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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #89

"The Gift"
May 1990

In a Nutshell
Cable joins the New Mutants. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Inker: Hilary Barta

Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Freedom Force chases after Cable, shooting down his helicopter as he races for the city, but Cable is able to return fire before bailing out, and both choppers crash into the river. Cable reaches shore first, and heads deeper into the city. Meanwhile, Sam, Roberto and Boom-Boom land outside Tiffany's, reluctantly shopping for a going away present for Rahne. They end up buying her a crystal wolf figurine as Cable is accosted by Freedom Force in a nearby alley. Back at Ship, Rahne packs her things, much to Rictor's dismay, and when Moira arrives to pick her up, she is shocked by her foster mother's demeanor. Elsewhere, Cable's fight with Freedom Force attracts the attention of the rest of the New Mutants, who, eager to take on Freedom Force, come to his aid. Back at Ship, Rictor and Warlock destroy Moira's helicopter to prevent her from leaving before the rest of the team returns.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #261

"Harriers Hunt"
May 1990

In a Nutshell 
The first (and last) appearance of Hardcase and the Harriers. 

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

Plot
In Lowtown, Madripoor, Hardcase, the leader of a group of ex-SHIELD agents named the Harriers, briefs his team on their latest mission: the abduction of Wolverine, Jubilee and Psylocke. Elsewhere in Lowtown, the trio is having dinner, and Jubilee expresses her continued distrust of Psylocke to Wolverine. Just then, the Harriers burst into the restaurant and capture Wolverine. Meanwhile, Banshee and Forge check out the subbasement of the X-Mansion, and spot the arrival of Jean Grey on the grounds, who is promptly attacked and captured by a group of Morlocks. In Greece, Donald Pierce offers the grievously injured Cylla Markham the opportunity to be transformed into a cyborg. In Madripoor, Psylocke tells Jubilee she's located Wolverine, and that she intends to spring what is most likely a trap while Rose Wu rallies Wolverine's local friends to his aid.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X-aminations in May 2015


A relatively quiet week month as we chug ahead through the non-team era of Uncanny X-Men, the Cable-fication of New Mutants and, of course, the story that never ends, "Cross-Time Caper", in Excalibur.

I am calling another audible, however, and slotting in Marvel Comics Presents #51-53 at the end of the month. It's another Wolverine story (of course) but it's drawn by Liefeld, and aside from giving us another opportunity to make fun of his art, that's the week of Memorial Day (and my birthday), so I'm using it to give myself a little break without taking the week off entirely.

On Sale March 1990
May 6th: Incredible Hulk #369
May 7th: Excalibur #22
May 8th: Wolverine #24

On Sale April 1990
May 13th: Uncanny X-Men #262
May 14th: New Mutants #90
May 15th: X-Factor #55

May 20th: Spotlight on the Starjammers #1-2
May 21st: Excalibur #23
May 22nd: Wolverine #25

May 27th: Marvel Comics Presents #51-53

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Force in Focus: The Force Awakens Teaser #2


I honestly hadn't intended to interrupt the comic book reviews at least until we'd finished the adaptation of the film with issue #6, but then a new Force Awakens trailer was released at Celebration Anaheim last week, and while I wasn't going to push back the launch of the comic book reviews another week, talking about that trailer sure seems to fit the purview of this blog series. So here are.

Here, then, are five things that stood out to me in the second teaser trailer. Mild spoilers, but I don't know much more than what's been shown in the trailers.

Friday, April 24, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #23

"Endings"
April 1990

In a Nutshell 
Spore is defeated and Tierra Verde begins rebuilding. 

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artist: John Byrne

Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Spore attacks La Bandera, Wolverine bursts forth, alive after all, and flies into a berserker rage, slashing at the creature. The sight of Wolverine fighting back inspires La Bandera's ragtag army, and their inspiration in turn powers her. Working together, they distract Spore long enough for Sister Salvation to get close and use her healing power to destroy the monster, though doing so injures her hands and seemingly burns out her power. The next morning, with Caridad dead, La Bandera announces that she's heading for the capital city while Roughouse declares he's going to stay with Sister Salvation. Wolverine manages to track down Geist, destroying his armor and turning him over to La Bandera, who has helped take the city, and the the newly formed government.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Game of Thrones 5x02: The House of Black and White


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

Braavos
Everyone's favorite little girl with murderous intentions is entering Braavos between a man's legs. Well, it's actually a giant statue's legs. Either way, I hope Arya doesn't look up!

Thanks to her magic coin, Arya is being ferried to The House of Obvious Symbolism. (OK, it's the titular House of the Black of White.) She knocks the appropriately two-toned door and is greeted by a creepy looking man (and by “greeted” I mean silently glowered at). Arya asks for Jaqen H'ghar but there is apparently nobody there by that name.

After a rainy night of naming off the people she wants to kill Arya decides to ditch the coin and slaughter pigeons. Whatever passes the time, I suppose. So, some random thugs decide they want Arya's tasty pigeon corpse but Arya wants them to taste her sword instead. Before she needles them to death the creepy looking man appears and scares the thugs off with a glower.

To the surprise of no one, the creepy man turns out to be Jaqen although he refuses to call himself by that name. Apparently, to enter The House of Black and White you must have no name. Arya follows the assassin formerly known as Jaqen into the House of the Black and White via the black door.

X-amining Excalibur #21

"Crusader X"
April 1990

In a Nutshell
Crusader X investigates the arrival of Excalibur to his world, while the Shadow King attempts to corrupt Jean Grey.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Chris Wozniak
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Lord of All He Surveys: Tom DeFalco
Creators: Chris Claremont & Alan Davis

Plot
Crusader X, along with WHO, investigates the sudden appearance of a strange train. He is more curious than anything, but Inspector Thomas becomes concerned when they discover a picture of Nightcrawler, one of Imperial Prussia's top agents, in the train, so Crusader X agrees to use his power to track down Nightcrawler. On a different Earth, Kitty Pryde wakes up in Captain Britain's home to find Courtney Ross tending to her, and Kitty laments having lost another set of teammates. Back on the other Earth, Jean Grey experiences a vision created by Mastermind of herself becoming the Hellfire Club's Shadow Queen, which is detected by Phoenix, preventing Mastermind's corruption of Jean. At the Hellfire Club, Amahl Farouk, the club's Shadow King, punishes Mastermind for his failure, then meets with Tony Stark.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

X-amining Marvel Comics Presents #48-50 - Life's End

"Fist Fight" / "Child's Play" / "Breaking Point"
April - May 1990

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine and Spider-Man team-up to rescue a girl and her father from a group of evil mutants. 

Writer/Penciler: Erik Larsen
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Jade Moede
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Tery Kavanagh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #48: Swinging through the city, Spider-Man spots Wolverine and, thinking he's someone posing as the dead X-Man, attacks him. However, he eventually realizes Wolverine means him no harm, and assumes he's a ghost of some sort. Wolverine then fills Spider-Man in on the situation: he's tracked a young mutant girl and her father kidnapped by a group of evil mutants to a nearby warehouse. He and Spider-Man sneak into the building, but are stopped by a gun pointed at Wolverine's head. Issue #49: Wolverine and Spider-Man dodge the laser guns firing at them, with Wolverine careful to maintain the ruse that he's still dead. After destroying the cannons, they're attacked by the evil mutants. As Wolverine battles the animalistic Bloodlust, Spider-Man realizes their leader, Critical Mass, is an old classmate of his.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Retro Review: Homer Badman

Original Airdate
November 27th, 1994

Or the One Where
Homer is accused of sexually harassing the kids' babysitter. 

The Setup 
After losing the rare gummi Venus De Milo he stole from the candy convention, Homer discovers it stuck to the babysitter after he takes her home. But when he retrieves the candy, the babysitter is left thinking he was trying to grab her ass. 

Notable Notes
Rock Bottom, the sleazy tabloid show Homer goes on to try and clear his name, is a fairly direct parody of Hard Copy, though it stands as a parody of pretty much all those kind of tabloid-based "news" shows in general that were all the rage in the 90s before being mostly replaced by the internet.  

Future King of the Hill, The Office and Parks and Recreation co-creator Greg Daniels wrote this episode.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #1

"Star Wars"
July 1977

In a Nutshell
Darth Vader captures Princess Leia as Luke Skywalker gets drawn into her efforts to enlist Obi-Wan Kenobi's help. 

Scriptor/Editor: Roy Thomas
Illustrator: Howard Chaykin
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Marie Severin

Plot
Above the planet Tatooine, an Imperial starship pursues a Rebel spacecraft, their battle attracting the attention of young Luke Skywalker on the planet below. Soon, the Imperials board the Rebel craft, led by Darth Vader, who orders his troops to find the missing data tapes and bring him the passengers alive. Meanwhile, a young woman loads data into the robot R2-D2, after which he and his companion C-3P0 escape the ship via a lifepod, just as the woman is captured. Below, Luke races to the city of Anchorhead and is reunited with his old friend Biggs. In orbit, Vader interrogates the young woman, then orders the Rebel ship destroyed and a detachment sent to the planet to locate the missing escape pod. Below, Artoo and Threepio emerge from the pod, but are quickly captured by local scavengers, while Biggs tells Luke he's planning on jumping ship and joining the Rebellion. Elsewhere, a meeting of Imperials is interrupted by the arrival of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin, who announce the Emperor has dissolved the Imperial Senate, with fear of the new Imperial battle station intended to now keep local systems in line.

Friday, April 17, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #53

"Ghosts"
April 1990

In a Nutshell 
Scott proposes to Jean. 

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

Plot
Caliban comes across Archangel, badly wounded by Sabretooth,. Thinking Caliban is Sabretooth, Archangel attacks, and Caliban is pleased, as he hopes to best Apocalypse's earlier creation. Meanwhile, Scott and Jean go on a romantic walk through Central Park, while Bobby tries to take Opal to a great restaurant he knows, while they are unknowingly being followed by Mole. However, it turns out the restaurant has closed, so Opal invites Bobby back to her apartment for leftover pizza. On the way, they run into Officer Jones, who warn them about the grisly murder she discovered not far away. Nearby, Caliban and Archangel's battle continues, with Archangel slashing Caliban's face. In Central Park, Scott proposes to Jean. In Soho, Bobby and Opal near her apartment, but Christopher's stroller suddenly detects Mole.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #88

"The Great Escape"
April 1990

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants reunite with X-Factor while Cable battles Freedom Force. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Inker: Hilary Barta
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cable is interrogated by Freedom Force, who demand he helps them hunt down the MLF, who appear to be acquiring the elements needed to build a hydrogen bomb, or be executed as one of their members. Meanwhile, the New Mutants are reunited with X-Factor, arriving at the newly-sedentary Ship just as X-Factor finishes their press conference. As Cable escapes from his holding cell, X-Factor and the New Mutants watch footage of Freedom Force capturing Rusty & Skids. Though the New Mutants want to go after Freedom Force, Beast tells them to stay clear unless they're attacked directly, and Cyclops contacts Freedom Force, demanding the return of Rusty & Skids or else X-Factor will go to the law, and the press. As Freedom Force debates how to respond to X-Factor, especially given the fact they no longer have Rusty and Skids in custody, they learn of Cable's escape and chase after him.

Game of Thrones 5x01: The Wars to Come


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> The Eyrie -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Pentos -> Meereen

Welcome back readers! Or I suppose if you're here for the first time,,,welcome! I hope you enjoy my reviews of Game of Thrones. I don't have anything awe-inspiring to say so let's just get to it.

King's Landing
We start off Season 5 with a couple of young girls we've never seen before. The bitchy attitude of one of the girls clues us in that she is Cersei. It's a very rare Game of Thrones flashback!

Young Cersei enters a witch's hut and demands that her fortune be told. The witch complies and tells her she will marry the king (not the current Targaryen prince) and the king will have 20 children and she will have 3. Before young Cersei has a chance to make heads or tails of that statement the witch also says that Cersei's children will wear golden shrouds. To which I say if all it takes to be a fortune teller is to say that people will die at some point in time then call me freakin' Nostradamus!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #260

"Star 90"
April 1990

In a Nutshell 
Dazzler faces off against her stalker.

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 the Hollywood Hills, Eric Beale plots to kill Dazzler, while in Malibu, Freddie screens Dazzler's movie for her, and asks for her help in drumming up support for a release, but she's reluctant to do so. Going outside to surf, Beale draws a bead on her with a sniper rifle from a nearby hill. However, he consistently misses her, enabling her to spot him and blast his rifle with a laser bolt, but Beale escapes. Determined to draw him out, Dazzler agrees to help Freddie release the film. In Manhattan, the woman with whom Peter is obsessed gets attacked by a group of muggers in X-Men masks outside his apartment. He and Jenny Ransome come to her rescue, but she runs off again before Peter can talk to her. In Hollywood, Freddie and Dazzler strike a deal with Baron-Fox Studios to release Dazzler's movie, unknowingly dodging repeated attacks by Beale.

Monday, April 13, 2015

A long time ago...


The three great pop culture loves of my life are the X-Men, the Simpsons, and Star Wars. While the first two are well-represented on this site, I've long lamented the relative lack of Star Wars content. But all of that changes this week, as I launch an all new review series: Force in Focus, a weekly look, X-aminations style, at Marvel's original Star Wars comic book that launched in 1977, one issue at a time.

But "Force in Focus" will be even bigger than that, as I intend it to be a one-stop spot for all kinds of Star Wars stuff. Because, unlike all the various X-books, Star Wars is a finite series with definitive end point, I'm more willing to take my time with it, and thus, in between arcs of the series (or whenever I need a break, or deadlines get the better of me), I'll be using the "Force in Focus" spot to highlight something related to Star Wars: more essay-ish reviews of Star Wars novels, action figure spotlights, funny gifs or memes, etc. The consistent thread will be the comic book reviews, but the overall goal is to generate regular Star Wars-related content of all kinds.

Friday, April 10, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #22

"Outburst"
March 1990

In a Nutshell 
Caridad transforms himself into Spore. 

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Breakdown Artist: John Byrne
Finishing Artist: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine is tortured on orders from Caridad, then returned to his cell, as Caridad fulfills his promise and reunites Sister Salvation with their son Palo, serving as a solider in his army. Wolverine, sharing his cell with Roughouse, worries what will happen if Caridad proceeds with his plan to infect someone with the tainted cocaine and Spore is freed. Caridad is still insistent on creating a superhero for Tierra Verde, and plans to use the cocaine on his son. Meanwhile, Wolverine urges Roughouse to break free of his chains, and when he hears Sister Salvation cry out, he does so, then frees Wolverine and they set out to find Sister Salvation and stop Caridad. However, despite his mother's objections, Palo is willing to receive the treatment, hoping to make his father proud and confidant his mother's healing abilities will keep him safe.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

To Better Know a Hero: Daredevil

Daredevil - Daredevil Real Name
Matthew “Matt” Murdock

First Appearance
Daredevil #1 April. 1964

Nicknames & Aliases
The Man Without Fear, Hornhead, DD, Mike Murdock, Ronin

Powers and Abilities
Daredevil’s senses are enhanced to super-human levels, meaning he can tell if a person is lying by listening to whether their heartbeat skips when they speak, or read a newspaper by running his fingers over the print and feeling the letters raised off the page. He also possesses a superhuman “radar” sense, which enables him to detect objects around him and warns him of danger.

Additionally, Daredevil is a highly-trained acrobat, gymnast, martial artist, and an accomplished lawyer.

Weaknesses and Achilles’ Heels
Well, he’s blind, so there’s that. He also has an inclination towards martyrdom and falling for women at the wrong times.

Read the rest of the post at Sound on Sight! 

X-amining Excalibur #20

"The Eye of the Beholder"
March 1990

In a Nutshell 
Excalibur battles Demon Druid. 

Guest Writer: Michael Higgins
Guest Penciler: Ron Lim
Guest Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Guest Letterer: Augustin Mas
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
At Arthur's Seat in Scotland, a portal suddenly opens, from which Demon Druid emerges. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler tries to console Meggan, who is upset with the way Brian has been treating her. She flies away to London, where she spots Brian on a date with Courtney Ross, but is distracted by Demon Druid, who is constructing a replica of Stonehenge out of energy. The two fight one another, drawing the attention of a barhopping Rachel and Kitty, who join the fight as well. When Kitty phases through Demon Druid, she senses his true goal before the effect causes him to disappear. Later, at Excalibur's lighthouse, Kitty is working on a device when Brian returns from his date, but he's rude to Meggan and storms off before helping Kitty.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

X-amining Avengers West Coast #56, 57 & 60

"Darker Than Scarlet" / "Family Reunion" / "Personal Magnetism"
March/April/July 1990

In a Nutshell 
Magneto attempts to counsel the now-villainous Scarlet Witch. 

Writer: John Byrne, Roy & Dann Thomas (Issue #60)
Penciler: John Byrne, Paul Ryan (Issue #60)
Inker: Paul Ryan, Danny Bulanadi (Issue #60)
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Howard Mackie
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #56: Scarlet Witch, having embraced her power and darker urges in the wake of her recent losses, torments the Avengers she's captured. Meanwhile, at Avengers Compound, Hank Pym is visited by Quicksilver, and Iron Man receives the Avengers emergency signal. Investigating Scarlet Witch's cottage, Pym watches as Magneto arrives, then bursts through the wall. Magneto insists he's only there for his daughter, but Pym draws a weapon from his pocket and turns it on Scarlet Witch. Just then, Quicksilver rushes in, knocking out Pym and declaring his allegiance lies with his father and sister. Issue #57: Human Torch arrives and attacks the mutants, prompting Magneto to fly them away. They're attacked in the air by Iron Man but Scarlet Witch disables his armor, sending him plummeting to the ground. The three mutants arrive at the newly-rebuilt Asteroid M, and shortly thereafter, he Avengers proceed to infiltrate the base.

Friday, April 3, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #52

"Celebrity!"
March 1990

In a Nutshell
Archangel battles Sabretooth

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker
Inker: Allen Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: B. Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Archangel watches from above as Officer Charlotte Jones discovers the body of the Morlock Wings, then saves her from a gang of crackheads before flying off, fighting the urge to kill the criminals. As he leaves, Sabretooth, watching from a nearby rooftop, shoots him down with an assault rifle. Meanwhile, Scott, Jean, Hank and Trish Tilby are on a double date when the restaurant is attacked by giant cockroaches. Meannwhile, Opal arrives at work and drops off dinner for Mole, who is still hiding in the basement of the music store. On a snowy rooftop, Sabretooth checks the fallen Archangel, but gets his face slashed by Archangel's wings.

The Walking Dead 5x16: Conquer


Choices. In some ways that's what The Walking Dead has always been about. Who do you choose to trust? Where do you choose to go? How do you choose to try to live your life in the zombie apocalypse? Can you make the tough choices?

The season 5 finale of The Walking Dead, Conquer, was all about choices. Individual characters and the entire town of Alexandria were put to the test. The end result was, frankly, a lot better than I had predicted.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #87

"A Show of Power!"
March 1990

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Cable & Stryfe. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: M. Rockwitz
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Mutant Liberation Front attacks a Federal energy research facility, setting a bomb to destroy the facility. A man named Cable arrives just as the MLF teleports away, and is caught in the blast. Meanwhile, in Asgard, Tiwaz gives the New Mutants a map through the dimensional eddies that can bring them home, but Dani announces she's staying behind. In Washington DC, Mystique visits the recovering Skids, asking her why the MLF is so interested in her & Rusty, but Skids insists she has no idea. In Asgard, the New Mutants say a tearful goodbye to Dani and the rest of their friends, then depart for home aboard Warlock. At the MLF's hidden base, their leader, Stryfe, sends the team to rescue Rusty and Skids, the government having refused to release them. They arrive at the detention facility, where Cable is lying in wait, determined to protect Rusty and Skids.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #259

"Dream a Little Dream"
March 1990

In a Nutshell 
Colossus and Dazzler emerge from the Siege Perilous and set about building new lives for themselves. 

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 Soho, Phillip Moreau and Jenny Ransome are attacked by a pair of Genoshan Magistrates and Pipeline, but the sudden appearance of a naked and amnesiac Colossus helps prevent their capture. In return, they offer him a place to stay. In Hollywood, Freddie Stanachek discovers a copy of the lost Dazzler movie. Later, Lila Cheney's bodyguard Guido discovers Dazzler washed up on the beach near Lila's house. Elsewhere, Masque torments Callisto. In Soho, Colossus, thinking his name is Peter Nicholas, gets a job as the caretaker of the apartment complex where Phillip and Jenny live. In Hollywood, Freddie tries to sell Baron-Fox Studios on the idea of releasing the Dazzler movie, but without a hook to make it relevant again, they're not interested. At Lila's house, Dazzler becomes reacquainted with her history, but still remembers none of it, and leaves for a night on the town.