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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #35

"Dark Lord's Gambit"
May 1980

In a Nutshell
Darth Vader learns Luke's identity and plots to destroy him.

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

Plot
Darth Vader returns to his Star Destroyer, having learned the name of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star: Luke Skywalker. He then rendezvous with General Tagge, revealing that his older brothers Orman and Silas still live, but are in stasis. He agrees to keep them that way, in exchange for the general's loyalty. Later, near Yavin, Luke helps rescue a civilian ship, which proceeds to land at Yavin Four. It contains representatives of the Order of the Sacred Circle, led by Sister Domina, A religious group devoted to the circle of life, they have remained neutral in the war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, but are currently being swayed by the Empire to join their side. In order to maintain balance, they are seeking a representative from the Alliance to make a similar pitch. Though Leia, as one of the Rebel's best diplomats is tagged for the job, Domina takes a shine to Luke, and asks that he perform the mission. Luke is eager to do so when he learns the Imperial representative is Darth Vader.

Friday, April 29, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #72

"Multiple Homicide"
November 1991

In a Nutshell
X-Factor formally debuts, along with new uniforms and a codename for Guido.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Larry Stroman
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist:Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Val learns about Madrox's death from the news, then teleports via Lockjaw with Quicksilver to Guido's home, where Alex, Lorna and Rahne are staying. Together, the group teleports to the scene of the murder, and identify the body as Jamie's, just as Jamie himself turns up, alive and well. Meanwhile, Professor Vic Chalker is watching the news, disgusted at the sight of all the mutants. Back at the crime scene, Jamie explains that he was suspicious when someone knocked at his door, so he created a duplicate to answer it, and it is that dupe that was killed. But when Jamie tries to reabsorb it, he can't, which freaks him out. Two shadowy figures watch the entire scene unfold on the news, with one counseling patience to the other. Later, back at X-Factor's headquarters, Val announces that she's organized a press conference to formally debut X-Factor. Alex and Lorna go for a walk, discussing their relationship, and end up helping rescue a family from a burning building. Later, at the press conference, X-Factor is unveiled to the media, and Guido takes the codename Strong Guy. As they take questions from the audience, a man who looks like Jamie steps forward, claiming he's the real Multiple Man and the one on stage is an imposter.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

X-amining X-Force #4

"Sabotage: Part 2"
November 1991

In a Nutshell
X-Force & Spider-Man fight Black Tom & Juggernaut

Plot/Art: Rob Liefeld
Balloon Stuffer: Fabian Nicieza
Print & Bigger Print: Rosen/Eliopoulos
Stays Inside the Lines: Bryan Murray
Recovering Nicely: Bob Harras
Lost-But-Happy: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Spider-Man and X-Force fight Juggernaut, while in the tower above, Cable tracks down Black Tom. They each fire at the other, with Black Tom getting blasted into an open elevator shaft. Clinging on for life, he surrenders to Cable, but Cable shoots him instead, sending him plummeting down the shaft, where he's teleported away by Deadpool, on orders from Mr. Tolliver. On the street below, GW Bridge and SHIELD arrive on the scene just as X-Force is able to remove Juggernaut's helmet. Cable then joins them, declaring he's going to finish Juggernaut once and for all. But before he can, Deadpool pops in and teleports away with Juggernaut as well, leaving X-Force face-to-face with Bridge, who formally announces that Cable is under arrest. Cable responds by teleporting the team back to their ship, As they fly home, Cannonball asks Cable what Bridge has against him, and Cable responds that he wishes he knew.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Walking Dead 6x16: Last Day On Earth


In today's day and age, season finales are a big deal. They're epic. They're game changers. They leave you wanting more.

The Walking Dead has been no different. They've always wanted to go out with a bang. But then there's Last Day on Earth. Hooo...boy. The only thing epic about this episode is its running time.

I've talked about The Walking Dead artificially lengthening episodes in an attempt to gain unearned gravitas before but this episode takes the cake. So little happens in this episode that I doubt it would feel satisfying filling up a regular length show let alone an episode with an extra 50% running time.

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #282

"Payback"
November 1991

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Bishop.

Plotter - Penciler: Whilce Portacio
Inker: Art Thibert
Scripter: John Byrne
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Dana Moreshead
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The X-Men return to the mansion with news of Fitzroy's attack and Jean's death, which shocks Xavier, as he didn't telepathically sense it. Meanwhile, Fitzroy visits Shinobi Shaw and claims leadership over the Upstarts. Back at the mansion, Forge has used data taken from a fallen Sentinel to locate Fitzroy's base, disguised as an Arctic iceberg, They X-Men, accompanied by Forge and Xavier, fly there, and when they get near, Xavier confirms his suspicions: that Jean has transferred her consciousness into the body of the nearest telepath: the White Queen. Inside the base, Fitzroy uses his mutant power to drain the life force of the captive Hellions and open a portal to the future, bringing forth his criminal allies. Jean, in the White Queen's body, attempts to stop him as the X-Men arrive. Better prepared, they make short work of Fitzroy's mercenaries and Sentinels, prompting Fitzroy to finish harvesting the Hellions and open a massive portal, through which dozens of criminals pour out. However, as Fitzroy gleefully watches the X-Men battle the criminals, he's shocked when three additional figures emerge from the portal, led by a man named Bishop, who declares that Fitzroy's little game just got a lot deadlier.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Season Three, Wrap-Up


Following an uneven second season, NYPD Blue could have gone in any direction in Season Three.  Bochco and Milch could’ve made the call to keep pushing the limits of network television, or simply allowed the show to lose its rough edges and evolve into a generic weekly procedural.  With Season Three, they’ve found a nice balance.  Not every episode is The Most Important Show You’ll Watch All Year, some are relatively straightforward stories of cops chasing crooks, but when the series decides not to play it safe, it fully commits.  Again, I feel silly mentioning spoilers for something that aired twenty years ago, but if you don’t want to be spoiled about an important death, be warned.

X-aminations in May 2016


May is kind of a crazy month for me - the annual MSP Comic Con show is the 14th & 15th, and I've got a bunch of setup stuff to do for that, plus both my wife's birthday and mine are at the end of the month. And, with both Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse coming out, I'll likely have more articles than usual to write for Pop Optiq.

So it'll be short month, X-aminations-wise, featuring two weeks with less than three reviews (which is also somewhat motivated by the fact that Marvel randomly shipped two issues of Excalibur in September of '91, which kind of screws with my usual rotation). Consider it a late spring break.

But we will get more on Bishop, a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and the first appearance of Wolverine baddie Cyber!

On Sale September 1991
May 4th: X-Men (vol. 2) #2
May 5th: Excalibur #43
May 6th: Wolverine #48

May 11th: Excalibur #44

On Sale October 1991
May 18th: Uncanny X-Men #283
May 19th: X-Force #5
May 20th: X-Factor #73

May 25th: Marvel Comics Presents #85-92 (Wolverine story)

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Walking Dead 6x15: East


I talked about magic entering The Walking Dead universe before. It certainly feels out of place even though zombies defy all laws of physics. Yet it looks I have to get used to it. Once again we have people with the super human ability to just teleport to wherever they'd like.

This time it's Daryl's new nemesis, Dwight, and his group of people. Speaking of Dwight and his group, are they a part of the Saviors? I wouldn't think so. He hated them, right? So why is he acting like this? I'm so confused.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #34

"Thunder in the Stars!"
April 1980

In a Nutshell
Luke races against time to destroy Omega Frost.

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

Plot
As Han leads the Rebel fleet towards Junction, Silas Tagge oversees the preparation of Omega Frost in the asteroid field leading to the planet. Nearby, Luke abandons the effectively-useless TIE fighter he used to escape from Baron Tagge, trusting in his jet pack, and the Force, to lead him to one of the Omega Frost towers. As the Rebel fleet drops out of hyperspace and enters the asteroid field, Silas gives the order to hold until they're halfway into the field to activate Omega Frost. Luke manages to reach the asteroid carrying one of the towers, but it is protected by a force field, preventing him from damaging it. Spotting Luke, Silas gives the order to activate the weapon, but the Rebel fleet is just outside the freezing effect. However, Silas is confidant they'll be unable to stop or turn around in time, at least not without destroying the fleet in the process. However, Luke is able to cut into the ground beneath the tower, to where the field is no longer protecting the device, and destroys the tower, ending the Omega Frost effect. Unfettered, the Rebel fleet emerges from the asteroid field, attacking the Tagge ship and Imperial cruiser waiting there, while Han prepares to rescue Luke from his asteroid.

Friday, April 22, 2016

X-amining Wolverine: Rahne of Terra

1991

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Wolfsbane get transported to a medieval fantasy dimension.

Writer: Peter David
Artist: Andy Kubert
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Sherilyn Van Vaulkenburgh
Assistant Editor/Designer: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The New Mutants are worried about Rahne, who has suddenly gone mad, raving that she's a princess. On another world, a bloodthirsty Wolverine attacks the Mage, while at the nearby castle, Princess Rain's servant Tabby worries about the prophecy saying a beast will kill her on her nearing birthday. Briefly, Rain sees her guards as the New Mutants. Outside, Wolverine attacks one of the guards, Samuel, who races back to the castle to warn of the beast's approach. Shortly thereafter, the elderly king, Rain's father, dies, Elsewhere, Magnus reveals he's brought Wolverine to his world to fulfill the prophecy, then brainwashes him again. Over the objections of her guards, Rain sneaks out to attend her fathers funeral, encountering a familiar-seeming peasant named Doug along the way. At the cemetery, Wolverine attacks, but Rain transforms into a werewolf, driving him off, before fleeing to the castle.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

X-amining Spider-Man #16

"Sabotage"
November 1991

In a Nutshell
Spider-Man and X-Force battle Juggernaut, sideways.

Story, Pencils, Inks: Todd McFarlane
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Greg Wright
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Special Assist: Rob Liefeld

Plot
Spider-Man arrives on the scene of the World Trade Center explosion to find most of X-Force fighting Juggernaut. Meanwhile, Cable, Domino and Siryn, along with Gideon and Sunspot, free themselves from the wreckage of the tower's upper floors. Below, X-Force's efforts against Juggernaut prove fruitless, prompting Spider-Man to intervene. In the tower, Cable and Gideon nearly come to blows, but Domino separates them, and Cable declares he's going after Black Tom. Below, Spider-Man tries to lead X-Force in a coordinated attack on Juggernaut, culminating in Shatterstar slashing Juggernaut's eyes. This causes an enraged Juggernaut to slam into a building, sending it crashing down on Spider-Man and X-Force. But they climb free of the wreckage, with Spider-Man declaring that now he's mad, and if X-Force wants to stop Juggernaut, he'll show them how.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

X-amining Spider-Man #15

"The Mutant Factor"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Spider-Man seeks out Beast for some family counseling.

Guest Writer/Artist: Erik Larsen
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Spider-Man and his wife, Mary Jane, discuss the idea of having a baby. Worried about possible complications that may arise given his unique physiology, Spider-Man seeks out Beast, who is giving a lecture on genetics at ESU. Arriving at the lecture in the midst of an attack by the anti-human Powerhouse and the anti-mutant Master Blaster, Spider-Man helps Beast subdue the two attackers. The two then discuss Spider-Man's situation, with Beast giving Spider-Man an 85% chance of some kind of complication should he and his wife have a child. The two then intervene when they spot a monstrous creature attack a truck on the street below, chasing the creature into the sewers. Just as it's about to kill Spider-Man, a man and a woman appear, calling out to the creature, which transforms into a child, the couples' son. Beast tells the parents about the Nursery, a facility that can help them raise their mutant child, and promises to help make arrangements for them. Spider-Man returns home, and both he & Mary Jane agree they're not ready to have a baby yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Season Three, Guest Stars


Very few notable guest stars this year. I've selected three, although only one of them makes the leap from occasional guest star to recurring character.

Okay, in fairness, he had cut his hair by 1995.
Titus Welliver as Dr. Mondzac
Dr. Mondzac doesn't have a lasting impact on the show, but he does appear in eight episodes over the course of three years, and was clearly a favorite bit player amongst the producers.  Dr. Mondzac debuts in the season premiere "E.R.", which sees actor Titus Welliver dramatizing the idea that there are no small roles, only small actors.  Welliver only has a few lines in this episode, but wow, he's totally believable as an arrogant-yet-likable ER doctor who's adept at staying cool under pressure.  I believe this is the first time David Milch worked with Titus Welliver, and it's the start of a professional relationship that's continued to the current day.  Welliver has appeared on almost every Milch show since this episode aired, most notably playing Silas Adams on Deadwood.  Welliver also had a role on NYPD Blue's almost-spinoff, Brooklyn South.  He was unfortunately wasted there as Off. Jake Lowery, a dull-witted uniform cop who's the first to admit that he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed.  It's a waste of an actor so good at playing cocky and smart.


The Walking Dead 6x14: Twice As Far


You know what I love seeing? People being mopey assholes. You know, people whining and complaining, being asses to each other for no good reason. It's really compelling television!

Guess what we get in the episode of The Walking Dead, Twice as Far? People being mopey assholes! At least some of them redeem themselves by the end but, boy, is it tough to watch while it's happening.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #33

"Saber Clash!"
March 1980

In a Nutshell
Luke duels Baron Tagge

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

Plot
As the Millennium Falcon races away from Tatooine, it spots a Tagge mining ship taking on passengers, whom Luke assumes is the Baron. Hiding in a nearby asteroid belt, Han is able to bring the ship close enough to the mining vessel for Artoo to use the Falcon's augmented sensors to learn the destination: Junction, which the Rebels have been using as a source of supplies. Later, the Falcon emerges from hyperspace to discover the mining ship rendezvousing with an Imperial Star Destroyer. Spotting the crew transferring cargo to the Star Destroyer manually, Luke dons a spacesuit and gets close enough to tap into their communications, learning that Tagge plans to use the Omega Frost on Junction. Luke races back to the Falcon to warn the Rebels, but is captured by Stormtroopers, though he is able to warn Han about Tagge's plans.

Friday, April 15, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #47

"Dog Day"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Wolverine tries to put down a crackhead.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Gerald Decaire
Inks: Don Hudson
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine reclaims his motorcycle from where he parked it near the World Trade Center, while in Westchester County, a crackhead named Tracy returns to his childhood home and beats up his mother, taking her gun. En route to the X-Mansion, Wolverine hears gunshots, and pulls off the freeway in Westchester County as a police officer puts down a rabid dog, prompting him to recall a similar situation with Silver Fox, when their dog went rabid. Elsewhere, Tracy goes on a rampage through town, killing two convenience store workers and nearly running down two small children. Wolverine ends up alongside him at a stoplight, and becomes suspicious when he notices the handle bars of a kid's bike in the grill of Tracy's car. Tracy runs down Wolverine, then shoots him, but Wolverine pauses before killing him. Just then, Tracy is shot from behind by the police officer Wolverine met earlier, whose kids Tracy almost killed. Wolverine admits that he was unable to put down his dog, but that Silver Fox did it herself.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #42

"A Hatch Is Plotted"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Alan Davis returns, and brings Technet with him.

Writer/Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Created by Chris Claremont & Alan Davis

Plot
In Brighton, Gatecrasher crafts an egg which she claims will defeat Excalibur once and for awhile. The next morning, Meggan is making breakfast for Excalibur when alisping-chick named Hard-boiled Henry emerges from one of the eggs, then explodes, damaging the Lighthouse. Technet teleports into the remains, landing atop Excalibur, who are still alive but unconscious. When they wake up, a fight between the two teams breaks out, which stops when Horatio Cringebottom and Bert arrive and freeze Technet in place. They tell Excalibur they've been sent by Saturnyne to remove Widget's ability to travel between dimensions, after which, Cringebottom presents Excalibur with a chip to give Gatecrasher, which should solve their Technet problem. After Technet unfreezes, Captain Britain gives them the chip, which activates a message from Saturnyne rescinding the contract on Phoenix and exiling Technet to Earth-616. Enraged, Technet turns on Gatecrasher, who teleports away, then asks Excalibur to stay in their damaged lighthouse. Meanwhile, on Ee'rath, Kylun slays one of Necrom's druids, then promises the downtrodden townspeople he'll lead them to freedom, and make Excalibur pay for the devastation they've unleashed on the world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #1

"Rubicon"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Magneto returns to face the reunited X-Men in a brand new series.

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

Plot
In outer space, a team of SHIELD agents chase a group of renegade mutants to the doorsteps of Magneto's Asteroid M, drawing his attention. The intervention of Magneto upsets the Russians, over whom Asteroid M is currently in orbit, and they initiate the Magneto Protocols, prompting Nick Fury to propose an alternative approach to the US President. Meanwhile, the reunited X-Men train in their brand new Danger Room, playing a game of tag against each other and the new X-Mansion's defenses. Afterwards, they're contacted by Nick Fury, who informs them of the situation with Magneto, and they agree to help however they can. On Asteroid M, Magneto puts a stop to the fighting between the agents and the mutants, who pledge their service to him. Magneto is eager to remain apart from worldly affairs, but the mutants' leader, Fabian Cortez, convinces him the world will respond to his actions, and that he needs a suitable deterrent.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Cast List, Season Three



After surviving the transition from David Caruso to Jimmy Smits, NYPD Blue opened its third season as one of the most popular dramas on television.  (But not the most popular, thanks to the debut of ER.)  The third season is fondly remembered by most fans, and with good reason.  Some of the best episodes of the series' run are this year.  Season Three also features what could be the most hated subplot from the series' entire run, so that might be fun to also review.

I'll lay out a large spoiler warning before beginning.  At the end of the season, there's a major character death and it's impossible to examine the season overall without disclosing it.  So, if you are planning to watch these episodes one day, be warned.


Monday, April 11, 2016

The Walking Dead 6x13: The Same Boat


"You're not the good guys."

This is what Michelle of the Saviors tells Maggie as she was interrogating her. It is a reminder that we are all the heroes of our own stories. It's also a reminder that sometimes (especially in nihilistic fiction) protagonists and antagonists have more to do with familiarity than actions. It's the people we follow for longer and spend more time with that we end up rooting for. We root against unfamiliar new comers even if they're not that different from the people we are rooting for.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Force in Focus: Rogue One Teaser


The marketing for Rogue One, the next Star Wars film due to be released this December, has been oddly quiet (particularly for a franchise known for being less-than-quiet on the marketing front), with most of the Star Wars-related press focused (understandably) on the aftermath of The Force Awakens and then its Blu-ray release. Scuttlebutt has been that the first Rogue One trailer would be released with Captain America: Civil War in May, and while that still may be the case, this week saw the release of a quick teaser - timed, not coincidentally, I'm sure, with the Force Awakens blu-ray release (corporate synergy at work!).

It's brief, but there's nevertheless a bunch of cool, fun, and jaw-dropping stuff packed in there.

"This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel."


Boom. One line of dialogue that speaks volumes about a character.

The Walking Dead 6x12: Not Tomorrow Yet


Remember American Pie? That teen sex comedy in the 1990's? It was about four boys who make a pact to have sex by the time they graduate high school. Sex was a rite of passage to them. On the Walking Dead, murder is the rite of passage.

A person's first murder seemed to be a big theme in Not Tomorrow Yet. Alexandria agreed to kill the Saviors for the Hilltop in exchange for food and a cow. Both Glenn and Heath bond over never killing anybody but know that this operation is going to change things.

Morgan, of course, is against this plan and comes up with a completely naïve alternative. He wants to talk to it out. I get and appreciate that Morgan never wants to kill again but he also needs to know when to pick his battles. And if you are going to pick your battles, come up with a better plan than intimidation! Daryl has encountered Negan's crew, he'll tell you how well that plan would go over. I mean, I love Morgan, but in this episode he actually annoyed me more than Carol!

Friday, April 8, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #71

"Cutting the Mustard"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Val Cooper attempts to assemble a new, government-sponsored, X-Factor team.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Larry Stroman
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Washington, D.C., Lorna, Guido & Madrox are staying at a friend of Madrox's condo, having been asked to join a new iteration of X-Factor, and Lorna is anxious because her old boyfriend Havok is being targeted to lead the team. In Genosha, Val Cooper tracks down Alex, who is with Rahne as well, but he is reluctant to take the job. Meanwhile, Quicksilver arrives in Washington, seeking X-Factor, and disarms a bomb threatening a hotel before receiving directions to them. In Genosha, Alex & Rahne are visited by Cyclops & Professor X, who urge Alex to take the X-Factor job, saying it will be good for all mutants. However, Alex is most intrigued when he learns Lorna will be on the team. In D.C., Quicksilver collapses on Madrox's doorstep, and explains that he needs X-Factor's help: someone has turned his powers against him. Meanwhile, Alex, Rahne and Val fly back to the states, with Val briefing Alex on the team as they go. Back in D.C., Quicksilver explains that whomever is targeting him sent a threatening postcard with a D.C. postmark, so he came to the city and, having heard that X-Factor was being reformed, sought them out. Just then, Alex, Rahne and Val arrive, and Lorna and Alex reunite, much to Rahne's dismay. Later that night, someone knocks on Madrox's door, and when he answers it, he gets shot and blasted out the window.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

X-amining X-Force #3

"Battlecry"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Siryn joins the team as they attack Black Tom & Juggernaut.

Words and Whining: Fabian Nicieza
Plot & Pictures: Rob Liefeld
Letters and Fluffy Hair: Chris Eliopoulos
Color Art and Sunshine: Joe Rosas
Edits and Kenny Rogers: Bob Harras
Bossing and Sit-Ups: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Siryn arrives at the World Trade Center, attempting to stop her uncle and Juggernaut, but Juggernaut punches her off the roof. She meets up with X-Force, arriving on the scene, and joins them to take down the villains together. As Warpath knocks Juggernaut off the roof to the ground below, the rest of the team takes out Black Tom's soldiers, while inside, Gideon and Sunspot make their move, attacking Black Tom. He overpowers them, but Cable intervenes, wounding Tom before he can kill Sunspot. However, Tom reveals that he's placed explosives on the upper floors of the building. Just as Spider-Man arrives, Tom presses the detonator, and the top of the tower explodes.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Milch Studies - HILL STREET BLUES, Part Two


“Trial by Fury” is David Milch’s first television script, written while he was still a Yale literature professor.  It’s also the third season premiere of Hill Street Blues, and regarded by some fans as the best episode of the series.  The plot involves the rape and murder of a nun and Captain Frank Furillo’s morally dubious attempt to close the case -- he conspires with the judge to have the two suspects released, knowing that a mob is forming outside the courthouse.  Exploiting their fear of the mob, Furillo convinces the two young drug addicts to confess to the murder.  His girlfriend, public defender Joyce Davenport, is horrified by Furillo’s actions and demands that they spend the night apart.  Furillo, burdened with grief, visits his priest for confession.

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #281

"Fresh Upstart"
October 1991

In a Nutshell
Whilce Portacio comes aboard as a new era begins.

Plot: Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio
Script: John Byrne
Pencils: Whilce Portacio
Inks: Art Thibert
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Australia, the Reavers are suddenly attacked by Sentinels, while in New York, the X-Men are attending a party at the Hellfire Club, by invitation from Emma Frost. Just then, Emma herself emerges, having fought off an assassination attempt. Meanwhile, Trevor Fitzroy meets with Shinobi Shaw, showing him footage of his Sentinels wiping out the Reavers, before leaving for the Hellfire Club himself. At the Club, Frost brutally interrogates her would-be assassin, increasing tensions between the X-Men and the Hellions, just as Fitzroy enters, killing Jetstream and chiding the assassin for her failure. In Australia, Pierce, running from the Sentinels, orders Gateway to send him to whomever ordered the attack, intending to surprise whoever it is. Back at the Hellfire Club, the X-Men and Hellions are attacking Fitzroy, doing little in the face of his advanced armor, when a portal opens and Pierce stumbles out, followed closely by the Sentinels. They destroy Piece and seemingly kill Frost, then attack Jean Grey. Later, in the aftermath of the attack, Senator Kelly arrives on the scene and berates the X-Men for the damage they've caused, but they step aside, showing him the body of Jean, saying they've already paid the most precious price of all.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Force in Focus: Stars Wars Action Figures Wave 2

Figures Released: 
Greedo
Hammerhead
Snaggletooth (red and blue jumpsuit)
Walrus Man
R5-D4
Death Star Droid
Luke Skywalker (X-Wing Pilot)
Power Droid (aka Gronk Droid)
Boba Fett (mail away)

The second wave of figures released under the Star Wars banner, first on sale in late 1978, could be called "the alien wave", as it sees the releases of four notable aliens from the famous cantina scene: Greedo, Hammerhead (later named Momaw Nadon), Snaggletooth (aka Zutton) and Walrus Man (aka Ponda Baba, the alien whom accosted Luke and got his arm sliced off by Obi-Wan for his troubles). For the most part, aside from their heads, the figures don't really resemble their onscreen counterparts, due to a combination of sculpting limitations and a lack of visual reference material;, if part of a creature's body wasn't seen on screen, George Lucas and his team didn't bother designing a look or costume for that part, and most of the reference material given to Kenner for the figures were simply headshots of the aliens, usually in black-and-white.

Friday, April 1, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #46

"Home is the Hunter..."
Late September 1991

In a Nutshell
The four way fight between Wolverine, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike and Hunter in Darkness concludes.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Marc Silvestri
Inks: Dan Green
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Hunter in Darkness interrupts the Wolverine/Sabretooth/Lady Deathstrike fight, and, recognizing Wolverine, joins in on his side, giving him a breather during which Jubilee attends to him. In the Morlock Tunnels, Albert continues to work on the power unit for Elsie-Dee. Wolverine rejoins the fight just as the sniper targeting the Hunter comes closer, and Wolverine realizes she's the daughter of RCMP Sergeant Doolin. She shoots both Wolverine and Sabretooth, and her poisoned bullets cause them to hallucinate events from their past. However, when Doolin targets Jubilee, Wolverine comes to his senses and knocks her out. But both Sabretooth and the Hunter have disappeared, while Lady Deathstrike is retrieved by Parvenue. Meanwhile, Albert nears the completion of his work on Elsie-Dee, just as the Hunter finds a new home for himself in the tunnels.