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

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

X-amining Alpha Flight #87-90

"Loyalty" / "Trust" / "Faith" / "Strength"
August - November 1990

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine and Forge independantly help with the re-formation of Alpha Flight. 

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Michael Bair
Inker: Mike Manley
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #87: During the course of a parliamentary hearing on the relationship between the government and Alpha Flight, it is decided that Gamma Flight will be disbanded, something which prompts Gamma Flighter Wild Child to fly into a rage, nearly killing one of the committee members. Heather Hudson leads Alpha Flight in an attempt to capture Wild Child, but it is ultimately Wolverine, in Canada to tie up loose ends, who manages to do so. Meanwhile, Box and Diamond Lil have secretly been dispatched by the government to a Roxxon Oil facility in Denver, in order to help reign in some out-of-control machinery. But when Box attempts to do so, he discovers a very angry consciousness is controlling the machine.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

X-aminations in August 2015


It turns out that I'll be traveling a fair amount this month (for both work and fun), more than I was expecting, leading to a schedule of posts that's a little bit wonkier and shorter than usual (this is also why I'm only reviewing the Alpha Flight story this week), and one which already deviates from the schedule I laid out next month.

But we will cover the pure debut of Jim Lee on X-Men, as well as the return of Rogue, as we look at the final issues before "X-Tinction Agenda" begins. 

On Sale July 1990
August 5th: Uncanny X-Men #268
August 6th: Excalibur #27
August 7th: Wolverine #30

August 12th: Excalibur #28
August 13th: Wolverine #31

August 19th: X-Factor - Prisoner of Love

On Sale August 1990

August 26th: Uncanny X-Men #269
August 27th: New Mutants #94
August 28th: X-Factor #59

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #12

"Doomworld!"
June 1978

In a Nutshell
Luke meets on faction on Drexel, while Han & Leia reach the planet aboard Crimson Jack's ship.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Terry Austin 
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Janice Cohen
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Plot
On Drexel, Luke Skywalker watches as three ships attack the sea serpents, driving them off, but at the cost of two of their skimmers. They spot Luke's escape pod, and bring him aboard the remaining ship. They claim the droids in the name of their governor, but Luke makes it to the cockpit of the ship and orders them to leave the droids be and take them to their governor, or he'll fuse the controls with his lightsaber, leaving them to the mercy of any passing Dragon Lords. They shortly arrive at their base, a massive city composed of floating ships connected into one large land mass. Luke is introduced to the governor, Quarg. His curiosity sparked by his men's claim that Luke is a Jedi, Quarg agrees to hear Luke out and leads him inside, while Luke wishes to himself that he had Han's gift for gab, or that the Millennium Falcon would suddenly appear and blast them free.

Friday, July 24, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #58

"Nevermore"
September 1990

In a Nutshell 
The Ravens are defeated as Archangel returns to normal. 

Writer: Louise Simonson
Penciller: Jon Bogdanove
Inker: Allen Milgrom
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist:Brad Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As the Ravens prepare for the ceremony that will induct Archangel into their ranks, X-Factor, Banshee and Forge searches the city for him via the residual telepathic link between Marvel Girl and the Ravens, formed when the Ravens captured Archangel. Needing someone for Archangel to feed on after his transformation, Crimson retrieves Charlotte Jones. As the Ravens begin transforming Archangel, Marvel Girl is able to track the Ravens to the abandoned theater where they're performing the ritual, arriving just as Archangel is about to feast on Charlotte. X-Factor attacks the Ravens, creating a distraction that allows Crimson to attempt to absorb Archangel's power for herself.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #93

"Madripoor"
September 1990

In a Nutshell
Cable and the New Mutants encounter Wolverine in Madripoor. 

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

Plot
In Madripoor, the New Mutants are ambushed by a group of masked troops, leading Cable to realize they've been set up. Just as he wonders where the agent dispatched by the Japanese government is, Sunfire appears, and helps the New Mutants defeat the troops. Meanwhile, General Coy contacts Stryfe, angry that his men were wasted battling the New Mutants. Stryfe reminds him he was paid more than they were worth to have the New Mutants tested, and that next they'll face his men, as he's sending three members of the MLF to Madripoor. Meanwhile, Sunfire tells the New Mutants of the drug called Sleet, which causes murderous rages in its users. Sunfire has traced the drug to Madripoor, just as the New Mutants traced the MLF to the city. Using a portable Cerebro device, the New Mutants and Sunfire split up to track the mutants it identifies.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #267

"Nanny: Into the Fire"
Early September 1990

In a Nutshell 
Storm regains her memories as Jim Lee begins his run as series artist. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Art: Homage Studios (Lee, Portacio & Williams)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Dr. Shen leads the Hounds in an attack on Storm and Gambit at the airplane junkyard, prompting Storm to use her power to lift her plane into the air. A pair of Hounds leap aboard, but Gambit fights them off. Just then, their plane is targeted by Nanny's ship. The encounter with Nanny shakes some of Storm's memories, but Gambit manages to blast Orphan Maker, forcing Nanny to retreat. Later, Storm awakens from nightmares of being captured by Nanny in New Orleans, having learned the city in the intervening weeks from Gambit. Together, they act as a pair of Robin Hoods, robbing from the rich to give the poor, until Nanny catches up to them once again.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #11

"Star Search!"
May 1978

In a Nutshell
Han & Leia are captured by Crimson Jack. 

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Terry Austin
Colorist: Janice Cohen
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Consulting Editor: Roy Thomas

Plot
As Han and Chewbacca leave Aduba-3, planning on rejoining the Rebellion, they once again run afoul of the pirate Crimson Jack, prompting Han to reason that Crimson Jack must have put a tracer on the Falcon during their last encounter. With an idea in mind, he allows the ship to be captured peacefully. But when they come aboard, they're stunned to discover Jack has captured Princess Leia, who was heading to the Drexel system in pursuit of Luke, and intends to ransom her to the Empire. Shifting gears, Han convinces Jack that the Rebel treasury is located on Drexel, and that he can lead Jack's pirates through the defense grid in exchange for a fifty/fifty split of the loot. Leia, not seeing any better option for escape, plays along, and the pirates set off for Drexel. Meanwhile, on the planet, Luke and the droids have crashed into an ocean and are fighting off a massive sea serpent. With Artoo's help they use the ship's escape pod to launch themselves away from the sinking vessel just as the creature destroys. Surfacing, they spot a second serpent, as well as someone riding it, and realize the creatures are being controlled.

Friday, July 17, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #29

"The Road Back"
Late August 1990

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine, Karma and Target recount how they came to be on Rumika. 

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler:Barry Kitson
Inker:Al Milgrom
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Greg Wright
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On Rumika, Wolverine, Karma and Merrick burn the dead mercenaries, then tell each other of how they came to Rumika and their connections to the Master Form: Wolverine, who ended up on the island following his encounter with Dr. Page and the Pinocchio robot in Madripoor, Karma, who came to stop the mercenary attack after learning of it from her uncle, and Target, who was duped into believing he was protecting the Form by Merrick, who was actually responsible for killing Target's family when he was a boy and his father was working with the Master Form. Just then, a trio of mercenaries appear on the island. Working together, Wolverine, Karma and Target kill them, then add their bodies to the still-burning funeral pyre. Wolverine, having decided on their next move after listening to each of his companion's stories, tells them to get ready to leave. But first, he places the Master Form before the fire, declaring that Rumika died for it, so it shall remain on the island as a representation of its people. Then he tells Karma and Target their destination: Madripoor. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

X-amining Excalibur #26

"The Times They Are A-Changin'"
Late August 1990

In a Nutshell 
Excalibur battles Mastermind

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

Plot
Rachel dreams of her past, of Franklin Richard's death during the X-Men's escape from the Sentinels' internment camp, yet wakes feeling refreshed. She and Kitty decide to go shopping, and while looking at clothes, Rachel runs into someone who looks like Franklin. He tells her that Kate Pryde sent him back to the past to tie up some loose ends from their attack on Project: Nimrod, and he and Rachel joyously embrace. When they return to Excalibur's lighthouse, Lockheed and Widget are suspicious of Franklin, while Franklin suggests to Rachel that she use a psi-link to fill him in on what she's experienced since coming to the past. Acting on Lockheed's suspicions, Kitty tries to go up to Rachel's room, but finds a strange force preventing her from doing so. Meanwhile, Franklin uses the psi-link to tap into Phoenix's power, overjoyed to once more be one with the cosmos.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

X-amining Marvel Comics Presents #54-61: On the Road

"Long and Winding Road" / "With Friends Like These" / "Shootout at the Fantasy Factory" / "Death Don't Have No Mercy" / "You Can Run...But You Can't Hide" / "No Where to Run, No Where to Hide"/ "Top of the World" / "Instant Karma"
July - November 1990

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine and Hulk battle Mimic

Writer: Michael Higgins
Penciler: Dave Ross
Inker: Dan Day
Letterer: Todd Klein
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #54: Following rumors of mutant activity in the Carolinas in hopes of finding the X-Men, Wolverine rescues a traveler from a bear attack. When the traveler refuses any additional help, Wolverine follows him into a cave as night falls, after which the traveler transforms into the Hulk. Issue #55: Wolverine and Hulk fight each other before agreeing to let bygones be bygones. The next morning, they arrive in a town. When Wolverine fills up his car with gas, he's held at gunpoint by the owner of the gas station who insists that Wolverine is a wanted killer. Issue #56: Someone who looks like Wolverine rages inside a prison cell, determined to be free. Meanwhile, a hitchhiking Bruce Banner is picked up by a group of tens while Wolverine breaks out of the jail at the local sheriff's station. Meanwhile, the Wolverine lookalike breaks into a pharmacy to steal drugs, and the car Banner is in is pulled over. Banner is arrested just as the cops receive word of a Wolverine sighting, where, as night falls, Banner watches Wolverine get gunned down and seemingly killed before turning into Hulk. He then steals a truck and drives off.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Force in Focus: Star Wars #10

"Behemoth from the World Below"
April 1978

In a Nutshell
The Star Hoppers contend with the massive creature set loose on the Cloud Riders. 

Script-Writer: Don Glut
Artist & Co-Plotter: Howard Chaykin
Co-Artist/Embellisher: Tom Palmer
Layouts: Alan Kupperberg
Colorist: F. Mouly
Letterer: J. Constanza
Editor/Co-Plotter: Roy Thomas

Plot
The Behemoth makes short work of the Cloud Riders, with Han Solo and his team doing their best to avoid the collateral damage caused by the creature's rampage. Realizing the village elder is controlling the beast, Serji-X targets him, hoping that killing the elder will stop the beast. However, before he can strike, the monster crushes both Serji-X and the elder under its massive foot. With the Bbehemoth out of control, Han rallies the Star-Hoppers to stop it, before it destroys the village. Han has a plan, which requires Don Wan's lightsaber, but as he turns to ask for it, he discovers that Don Wan is already approaching the monster, determined to slay it himself.

Friday, July 10, 2015

X-amining Wolverine #28

"The Lazarus Project: The Stranger"
Early August 1990

In a Nutshell 
An amnesiac Wolverine battles mercenaries after the Master Form. 

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Barry Kitson
Inker: Keith Williams
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Nel Yomtov
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
An amnesiac Wolverine washes up on the shore of the island Rumika, and proceeds to save one of the locals, Jian, from a shark attack. Jian takes Wolverine to the town elder, who offers him a place to stay while he recovers his memories. Over time, Wolverine grows closer to the villagers as his memories struggle to return, even while the village is being watched by Merrick and Target, making sure the Master Form remains safe. Meanwhile, Karma, learning of her uncle's interest in the Master Form, realizes she must act now to stop him. On Rumika, a group of mercenaries seeking the Master Form attack the village just as Karma arrives. Karma does what she can to save the villagers, but it is ultimately Wolverine who kills most of the mercenaries. In the aftermath of the attack, Merrick and Target enter the village, pleased to find the Master Form safe despite the losses inflicted on the village. However, Wolverine recognizes Merrick's scent as having been on the mercenaries. Realizing Merrick set up the villagers, a horrified Target kills him, declaring he wants to find out the real secret of the Master Form. Karma agrees, as Wolverine, the sight of all the dead jogging his memories, finally remembers who he is.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

X-amining Excalibur #25

"Guess Who's Coming for Phoenix?"
Early August 1990

In a Nutshell 
Phoenix battles Galactus. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Chris Wozniak
Inker: Allen Milgrom
Letterer: Rick Parker
Colorist: Paty
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Galactus' herald, Nova, approaches Excalibur, telling them Galactus has declared Phoenix too dangerous to live, and asks that they hand her over. Phoenix responds by punching Nova to the moon, where she encounters the Watcher, who confirms he will be honoring his pledge not to interfere. Back on Earth, the rest of Excalibur tries to destroy the device Galactus is constructing while Phoenix and Alistar search the lighthouse for a device Alistair thinks can help, realizing along the way that the lighthouse is built on a nexus point of alternate dimensions. Outside, Roma appears in the midst of Excalibur's battle, followed by Death itself. Phoenix and Alistair emerge, and as Phoenix hurls Nova at Galactus, Alistair uses his device, hoping to shunt Galactus to the further reaches of time and space.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #266

"Gambit: Out of the Frying Pan"
Late August 1990

In a Nutshell 
The first appearance of Gambit. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Mike Collins
Inker:Josef Rubinstein
Letterer: Brousseau & Orzechowski
Colorist: Brad Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Storm fights off the Shadow King's Hounds, using her limited powers and their numbers against them, and manages to dive out a window into the pool, just as someone else approaches. Meanwhile, Nanny, alerted to Storm's whereabouts by her user of her power, sets out to rescue her from the Shadow King. Back at the mansion, Storm watches as the mysterious stranger who pulled her from the pool and into the vault attempts to steal the paintings there. Just then a Hound rushes into the room, and the stranger attacks it by hurling a metal spike charged with explosive energy before introducing himself as Gambit. Together, he and Storm attempt to flee, but find their way blocked by Dr. Shen and more Hounds.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Birthday, America!


It's a holiday in the US today, so I'm off drinking beer, watching parades, grilling and swimming. "Force in Focus" will return next week with the conclusions to "Han Solo and the Star-Hoppers" in Star Wars #10.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Friday, July 3, 2015

X-amining X-Factor #57

"Reflections"
August 1990

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor battles the Right as the hunt for Archangel. 

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

Plot
X-Factor manages to locate Archangel, just as they're attacked by a group of cyborg Right soldiers. Meanwhile, Crimson plots to use Archangel to destroy the rest of the Ravens, while Archangel, hallucinating that he's an untransformed Warren Worthington, visits a bank, where a frightened teller believes he's there to rob the place, drawing the attention of the cops. Just then, the Right break off their attack with X-Factor, and when Charlotte Jones breaks the news of Archangel's presumed robbery to them, they realize the Right are going after him. Outside the bank, the Right attacks Archangel, but just as he gains the upper hand, they are teleported away by their shadowy leader, who is pleased to have taken Archangel's measure.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

X-amining New Mutants #92

"When the Carnival Comes to Town"
August 1990

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants encounter a group of Skrulls posing as carnies. 

Writer: Dwight Zimmerman
Penciler: Bob Hall
Inker: Jeff Albrecht
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Nel Yomtov
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cable and Rahne train in the Danger Room, but when Cable switches sequences to one involving a carnival, Rahne freaks out, as it reminds her of an earlier New Mutants adventure. Cable, aware of that, had triggered the sequence as a psychological test, and Rahne proceeds to tell him about the case. The New Mutants, while visiting Sam's family in Kentucky, had attended a local carnival. As they enter, they are noticed by a few of the carnies, who realize the New Mutants are super-powered, prompting the Carnies to test them. Rahne is then entranced to wanting a plush bear, and each of the New Mutants in turn try to win it for her. Once she has the bear, she grows sick, and Rictor stays with her at the First Aid tent. But the pair are quickly knocked out, just after being told they are the property of Skrull slavers.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #265

"Storm"
Early August 1990

In a Nutshell 
Storm attempts to evade the Shadow King. 

Story: Chris Claremont
Art: Bill Jaaska & Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Mike Rockwitz
Flotsam: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In outer space, the champion of the P!ndyr race falls back to his planet, defeated in single combat by the Shi'ar champion, telling his lifemate that in the face of such power, their people don't stand a chance. On Earth, Storm steals from the head of a local drug cartel, then uses her nascent mutant powers to trigger the alarms, leaving him for the police as she escapes. However, her powers draw the attention of Nanny, who is plotting to bring Storm back into her fold, having already reduced her to childhood. In Washington DC, the Shadow King, in the body of FBI agent Jacob Reisz, meets with Val Cooper, and telepathically ensnares her just as he has Dr. Lian Shen.