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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #6

"Is This -- The Final Chapter?"
December 1977

In a Nutshell
Luke blows up the Death Star with an assist from Han and Chewbacca. 

Writer & Editor: Roy Thomas
Artist & Storyteller: Howard Chaykin
Embellishers: Rick Hoberg & Bill Wray
Colorist: Paty
Letterers: Lay & Royer
Consulting Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
As the Rebel pilots approach the Death Star, the Imperials respond with their turbo lasers, but the Rebel craft are small enough to evade the guns, prompting Darth Vader to lead a group of TIE fighters against them. As the Imperial ships approach, Luke finds himself wishing Han Solo and Chewbacca were with him, then destroys a ship targeting Biggs. Shortly thereafter, Biggs mourns the loss of his friend Porkins, and then Luke's squad leader starts an attack run on the trench leading to the exposed exhaust port. But Vader destroys Blue Leader and his wingmates, leaving only Luke, Biggs and Wedge Antilles to destroy the Death Star.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Game of Thrones 5x07: The Gift


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

“All rulers are butchers...or meat.” So says Daario to Daenerys. That's pretty much the theme of the episode. Characters are making choices to stand up and become the butchers rather than meat. Then again, being decisive and aggressive to get ahead of the cautious and timid is pretty much theme of the entire series.

The Wall
We start at the Wall. Jon Snow is preparing to go north and meet with the Wildlings. I'm not sure if that makes Jon Snow a butcher or meat, yet. Ser Alliser pretty much says Jon is crazy and Jon thanks him for speaking his mind. I doubt either of them are surprised by what the other said. And with that, Jon Snow is off.

Maester Aemon dies because...he was old? Presumably? Anyway, Sam eulogizes him and Ser Alliser gives Sam the ominous warning that he's running out of friends. I was hoping Ser Allison was above that. Regardless, I'm not sure if Maester Aemon could've prevented what happens next anyway.

Later, some Night's Watch randos accost Gilly. Just when I thought we'd watch a second rape in as many episodes Sam shows up to defend her. Sam then gets the crap kicked out of him and then they turn to Gilly once more. Just when I thought we'd watch a second rape in as many episodes Ghost shows up to defend her. The idiots run away.

Gilly takes care of the injured Sam by having sex with him. Not sure what that says about how women are presented on this show, but Sam seems to like it. I would think sex after being beaten within an inch of your life and while you're slightly concussed would be rough but, hey, better that be your first time than not have a first time at all!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

X-aminations in June 2015


I'm still hammering out the schedule for the rest of the year, so I'll post that with the July schedule next month. In the meantime, here's a look at what's ahead in June, including a return to summer bi-weekly shipping for Uncanny X-Men & Wolverine, "Days of Future Present", and the first appearance of Gambit (sort of)!

On Sale in May 1990
June 3rd: Uncanny X-Men #263
June 4th: New Mutants #91
June 5th: X-Factor #56

June 10th: Uncanny X-Men #264
June 11th: Excalibur #24
June 12th: Wolverine #26

June 17th: Fantastic Four Annual #22
June 18th: New Mutants Annual #6
June 19th: X-Factor Annual #5

June 24th: X-Men Annual #14
June 25th: New Mutants Summer Special #1
June 26th: Wolverine #27

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

X-amining Marvel Comics Presents #51-53: The Wilding

"Face Off " / "The First Cut is the Deepest" / "The First Cut is the Deepest"
June - July 1990

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine battles Wildchild

Plot: Rob Liefeld
Script: Rob Liefeld (issue #51), Fabian Nicieza (issue #52-53)
Pencils: Rob Liefeld
Inkers: Rob Liefeld, Chris Ivy/Joe Rubinstein (issue #53)
Letterer: Jade Moede
Colorist:Brad Vancata
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #51: Leaving a bar, Wolverine is attacked by Wild Child, leading both Wolverine and Heather Hudson to believe that Wild Child is responsible for a recent rash of serial killings. Wolverine, after remembering a previous training session with Wild Child, vows to track him down. Issue #52: Wolverine stakes out Wild Child's apartment, and watches as Heather Hudson enters the building. Inside, she's attacked by Wild Child, who rips through the circuitry of her suit. Wolverine crashes into the room, and spotting Heather's condition, realizes Wild Child is not a man to be saved but an animal to be put down. The two fight, but Wild Child retreats, knowing Wolverine will opt to save Heather rather than pursue him.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #5

"Lo, The Moons of Yavin!"
November 1977

In a Nutshell
The Rebels prepare for their assault on the Death Star. 

Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
Illustrator: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Consulting Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
As the Millennium Falcon speeds away from the Death Star, Han and Luke man the ship's gun turrets to fight off the pursuing Imperial TIE fighters. However, their escape is all part of Darth Vader's plan to have them reveal the location of the Rebel base via the homing beacon he hid on the Falcon. Leia suspects as much, and only hopes that the information in Artoo will reveal a weakness in the Death Star. After the ship arrives at the Rebel base on the fourth moon of Yavin, the data is analyzed and General Dodonna briefs the Rebel pilots on their mission: to destroy the Death Star, they'll need to fire a proton torpedo at a small target while flying at maximum speed.

Game of Thrones 5x06: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken


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

The past. It colors all our movements. Some of us embrace it. Some of us learn from it. Some of us try to forget it entirely. However, none of us are beyond its grasp.

Braavos
Arya is certainly trying to forget her past entirely. It's pretty much a requirement of the Many-Faced God in order to become No One. Arya currently looks to be putting in her work without much of a fuss. Eventually she wants to play the “game” with the other girl in the House of Black and White. This girl says that Arya isn't really ready and then tells Arya the story of her life. Basically, she was a rich kid who had an evil stepmother. I'm not sure her back story is necessary to know because she then asks Arya which parts of her story were a lie, none, some or all? I wasn't sure and neither was Arya. My vote would be all, for what it's worth.

Later, Jaqen decided to play the game with Arya. At least, I think it's the game. Anyway, Jaqen asked Arya questions about her past and lashed her when he caught her in a lie. This game seems a bit rigged to me, though, because Jaqen already knows Arya's history so how can she lie to him about it? Anyway, the interesting part of this scene is Arya declares her hate for the Hound and gets whipped for it. She swears it's true but it's obvious Jaqen believes she's lying to herself.

Next a man shows up with his sickly daughter. The man has tried all medical treatments and is to the point where he just wants her suffering to end. Arya takes her to a pool of water and tells her a tale of her being sick and brought to this temple where the water healed her. She gives the daughter some water and she dies.

Jaqen thinks Arya is still not ready to be become no one but is now ready to become someone else. Ummmm...OK. I guess we'll see where that goes.

Friday, May 22, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #25

"Heir Aid"
June 1990

In a Nutshell 
A rare (possible) glimpse at Wolverine's early days.

Writer: Jo Duffy
Artist: John Buscema
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
A small time gangster named Morrow calls in a favor from Wolverine. He is preparing to launch a turf war with his rival Piggot, and fearing Piggot will attack through Morrow's son, Gabriel, tasks Wolverine with protecting the boy for the evening. When Gabriel asks for a bedtime story, Wolverine tells him of a small boy cast out for being weak, who is adopted by a pack of wolverines in the Canadian wilderness. Growing stronger and more feral, the boy is captured by fur traders, but the wolverines attempt to free him. When some are shot, the boy flies into a rage and kills the traders.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

X-amining Excalibur #23

"Here Comes the Judge"
June 1990

In a Nutshell 
Excalibur arrives on a world ruled by totalitarian justice. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski & Kevin Cunningham
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Desk Sergeant: Tom DeFalco
Creators: Claremont & Davis

Plot
Illyana Rasputin, the Sorcerer Supreme, casts a spell to direct Excalibur to her world, on the orders of crime kingpin Kitty Pryde, just as Kitty is targeted by the Justicers. Her advocate, Doug Ramsey, argues that their search is illegal, but Justicer Bull declares they have proof that links all the criminal enterprises in the realm to Kitty. Just then, Excalibur's train comes crashing through the building, sending Kitty out the window to her death in the process. Captain Britain instinctively tries to save her, but gets blasted by the Justicers, and when Meggan tries to save him, the poor quality of the air sends her falling as well. As Nightcrawler is arrested by his Justicer counterpart for being a mutant, Illyana orders the rest out, saying that with Kitty gone, their warrant is no longer valid. Outside, Captain Britain manages to grab Kitty just as they hit the toxic sludge that is the ocean, then fishes out Meggan, badly injured by the toxic world, as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

X-amining X-Men Spotlight on Starjammers #1-2

"The Phalkon Quest Part 1" / "Phalkon Quest Part 2"
May-June 1990

In a Nutshell 
The Starjammers race Deathbird to the power known as the Phalkon. 

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Dave Cockrum
Inker:Jeff Albrecht
Letterer: Augustin Mas
Colorist: John Wilcox
Assistant Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor: Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: While raiding a Shi'ar ship, the Starjammers discover the captain has a map to the Phalkon, a mythical power source Deathbird hopes to use to crush the rebellion the Starjammers are leading against her. However, the captain manages to break the map into four pieces and send them off into the galaxy, while also alerting Deathbird. The Starjammers set out to retrieve the map pieces before Deathbird. With the help of Professor X, who has merged his mind with the consciousness of the Starjammer's computer, endangering his body but increasing his power, the Starjammers retrieve the map, but are betrayed by their medic, Sikorsky, who allows Deathbird and a force of Imperial troops to board the ship. As the Starjammers fight the troops, Deathbird captures Lilandra then teleports away, leaving the Starjammers to decide whether to save Lilandra or continue their pursuit of the Phalkon.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #4

"In Battle With Darth Vader"
October 1977

In a Nutshell
Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi duel to the death. 

Scripter/Editor: Roy Thomas
Illustrators in tandem: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha
Embellisher/Colorist: Steve Leialoha
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Consulting Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Trapped by the encroaching Imperial Stormtroopers, Leia grabs Han's weapon and blasts an opening in the wall to a garbage chute, and the rest follow her into the garbage unit. Landing in the muck, Luke is attacked by some kind of tentacled creature, but is released when the creature flees after the walls start contracting. Luke desperately tries to call C-3PO to stop the trash compactor, but Threepio and Artoo are busy dodging Stormtroopers. Once they're safe, Artoo is able to stop the compactor just in time. Meanwhile, Obi-Wan succeeds in shutting off the tractor beam. As Luke, Han, Chewbacca and Princess Leia attempt to get back to the Falcon, they're discovered by Stormtroopers. Splitting up, Luke and Leia swing across a large chasm to escape, while Han and Chewie lead a squad of a troops on a chase through the station.

Friday, May 15, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #55

"Desperately Seeking Vera"
June 1990

In a Nutshell 
Beast encounters his old girlfriend Vera, under the sway of Mesmero. 

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker & Colleen Doran
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Out searching for Archangel, Beast comes across his old girlfriend Vera Cantor, seemingly working as a prostitute and with no memory of him. Meanwhile, Bobby is saying goodnight to Opal after a date when he spots a shadow he thinks is Archangel, but it just turns out to be a kite. However, Archangel is nearby, hallucinating that the city is in flames as a result of Apocalypse's final triumph. The next day, Iceman and Beast continue searching for their teammate, and Beast spots Vera once more, this time a cellist on the way to practice. When she leaves her cello case behind, Beast tries to return it to her, but it explodes. When Beast catches up to her again, she's working as a hot dog vendor, and Beast is attacked by a monster hiding in the hot dog cart.

Game of Thrones 5x05: Kill the Boy


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

“Kill the boy and let the man live.” Or girl/woman, depending on the characters. This episode was filled with characters having to make some tough decisions and having to grow up. It also had gray scale zombie-people. So there's that too.

Meereen
Daenerys needs to become more than just a woman, she must become a queen. Having dragons has made gaining that title relatively easy for her. But now that she is a queen, she's learning the difficulties of having to be a ruler.

The Sons of the Harpies have risen up and attacked. Grey Worm managed to survive the attack. Ser Barristan has not. Daenerys is understandably pissed.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #90

"To Hunt The Hunter"
June 1990

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants get a new headquarters and new costumes. 

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

Plot
In the Morlock Tunnels, Sabretooth attacks a Morlock named Samson, drawing the attention of Caliban. Meanwhile, Cable leads the New Mutants to their new base of operations: the subbasement of the destroyed X-Mansion. Leading them inside, Cable orders the kids to design their own curriculum and new costumes, then report to the Danger Room for a training session. Roberto also cautions everyone to stay clear of the Morlock Tunnels, as Jean Grey recently told them the remaining followers of Masque have grown dangerously insane. As Caliban comes across the body of Samson, the New Mutants work on their costume designs, and Boom-Boom asks Rictor why he's been such a pain since Cable arrived. He admits that he knows Cable, but that it's personal and he doesn't want to talk about it. Later, the New Mutants gather in the Danger Room, and during the exercise, Rictor is overwhelmed by his opponents.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #262

"Scary Monsters"
June 1990

In a Nutshell 
The Morlocks capture and maim Jean Grey and Banshee. 

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

Plot
Forge and Banshee track Jean Grey into the Morlock Tunnels, fighting off the Morlocks who've captured her, who then teleport away. Taking her back to the mansion's subbasement, Jean admits that the X-Men are still alive while Forge and Banshee fill her in about the threat of the Reavers, but then both Jean and Banshee are nabbed by the Morlock teleporter when they step out of a shielded area. In Washington DC, the Secretary of State and Val Cooper meet with Genoshan officials, who are applying pressire to get Phillip Moreau and Jenny Ransome turned over to them. Back in New York, Forge sets off into the tunnels after Banshee and Jean.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #3

"Death Star!"
September 1977

In a Nutshell
The Millennium Falcon is captured by the Death Star. 

Scriptor/Editor: Roy Thomas
Artists & Illustrators: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha
Colors: Leia
Letters: Orz

Plot
Aboard the Death Star, Governor Tarkin orders the destruction of Leia's home planet of Alderaan, forcing Leia to tell him the Rebel base is located on Dantooine. However, Tarkin, wanting a high profile demonstration of the station's power, orders Alderaan destroyed anyway. At the same time, aboard the Millennium Falcon, Ben Kenobi is overwhelmed by a disturbance in the Force. As it passes, he continues Luke's training until the ship reaches Alderaan. But when it drops out of hyperspace, it finds not a planet, but an asteroid field: all that's left of the planet. Spotting an Imperial TIE fighter nearby, Han Solo pursues it, and is led right to the Death Star, where the ship is pulled aboard via a tractor beam.

Friday, May 8, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #24

"Snow Blind"
May 1990

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine battles the super-powered assassin, Snow Queen. 

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Gene Colan

Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Mark Chiarello
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Snow Queen prepares to carry out her latest hit, emerging onto the streets of Madripoor carrying a bomb inside a suitcase. However, a local thief named Aldo quickly grabs the case from her and runs off. Snow Queen pursues him, drawing the attention of a fellow street urchin named Rose, who calls for help, attracting Wolverine's attention. Smelling the fear on the girl, he sets about tracking down the Snow Queen. As Aldo hides from Snow Queen, he inadvertently activates the bomb's timer, while Wolverine catches up to the woman. She uses her power on him, overwhelming his senses so she can escape. Later, Wolverine gets a drink from a bartender who is, coincidentally, Snow Queen's target, and he suggests Wolverine seek out Ganif, the mentor of the city's young thieves.

Game of Thrones 5x04: Sons of the Harpy


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

War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Well, actually, it's good for building up excitement on Game of Thrones. Pieces are being moved into place and tensions are rising. It's tough to believe this powder keg won't blow soon.

On The Road
Jorah Mormont steals a fishing boat whilst stealing a dwarf. While on the way to Meereen, said dwarf awakens. Tyrion is gagged so he takes a play from Lloyd Christmas and makes the most annoying sound in the world. Jorah can't handle it and ungags Tyrion.

Tyrion gets out of Jorah that he's being taken to Daenerys and Tyrion finds the humor in it. (This also answers for the audience to which queen Tyrion is being taken.) Tyrion's no fool and pretty quickly deduces who Jorah is and why he's being kidnapped. Tyrion gets knocked unconscious for his quick thinking. In this day and age of concussion awareness, Jorah should be cautious of not getting sued!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

X-amining Excalibur #22

"Shadows Triumphant?"
May 1990

In a Nutshell 
Excalibur foils the Shadow King and Iron Man's plot to assassinate the world leaders. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Chris Wozniak & Al Milgrom
Letterer: Tim Harkins
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Chief Interrogator: Tom DeFalco
Creators: Chris Claremont & Alan Davis

Plot
Nightcrawler is interrogated by Dai Thomas and a sympathetic Alysande Stuart, who is inclined to believe Nightcrawler's repeated assertion that he is not from their world. Meanwhile, Crusader X visits Xavier's Mansion in the wake of the Shadow King's attack, and learns from Security Chief Cable that they have no idea who is responsible, but that Jean Grey's car was spotted leaving the grounds after the attack, and Crusader X vows to track her down. Outside the Hellfire Club, Rachel recalls her past experiences with the Shadow King in her home reality, and finds herself scared to face him again. On another Earth, Kitty Pryde checks on the Warwolves, still imprisoned in London's zoo. Back on Crusader X's world, Courtney Ross is attacked by a group of muggers and saved by Excalibur, who believe her to be this world's version of Kitty based on their shared appearance.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

X-amining Incredible Hulk #369

"Silent Screams"
May 1990

In a Nutshell 
Freedom Force battles the Hulk. 

Writer: Peter David
Penciler:Dale Keown
Inker:Bob McLeod
Letterer: Joseph Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Bruce Banner is taken in by a family whose home was recently destroyed by a hurricane, and he sees in their young son Jack a lot of himself. Meanwhile, Crimson Commando, Blob and Pyro are flying to South Carolina in pursuit of the Hulk, while Mystique follows up another lead on his location in New York. Posing as an FBI agent, she meets with an older woman who painfully reminds her of Destiny, but the creature she spotted turns out to be something other than the Hulk entirely. In South Carolina, Freedom Force tracks down Banner and tries to take him into custody quietly, without triggering the Hulk, but night falls, bringing him forth. Hulk proceeds to fight back, smothering Pyro's flame monster and easily tossing aside Crimson Commando.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #2

"Six Against the Galaxy"
August 1977

In a Nutshell
Luke meets Ben Kenobi, Han Solo and Chewbacca, then blasts off Tatooine. 

Scriptor/Editor: Roy Thomas
Illustrator: Howard Chaykin
Embellisher/Colorist: Steve Leialoha
Letter: Tom Orzechowski

Plot
Luke is rescued from the Sand People by Ben Kenobi, who admits to having once been Obi-Wan Kenobi. He takes Luke and the droids to his home, where Artoo plays Princess Leia's message, urging Ben to deliver the droid to Alderaan for the sake of the Rebel Alliance. Ben proceeds to tell Luke of the Force and the real history of his father, a Jedi Knight. He gives Luke his father's lightsaber, and tells him he will learn the ways of the Force and come with him to Alderaan, but Luke balks, insisting it's all too far away. Meanwhile, aboard the Death Star, Darth Vader tortures Princess Leia for the location of the Rebel's hidden base. On Tatooine, Luke and Ben come across the Jawas who sold the droids to Luke's uncle, killed by Stormtroopers. Realizing they're after Artoo, Luke races home to find it smoldering, his aunt and uncle dead. Returning to Ben, he declares he wants to become a Jedi. Meanwhile, Governor Tarkin orders the Death Star to set course for Alderaan.

Game of Thrones 5x03: High Sparrow


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

Braavos
In this episode, relationships are the name of the game. Marriages, friendships and even relationships with one's self. The latter type of relationship is what we encounter in Braavos.

Arya is in the House of Black and White which is decidedly gray on the inside. I suppose that makes sense. Anyway, she's mopping the floor. However, she's never seen Karate Kid so doesn't realize that  with someone who speaks in vague, philosophical terms then menial, everyday tasks are a given for training regimens. So, Arya just complains about the mopping. The-artist-formerly-know-as-Jaqen H'ghar says Arya should start servicing others instead of herself. That...came out poorly...

Friday, May 1, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #54

"Crimson"
May 1990

In a Nutshell 
Hank & Bobby run into Colossus at an art gallery. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Breakdowns: Marc Silvestri
Finishes: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
A drugged Archangel attacks the staff at the hospital where Officer Jones took him following his battle with Caliban, as he is hallucinating and believes the doctors are trying to amputate his wings. Scott, Jean and Hank arrive, and help the staff subdue their friend, after which they agree to take him back to Ship for further treatment due to his history with hospitals. Meanwhile, Bobby says goodnight to Opal. His departure is spotted by Peter Nicholas, who is preparing for his opening art show, while on the street below, a woman named Crimson feeds on the mental pain of a crackhead. The next morning, Jean, preparing to leave for a few days to clear her head, says goodbye to Scott. Days later, Hank and Bobby attend Peter's opening along with Opal and Trish.