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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #43

"Betrayal at Bespin"
January 1981

In a Nutshell
Han is betrayed by Lando and frozen in carbonite by Darth Vader.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Al Williamson & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Veitch
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Plot
The Millennium Falcon arrives at Cloud City on Bespin and receives a chilly reception, but Han's old friend Lando Calrissian quickly drops the ruse and warmly embraces his old friend, promising to help repair the ship. Meanwhile, on Dagobah, Luke enters a cave steeped in the Dark Side and battles a vision of Darth Vader which, when defeated, reveals Luke's face beneath the mask. On Bespin, Chewbacca turns up with Threepio, who's been blasted into pieces, while on Dagobah, Luke experiences a vision of his friends suffering and dying. Lando invites everyone to dinner, but they arrive to find Darth Vader & Boba Fett waiting for them. On Dagobah, Luke decides to leave to rescue his friends, over Yoda and Obi-Wan's warnings. On Bespin, as Han is tortured, Lando explains Vader only wants Luke. Vader proceeds to test Lando's carbon freezing process on Han, hoping to use it to capture Luke alive. As Han is lowered into the chamber, Leia declares her love for him, just as Luke arrives at Cloud City.

Friday, July 29, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #52

"Citadel at the End of Time"
March 1992

In a Nutshell
Spiral takes Wolverine & Mystique to the end of time.

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

Plot
Spiral, Mystique & Wolverine are attacked by a plasma wraith sent after Spiral. After they defeat it, Spiral casts a cloaking spell that hides them, just as Albert, Elsie-Dee & Hunter in Darkness fly overhead on their way to Canada. Spiral explains that time travelers from across realities are being drawn to the Crunch, the Big Bang's opposite at the end of time. When an uncertainty nullifer beam tries to blast them from the TV, Spiral declares they're not safe in the past, and opens a vortex that sucks in the room's furnishings and Wolverine's motorcycle, as well as the three individuals. Jubilee, just arriving outside the room, avoids the vortex, and goes inside to discover Mojo, wanting to know where Spiral is. Wolverine, Mystique & Spiral end up at the Crunch, battling and defeating another wraith, after which Spiral declares that Mojo is threatening all existence. Back at the motel, Mojo captures Jubilee and heads to the Crunch, while in Canada, Hunter in Darkness leads Albert and Elsie-Dee to a native burial ground, where they find an adamantium skeleton with claws amongst the remains.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #48

"Irish Stew"
March 1992

In a Nutshell
Excalibur meets Feron and releases the Anti-Phoenix.

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

Plot
In Ireland, Feron prepares for the coming storm as Excalibur rendezvous with Kitty. Explaining the mystery of the underground chamber and the failed attempts to reach it, Nightcrawler has Kitty & Rachel phase inside it while Meggan, Captain Britain &Cerise create a tunnel. Inside the chamber, Rachel is confronted with visions of her past, with someone in each setting urging her to relinquish the Phoenix Force for good. Just as the chamber is breached by Captain Britain and Feron arrives on the scene, the Anti-Phoenix bursts forth. Feron and Excalibur try to stop it, but it ultimately escapes, and Feron warns that if it joins with its creator, it may become unstoppable. Returning to the lighthouse to use the equipment there to track the Anti-Phoenix, Excalibur discovers Widget has created a new body for itself, while at the same time, the Anti-Phoenix meets its creator: Necrom. He absorbs the force from its host, prompting Rachel to declare they're too late: she can feel Necrom in her mind, and he's coming for her.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #6

"Farther Still"
March 1992

In a Nutshell
Sabretooth joins the hunt for Wolverine.

Plot/Art: Jim Lee
Finisher: Art Thibert
Scripter: Scott Lobdell
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cyclops, Beast & Jubilee easily dispatch the Hand's ninjas, but are no match for Omega Red, who overpowers them. Meanwhile, Maverick attempts to revive Wolverine, who is flashing back to the Berlin mission at the point where Creed executes the scientist they were tasked with retrieving so he, Logan and Maverick could escape from Omega Red. Someplace else, Longshot, Dazzler & Lila Cheney appear before Mojo, Lila's teleportation co-opted by Mojo. But they manage to escape with the help of some rebels, and rejoin the force opposing Mojo. Back in Berlin, the rest of the X-Men are defeated when Matsu'o regains control over Psylocke, an act which wakes up Wolverine. He lashes out at Maverick and the two fight, until Sabretooth appears on Maverick's monitors. Sabretooth proceeds to gloat over the captive X-Men and agrees to help Matsu'o track down Wolverine, with Psylocke's help. They find Wolverine & Maverick, but the fight is relatively one-sided, as Wolverine is too weak to put up much of a fight and is easily recaptured. Fenris & Matsu'o toast to their success, and then Matsu'o tells Omega Red he may kill however many of the captive X-Men he wishes.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #42

"To Be A Jedi"
December 1980

In a Nutshell
Luke trains on Dagobah, the Millennium Falcon heads to Bespin.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Al Williamson & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Veitch
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Plot
On Dagobah, Luke meets a small, gnome-like creature who promises to take him to Yoda, while hidden inside the asteroid field, Han & Leia grow closer as they repair the Falcon. Vader interrupts his search for the ship to meet with the Emperor, who warns him of the potential threat of Luke, to which Vader vows to turn the boy to the Dark Side, or kill him. On Dagobah, a frustrated Luke realizes his new friend is in fact Yoda himself, who is reluctant to train him, but Luke, with some assistance from Obi-Wan, prevails. Back in the asteroid field, Han realizes the cave they're hiding in is actually alive, and the Falcon races out just as the creature tries to eat the ship. On Dagobah, Luke's training commences, and though he makes great strides, he's unable to rescue his ship from the swamp, a task Yoda completes with ease. Meanwhile, Darth Vader is giving marching orders to a group of bounty hunters, including Boba Fett, tasked with locating the Millennium Falcon when the ship suddenly emerges from the asteroid field. But it disappears just as quickly, with Han buzzing one of the Star Destroyers then attaching to the side of it and shutting down the Falcon's systems. Believing the ship jumped to lightspeed, the Imperial fleet dumps its garbage just before it does the same, allowing the Falcon to float away unnoticed. Scanning nearby systems, Han sets a course for Bespin, home of an old friend of his, not realizing the Falcon is being followed by Boba Fett.

Friday, July 22, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #76

"X-Communication"
March 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolfsbane is captured by a supporter of Farnoq Dahn.

Writer: Peter David
Guest Penciler: Tom Raney and Kevin West
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
An unconscious Wolfsbane is found in the Trans-Sabal desert by Jolel, a fervent believer in Farnoq Dahn, and his sister Sandah. Meanwhile, Quicksilver searchs for Wolfsbane while the rest of X-Factor, searching for Havok, missing since the blast that took out the Hulk, encounters members of the Pantheon. Meanwhile, a bound Wolfsbane awakens inside Jolel's house. He intends to hold her for Farnoq Dahn, and though Wolfsbane insists that she was called in to help by Dahn, Jolel remains convinced she's some kind of demon that Dahn must deal with personally. As X-Factor battles the Pantheon, Quicksilver reaches the city where Rahne is being held just as Prometheus of the Pantheon attacks hims. Wolfsbane manages to escape from Jolel's house to help Quicksilver, but Jolel catches up to her, threatening her with a knife. However, Sandah intervenes, knocking out her brother and allowing Wolfsbane to escape. But when Jolel comes to, he kills his sister, to Wolfsbane's horror. Though he insists it was an accident, an enraged Wolfsbane attacks him. She then emerges from his house and meets up with Quicksilver, telling him to get her out of the place, insisting that she's going to burn for what she did.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

X-amining X-Force #8

"Flashed Before My Eyes"
March 1992

In a Nutshell
A flashback reveals Cable is from the future.

Plot/Framing Sequence Art: Rob Liefeld
Guest Penciler: Mike Mignola
Guest Inker: Bob Wiacek
Guessed Scripter: Fabian Nicieza
Jest Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Dressed Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Edits: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Cannonball lies dying, Cable flashes back to a mission involving the Wild Pack, the mercenary group he led alongside Domino, Bridge & Kane, retrieving a piece of equipment for AIM that was stolen by Hydra. After handing the device over to AIM, the team goes their separate ways until their next job comes along, with Cable returning home to the future. There, he confers with Professor, his sentient computer, and learns of a possible new High Lord awakening: Sam Guthrie. Determined to guide his development and believing this to be the chance they've been waiting a long time for, Cable has Professor timeslide him into the past, roughly six month's before Sam's awakening. Back in the present, Cable is wondering why Cannonball isn't waking up from Sauron's attack, thinking maybe he was wrong about him. But, Cable insists to Sauron as he shoots him, if he was wrong, Sam won't be the only one who pays.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #286

"Close Call!"
March 1992

In a Nutshell
The X-Men return to Earth with Mikhail in tow.

Story & Art: Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio
Finishes: Art Thibert
Scripting: Scott Lobdell
Lettering: Task Force X
Coloring: Joe Rosas
Editing: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Colossus is stunned to be reunited with his brother Mikhail, who explains that his death was staged before the Russian government sent him to this world, and how he ended up sealing the portal at the cost of the lives of people he had come to care about. On Earth, Xavier & Forge confer with some of the world's top minds trying to close the portal, to no avail. Inside the void, Mikhail refuses to use his energy manipulation power to shutdown the portal a second time, which an enraged Colossus views as an act of cowardice. Meanwhile, an enthralled Archangel leads the Posse Comitatus against the rebels, including Mikhail and the X-Men, now joined by Iceman and Sunfire. When Colossus is threatened, Mikhail is driven to action. Realizing the growing portal threatens his brother as well as everyone else, he works in concert with Sunfire, Iceman and Jean to use his power to both close the portal and send the X-Men home, while keeping everyone else alive on the other side. The act nearly kills him, however, but Colossus revives his brother, who is stunned to learn they have a sister while wondering if Colossus and his friends do this sort of thing every day.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Game of Thrones 6x10: The Winds of Winter


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

Winterfell
Jon Snow is Jon Snowing (aka brooding) about his childhood in the same dining room he is now master of. Melisandre reminds Jon Snow that he may think he had it bad but this is the world of Game of Thrones so 99% of people had it worse. Then Davos comes in demanding answers about that burnt horse figurine he found.

Melisandre comes clean about burning Sheereen at the stake. Davos notes that not only was that monstrous but, considering how things ended for Stannis, it was pointless too. Jon Snow wants to know why he shouldn't just straight up execute Melisandre but she reminds Jon Snow that magical fire witches could be useful against ice zombies. Jon Snow decides to exile her to the south.

Jon Snow and Sansa talk on the walls of Winterfell. Sansa apologizes for not telling Jon Snow about the Vale army but never elaborates as to why she didn't tell him. Seemed like important information. Also important information? The fact that winter is no longer coming, it is here. But Sansa does tell Jon Snow that.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #41

"Imperial Pursuit!"
November 1980

In a Nutshell
The Imperials drive the Rebels off Hoth

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Al Williamson & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Veitch
Asst. Editor: Dan Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Plot
Luke scrambles out of his crashed Snowspeeder and, using a harpoon gun, his lightsaber, and a concussion charge, manages to bring down an approaching walker. Back at the Rebel base, with the Imperials closing in, Han tries to get Leia to her transport, but their access is cutoff, forcing Leia to go with Han to the Falcon. Just as the Imperials are about to blast the ship, Han manages to take off, their escape watched by Luke as he scrambles to his waiting X-wing, and Vader orders his troops to capture the ship. In space, Han manages to evade the pursuing Star Destroyers, but is stunned to discover the hyperdrive is broken. Luke sets a course for Dagobah as Han scrambles to fix the hyperdrive, but he stops when the ship is hit with an asteroid. Han proceeds to recklessly dive into the asteroid field, hoping to use it to shake the pursuing TIE fighters. Eventually, he finds a cave on one of the larger asteroids and flies inside, hidden from the Imperials. Meanwhile, Luke crash lands on Dagobah, his arrival watched by a shadowy figure.

Friday, July 15, 2016

X-amining Incredible Hulk #390-391

"This Means War" / "X-Calation"
February - March 1992

In a Nutshell
X-Factor is called in to stop the Hulk's attack on the nation of Trans-Sabal.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Dale Keown
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #390: In Trans-Sabal, Hulk and the Pantheon help a rebel group repel the forces of the country's dictator, Farnoq Dahn. This prompts Dahn to ask CIA operative Galvin for additional assistance from the US, in addition to the equipment they already provided. Galvin proceeds to bring in X-Factor to take on the Hulk. Issue #391: Hulk's friend Rick Jones shows him that the equipment being used by Dahn's forces is from SHIELD, causing him to wonder if they're on the right side of the conflict, but Hulk insists they are. Meanwhile, X-Factor is briefed on the situation and prepares to battle Hulk, despite their dislike of Dahn. Back at the rebel camp, Rick befriends one of the soldiers, convincing him he's on the right side. Later, Hulk launches an attack on Dahn's forces, during which X-Factor intervenes. Hulk is able to mostly hold his own, until Havok is able to absorb some of his gamma radiation, weakening him but also triggering a massive explosion.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

X-amining Excalibur: Air Apparent

"Air Apparent"
1991

In a Nutshell
Excalibur battles a mad scientist and his Air-Walker android.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencilers: Ron Lim, Brian Stelfreeze, Dwayne Turner, Jackson Guice, Rick Leonardi, Erik Larsen, James Fry
Inkers: Al Gordon, Karl Story, Klaus Janson, Tom Palmer, Joe Rubinstein, Erik Larsen, Don Hudson
Colorists: Glynis Oliver, Dana Moreshead, Ariane,
Letterers: Michael Heisler, Steve Dutro,
Asst. Editor: Mark Powers
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Excalibur is briefed by WHO about Dr. Cayre, a brilliant bio-physicist who has gone mad. He has recreated Galactus' android herald Air-Walker, who has subsequently gone on a rampage, equipped his Life Model Decoy lab assistant Norm with a nuclear warhead, and experimented on himself, giving him the ability to unravel a person's genetic structure with a touch. Excalibur proceeds to split up, with Nightcrawler defeating Norm, Shadowcat defeating a failed Air Walker prototype, Meggan battling the mercenary Coldblood before destroying Cayre's lab, Phoenix trapping Cayre himself in a prison of glass, Captain Britain destroying the rampaging Air-Walker, and Lockheed defending the lighthouse from some overzealous WHO agents.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Milch Studies - Brooklyn South, The Wrap-Up



Brooklyn South, to its credit, did run for a full season.  That’s actually a decent run, when compared to other Milch programs (NYPD Blue’s twelve-year run was very much an outlier.)  The show, however, is pretty weak tea when compared to what most viewers expected from another Milch/Bochco cop drama.  The first season of NYPD Blue brought us a young lead in the midst of a divorce, an older lead crawling his way out of alcoholism, and various supporting players that ranged from a nice guy with a stutter to unrepentant adulterous scum.  Brooklyn South doesn’t give us a Sipowicz.  We don’t even get a Mike Roberts.

X-amining Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness

"Hearts of Darkness"
1991

In a Nutshell
Ghost Rider, Wolverine & Punisher are tempted by Blackheart to destroy Mephisto.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inker: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: John Wellington
Asst. Editor: Chris Cooper
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
After a Satantic cult raises Blackheart, son of Mephisto, the demon slays the cult, then declares he will kill his father. Later, Dan Ketch arrives in the small town of Christ's Crown, and ends up staying at a boarding house with fellow new arrivals Mr. Logan and Mr. Frank. All three heroes - Ghost Rider, Wolverine and Punisher - have been lured to the town by Blackheart, who promises information important to each of them in exchange for their help killing Mephisto. All three refuse, prompting Blackheart to take control of the town and capture Lucy, the daughter of the boarding house keeper, to force the heroes into helping him. They fight their way to the demonic realm where Blackheart is holding Lucy, and Blackheart once again offers to trade information for their help killing his father, but they refuse, and manage to severely injury the demon. Just then, Mephisto appears and swallows his son, declaring its time to teach him a lesson, after which he returns the heroes and Lucy to Earth, where Ghost Rider declares that while they may come close to, or occasionally cross the edge of being heroes, so long as the innocent ar e protected, their cause is just.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #40

"Battleground Hoth!"
October 1980

In a Nutshell
The Battle of Hoth begins.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Al Williamson & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Veitch
Asst. Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Plot
With the Rebel base on high alert, a recovering Luke tries to tell Leia how he feels about her before thanking Han for saving his life. Meanwhile, Darth Vader executes Admiral Ozzel for emerging from hyperspace too close to the planet, alerting the Rebels of their imminent attack. On Hoth, Leia briefs the Rebels on their escape plan as Han and Chewie scramble to get the Falcon ready to fly. Luke bids them goodbye, then climbs into his Snowspeeder to help the defense of the base against the Imperial forces and their massive walkers. With their armor shielded against the vehicles' blasters, the Rebels are forced to use tow cables to bring down the Imperial walkers, but Luke is shot down as he moves into position for another attack, his ship crashing right into the path of an oncoming walker.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

X-amining X-Men Action Figures: X-Men Series I & II, X-Force Series I

Years of Release
1991-1992

Roll Call 
X-Men Series I (1991)
Wolverine, Storm, Archangel, Nightcrawler, Cyclops, Colossus, Juggernaut, Magneto, Apocalypse



X-Men Series II (1992)
Wolverine II (Blue & Yellow Costume), Forge, Iceman, Mr. Sinister, Sabretooth, Wolverine III (X-Men Uniform), Banshee, Gambit, Wolverine IV (Weapon X), Sauron, Magneto.


X-Force Series I (1992)
Cable, Warpath, Shatterstar, G.W. Bridge, Kane, Stryfe, Gideon, Deadpool, Forearm.


Firsts and Other Notables
Released by Toy Biz, the first line of X-Men figures is an offshoot of the company's initial release of Marvel Universe figures, and before long, the growing popularity of the X-Men (helped in no small part by the animated series, for which this becomes the de facto toy line of that TV show) leads this series of figures to far eclipse and outlast the initial Marvel Universe line that spawned it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Milch Studies - Brooklyn South



Brooklyn South debuted in the Fall of 1997, just as NYPD Blue was entering its fifth season and Total Security was dying a fast death on ABC.  Even though it aired on competing network CBS, Brooklyn South was intended in many respects as an NYPD Blue spinoff.  And, in many ways, it wasn’t.  This is confusing.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #39

"The Empire Strikes Back"
September 1980

In a Nutshell
An Imperial Probe discovers the location of the Rebel's new base on Hoth.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Al Williamson & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Jim Novak
Assistant Editor: Jo Duffy
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Plot
Patrolling on the ice world of Hoth, Luke is about to investigate a nearby meteorite when he's attacked by some kind of creature. Later, Han returns to the Rebel's Echo Base having finished his own patrol, and announces his intent to leave the Rebellion to square his debt with Jabba the Hutt. Elsewhere, Luke awakens upside down inside a cave, and uses the Force to call his lightsaber to his hand, freeing himself and fighting off the creature before fleeing into the freezing night. At Echo Base, Han learns Luke is missing and races off into the night to find him, while Luke is visited by the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi, who advises him to go to Dagobah, to learn the ways of the Force from Yoda. Just then, Han comes across the nearly dead Luke, and erects shelter. The next morning, however, a patrol Snowspeeders tracks down Han and Luke, and after a trip to the bacta tank, Luke is pronounced out of danger. Just then, the same creatures which attacked him attack the base. At the same time, their scanners detect the presence of an Imperial Probe Droid - the meteorite Luke spotted earlier. Han and Chewbacca manage to destroy it, but not before it transmits its data to the Imperial fleet. The data is received by Darth Vader's massive new Star Destroyer, and though his officers aren't sure if the data points to Rebel activity, Vader is certain, and orders the fleet to the Hoth system at full speed.

Friday, July 1, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #51

"Heartbreak Motel!"
February 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolverine hooks up with Mystique and is attacked by Spiral

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

Plot
Wolverine works out in the Danger Room and in a virtual reality simulation, observed by a contingent of X-Men including Forge, Jubilee, Storm, Cyclops & Professor X, with the professor worried that Wolverine is acting wilder and more out-of-control as a result of the recent exploration of his past. Later, Wolverine rides off to a local bar, leaving behind a concerned Jubilee. At the bar, he hooks up with a blonde woman. Later still, Jubilee gets out of bed and heads to the bar when she realizes Wolverine never came home. Spotting his motorcyle at a nearby motel, she is shocked to see Jean Grey come out of Wolverine's hotel room, and she rushes back to the mansion. However, both Jean and the blonde woman turn out to be Mystique. Meanwhile, Albert and a repaired Elsie-Dee leave the Morlock tunnels aboard the stealth bomber Albert has fixed, and they are accompanied by the Hunter in Darkness. Back at the mansion, Jubilee spots Jean out for a run, and is relieved she wasn't at the motel after all. At the motel, Mystique tells Wolverine she sought him out because she's afraid of Spiral, who suddenly appears in the room.