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

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #28

"Whatever Happened to Jabba the Hut?"
October 1979

In a Nutshell
Han and Chewbacca square off against Jabba the Hutt. 

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Gene Day
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Plot
On the planet Orleon, Han and Chewbacca are trapped in a cave, pinned down by Jabba the Hutt and his goons. With their food stocks nearly gone, Han thinks back to how they got stuck in their predicament, going to ground in one of their old smuggling hideouts to effect repairs after escaping Darth Vader, only to inadvertently trip a tracking device Jabba had left in the cave in the event that Han returned there. Suddenly, Han spots something in the cave and blasts a stone mite, a scavenger which consumes metal. Just then, Jabba's goons attack again, triggering an explosion that destroys the entrance to the cave. Racing back to the Millennium Falcon, Han fires up the engines, working to remove the mites from the hull, which draws the attention of Jabba, who quickly backs away from the cave once he discovers the stone mites.

Friday, January 29, 2016

X-amining X-Factor Annual #6

"King of Pain - Kings of Pain Part 4" / "Sacrificial Lamb - The Killing Stroke Part 3"
1991

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor enters the fight against Proteus, while Freedom Force's mission ends badly. 

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker, Steven Butler (2nd Story)
Inker: Al Milgrom, Joe Rubinstein (2nd Story)
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Brad Vancata, Mike Thomas (2nd Story)
Assistant Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
1st Story: X-Factor arrives in Edinburgh, recognizing the disruption of reality being caused by Proteus and vowing to stop him. Fighting their way through the warped reality, they find Proteus holding both his mothers, Harness and Moira, captive. X-Factor attacks, but Proteus proves to now be immune to metal. He teleports X-Factor into his mind, where the combined New Warriors, X-Men and X-Force are waiting. Realizing that the emptiness inside his mind is what Proteus defines as happiness, Cyclops argues that they should give it to him, by convincing Proteus to kill himself. The group is divided, with Jean and Cable leading the argument to try and help Proteus instead of leading him to his own death. Ultimately, Proteus retrieves the heroes from his mind, and they offer him an alternative, to use the synthetic bodies created by AIM to house his form. But Proteus says this would mark him as a freak, and unwilling to live like that, chooses to leave the flawed world and go somewhere better, ending his life. In the aftermath, reality returns to normal, and the shadowy figures behind Proteus' resurrection, Gideon and Toad, call the entire affair a draw.

The Milch Studies: NYPD BLUE Season One - The Guest Stars




Gordon Clapp as Detective Greg Medavoy
Gordon Clapp first appeared as a guest star in episode three, became a recurring character during the first season, and was added to the opening credits in Season Two.  He stuck with the show to the very end, appearing in almost as many episodes as Dennis Franz.  While practically every other actor with a role his size complained about not having enough to do and eventually left, Clapp seemed to have the good sense to stick around on a hit show and not trip over his own ego.  Just based on comments by people who worked on the series, Clapp is a decent, likable guy who was popular around the set.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

X-amining X-Men Annual #15

"Queens of Sacrifice - Kings of Pain Part 3" / "The Razor's Edge - The Killing Stroke Part 2"
1991

In a Nutshell 
The combined X-Force, New Warriors and Muir Island X-Men fail to stop the return of Proteus. 

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tom Rane, Jerry DeCaire (2nd Story)
Inker: Joe Rubinstein and Co.
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Brad Vancata, Mike Thomas (2nd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
1st Story: As X-Force and the New Warriors approach Muir Island, the Shadow King loosens his hold on the inhabitants there, but Moira and her X-Men still attack the two other groups until Moira realizes the odds are against them, and asks Cable why they are there. Meanwhile, Harness and Piecemeal arrive in Edinburgh, where Piecemeal immediately begins soaking up Proteus' ambient energy. As Cable explains the situation to Moira, she receives a call from WHO, informing her of a disturbance in Edinburgh, and the three teams realize this is Harness' final move. Rushing to the city, one group of heroes attacks Harness while Moira leads another in an attempt to remove the Proteus energy from Piecemeal. However, while Harness is defeated and revealed to be Piecemeal's mother, no method of stopping Piecemeal's absorption works, and the boy swells in size until Proteus emerges, declaring that he and Piecemeal are one, shortly before he triggers a massive explosion of energy.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

X-amining New Warriors Annual #1

"Errant Knights - Kings of Pain Part 2"
1991

In a Nutshell
The New Warriors fight X-Force, then team-up with them. 

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Mark Bagley 
Inker: Jeff Albrecht
Letterer: C. Eliopoulos
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Editor:Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
At the Genetch lab, the New Warriors and X-Force battle one another, until a pair of Genetech executives intervene, and it's revealed that the entire confrontation has been a setup. In Alaska, Harness and Piecemeal attack an oil refinery, where Piecemeal absorbs more ambient energy, growing larger in the process. Meanwhile, the New Warriors and X-Force have teamed up, splitting into three mixed teams. The first team, led by Cable, pretends to break Frenzy out of jail in order to learn more about who hired the Alliance of Evil, and she gives them the address of a Brooklyn warehouse owned by one of the dummy corporations. A second team breaks into the warehouse and learns it is truly owned by AIM, and that they're creating humanoid casings designed to hold some kind of energy. Meanwhile, the third team returns to Xavier's mansion, where they use Cerebro to learn that the information AIM has on the energy being absorbed by Piecemeal came from Muir Island. Reconvening at Genetech, the two teams put the pieces together and realize that AIM is using Harness and Piecemeal to gather energy which they intend to put into the casings, energy which originated in Scotland and came into being when Moira MacTaggert's son died; AIM is trying to recreate Proteus. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Milch Studies - The Cast of NYPD Blue, Season One


After a solid year of internal strife between ABC and the producers, NYPD Blue debuted on September 21, 1993 on most ABC affiliates (around a fourth of them refused to air the show, due to the partial nudity and “adult” language.)

A few notes at the start:
  • If you’d like to watch the series today, the full run is on DVD, DirecTV is rerunning the show uncensored on weekdays, and Amazon has it as a part of its Prime streaming service.
  • David Milch’s writing is all over the show.  Even if he isn’t the credited writer on an episode, Milch was known for tossing out scripts and making up new dialogue on the set.  Sipowicz was apparently his favorite character to write for.  When Milch finally left the show, around nine seasons in, the other writers questioned how they were going to write Sipowicz dialogue (a mixture of crude-yet-clever insults and threats), since this was always his responsibility.
  • NYPD Blue has its own language, and as the series goes on, the Cop Talk becomes increasingly dense.  The term that’s always stuck with me is the way cops refer to their work as “The Job.”  It’s not just some place you go every day for a paycheck, it’s “The Job.”
  • There is no such thing as the 15th precinct.  It’s like a 555 area code.  The building exterior you see on the show is an actual precinct house with the numbers on the outside changed.  Blue stayed on the air for so long that this building was actually demolished by the city years before the series was cancelled.  You’ll notice that the Netflix Marvel shows have characters interacting with a 15th precinct, which I’m guessing was an NYPD Blue homage.
  • The music is cheesy.  Okay, that’s not entirely fair.  Often, the music is just fine.  But NYPD Blue isn’t scored the way most “serious” dramas are scored today, with music that only makes an occasional, unobtrusive entrance in the show.  The music in Blue often wants to sell everything, and it can be annoying.  Almost every lighthearted moment of the show is accompanied by “wacky” notes that don’t match the overall tone of the series.  There’s also the dreadful “funky” button one of the composers had on his synthesizer, which was overused during many of the street montage scenes.  The worst use of music on the show, however, has to be the female voice singing over the warmed-over ‘80s saxophone music during the pilot’s first sex scene.
  • Blue has a ridiculous amount of cast turnover, which could make these reviews a bit confusing.  I’ll try to keep discussions of characters that don’t impact any major plots separate from the discussion of the overall season.
  • The first season of the series is the only one to feature a season-long story arc.  In fact, the events of the first episode go on to influence the early episodes of the second season -- a decision made by Detective Kelly’s girlfriend in the pilot later leads to Kelly being forced off The Job at the beginning of the second season.

Monday, January 25, 2016

X-aminations in February 2016


It's another big month, as Wolverine goes bi-weekly again, we say goodbye to Nathan Christopher in X-Factor & Chris Claremont on Uncanny X-Men, and the 90s gets dialed up to eleven as X-Force #1 is released, with its polybags, trading cards, and wall-to-wall Liefeldisms.

Also, Excalibur continues to be a comic book. 

On Sale April 1991
February 3rd: She-Hulk #26
February 4th: Excalibur #38
February 5th: Wolverine #40

On Sale May 1991
February 10th: Uncanny X-Men #278
February 11th: Excalibur #39
February 12th: X-Factor #68

February 17th: Excalibur: Possession
February 18th: Wolverine #41
February 19th: Wolverine #42

On Sale June 1991
February 24th: Uncanny X-Men #279
February 25th: X-Force #1
February 26th: X-Factor #69

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #27

"Return of the Hunter"
September 1979

In a Nutshell
Valance confronts Luke. 

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Bob Wiacek
Letters: J. Constanza
Colorist: R. Goldberg
Editor-in-Chief: J. Shooter

Plot
Inside an outworld cantina on the planet Junction, Valance the Hunter captures another bounty, then turns him in to a junk dealer named Skinker to claim the reward. Having analyzed Rebel supply methods, Valance has deduced it's only a matter of time before the Rebel he's after shows up on this world. Sure enough, after evading an Imperial ship, Luke and Threepio arrive on Junction, seeking supplies as well the parts needed to repair the damaged Artoo. Spotting Skinker's shop first, they head inside, and Skinker sends an underling to fetch Valance. Meanwhile, back on Yavin Four, Princess Leia and General Dodonna argue about Leia's role in the Rebellion. Back on Junction, Valance kills an Imperial spy before he can report on Luke's presence to Darth Vader, then proceeds to confront Luke at Skinker's shop.

Friday, January 22, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #67

"Lunar Opposition!"
June 1991

In a Nutshell 
X-Factor teams up with the Inhumans against Apocalypse. 

Plot: Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio
Script: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Whilce Portacio
Inker: Art Thibert
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
X-Factor is pulled from the wreckage of Ship by a passing vehicle, which belongs to the Inhumans. Inside, they learn that Apocalypse has attacked the Inhumans' home on the Blue Area of the moon, capturing many and transforming them into his own army. In the future, Askani is transported back in time one again, given one last shot to save Nathan Christopher from Apocalypse. On the moon, X-Factor and the Inhumans are attacked tauntingly by the Riders of the Storm as they plot their attack on Apocalypse, while Apocalypse tends to Nathan Christopher. Just then, X-Factor and the Inhumans attack his citadel, using a combination of holographic illusions and real people to create a distracting frontal assault while another group attacks from the rear, freeing Apocalypse's captives and turning them loose against him.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

X-amining New Mutants Annual #7

"Kings of Pain Part 1: Pawns of Senescence" / "The Killing Stroke - part 1: The First Cut"
1991

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants battle the Alliance of Evil. 

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Guan Yap, Kirk Jarvinin (2nd Story)
Inker: Dan Panosian, Joe Rubinstein (2nd Story)
Colorist: Brad Vancata, Mike Thomas (2nd Story)
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Assistant Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
First Story: The Alliance of Evil attacks St. Simon Academy, the school attended by former X-Factor wards Artie, Leech and Taki. With the rest of the team running interference, Harness forces a young boy named Piecemeal to absorb some ambient energy lingering at the school. Artie, Leech and Taki try to stop the Alliance, but are easily overpowered. Taki wakes up to find the New Mutants waiting for him. After meeting their new members, he tells them what he knows, and Cable proceeds to devise a plan to find out why the Alliance has been attacking sites up and down the East Coast. Meanwhile, the IDIC Corporation, which hired the Alliance, is overseeing an energy absorption process that could have ramifications for both AIM and Genetech, and the whole situation is being monitored by two shadowy figures. Eventually, the New Mutants track the Alliance to Niagra Falls, where Piecemeal absorbs more energy. He and Harness escape, but the New Mutants defeat the rest of the Alliance, and using information given by them, proceed to infiltrate the headquarters of Genetech, where they find the New Warriors waiting for them.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #277

"Free Charley"
June 1991

In a Nutshell 
Professor X and the X-Men defeat the War Skrulls.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Banshee, Storm and Forge attack the Starjammers, aided by Gambit, who surreptitiously snuck aboard their ship. The X-Men seem to gain the upperhand, but then Skrull Corsair reveals his true form. Meanwhile, Lila and Deathbird arrive at the asteroid base of the War Skrulls, shocked to find Professor X seemingly alive and well. Wolverine attacks Deathbird, but Lila teleports away before Gladiator can grab her, returning moments later with the entire Starjammer. As it crashes into the asteroid, the X-Men emerge, having defeated the Skrulls posing as the Starjammers, and they proceed to attack the other imposters. Though the X-Men manage to defeat most of the Skrulls, they are ultimately felled by the Skrull Xavier's mental powers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

THE MILCH STUDIES - NYPD Blue, The Beginning



Everyone knows what NYPD Blue is famous for, right?  It’s the network TV series that showed nudity.  Actually, I question if people under a certain age even know that much.  NYPD Blue ran for twelve seasons, 261 episodes, was nominated for countless Emmys, became a part of the cultural lexicon, and then kind of disappeared.

Why couldn’t NYPD Blue live on in reruns like Frasier or Seinfeld?  Possibly because it’s a drama, I can’t think of too many dramas that have lived on forever in syndication, but NYPD Blue would seem to at the very least be a candidate to rival Law & Order reruns on cable.  My assumption is all of the nudity and adult language used to sell the show ultimately worked against it.

Why was this hook used in the first place?  What is the origin of NYPD Blue?

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #26

"Doom Mission!"
August 1979

In a Nutshell
Luke destroys Tagge's base on Yavin, ending the siege. 

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Bob Wiacek
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Petra Goldberg
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke and Leia, stranded aboard their disabled ship, are rescued by a flight of Rebel X-wings. After sharing their intel about Baron Tagge and the means his ships are using to fly through Yavin with General Dodonna, the Rebels realize that the TIE fighters must be using some kind of device to find the Imperial station on the planet. Reasoning that the TIE which crashed on one of the other moons likely had such a device, Luke flies off with Artoo in a Y-wing to retrieve it from the wreckage. He lands near the crash, but the TIE pilot survived, and manages to blast Artoo before Luke takes him out. Later, Luke returns to the Rebel base with the gadget and the damaged Artoo. That night, General Dodonna tells Luke and Leia that they've figured out how the device works, but whomever uses it to destroy the base is unlikely to return.

Friday, January 15, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #39

"DReconstruction"
May 1991

In a Nutshell 
Albert and Wolverine help disarm Elsie-Dee. 

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Marc Silvestri
Inkes: Dan Green
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Mark Chiarello
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Storm and Wolverin try to rescue Elsie-Dee from he burning warehouse, but Elsie-Dee makes it so that only Wolverine can enter the building, walking through the flames to save her. Impressed by his devotion to saving her, Elsie-Dee is reluctant to kill him. Meanwhile, Bonebreaker considers admitting to Pierce that he misprogrammed Elsie-Dee, but decides against it. Back in Venice, the damaged Albert meets up with Sally and his gang, and agrees to help them if they help him. At the warehouse, Elsie-Dee admits to Wolverine what she is, and though both she and Storm insist he get as far away from Elsie-Dee as possible, Wolverine refuses, instead telling Elsie-Dee to fight her programming.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #37

"House Call: Book One of The Promethium Exchange"
May 1991

In a Nutshell 
Dr. Doom tricks Kitty into taking him to Limbo. 

Doing that Story Thing: Scott Lobdell & Mark Badger 
Letters and Hues: Chris Eliopoulis & Glynis Oliver
On Bass: Terry Kavanaugh
On Lead Vocals: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Meggan is making the rest of the team breakfast, Dr. Doom arrives, seeking Kitty's help in traveling to Limbo to acquire a metal known as promethium, which could provide inexhaustible energy to the world for all time. Excalibur is suspicious, but Doom allows Rachel to read his mind and she discovers no presence of real evil, so Kitty agrees to help. Drawing Illyana's Soulsword, Kitty opens a portal to Limbo and, with the help of Dr. Doom's sorcery, travel there, followed surreptitiously by the rest of the team. In Limbo, the pair is attacked by demons, and Doom grabs the sword from Kitty, fighting them off but revealing that he only intends to provide the promethium to the countries which swear allegiance to him.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

X-amining New Warriors #9-10

"Rumble"
March-April 1991

In a Nutshell 
The New Warriors fight the Hellions

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Mark Bagley
Inker: Sam De LaRosa
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Andy Yachus
Referee: Danny Fingeroth
Official Scorer: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Infiltrating the New Warriors' headquarters in the wake of a breach in their computer system, the Hellions attack and subdue Night Thrasher and Silhouette, but not before Night Thrasher manages to alert the rest of his teammates. Prepared for trouble, the rest of the team engages the Hellions in a series of one-on-one battles. Meanwhile, the White Queen telepathically probes Tai's mind, and learns that the data breach was performed by Night Thrasher simply to gain info on Firestar. The two women decide to let the ongoing battle determine Firestar's fate, each hoping to prove the worth of their respective teams. Ultimately, the New Warriors prevail, and White Queen honors her word, allowing Firestar to stay - though Firestar insists she had no intention of doing anything but that. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

THE MILCH STUDIES

Hello.  You might’ve read my work on Not Blog X, or the Guide to the Guide to Comics over at CBR's Comics Should Be Good! blog.



I was asked by Teebore a few months ago if I'd like to contribute anything to the Gentlemen site, a question that just so happened to arrive as I was undertaking an examination of the work of television writer David Milch -- just something for my own amusement; I wasn't sure if I wanted to commit any of my thoughts to writing.



After giving some thought into what format I might try, and examining why Milch's work has had an impact on me for so long, I decided to take Teebore up on his offer.  Milch has written an obscene amount of television, so the thought of doing an episode-by-episode analysis was far too intimidating.  Examining his work in seasons, however, and breaking down the character work into pieces did seem a bit more manageable, so that's what I'm going to attempt to do.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Milch Studies by G. Kendall


I am pleased to announce that starting tomorrow, Not Blog X and Comics Should Be Good's G. Kendall will be writing a new series right here at Gentlemen of Leisure, titled "The Milch Studies", an examination of the work of TV impresario David Milch. I won't go into much detail about the nature of the project, so as not to step on his toes, but instead, simply offer a hearty "welcome aboard!" to a writer whose work I've long admired (and whose X-Men posts on Not Blog X served as one of the inspirations for my own X-aminations series). 

So please join me in welcoming G. Kendall, and be sure to check out his first post tomorrow!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #25

"Siege at Yavin!"
July 1979

In a Nutshell
Baron Tagge lays siege to the Rebel base on Yavin Four. 

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Gene Day
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Ben Sean
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Plot
Another wave of Imperial TIE fighters attack the Rebel base on Yavin Four, and though the Rebels are able to once more repel the attack, they are no closer to finding the source of the fighters and ending the siege. Meanwhile, Luke and Leia trade in Senator Greyshade's yacht for a less conspicuous ship, in the process overhearing word of the siege and the likely involvement of the wealthy House of Tagge. Determined to get back to Yavin, Luke and Leia follow in the wake of a Tagge family mining ship heading towards the system. Aboard that ship, Baron Tagge receives word of being followed, and orders mines deployed as soon as the ship drops out of hyperspace, prompting some fancy flying from Luke to trigger the mines without destroying his himself and his friends.

Friday, January 8, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #66

"Heroic Effort"
May 1991

In a Nutshell 
Ship is destroyed as Askani arrives to protect Cyclops' son.

Plot: Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio
Script: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Whilce Portacio
Inker: Art Thibert
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Oliver/Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
An out-of-control Ship is attacking New York, with the city's heroes fighting back to protect the inhabitants. Inside, Jean realizes that Ship is infected with some kind of virus, just before Harrddrive knocks her out. Meanwhile, Foxbat attempts to abduct Cyclops' son, but he's stopped by a mysterious woman who claims to be the child's protector. However, when X-Factor arrives, alerted to the attack by Ship, they misunderstand and attack the woman, allowing Foxbat to teleport away with Christopher. With Ship's attacks intensifying, Beast insists they need to treat the disease, not just the symptoms. Outside, Charlotte Jones and a group of cops try to enter Ship, but only Charlotte gains access. Meanwhile, Beast is able to access Ship's program through a hard wire linkage, and they deduce that the infection is the work of Apocalypse.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

X-amining New Mutants


Thought there's technically still one more New Mutants issue to review (the series' seventh annual), it seems as good a time as any to look back on the series that was, starting with some overall thoughts and then delving into some specific favorites. Please sounds off with some of your personal favorites in the comments (and I'm planning on doing a similar retrospect for the original iteration of X-Factor in a few months' time)! 

On the one hand, New Mutants can be considered something of a failure. Intended to fill a specific void in the world of the X-Men, it launched with a very clear mandate to tell stories about kids with superpowers who weren't, first and foremost, superheroes. But it was a mandate doomed to failure by the needs of the genre and its role as a spinoff of a tremendously popular (and big selling) action-adventure series. As noble as series creators Chris Claremont and Bob McLeod's intentions may have been, before long, the New Mutants were fighting super-villains and getting caught up in tremendous adventures.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #276

"Double Death"
May 1991

In a Nutshell 
Wolverine kills Professor X, who turns out to be a Skrull in disguise. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Lee
Inker: Scott Williams
Letterer: Patrick Brosseau
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Gambit and Jubilee watch from hiding as Professor X oversees Gladiator's torture of the captive Deathbird. Urged into action, Gambit attacks, much to Jubilee's dismay, and in the ensuing fight, a captive Lila Cheney is revealed. Freed from her power dampening manacles, she teleports away with Deathbird, reluctantly abandoning the X-Men, after which Gambit triggers an explosion that attracts the attention of the rest of the X-Men and Starjammers. Investigating, Wolverine finds something in the rubble that confirms his suspicions. He leaps at Professor X and kills him, only to be taken down by Psylocke's psychic knife. Just then, Lila and Deathbird return, teleporting away with the rest of the X-Men save Psylocke and Wolverine, as well as the missing Jubilee and Gambit. In the wake of their departure, the Shi'ar Chancellor sends the Starjammers after the X-Men, while the X-Men arrive on the homeworld of the P!ndyr.

Monday, January 4, 2016

X-aminations in January 2016...and Beyond!


The next six months feature some of the biggest moments in the history of the X-books: the return of New Mutants in the form of X-Force, the launch of a second X-Men title, the first issue of which still stands as the single highest-selling comic book of all time (and which permanently pushes the Uncanny X-Men reviews into a, at best, two week rotation), a brand new X-Factor lineup as the original X-Men rejoin their original team, the return of Alan Davis (and relevancy) to Excalibur, more deep dives into Wolverine's past in Wolverine, and most significant of all, the departure of Chris Claremont from first Uncanny X-Men and, shortly thereafter, the franchise as a whole, a departure which will loom large over the franchise for years to come.

Plus, Cyclops' son gets positioned to become Cable, the Shadow King subplot finally becomes plot, Omega Red debuts, and Rob Liefeld & Todd McFarlane team up for a Spider-Man/X-Force crossover that reads much differently in the wake of 9/11.

The '91 relaunch of the franchise has always loomed, like Giant-Sized X-Men #1 and the debut of New Mutants before it, as a watershed moment for this review series, a significant touchstone in the history of the franchise that has always seemed far off. Yet here we are, on the verge of it, and it feels both strange and exciting.

As always, sound off in the comments with any questions, omissions or suggestions!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Force in Focus: Darth Vader #1-14


Still recuperating from the rush of Force Awakens and the holidays; reviews of Marvel's original Star Wars series will return next week. In the meantime, here's an article I wrote for Pop Optiq about why Darth Vader was the best Star Wars comic of 2015. Enjoy!