and run off. From the control room Arcade watches this when Shadowcat suddenly appears, phasing through the monitors. Leaving Lockheed to guard Miss Locke and Mr. Chambers, she pulls Arcade into Murderworld. Shadowcat then proceeds to take control of Murderworld using a program she and Doug Ramsey wrote together, turning Murderworld against Arcade as Courtney continues to flee from the Crazy Gang. The two teams collide on Murderworld's stage set, and Captain Britain, still trapped in Tweedledope's body, gives Courtney a device he created.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

X-amining "Inferno" Tie-Ins Part 2

Amazing Spider-Man #312, Avengers #300, Daredevil #263, Fantastic Four #323, Spectacular Spider-Man #147, Web of Spider-Man #47
February 1989

Amazing Spider-Man #312 by David Michelinie & Todd MacFarlane
Avengers #300 by Walt Simonson & John Buscema (layouts) and Tom Palmer (finishes)
Daredevil #263 by Ann Nocenti & John Romita Jr.
Fantastic Four #323 by Steve Englehart & Keith Pollard
Spectacular Spider-Man #147 by Gerry Conway & Sal Buscema
Web of Spider-Man #47 by Gerry Conway & Alex Saviuk
(for full credits on each issue, please visit the GCD)

Plot
Avengers #300: Working together, the Captain, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman and the Forgotten One manage to defeat Nanny and the Orphan Maker. As they work to free Franklin Richards from the armor into which Nanny placed him, the boy is captured by demons working for N'astirh. Freeing him from the armor, N'astirh uses Franklin's vast power to reinforce the portal between Earth and Limbo, but the heroes, joined by Thor, track Franklin and free him before defeating a Growing Man android activated by Kang. With the portal closed and the demon effect fading, the heroes retire to the Richards' home, where the Captain, inspired by recent events, reiterates the importance of the Avengers, and asks the assembled heroes to join him in reforming the team.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

X-aminations in August


August looks to be a fairly straightforward month: as the summer heat dies down, so too does "Inferno", which will come to an end as the month closes out.

On Sale November 1988
August 6th: Uncanny X-Men #242
August 7th: New Mutants #73
August 8th: X-Factor #38

August 13th: "Inferno" Tie-ins Part 3: Web of Spider-Man #48, Fantastic Four #324, Power Pack #44, Amazing Spider-Man #313, Spectacular Spider-Man #148
August 14th: Excalibur #6
August 15th: Wolverine #5

On Sale December 1988

August 20th: Uncanny X-Men #243
August 21st: New Mutants #74
August 22nd: X-Factor #39

August 27th: "Inferno" Tie-ins Part 4: Daredevil #265 & The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak & Dagger #4
August 28th: Excalibur #7
August 29th: Wolverine #6

Monday, July 28, 2014

Retro Review: Bart Gets Famous

Original Airdate
February 3, 1994

Or the One Where
Bart enjoys fifteen minutes of fame after saying "I didn't do it" on Krusty's show. 

The Setup
During a field trip to the box factory, Bart sneaks off to visit the nearby Krustylu Studios and ends up becoming Krusty's personal assistant, eventually appearing on an episode of his show and declaring "I didn't do it" after accidentally knocking over the set. 

Notable Notes
Conan O'Brien, who was of course a former writer on the show before leaving to take over Late Night, appears in this episode as himself. The writers decided to write him into the episode and put Bart on his show before they knew for sure whether O'Brien got the gig, and O'Brien himself believed his show would be cancelled before this episode aired.

Friday, July 25, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #37

"A Matter of Honor"
February 1989

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor battles the Goblin Queen 

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, X-Factor battles demons while on the trail of Cyclops' infant son Christopher. They draw nearer just as a demon delivers him to N'astirh. He then teleports away with the child, only to return moments later, joined by Madelyne in her Goblin Queen attire. Calling out Cyclops for abandoning her and their son, she attacks the team. X-Factor defends themselves, but holds back from harming Madelyne at Cyclops' insistence. When Madelyne realizes Marvel Girl is sharing the baby's thoughts, she blasts her, but N'astirh blocks the attack, hoping to keep X-Factor alive longer, in order to continue to goad and enrage Madelyne. She turns on her ally, declaring she is no longer his puppet. N'astirh teleports away, not caring what she is, so long as she does what he's set her to do: sacrifice her son to unleash his power and blast a permanent hole to Limbo.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #72

"Demon Reign"
February 1989

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants battle the demon rain as Illyana struggles with her dark side. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Inker: Al Williamson 
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Times Square, S'ym appears before N'astirh and the New Mutants, and the two demons begin to fight one another, with N'astirh teleporting Illyana away. Otherwise forgotten, the New Mutants attempt to disrupt the pentagram, reasoning that closing the portal between Earth and Limbo may very well help Illyana as well. Meanwhile, Illyana appears in a demonically-possessed diner, where inanimate objects urge her to use her sword to attack the possessed people inside before she is teleported away again. In the skies over Times Square, the New Mutants meet the X-Terminators, and the two groups team up to try and close the portal. Illyana next arrives in a demonic pet shop and is once again urged to use her sword, and she realizes the demons want her to use it to spill innocent blood in order to seal her dark transformation. In Times Square, the New Mutants succeed in rescuing the mutant infants and disrupting the pentagram.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #241

"Inferno Part the Second: Fan the Flames"
February 1989

In a Nutshell 
The Origin of Madelyne Pryor

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

Plot
In the secret high-tech catacombs beneath a Nebraska orphanage, Madelyne Pryor attacks Mr. Sinister, who claims to be her father. Mr. Sinister shrugs off her attack and traps her in chains as N'astirh disappears. Meanwhile, the X-Men and the Marauders find themselves in the midst of a demonically-possessed Manhattan, as inanimate objects and even the police have become enchanted. In Nebraska, Mr. Sinister asks Madelyne to share a childhood memory, but the only one she can recall is actually a memory of Jean Grey's. In Manhattan, the X-Men and the Marauders continue their battle, with the X-Men growing increasingly savage. Back in Nebraska, Mr. Sinister explains how he cloned Madelyne from a sample of Jean Grey's blood and tissue, but that she didn't awaken until after the Phoenix sacrificed itself on the moon. In Manhattan, Colossus learns his sister has been deposed as ruler of Limbo, and, with his teammates now enchanted themselves, leaves to help her on his own, in order to end the demonic invasion.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Retro Review: Homer the Vigilante

Original Airdate
January 6th, 1994

Or the One Where
Homer forms a vigilante group. 

The Setup
After Lisa's saxophone is stolen as part of crime wave sweeping Springfield, Homer forms a gang of vigilantes to hunt down the culprit and retrieve the instrument. 

Notable Notes
Sam Neill, riding high on the success of Jurassic Park at this point, guest stars as Malloy, the gentlemanly cat burglar.

Friday, July 18, 2014

X-amining Wolverine #3

"The Black Blade"
January 1989

In a Nutshell 
Lindsay & Silver Samurai work to free Wolverine from the Black Blade. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Lindsay and Silver Samurai watch, Wolverine, possessed by the Black Blade, escapes into a burning building with Jessica Drew, leading Silver Samurai to believe that Wolverine intends to sacrifice her. The pair goes to the Princess Bar, where O'Donnell is holding the captive Black Blade cultists. In order to learn where the sacrifice will take place, Lindsay tricks the captives into believing she's tortured and killed one of them. Together, the three head out to an old temple in the jungle outside the city. Leaving O'Donnell outside to deal with the authorities should they fail, Lindsay and Silver Samurai enter the temple.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

X-amining Excalibur #4

"Still Crazy After All These Years"
January 1989

In a Nutshell 
Arcade captures Courtney Ross. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Dedicated to Dave Thorpe, co-creator of The Crazy Gang

Plot
While reminiscing about her past with Captain Britain, Courtney Ross is attacked in her office by the Crazy Gang. She manages to get past them and out into the street, only to be captured by a waiting Arcade. The next day, Kitty and Rachel are shopping when Kitty realizes the money she took out of Courtney's bank was made by Arcade. Meanwhile, at the lighthouse, Kurt and Meggan flirt as Kurt builds a jungle gym, with the pair almost kissing just before the rest of the team comes home. Kitty shows everyone the money, from which they deduce that Arcade, looking for revenge on Captain Britain, has captured Courtney, and where to find her. Brian, enraged, attempts to fly off in a rage but Rachel holds him back as Kurt points out that Arcade clearly wants them to come after her, so they must find a way to beat him at his own game.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

X-amining "Inferno" Tie-Ins Part 1

Amazing Spider-Man #311, Avengers #298-299, Daredevil #262, Fantastic Four #322, Power Pack #42-43, Spectacular Spider-Man #146
Dec. 1988 - Jan. 1989

Amazing Spider-Man #311 by David Michelinie & Todd MacFarlane
Avengers #298-299 by Walt Simonson & John Buscema (layouts) and Tom Palmer (finishes)
Daredevil #262 by Ann Nocenti & John Romita, Jr. 
Fantastic Four #322 by Steve Englehart & Keith Pollard
Power Pack #42 by Jon Bogdanove, #43 by Bogdanove & Sal Velluto
Spectacular Spider-Man #146 by Gerry Conway & Sal Buscema
(for full credits on each issue, please visit the GCD)

Plot
Amazing Spider-Man #311: Spider-Man battles Mysterio, believing the odd happenings caused by Limbo's invasion of Earth to be nothing more than illusions created by his foe. Avengers #298: Avengers butler Jarvis is attacked by demons and possessed objects in New York, and he alerts the Captain to the state of the city. Avengers #299: The Captain teams up with the New Mutants against the demonic invasion of Limbo. Hoping to find help in determining the cause of the invasion, he seeks out Reed Richards, who has retired from the Fantastic Four. The Captain arrives at the Richards' Connecticut home just after Nanny and the Orphan Maker capture Franklin Richards. Together, the Captain, Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman battle the villains, but are overcome when a brainwashed Franklin, wearing a suit of armor, attacks them. Just then, they are joined by the Eternal Gilgamesh, come to Earth to battle the demon hoard, and vow to free the Richards' son.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Retro Review: $pringfield (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Legalized Gambling)


Original Airdate
December 16th, 1993

Or the One Where
Springfield legalizes gambling, leading to Mr. Burns building a casino which soon draws into its orbit the Simpson family.

The Setup
Faced with an economic downturn, the citizens of Springfield vote to legalize gambling in order to kick start their economy.

Notable Notes
This episode introduces Marge's gambling addiction, one of those rare bits of continuity the show will actually hang onto and reference occasionally.

Friday, July 11, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #36

"Transformation"
January 1989

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor battles the demonic Inferno in Manhattan. 

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

Plot
Beast and Iceman are battling possessed objects in Manhattan, as Trish Tilby reports on the state of the city. During a break in the action, Trish and Beast talk, with Trish unsettled by Beast's recent transformation. Just then, she and her cameraman are eaten by a demonic subway. Elsewhere, N'astirh muses on his manipulation of Madelyne Pryor, then appears before Death, sensing the darkness within him and attempting to sway him to N'astirh's side. When Death learns N'astirh empowered Hodge, he vows to unleash his evil on the demon. Meanwhile, Cyclops and Marvel Girl, telepathically following the cries of Cyclops' son, arrive in Manhattan as Beast and Iceman manage to climb aboard the subway which ate Trish. Cyclops and Marvel Girl are attacked by a possessed jetliner, while Iceman and Beast manage to stop the subway when it tries to cross the Manhattan Bridge.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #71

"Limbo"
January 1989

In a Nutshell
Illyana is tricked into opening the portal that brings Limbo to Earth. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Bret Blevins
Inker: Al Williamson 
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
With Illyana unable to open a stepping disc out of Limbo, the New Mutants attack S'ym and his the demon horde. During the fight, S'ym manages to wrest Illyana's Soul Sword from her grasp. Realizing she can still teleport within Limbo, Illyana escapes with her teammates. Just then, N'astirh contacts S'ym from Earth, admonishing him for trying to kill Illyana and revealing it is his magic which is keeping her from leaving. The New Mutants emerge in Belasco's former throne room, and when S'ym's demons track them there, Illyana jumps the team into the past, where they see her as a small girl shortly after she arrived in Limbo. They watch as N'astirh saves the young girl from S'ym. Back on Earth, Magneto and the Inner Circle are attacked by the growing Empire State Building, and the White Queen's hears the telepathic cries of the tourists inside as they're killed.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #240

"Strike the Match: Inferno Part the First"
January 1989

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men locate and attack the Marauders.

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

Plot
At the Rainbow Room in New York, Alex and Madelyne spend a romantic evening together, even while the city continues acting strangely. As the evening ends, they return to Australia, after which Madelyne immediately leaves for Bard College. Now in her Goblin Queen attire, she visits Jean Grey's grave, admonishing the woman for returning to life and ruining Madelyne's life, then transforms Jean's parents into demons. Just then N'astirh arrives, promising her a lead in the search for her son. Back in Australia, Dazzler and Rogue fight over Rogue spending time with Longshot, while Alex informs Wolverine and Storm that the computer system has finally located the Marauders, moving into the Morlock Alley.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

X-amining X-Terminators #1-4

"Invasion of the Baby-Snatchers" / "Speed Demon!" / "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" / "Finale"
Oct. 1988 - Jan. 1989

In a Nutshell 
The X-Factor wards band together to battle the demonic invasion of Earth by Limbo. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Jon Bogdanove
Inkers: Al Williamson & Al Milgrom (issue #1), Al Milgrom (issues #2-4)
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: John Wellington, Petra Scotese (issue #4)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: In Limbo, S'ym orders N'astirh and his Nastiri to go to Earth and steal thirteen mutant babies for the performance of S'ym's Dread Rite. The demons arrive on Earth and take over mausoleum as their headquarters. Meanwhile, Rusty turns himself in to the naval authorities as Marvel Girl drops Artie and Leech off at their new school, St. Simons. Iceman then delivers the rest of the kids to Phillips Academy. At St. Simons, Artie and Leech befriend an abrasive student named Taki, a mutant with the ability to manipulate technology. That night, Taki observes a group of demons kidnapping Artie & Leech, believing them to be infants because of their bald heads. None of the teachers believe his story, and unable to reach the older kids, he transforms his wheelchair into a helicopter and flies to their school. After relaying what he saw to Skids, she, Boom-Boom and Rictor leave with Taki, and proceed to break Rusty out of jail to lead them in their efforts to rescue Artie and Leech.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Retro Review: The Last Temptation of Homer

Original Airdate
December 9th, 1993

Or the One Where
Homer is tempted by an attractive new co-worker who shares his interests. 

The Setup
After barely escaping from a gas leak, one of Homer's co-workers is fired, and when the Department of Labor calls into question Mr. Burns' dubious hiring practices, Burns is forced to hire a woman to fill the vacancy.  

Notable Notes
The voice of Mindy is provided by Michelle Pfeifer, who was arguably at the peak of her popularity when this episode aired. She is one of the few characters on the show not to feature in a later episode.

Friday, July 4, 2014

X-amining X-Factor #35

"Go to the Orphan Maker!"
December 1988

In a Nutshell 
Cyclops & Marvel Girl battle Nanny & the Orphan Maker.

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

Plot
In Manhattan, Beast and Iceman patrol the streets, protecting citizens from inanimate objects run amok. In Nebraska, Cyclops and Marvel Girl arrive at the orphanage where Cyclops grew up, and sneak in through the attic. Their subterfuge soon turns out to be unnecessary though, as the staff and children at the orphanage don't seem to notice their presence. As they head towards the basement, Cyclops is bombarded by jumbled memories of his childhood. Meanwhile, above the orphanage, Nanny arrives, seeking to rescue the mutant babies inside, and she sets Orphan Maker and her super powered Lost Boys and Girls to the task. Below, Cyclops and Marvel Girl discover a massive subterranean complex beneath the orphanage, inside of which are scientists tending to babies within suspended animation pods. Above, a group of demons dispatched by N'astirh arrive, also seeking the mutant babies and Cyclops' son.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

X-amining New Mutants #70

"Self-Fulfilling Prophesy"
December 1988

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants escape Spyder but at the cost of Lila. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Spyder's lair, the captured New Mutants attempt to escape their cage, but are unable to do so, and Illyana is reluctant to teleport to Limbo due to the state of things there. As Spyder gloats, he restrains Gosamyr, then leaves to witness the unveiling of her family. Meanwhile, back on Earth, Magneto arrives in Manhattan for a meeting of the Hellfire Club and is attacked by a possessed fire escape. Back on Spyder's planet, Gosamyr enters a metamorphic state called the minor death to escape her bonds and become invisible. Attacking Spyder's guards, she knocks one into the New Mutants' cage, its body draining enough energy from the cage that the New Mutants are able to escape. They race after Spyder and Lila, intending to rescue Lila and save Gosamyr's family. Just then, a group of massive cocoons begin to open, and monstrous beings, Gosamyr's family, emerge.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #239

"Vanities"
December 1988

In a Nutshell 
Mr. Sinister muses on the X-Men as Madelyne works to find her son. 

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

Plot
In New York, with the heat wave continuing, a demonically-possessed Empire State Building eats a family of tourists. Another day in a another place, Mr. Sinister reflects on the believed-dead X-Men. He is interrupted by Malice, who is angry after discovering she is unable to break her bond with Polaris' body. Mr. Sinister admits he hoped that would be the case, saying he only intends to make her stronger. In Australia, Dazzler performs at a local saloon as Longshot watches. Storm, searching the computers for information on the Reavers, discovers footage of an X-Factor press conference, and realizes Jean Grey is alive. She angrily confronts Wolverine about it, and he admits he suspected as much, but was scared to find out for sure. In the caves beneath the town, Psylocke, Rogue and Colossus train, and Carol Danvers once more takes control of Rogue's body after a particularly nasty psychic attack from Psylocke.