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

Friday, June 23, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #64

"Ascension"
April 1993

In a Nutshell
Phoenix returns to Earth as Captain Britain & Meggan are captured by the RCX.

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

Plot
In deep space, Rachel awakens, shocked to realize she's not dead. The Phoenix Force tells her that once it was without form, touching all life, and that it needs to do so again to free the universe of the cancer it has become. On Earth, Captain Britain & Meggan are attacked and captured by the Cherubim. As the RCX doctors run more tests on Nightcrawler, Kitty tricks her Warpie guard and escapes into the complex, hoping to suss out Nigel's true intentions. At Braddock Manor, Feron & Lockheed are disturbed by the sudden appearance and subsequent disappearance of Widget. Meanwhile, Captain Britain is manipulated by Nigel into helping him target super-humans in the name of security. Kitty overhears this, but is knocked out by one of the Warpies. She is placed into a containment unit, after which an imposter masquerading as Kitty assures Nightcrawler their suspicions were wrong. In space, the Phoenix Force says farewell to Rachel, leaving her with her mind and memories intact. Rachel realizes she has been returned to Earth, and confident now in who she really is, dons the colors of Dark Phoenix.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

X-amining X-Force #21

"War Machines"
April 1993

In a Nutshell
Sam tries to save Graymalkin as X-Force battles Iron Man.

Those killers: Fabian Nicieza & Greg Capullo
Inks with a knife: Harry Candelario
Letters with a bullet: Chris Eliopolous
Colors with blood: Javins/Buccellato
Edits with adrenaline fear: Bob Harras
Behind you every step of the way: Tom DeFalco

Plot
X-Force engages Iron Man, and the resulting damage, combined with the recent EMP burst caused by the collision with the Stark satellite, causes Graymalkin to begin breaking apart. On Earth, Warpath, Boomer & Siryn return from shopping and are ambushed by the Externals, while Domino and Grizzly visit Hammer. On Graymalkin, Professor teleports Sam & Roberto to his command center just as Lila arrives to teleport the team to safety. Sam and Roberto figure out that Cable gave Sam override access to Graymalkin, and Professor needs his help to determine which components of the station to jettison in order to keep the station together. On Earth, Vanessa and her roommate visit a bar, while Deadpool picks up Vanessa's trail. On Graymalkin, Rictor tells Lila they can't leave behind Iron Man and the SHIELD team, while Sam & Roberto begin jettisoning components of the station to Earth. But just as they manage to get the station stabilized, Professor suddenly detects an electromagnetic anomaly, and Graymalkin explodes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #19

"A Skinning of Souls Part Three: Harvest of the Innocent"
April 1993

In a Nutshell
The Soul Skinner is defeated.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inkers: Pennington (pgs 1-9), Wiacek (pgs10-11), Panosian (pgs 12-16), Williamson (pgs 17-22)
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Soul Skinner sets Omega Red after the still-free Colossus & Colonel Vazhin, who are tending to the children of the Neftelensk, left free of the Soul Skinner's control due to the painful memory of his own lost daughter. The pair spot the arrival of Russian agents, with Illyana in tow, and Colossus attacks them, which allows the Soul Skinner to get into Colossus' mind and show him his parents' deaths. Back at the mansion, Beast discusses his recent doldrums with Jean. In Russia, an enraged Colossus attacks Vazhin, who insists he didn't intend for Colossus' parents to die. The combined grief and anger of Colossus weakens the Soul Skinner, loosening his hold on the X-Men, who attack him as he attempts to kill Illyana. Working together, Colossus and Psylocke link the minds of the children in the village, collecting their shared innocence and injecting it into the Soul Skinner via Psylocke's psychic knife. Overwhelmed, the Soul Skinner shuts down his own mind, after which Vazhin shoots him in the head, killing him. Colossus then frees Illyana, and Wolverine confirms Omega Red escaped, leaving Jubilee to wonder how the X-Men can deal with all this pain and still look at themselves in the mirror.

Friday, June 16, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #68

"Epsilon Red"
April 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Epsilon Red.

Script: Larry Hama
Art: Mark Texeira
Backgrounds: Steve Biasi
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine confronts Epsilon Red, and still thinking it's the 1960s, recalls their last encounter, in which he was sent to kill the Soviet astronaut. The memory causes him to come to his senses and realize the correct year, and Epsilon Red says that he's using his psi-talents to help Wolverine remember. With his help, Wolverine recalls the original "Terry Adams" mission, in which he was meant to kill Epsilon Red to stop him from getting to the moon before the Americans, but was called off when the US landed a man on the moon. He thanks Epsilon Red for clearing up his memories, then helps him board a space shuttle and return "home" before being picked up by the X-Men. As they leave, one of the Russian guards ask Epsilon Red's daughter Elena why she used her telepathic powers to show Wolverine what she did; she tells him she left out part of the mission, when Sabretooth arrived and killed her mother, and that while inside Wolverine's head, she was able get some clues to Sabretooth's whereabouts, so she can track him down and kill him.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #89

"Dark Homecoming" / "Cabin Fever"
April 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Factor arrives in Genosha.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Joe Quesada, Chris Batista (2nd story)
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings, Lois Buhalis (2nd Story)
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
X-Factor and the X-Patriots arrive in Genosha, and are introduced to the Genoshan president and reunited with Moira. Elsewhere, mutant Dick Chalker, blaming himself for his brother and cousin's deaths, rushes out to wipe out every last mutant on the people, and is promptly run over by a truck. That night, Rahne experiences another nightmare, and Moira agrees to start running tests on her immediately. As Strong Guy goes with Jo Beth to meet her grandmother, Havok & Prodigal meet with the Genoshan president, while Moira & Sasha Ryan determine that Rahne's connection to Havok is a result of the process that turned her into a mutate. Later, Sasha Ryan meets with a shadowy figure, telling him they can't continue their plans until X-Factor leaves. He agrees, but vows that one day their country will once again be free of mutants.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #299

"Nightlines"
April 1993

In a Nutshell
Xavier debates Senator Kelly & Graydon Creed on live TV.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Brandon Peterson
Inks: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Kuwait, Forge and Gyrich inspect wreckage which Forge determines to be the remains of Asteroid M, and inside, they are stunned to discover Magneto's body missing. In New York, Jean helps Professor X prepare for a televised debate on human/mutant relations with Senator Kelly, while Archangel checks on Teddy, the young boy recently targeted by the Acolytes. Xavier & Kelly are joined by Graydon Creed, leader of the anti-mutant Friends of Humanity organization. Watching the broadcast with his fellow Upstarts, Cortez is incensed that Creed is a member of the Upstarts. Shortly, Beast joins the televised debate, and quickly gets under Creed's skin, much to the delight of the X-Men watching from Harry's Hideaway. As the debate concludes, Xavier finds he and Kelly have more in common than they thought, a sentiment similarly expressed by Kelly's telepathic aide. Outside the TV studio, Cyclops tells Xavier that the Blackbird is ready to go; the Acolytes have been traced to France, and the X-Men are taking the fight to them.

Friday, June 9, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #63

"Denial"
March 1993

In a Nutshell
Kylun & Captain Britain are targeted as Excalibur reluctantly aids the RCX.

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

Plot
Awakening from a dream about his time on Ee'rath, Kylun marshals the courage to reunite with his parents, only to be attacked and captured by the Seraphim as he reaches their door. Meanwhile, at Cloud Nine, in lieu of imprisoning the captive members of Excalibur, Nigel assigns each of them a Warpie guide who neutralizes their power. He shows them around the facility, revealing that he needs their help battling a disease that is targeting parahumans. Nightcrawler offers Excalibur's help however they can. Elsewhere, Phoenix, grappling with the guilt of killing unborn life, encounters Death, who suggests the solution is to let go of being human. At Cloud Nine, the RCX tests' Nightcrawler's powers, and realize he is showing signs of having contracted the disease. At the coast, Captain Britain's powers mysteriously return, just as another group of Seraphim confront him and Meggan. They tell him to surrender, or else. Captain Britain chooses "or else".

Thursday, June 8, 2017

X-amining X-Force #20

"Assault on Graymalkin"
March 1993

In a Nutshell

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
When a Stark satellite accidentally uncloaks Graymalkin, Cable's space station, in orbit around Earth, SHIELD is called in to investigate, but Nick Fury is forced to cut a deal with Jim Rhodes, who claims salvage rights to the station, in order to go aboard. In Arizona, X-Force catches a news report about the station, and Sam orders Lila to teleport the team onboard. Meanwhile, Vanessa emerges from her room, having taken the form of her roommate, Domino enlists the help of Grizzly in locating X-Force, and the X-Ternal Nicodemus succumbs to a mysterious illness. In space, Nick Fury leads a SHIELD team onto Graymalkin. Intending to protect Cable's legacy, X-Force attacks and defeats them, only to find themselves face-to-face with Iron Man.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #18

"The Crops Mature: A Skinning of Souls Part Two"
March 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle Omega Red & Soul Skinner.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Andy Kubert
Inkers: Pennington (pgs 5-22), Panosian (pgs 1-4)
Letterer: Chris Elipoulos
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The fight between Omega Red & Soul Skinner ends with Omega Red in Soul Skinner's thrall. Later, the X-Men, along with Colonel Vazhin, arrive on the outskirts of Neftelensk. Entering the town, they find everyone, including Darkstar and Father Garnoff, unresponsive, before they are attacked by Omega Red. Meanwhile, Russian officials decide to activate Red Flag #133 to stop Soul Skinner, while in Japan, Kwannon is tasked by Lord Nyoirin with slaying her other self, Psylocke, before she can re-enter his service. In Russia, the combination of Omega Red and the Soul Skinner defeat the X-Men, but Colossus & Vazhin manage to escape, and discover that Soul Skinner's power does not affect children, which prompts Vazhin to apologize to Colossus, for it makes it even more certain that Red Flag #133 will be activated. Back at Colossus' home, Russian agents arrive, killing his parents and capturing Illyana, as Vazhin explains that in order to stop the Soul Skinner, his government will attempt to accelerate Illyana's age to access her latent mutant power, a process that could very well kill her.

Friday, June 2, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #67

"Valley O' Death!"
March 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine learns the truth about Terry Adams.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Mark Texeira
Inks: Texeira & Pamiotti
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Left for dead in a Russian desert, Wolverine wakes up, still hallucinating the presence of Janice and believing the year to be 1967, and he sets off in search of Terry Adams. Meanwhile, the X-Men track down Maverick, in the hopes of learning Wolverine's whereabouts. In the Hindu Kush, the two KGB agents who shot Wolverine learn of a bounty placed on him by the Hand. They go back to try and retrieve his body, but are shocked to discover it's gone. At the X-Mansion, Maverick informs the X-Men that "Terry Adams" is the former Soviet space center at Tyuratam. As the X-Men depart for the base, Wolverine arrives there, trailed by the two KGB agents. Wolverine kills them and steals their armored car, using it to infiltrate the facility. Inside, he meets a young woman who, believing Wolverine to be KGB, takes him deeper into the base, to where her father, the Soviet super astronaut Epsilon Red, resides. Only then does she realize the truth about Wolverine: that he's actually the person who tried to kill her father years ago.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #88

"...Random Violence" / "Time Out"
March 1993

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Random.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Joe Quesada, Chris Batista (2nd Story)
Inker: Al Milgrom, Andrew Pepoy (2nd Story)
Letterer: Richard Starkings. Lois Buhalis (2nd Story)
Colorist: Ariane
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
With the X-Patriots holding a hospital hostage seeking treatment for Taylor, the mayor calls in mutant bounty hunter Random. X-Factor arrives shortly after he does, and after Random attacks the X-Patrios, X-Factor attacks him. But is mutant power enables him to hold his own against the team, so Havok ends the fight by cutting Random a check to walk away. In the aftermath, X-Factor agrees to accompany the X-Patriots back to Genosha, to prove it's safe for them there. In Genosha, the new Director of Genetics meets with the President and Moira MacTaggert before entering a secret facility where she declares that soon, the Mutate problem will be solved permanently.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #298

"...For the Children!"
March 1993

In a Nutshell
The reformed Acolytes attack a school.

Writer: S. Lobdell
Pencils: B. Peterson
Inker: A. Milgrom
Letterer: C. Eliopoulis
Colorist: M. Javins
Editor: B. Harras
Editor-in-Chief: T. DeFalco

Plot
While monitoring the news from his Ready Room, Xavier is interrupted by Bishop, who attempts to tender his resignation from the X-Men, feeling he has failed at assimilating to their methods. Xavier denies his request, reminding him that above all, Xavier's is a school. At another school upstate, Sharon Friedlander is attacked, while Jean & Archangel lead Gambit & Bishop in a Danger Room session. As Storm & Xavier meet in Central Park with Charlotte Jones, Xavier telepathically senses Sharon's distress, and sends the X-Men to the school. They arrive just as the reformed Acolytes attack Tom Corsi, also undercover at the school. They are attempting to capture a would-be mutant child, but upon learning the child has Downs Syndrome, they instead try to kill the boy. The X-Men manage to save the child and force the Acolytes into retreat, but in the wake of the attack, Senator Kelly spins the events to further his anti-mutant agenda, much to the concern of a watching Xavier.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

X-aminations in June 2017


A straightforward month as we power through a chunk of the six regular series, with nary an annual, special issue or guest appearance in sight! Along the way, we'll see the return of the Acolytes and John Romita Jr. in Uncanny X-Men, the departures of Mark Texeira from Wolverine and Peter David from X-Factor, and more solid work from Greg Capullo in X-Force and Alan Davis in Excalibur!

January 1993
May 31: Uncanny X-Men #298
June 1: X-Factor #88
June 2: Wolverine #67

June 7: X-Men (vol. 2) #18
June 8: X-Force #20
June 9: Excalibur #63

February 1993
June 14: Uncanny X-Men #299
June 15: X-Factor #89
June 16: Wolverine #68

June 21: X-Men (vol. 2) #19
June 22: X-Force #21
June 23: Excalibur #64

March 1993
June 28: Uncanny X-Men #300
June 29: X-Factor #90
June 30: Wolverine #69

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Unstacking the Deck: X-Men Series II

Skybox 1993

Vital Statistics
100 cards (including one checklist card), with four hologram chase cards featuring original art, and nine 30th anniversary gold foil chase cards.

Categorically Speaking
Super-Heroes, Arch-Enemies, Super-Villains, Teams, Animated Series

Firsts and Other Notables
While the first series of X-Men-specific trading cards served as a showcase for the work of superstar artist Jim Lee, Lee had, of course, left Marvel in fairly notable fashion, and wasn't about to contribute to a second series of cards. But Marvel, at the height of not only the comic book speculator boom but really an overall boom market in collectible hobbies, wasn't about to not release a second series of X-Men cards. And so we have X-Men Series II.

In lieu of Jim Lee, this series features artwork from all the then-current X-book artists, including Alan Davis, Brandon Petersen, Andy Kubert, Joe Quesada and Greg Capullo, with each artist (more or less) drawing the cards of the characters from his respective series, with series fill-in artists Art Thibert, Liefeld clones Marck Pacella & Dan Panosian, and Joe Madureira also pitching in artwork, particularly in the Super-Villains category.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Milch Studies: NYPD Blue, Season Eleven, The Wrap-Up


Entering what could've been its final season, NYPD Blue seemed willing to go in a direction it's stubbornly avoided for years -- extended story arcs in favor of done-in-one, easily solved cases.  Not that there aren't one-episode plots, of course, and plenty of cases starring the B-Team that just come across as filler, but for the first time the series splits the season up into numerous story arcs.  There's the Captain Fraker trial, the serial killer case that brings Det. Russell back into the squad, the drama between Baldwin and a killer named Craig Woodruff, the disruption caused by the amoral Det. Stan Hatcher, and finally, the reopening of the case of twelve-year-old Cindy Clifton, Sipowicz's first murder investigation.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

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

Year of Release
1993

Roll Call
X-Men Series III
Apocalypse II, Bishop, Omega Red, Spy Wolverine (Wolverine V), Strong Guy, Tusk


X-Men Series IV
Ahab, Brood, Cyclops II, Longshot, Professor X, Sabretooth II


X-Force Series II
Cable II (Space Cable), Cable III, Cannonball, Grizzly, Kane II, Krule


Monday, May 15, 2017

The Milch Studies: NYPD Blue - Season 11, The Cast & Guest Stars


Season Eleven was potentially the last season of NYPD Blue, even though the series remained ABC's highest-rated drama at the time.  The cost of the show had ballooned over the years, while ABC was suffering from some rather pathetic ratings, overall.  A deal was struck to keep the series alive for one more year at a reduced budget, however, which meant massive changes to the cast list at the end of the season.

Were those departures handled with tact and respect for the characters?  Or did half the characters go out like Adrienne Lesniak?

Friday, May 12, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #62

"Of Birth, Death and the Confused, Painful Bit In Between"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
Excalibur is captured by the RCX.

Writer/Penciler: Alan Davis
Penciler: Mark Farmer (pgs 10-13)
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Chris Elipoulos
Colorists: Rosas/Moreshead/Thomas
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Alistair awakens to find himself a captive of Nigel Orpington-Smythe and the RCX, who captured him in order to set a trap for Excalibur. Above the RCX Cloud Nine base, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat & Cerise are trying to locate Alistair when they're attacked & captured by agents of the RCX called the Seraphim. Elsewhere, the Phoenix continues to mull its origins, while Alistair encounters Beetroot, one of the Warpies being held by the RCX. Dying, Beetroot's telepathy shows Alistair the history of the Warpies and the experiments which caused his death. On the coast, Brian and Meggan are stunned when Brian realizes he's lost the ability to fly. Back at Cloud Nine, Nightcrawler reveals he faked his unconsciousness and strikes out at the Seraphim holding his friends captive. Flying into a rage, he manages to defeat them, only to come face-to-face with Nigel Orpington-Smythe, who declares he's arresting Nightcrawler, Shadowcat & Cerise for being illegal aliens, and that Excalibur is disbanded.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

X-amining X-Force #19

"The Open Hand, The Closed Fist"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
The post-Cable fate of X-Force is decided.

Teacher's Pet: Fabian Nicieza
Charcoal Genius: Greg Capullo
Inking Bully: Harry Candelario
Penmanship Lad: Chris Eliopolous
Hue Kids: Buccellato & Javins
Cafteria Monitor: Bob Harras
"Math is Tough": Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the wake of creating a new costume for herself, Boomer receives Lila Cheney's blessing to pursue a relationship with Sam. As Roberto ruminates on recent events, Rictor, Feral & Shatterstar work out in the Danger Room while Warpath & Siryn steal some files for Xavier. Meanwhile, having returned from Nova Roma, Sam debates X-Force's continued existence and methods with Xavier. Elsewhere, Vanessa is checked on by her roommate, while Bridge is blamed for Weapon: Prime's failure to capture Cable, leading to him quitting SHIELD. Back at the X-Mansion, Boomer designs new costumes for the rest of the team, and Sam forces Xavier's hand, telling him it's time for X-Force to leave. He argues further with Xavier, illustrating that both their respective methods are capable of both doing harm and helping. Ultimately, Xavier concedes, declaring X-Force is free to decide their own destiny. As Lila teleports the team away, Xavier tells Sam about the theft of the files, telling him that is the path he's chosen, one of second guessing and moral comprises, then urges him to walk that path with care.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #17

"A Skinning of Souls Part One: Waiting for the Ripening"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men go to Russia to visit Colossus' family.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Mark Pennington
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Illyana Rasputin, excited about the imminent return home of her brother, is unknowingly watched by a Russian agent, Flagwatch #133. In the town of Neftelensk, Darkstar and Alexi Garnoff investigate the strange occurrence of everyone in the town having been mentally "turned off", but fall prey themselves to the unseen assailant. In Red Square, in the wake of Darkstar and Garnoff's loss, Colonel Vazhin agrees to acquire the help of Omega Red. Days later, the X-Men arrive at Colossus' family farm, an event which Flagwatch #133 reports to Vazhin. At the X-Mansion, Cannonball & Warpath plead with Xavier to let them go to Nova Roma, while in Tokyo, a woman with purple hair defeats a group of street thugs, declaring that it is time for revenge, and to find the X-Men. In Russia, Colonel Vazhin argues against using Red Flag #133 to stop the Neftelensk incursion even though Omega Red has been missing for 48 hours; instead, he's going to use the X-Men.

Friday, May 5, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #66

"Prophecy"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine searches for information about Terry Adams.

Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Mark Texeira
Art Assist: Steve Birsi
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Steve Buccelato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Canada, Wolverine enters a bar called Prophecy, looking for information about Terry Adams. At the X-Mansion, the X-Men are concerned about Wolverine's bedroom, which he appears to have destroyed himself, and Professor X admits he tampered with Wolverine's mind after Wolverine asked him to remove the blocks in his memory. In Canada, haunted by figures from the Sixties, as well as an angel and Janice Hollenbach, Wolverine discovers a cache of government IDs and guns, then rushes off. Storm tries to enlist the aid of Wraith in finding Wolverine, but he is less than helpful. Eventually, the X-Men track Wolverine to Kazakh, in the former Soviet Union. There, Wolverine is shot and left for dead by a pair of Russian soldiers, who make off with all his belongings, save for his yellow-and-blue costume.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #87

"X-aminations"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Factor gets psychoanalyzed by Doc Samson.

General Practice: Peter David
Associate: Shana David
Doctor of Gynecology: Joe Quesada
Doctor of Opthamology: Al Milgrom
Doctors of Podiatry: Richard Starkings & Steve Dutro
Director of Veterinary Medicine: Marie Javins
Ear, Nose & Throat: Kelly Corvese
Doctor of Urology: Bob Harras
Doctor of Proctology: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the wake of recent events, each member of the team meets with a psychiatrist for counseling. Wolfsbane discusses identity issues and her relationships with authority figures. Quicksilver offers up an explanation for his constant irritability. Polaris discusses her body image issues and fear of being controlled, then angrily shows off a new costume. Strong Guy tells the story of the first time his powers manifested, while Madrox admits to a fear of being alone. Finally, Havok talks about feeling inferior to his brother. After their sessions, Val Cooper meets with the psychiatrist, Doc Samson, and displays a shocking ignorance of the mental state of her team, something which outrages her when Samson points it out to her. As she storms out of his office, she is attacked by some kind of creature with massive tentacles, and dragged away.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #297

"Up and Around"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
The epilogue to "X-Cutioner's Song".

Writer: Lobdell
Pencils: Peterson
Inks: Panosian
Letterer: Eliopoulos
Colorist: Javins
Editor: Harras
Editor-in-Chief: DeFalco

Plot
As Beast & Archangel begin rebuilding Harry's Hideaway, Gambit joins Rogue on the roof of the mansion and tries to comfort her, while Jubilee encounters a walking Professor X. As Beast & Archangel work, they discuss how their lives have changed since they were kids in school together, and Jubilee decides to take Xavier rollerblading. Rogue tells Gambit that despite all the frustrations the X-Men face, she could deal with it all if someone, especially him, could just pat her on shoulder and promise her it would all be okay. When he tries to touch her, she angrily tells him she's not an object to be charged, and if he can't treat her with respect, he should leave. Which he does. Later, Beast & Archangel complete their work, and Gambit returns with a blanket, which he places on Rogue's shoulders, then promises her everything is going to be okay. Below, Xavier thanks Jubilee for the time they spent together, and gets up to leave. His legs visibly failing, Jubilee chides herself for not asking him if he needs help, before realizing she doesn't need to ask, and instead just silently helps him back to his wheelchair.

Friday, April 28, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #61

"Truth and Consequence"
Late January 1993

In a Nutshell
Phoenix battles Galactus

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

Plot
Traveling through space, Phoenix encounters Galactus in the midst of preparing a planet's energy for consumption. Determined to save the planet's life, Phoenix destroys Galactus' apparatus, triggering a fight between them. On Earth, Nightcrawler & Captain Britain are training, but Nightcrawler gets the better of Captain Britain, who admits he's still upset about Sat-yr-9's killing of Courtney Ross. Meanwhile, radio DJ Scott Wright is attacked. He is secretly Micromax, and though he manages to fight back, he's eventually knocked out. At Braddock Manor, Kitty and Feron try to restore the Mastermind computer in the building's basement, but are interrupted by another brief appearance and disappearance of Widget. At the Braddock summer cottage on the coast, Brian proposes to Meggan, unaware they are being targeted from afar. Back in space, their battle still raging, Galactus stuns Phoenix with the knowledge that her energy is derived from the energy of unborn life. Back on Earth, Kitty receives a call from Alistair, who says he's discovered who framed his sister and has infiltrated the RCX headquarters. However, before he can say more, he's knocked out from behind.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

X-amining New Warriors #31

"Ruins"
January 1993

In a Nutshell
The Hellions get a send off while Magma and Nova Roma get a retcon.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Darick Robertson
Inker: Larry Mahlstedt
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Rob Tokar
Group Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cannonball, Firestar & Warpath journey to Nova Roma, in order to inform Magma & Empath about the recent deaths of the rest of the Hellions. When they arrive, they find Magma acting odd. Suspecting Empath of controlling her, Firestar sets out that night to investigate, only to discover Empath has taken control not only of Magma, but also Cannonball, Warpath and all of Nova Roma. Eventually, Firestar is able to use her powers to break Empath's control, at which point a confused Magma forces Empath to reveal the truth: Nova Roma is a lie, created by Selene, and its people aren't descendants of Roman settlers. In Selene's absence, her control over the people in the city started to fade, and Empath, loving his life there with Magma, took over, enforcing the lie. Now, he reluctantly agrees to help all of Nova Roma reclaim their lives, even though it means giving up a place he loves. Later, Warpath returns to the Massachusetts Academy and, with Firestar & Cannonball, burns the White Queen's secret files on the Hellions, giving the group a funeral of sorts.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

X-amining Stryfe's Strike File #1


January 1993

In a Nutshell
A collection of Stryfe's dossiers on his allies and enemies.

Writers: Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell
Pencilers: Larry Stroman, Andy Kubert, Greg Capullo, Brandon Petersen, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri.
Inkers: Jimmy Palmiotti, Al Milgrom, Mark Farmer, Andy Kubert, Harry Candelario, Dan Panosian, Mark Pennington, Scott Williams, Art Thibert
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: Kevin Tinsely
Production: Steve Bunche, Dan Carr, K.G. Stockwell, Jon Babcock
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the aftermath of Stryfe's assassination attempt, Professor X reads through Stryfe's files. In the end, he declines to share the information he learned with Cyclops & Jean Grey, and destroys the disc.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

X-aminations in May 2017


May kicks off with a handful of "X-Cutioner's Song" epilogues (all three of which are pretty top-notch), a pair of new storylines kicking off, and, thankfully, more Alan Davis Excalibur.

Then, a couple of short weeks on account of the local comic book convention at which I volunteer followed by my birthday and some family stuff, in which we'll look at the next waves of X-Men action figures and the second set of X-Men-specific trading cards.

On Sale December 1992
May 3: Uncanny X-Men #297
May 4: X-Factor #87
May 5: Wolverine #66

May 10: X-Men (vol. 2) #17
May 11: X-Force #19
May 12: Excalibur #62

May 17: Action Figures: X-Men Series III & IV and X-Force Series II

May 24: Unstacking the Deck: X-Men Series II

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Force in Focus: All Fine Here


"Force in Focus" is taking a brief hiatus starting this week, on account of my move and various real life things. Hopefully just a couple week, but if some big Star Wars news breaks between now and then, I may make the time to cobble together a reaction. Otherwise, I'll be back sometime in May with a review of Star Wars Annual #2!

Friday, April 21, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #60

"Braddock of the Jungle"
Early January 1993

In a Nutshell
A hodgepodge assortment of Avengers & Excalibur defeat Icon.

Writer: Lobdell
Pencils: Kolins
Inker: Holdredge
Letterer: Higgins
Colorist: Thomas
Editor: Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: DeFalco

Plot
Surrounded by Icon's unwilling minions and refusing to harm them, Black Panther surrenders, while Brian tries to find a way out of the shelter Black Panther put him in. In London, Nightcrawler & Cerise track down Knight Errant. Back in Wakanda, Brian manages to burrow under the shelter through the mud, emerging with his clothes tattered and dirty. He pretends to be a hero named Jungle Man in order to protect his identity, and joins Excalibur and the other Avengers in fighting Icon. In London, Nightcrawler & Cerise attack Knight Errant, only to discover he led them to a nuclear warhead left behind by terrorists. They let him go, much to Inspector Thomas' consternation, and he returns to the senior living home where he resides. In Wakanda, Icon is defeated, and Black Panther's suspicions are confirmed when Icon turns out to be a Wakandan scientist grieving the death of his daughter, who died as a result of the toxic waste Black Panther and Captain Britain were trying to destroy.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

X-amining X-Force #18

"Ghosts in the Machine"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable & Stryfe die as "X-Cutioner's Song" ends.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
The Fat Lady: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cable confronts Stryfe on the surface of the moon, while inside Stryfe's base, Psylocke detects that Apocalypse is dying, leading Archangel to search him out. He finds Apocalypse near death, but refuses to give him a quick, dignified end. Outside, Stryfe easily overpowers Cable, but is suddenly blasted by Havok. His attack destroys Stryfe's armor and weakens his hold on Cyclops & Jean Grey, who join the fray. Enraged, Stryfe destroys his tower, filling the area with temporal and electro-magnetic energy. Cable rigs a device to his bionic arm and gives the button to Cyclops, then launches himself at Stryfe. As he does so, he begins the self-destruct sequence on his arm, then urges Cyclops to push the button. As Cable's arm begins to explode, Cyclops reluctantly does so, triggering an explosion that combines with Cable's and the energy swirling from Stryfe's tower, creating a vortex that sucks in both Cable & Stryfe. Cyclops, Jean & Havok are joined by the rest of the X-Men on the moon as Cyclops considers whether he's just sacrificed his son a second time. Meanwhile, Mr. Sinister's associate Gordon opens the canister Sinister received from Stryfe, only to discover it empty. Sinister is hardly surprised, and as he leaves, he tells Gordon to look after his cough...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #16

"Conflicting Cathexes"
January 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men close in on Stryfe.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Any Kubert
Inker: Mark Pennington, Andy Kubert (pp 20-23)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cable, Bishop & Wolverine engage the Dark Riders, but are nearly overcome before the timely arrival of the X-Men strike team & Apocalypse helps turns the battle into a rout. Stryfe watches the fighting, then gathers up Cyclops & Jean Grey. The X-Men split up, with Apocalypse going off alone while Wolverine & Psylocke manage to track Cyclops & Jean, realizing that Stryfe has taken them out onto the moon. As Havok, Polaris, Cannonball & Cable use Apocalypse's ship to track them down, Apocalypse attacks the Dark Riders. On the surface of the moon, Cable's group discovers that Stryfe has taken Cyclops & Jean to a massive tower surrounded by a force field. They attempt to enter, but only Havok & Cable are able to get through. Inside, they find a waiting Stryfe, who tells Cable it's time they had a chat, about time lost and gained, the future and the past, and of life and death.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Force in Focus - The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer


With the first teaser trailer for Episode VIII, The Last Jedi finally unveiled (at Star Wars Celebration Orlando), here's a look at five cool, notable and/or eyebrow-raising moments from it.

Spoilers, obviously, if you're one of those people who don't want to see or know anything about the movie ahead of time.

Friday, April 14, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #65

"State of Grace"
January 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine deals with the death of Silver Fox.

Script: Larry Hama
Art: Mark Texeira
Art Assist: Steve Biasi
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Over Xavier's objections, Wolverine takes to the Danger Room, using it to recreate the encounter between his past self, Sabretooth & Silver Fox in Wolverine & Silver Fox's cabin as an attempt at catharsis in the wake of Silver Fox's death. When that doesn't work, he heads to a bar in Salem Center, where he hustles some pool to instigate a fight and get beat up. Jean arrives, and tries to help him work through his grief, but Wolverine points out that part of his problem is that when facing the deaths of so many people he cares about, not even his happy memories can comfort him, as he no longer knows which are true and which are fake. The next morning, he goes to Silver Fox's funeral, but learns SHIELD has appropriated her body, and that John Wraith has arranged for her to be buried at the cabin. He takes Wolverine there, and upon seeing the cabin, realizes his good memories of that time are real. He buries Silver Fox nearby, then says goodbye, promising to visit every spring.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #86

"One of These Days...Pow! Zoom!"
January 1993

In a Nutshell
Apocalypse cures Professor X of the techno-organic virus.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Jae Lee
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine explains to the X-Men and X-Factor how Cyclops & Jean Grey are being held by Stryfe on Apocalypse's old base on the moon, while Cyclops & Jean, having escaped the base to the surface of the moon, are rescued by Stryfe. As Cable begins recalibrating his teleportation equipment to send him, Wolverine & Bishop to the moon, Havok & Storm assemble a strike team to join them in the rescue effort, while Apocalypse prepares to cure Xavier of the techno-organic virus. As he begins, Havok receives word from Madrox that he's lost contact with his dupe, suggesting the X-Patriots have fled. As Stryfe continues to taunt Cyclops & Jean, Apocalypse successfully cures Xavier, then offers to accompany the X-Men to the moon, and provide them with a ship to get there. Meanwhile, tired of waiting, Bishop, Wolverine & Cable teleport to the moon, only to find the Dark Riders waiting for them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #296

"Crescendo"
January 1993

In a Nutshell

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Brandon Peterson
Inks: Terry Austin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cyclops & Jean Grey battle the Dark Riders as they attempt to escape from Stryfe. Meanwhile, Beast manages to remove the bullet from Xavier's head, but Moira reports that, upon breaking the virus' binary code, it only contained a mocking message from Stryfe. On Graymalkin, Wolverine, Bishop & Cable go over recent events in the hope of deducing Stryfe's location. At Stryfe's base, Cyclops & Jean Grey suddenly encounter an infant bearing an uncanny likeness to Cyclop's son. At the mansion, Archangel vouches for Apocalypse, and Storm agrees to let Apocalypse try to cure Xavier. At Stryfe's base, Stryfe tells Cyclops & Jean Grey that the baby is connected to him; kill it, and they'll kill him. But the pair refuses to do so, and instead, blasts a hole in the wall of the base, through which they're almost immediate yanked. Just then, Wolverine realizes where Stryfe is keeping Cyclops & Jean, and why Jean hasn't been able to telepathically call for help: because they're not on Earth at all.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #66

"The Water Bandits"
December 1982

In a Nutshell
Luke helps protect a moisture farm on a desert world

Writer: David Michelinie
Breakdowns: Walt Simonson
Finished Art: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Janice Chiang
Editor: Louise Jones
Vaporator Maintenance: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke, having lost pursuing TIE fighters by landing on the world of Beheboth, heads into the town of Garrotine in search of food & water. He learns that water is in short supply on the planet, and is mistaken for one of the brigands who routinely raid the moisture farms for it, but is vouched for by Darial Anglethorn, one of the more prosperous farmers. When she tells Luke about their plight, he agrees to work for her as a guard. That night, everyone on her farm, including Luke, mysteriously passes out, and when they awaken, all their equipment is wrecked, and both their water supplies and Darial are gone. Luke vows to get her back, and tracks her to the stronghold of the brigands, led by a pirate named Gideon Longspar. Gideon has captured part of the Tirrith, a hive-mind gaseous alien, and is using that part as a hostage to force the rest of the Tirrith to help him steal the water. Luke manages to free Darial and release the captive Tirrith, after which the reunited being helps Luke & Darial escape. Later, in thanks, they seed Beheboth's clouds with electricity, triggering massive storms which deliver much-needed rainfall, and Luke sets off to return to the Rebellion.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #59

"Enter...the Panther"
Late December 1992

In a Nutshell
Captain Britain, Meggan & Shadowcat team-up with Black Panther, Iron Man & Captain America in Wakanda.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Scott Kolins
Inkers: Holdredge/Kryssing
Letterer: Ul Higgins
Colorists: Moreshead/Thomas
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
With Brian & Meggan visiting Wakanda on business, Kitty stows away to soak up some tropical sun. At Black Panther's palace, Brian & Meggan are introduced to Captain America & Iron Man, who will be partnering with Black Panther & Braddock Enterprises on the proposed project. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler & Cerise leave for a night at the opera. In Wakanda, the heroes gather for dinner to discuss Braddock Enterprises' self-devouring waste containment process, but the group is attacked by Icon, a Wakandan who wants to return the country to its more isolationist roots. At the opera, Nightcrawler & Cerise are witness to an attack on an arms dealer by the vigilante Knight Errant. In Wakanda, not knowing Brian & Meggan's superhero identities, Black Panther gets them out of the fight, but he, Captain America & Iron Man are surrounded by Icon's brainwashed followers, and Icon declares that Black Panther can abdicate the throne to Icon, or stand by as his people die. However, Kitty is alerted to the attack, and helps Brian & Meggan slip away so they can join the fight against Icon.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Marvel Comics Presents #117-122: Claws & Webs

Dream a Little Dream… of Me” / “Dream are Made of This?” / “Dreams Can’t Kill You… But They Can Sure Try!” / “Dreaming with the Enemy” / “Dreams Scars” / “Nightmare’s End”December 1992 - February 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Venom team-up against Nightmare.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Sam Keith
Inker: Dwayne Turner (#120-121)
Letterer: Janice Chiang, Albers/Babcock (#119), Steve Dutro (#120-121), Babcokc/Sharpe (#122)
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Suffering from recurring nightmares and suspecting Nightmare as the culprit, Wolverine enlists the aid of Professor X, who puts Wolverine's consciousness onto the Astral Plane, where he comes face to face with Venom. The pair fight, with Venom insisting he's the hero of his dream, which means Wolverine must be the villain, but eventually, they put aside their differences to attack Nightmare together. But upon reaching him, Nightmare laughs, saying that Wolverine has been a pawn all along, that Nightmare wanted Wolverine to turn to Professor X for help so Nightmare could access Xavier's mind through Wolverine's, thus escaping the astral plane. However, Xavier suspected as much, so as Wolverine & Venom attack Nightmare on the astral plane, Xavier does so telepathically as well, and when Wolverine stabs Nightmare in the head with his claws, the villain disappears, and both Wolverine & Venom are returned to their bodies.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #65

"Golrath Never Forgets!"
November 1982

In a Nutshell
The Rebels race back to Golrath to prevent the base giving up their secrets to the Empire.

Plot/Script: David Michelinie
Plot/Storyteller: Walt Simonson
Pencils & Inks: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Oliver
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Clone Ranger: Jim Shooter

Plot
On Arbra, Princess Leia participates in Luke's trial, with Leia and the other two judges ultimately exonerating him of all charges. Shortly thereafter, the Rebels receive word that their former base on Golrath runs the risk of pointing the Empire to their current base, prompting Luke & Leia to lead an emergency mission back to the planet. But the Empire, led by Lieutenant Giel, is already on Golrath, and when Giel learns the base's secret, he sends word to Darth Vader. Shortly thereafter, the Rebels arrive, and Leia uses the ensuing skirmish between the TIEs and the Rebel fighters to sneak onto the Imperial base, intending to blow it up. But Giel anticpated her move, and corners her in the base's reactor. He intends to let her blow up the base, but to keep her captive while it happens, reasoning her death would be a bigger blow to the Rebellion. But Leia manages to escape and get off-planet before the base explodes. However, Luke's X-wing is damaged rescuing Leia. When the rest of the Rebels jump into hyperspace, he is unable to join them, and is left facing a squad of TIE fighters alone.

Friday, March 31, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #58

"Troll Call"
Early December 1992

In a Nutshell
Excalibur & the X-Men defeat the Troll Associates.

Plot: Alan Davis
Script: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Joe Madureira
Inker: Joe Rubinstein (pp1-19) and Hector Collazo (pp20-22)
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Kevin Tinsley
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
With the X-Men and Excalibur captives of the Troll Associates, bound in mystical chains which suppress their powers, Nightcrawler stuns everyone when he exposes Cyclops surreptitious efforts to call for help, telling the trolls that his looks have always made him an outcast and throwing his lot in with them. He proceeds to prove his worth to the trolls by seemingly taking out the still-free Cerise and Feron. But in truth, he teleports Feron to the captive X-Men in order to free them. Nightcrawler then challenges the leader of the trolls to a duel, and during their fight, the X-Men are able to free Tom Jones' mother, ending their leverage over him. Tom proceeds to turn the more militant trolls into gold, while Excalibur helps the rest of the more peaceful trolls settle in the Crazy Gang's wonderland, where they are regaled with stories by Jester.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

X-amining X-Force #17

"Sleeping with the Enemy"
December 1992

In a Nutshell
Stryfe fights Apocalypse.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: Frenchie Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Countin' $$$: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Stryfe attacks Apocalypse, savagely beating him before stabbing him with the ancient sword bearing his likeness, but Apocalypse manages to reach his teleporter and escape. In the wake of Apocalypse's defeat, the Dark Riders pledge themselves to Stryfe. Meanwhile, aboard Graymalkin, Cable shares all he knows about Stryfe with Wolverine & Bishop. At the X-Mansion, Beast & Moira attempt to remove the virus from Xavier at the point where it entered his body, his head, while Cannonball checks in with the rest of the still-imprisoned X-Force. Elsewhere, Cyclops & Jean Grey take advantage of Stryfe's absence to attempt an escape, while at the X-Mansion, Apocalypse suddenly teleports into the house. declaring that the only way they can defeat Stryfe is to battle him together.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #15

"The Camel's Back"
December 1992

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defeat the MLF as Stryfe confronts Apocalypse.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencilers: Any Kubert
Inker: Mark Pennington
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Gambit & Quicksilver are saved from Reaper by Havok & Psylocke, and though Boom-Boom's jaw is broken and Rogue is blinded, the X-Men successfully route the MLF, with Storm hoping they'll be able to lead them to Stryfe. Meanwhile, Bishop, Wolverine & Cable escape from Department K's force by teleporting to Cable's space station, while Beast & Moira continue struggling to treat Xavier. Elsewhere, Stryfe continues to torment Cyclops & Jean Grey, before having Zero teleport him to where Apocalypse is recovering. After easily defeating the Dark Riders guarding him, Stryfe confronts Apocalypse and declares that he is going to kill him.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

X-aminations in April


After a brief break brought on by Excalibur's inexplicable bi-weekly shipping during this time, April brings the conclusion to "X-Cutioner's Song", along with the promotional, Handbook-y Stryfe's Strike Files and some New Mutants follow-up in New Warriors #31.

On Sale October 1992
April 5: Marvel Comics Presents #117-122 (Wolverine story)
April 6: Excalibur #59

On Sale November 1992
April 12: Uncanny X-Men #296
April 13: X-Factor #86
April 14: Wolverine #65

April 19: X-Men (vol. 2) #16
April 20: X-Force #18
April 21: Excalibur #60

April 26: Stryfe's Strike Files #1
April 27: New Warriors #31
April 28: Excalibur #61

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Milch Studies: NYPD Blue, Season Ten, The Wrap-Up


The tenth season of Blue sticks to the revised formula Steven Bochco developed for the series.  Two cases per episode (Sipowicz and Clark alternate between using McDowell and Ortiz or Medavoy and Jones as back-up on the main case), a culprit who isn’t obvious until the last act of the episode, and closing personal life scenes to round out the show.  Individually, most of the episodes remain entertaining, and there is a sense that the detectives are putting more work into the cases than we’ve seen in previous years.  You see more locations in each episode, and more scenes of detectives interviewing suspects that aren’t obviously guilty or innocent than in the Milch years, which tended to dwell on the interrogations.

I’ve mentioned earlier that making the least likely suspect the perpetrator just creates its own formula, but I can understand the argument that it’s more entertaining to watch the detectives running around than staying in the same room for most of the episode.  And, admittedly, I didn’t see one or two of these twists coming, even though I knew I should’ve been watching for them.


The Walking Dead 7x07: Sing Me A Song


Nobody wants to have a target on their back. There's a reason a lot of people like to be the person behind the person of power. *cough* Steve Bannon *cough*. There's power and safety being the one who influences from within the shadows.

But, there are certain people who just can't stand not being in the limelight. They can't stand not being front and center. They need the attention, the adulation, the credit. And I'll agree Negan is that type of person.

Sure, Negan, if you want to be the one in charge then I get that. But if you're going to paint a target on your back at least be smart of it!

The Walking Dead 7x06: Swear


This season of the Walking Dead has taken the strategy of focusing (for the most part) on one location a week. We had Rick and crew in the woods with Negan, Morgan and Carol at the Kingdom, Daryl at the Savior's, we checked in on Alexandria, visited Maggie and Sasha at Hilltop and now we see Tara at some all women village.

This could be a fine approach. The Walking dead is really trying to expand its universe and splitting up their cast and focusing on one location an episode seems like a good way to do that. The problem is, most of their characters are boring.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #64

"Serphidian Eyes"
October 1982

In a Nutshell
Luke helps overthrown an evil tyrant on a world of lizard people.

Plot: Michael Fleisher
Script: David Michelinie
Pencils: Joe Brozowski
Inks: Vince Colleta
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Tasked by Princess Leia with helping overthrow a cruel, Imperial-friendly ruler on the planet Serphidi, Luke and two other pilots, Berl & Cinda, are attacked by a group of TIE Fighters as they near the planet. They manage to destroy the TIE's, but Cinda's X-wing is damaged, and crashes near a hunting party led by the evil king S'Shah. In the ensuing fight, Berl is killed and Cinda captured, but Luke manages to escape and save the life of Elglih, an older Serphidian who is hoping to overthrow S'Shah at the upcoming jousting tournament. Luke agrees to fight in Elglih's stead. As the tournament approaches, Cinda is prepared to serve as the main course at S'Shah's victory feast, but during the joust, Luke manages to unseat S'Shah, and is then forced to kill him when he draws a concealed weapon. Having won the contest and the right to rule the planet, Luke frees Cinda and names Elglih the new king, who agrees to maintain a strong bond with the Rebel Alliance. As Luke & Cinda return to their base, they express sorrow at the loss of Berl, though Luke says he would be happy knowing he died helping, in some small way, to restore freedom to the galaxy.

Friday, March 24, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #64

"What Goes Around..."
December 1992

In a Nutshell
Shiva arrives as Psi Borg continues to manipulate the former Weapon X members.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Mark Pacella
Inks: Dan Panosian
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: James Tinsley
Art Assist: Scott Hanna
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine, Sabretooth, Maverick & Wraith proceed to destroy Ferro's computer equipment, attempting to draw him out. Their efforts succeed, and Ferro appears in his full Psi Borg guise. He separates Wolverine from the group, telling him he's the prize he's been after. He shows Wolverine the memory of Silver Fox being killed by Sabretooth, and Wolverine learns that Sabretooth didn't kill her, though she did knock out one of Sabretooth's teeth. Psi Borg realizes Wolverine's mental pain is the key to the age suppression factor they all share, and forces Sabretooth to attack Silver Fox. Upstairs, Shiva appears, and asks Jubilee where Vole is. Jubilee proceeds to kick Shiva over the edge, where it lands on Psi Borg. Free of his control, Sabretooth attacks Psi Borg, who once again turns into a tree and consumes him, leaving behind only a twig and a pod, which contains a tooth.