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

Friday, August 18, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #71

"Triassic Park"
July 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine defeats Sauron

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Dwayne Turner
Inks: Bennet/Barta/Rubinstein
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Rogue flies into Sauron's citadel and attacks him, Wolverine climbs up out of the pit via the stampede of dinosaurs being dropped on him. He and Rogue capture Sauron and bring him to Brainchild's laboratory, intending to use Brainchild's genetic transformer to revert Sauron to Karl Lykos. But Sauron argues that he and Lykos are essentially two different people: to bring back Lykos is to kill Sauron. He maintains that, in the Savage Land, Sauron has a better right to life than Lykos, and Wolverine grudgingly agrees, setting him loose. Shortly thereafter, Storm and Bishop arrive in the Blackbird, sent by Xavier due to the lack of communication from Wolverine and Rogue. They load up the fist made of iron to bring back to the professor, and when Storm asks what he thinks of the evidence they found, Wolverine declares that he saw enough to know that a storm is brewing, with the X-Men caught in the middle of it.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #92

"The Man Who Wasn't There"
July 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles the Acolytes

Co-Plotter: Scott Lobdell
Penciler/Co-Plotter: Joe Quesada
Script: J.M. DeMatteis
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Starkings
Background Artist: Cliff Van Meter
Colorist: Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the wake of an Acolyte attack on a hospice in Virgina, Havok, Quicksilver & Val Cooper interview one of the survivors, whose descriptions of the Acolytes' savagery stuns them. They are unknowingly watched by the Acolyte Scanner, who reports back to Cortez. Later, X-Factor interrogates Spoor, the one Acolyte captured during the attack. He is initially belligerent, but becomes reverential when Quicksilver, the son of Magneto, enters the room. Spoor proceeds to tell them the location of the Acolytes' next target, a low-level military base in Kentucky. But instead of bringing X-Factor, Val goes there only with Quicksilver, along with Random as hired help. Suspicious, the rest of X-Factor follows, and along the way they encounter a mysterious flying mutant who observes them briefly before flying off. At Camp Hayden, Quicksilver quickly learns the base is a front for Project: Wideawake, the government program to create Sentinels. Arriving shortly thereafter, X-Factor is stunned by the revelation. Just then, the Acolytes attack the base, and while they fight X-Factor, Cortez attempts to recruit Quicksilver. He rejects Cortez, who then calls for the Acolytes' retreat, saying they've succeeded in planting a seed. In the wake of their departure, Val coughs up green smoke, revealing she's been under the control of the Acolytes for the last several weeks. However, she says that she was just following the government's orders in keeping Project: Wideawake a secret from the team, and X-Factor walks away from her in disgust.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #302

"Province"
July 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle Fitzroy in Dallas.

Writes: Lobdell
Pencils: Romita Jr.
Inks: Green & Panosian
Vacations & Lettering: Eliopoulos & Babcock
Colors: Buccellato
Edits: Bob Harras
Chiefs: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Storm struggles to contain the debris from the Aerie explosion, Bishop searches the rubble for any sign of Forge, Mystique or Fitzroy. Meanwhile, Xavier worries about Illyana's worsening health. In Dallas, Storm is attacked by a mob, but a local police officer comes to her defense. In the remains of the Aerie, Forge emerges from a protective shield along with an unconscious Mystique, while on the ground, the mob reasons they can probably overpower both Storm and the cop, just as Iceman arrives and helps contain the situation. Above. Fitzroy attacks Bishop & Forge, but his armor is destroyed by Jean, while Colossus leaps into the fray, pummeling him in rage to the point that Colossus has to be pulled off the unconscious villain by his teammates. Back at the mansion, a studying Jubilee is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Kitty Pryde, who came as soon as she heard about Illyana.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x04: The Spoils of War



Opening Credits Map

King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> Pyke -> Winterfell ->
The Wall -> Old Town

Winterfell
We start with Wun Wun sitting in a wheel chair. Finally! Wun Wun is independently mobile. Littlefinger skulks into the room and hands Wun Wun the knife used to killed Bran because he, of course, thinks Wun Wun is Bran too.

I think this is some kind of power play by Petyr but it doesn't work. Wun Wun is completely disaffected and simply tells Littlefinger that "chaos is a ladder." This unnerves Baelish. My sources say that that's a phrase Littlefinger told Varys in private earlier in the series. I think Littlefinger has no clue how handle someone he can't keep secrets from and can't play mind games with.

Meanwhile, Arya saunters up to the gates of Winterfell and two guards blunder their way through not letting her in (believing the idea that she is Arya Stark is too far fetched). While these two work on their three....er....two stooges routine, Arya up and sneaks by them.

This eventually ends up with reunion between Sansa and Arya. They're happy to see each other. It's sweet. That leads to Sansa, Arya and Wun Wun reuniting. It's...not as sweet. Wun Wun just, totally doesn't care about anyone anymore. He gives Arya that sweet Valyrian steel dagger though.

We go from the Three-Eyed Raven to the Three Legged Man. Podrick the Pornstar is sparring with Brienne. He's losing of course despite Brienne's advice. Arya's advice is not to spar against someone who has defeated the Hound. I would think that, despite everything else, Podrick's third leg is interfering with his footwork.

Anyway, Arya wants a go at Brienne. Brienne goes easy on Arya to start but we know how that works out. Eventually Arya pisses off Brienne and it's on like a 1980's ape based video game. The match ends in a draw and that's cool and all but it feels like if I was shooting hoops in my driveway and some dude walks up saying he's rusty and would like to get some practice in and then throws down a 360-tomahawk jam over me. I mean, that's sweet but I'm starting to think their intent wasn't to brush up on fundamentals.

Friday, August 11, 2017

X-amining Cable #2

"Mired in Destiny"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable & Kane return to the present.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Art Thibert
Inkers: Milgrom, Wiacek
Readouts: Chris Eliopolous
Alarmed: Marie Javins
Running Behind: Bob Harras
Takes a lick' an' keeps on tickin': Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Clan Chosen infiltrate the Tinex facility, but find a cadre of Canaanite guards waiting for them. Meanwhile, General Haight assures the Canaanite Commission on Strategic Maneuvers that his men can repel Clan Chosen and that they won't impact Sinsear's mission to eliminate the other who has gone off his programming before working to ensure the ascension of Apocalypse. Back at the Tinex, Cable asks Boak to sacrifice himself to overcome the Canaanite forces, which enrages Hope, but she still accesses the Tinex in order to send Kane home. In the process, she learns someone else has already used it to go back in time. In the present, Sinsear visits Tolliver's Austrian home, and when he's told Tolliver is dead, Tolliver kills the man who told him as much, insisting Tolliver is still alive. Back in the future, Hope finds the right timeline to send Kane back to, but Cable announces he's going back with him, leaving orders to blow up the facility once they're gone. Cable & Kane are sent back in time, and the Clan Chosen flies off as they destroy the facility. Arriving in the present, Cable & Kane are surprised to find Professor offline, and Graymalkin seemingly on the ocean floor.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

X-amining X-Factor Annual #8

"Charon" / "What Have You Got to Hide" / "Crawlin' From the Wreckage"
1993

In a Nutshell
The Chalkers return as part of Charon's first appearance.

Writer: Peter David, Skip Dietz (2nd & 3rd Story)
Penciler: Terry Shoemaker, Buzz (2nd Story), Chris Batista (3rd Story)
Inker: Mark McKenna, Al Milgrom (2nd Story). Jeff Albrecht (3rd Story)
Letterer: Lois Buhalis, Dave Sharp (2nd Story), Pat Brosseay (3rd Story)
Colorist: Joe Rosas, Carlos Lopez (2nd Story), Joe Rosas (3rd Story)
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Leaving a movie with his parents, Charlie Ronalds is devastated when his parents are killed by an attacker who says he is a mutant. Years later, Charlie is injured during an accident at his school involving Guido Carosella, another mutant. In the present, Guido, along with Polaris, appear on a talk show while the rest of X-Factor trains in the Danger Room. Charlie, his hatred for mutants and Guido in particular still raging, contacts a demon named Cloot. Learning of Charlie's hatred for X-Factor, Cloot grants him powers, and allies in the Chalker family, in exchange for Charlie delivering the souls of X-Factor to Cloot. As Charon, Charlie leads the Chalkers in an attack on X-Factor, but the Chalkers quickly die once more as Charon battles Strong Guy, and when he declares he simply wants Strong Guy to die, Cloot appears, telling Charlie he's broken their deal and sending Charlie to the same hell dimension where his parents reside, leaving X-Factor confused about what exactly has just happened.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #1

"Follow the Leader"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
Sienna Blaze attacks Storm, Cyclops & Professor X. 

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Scott Bachalo
Inker: Dan Panosian 
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Assistant: Jaye Gardner
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Nudge: Bob Harras
Evil Mutant: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Antarctica, a visor-less Cyclops searches the wreckage of the crashed Blackbird for Xavier, who then helps Cyclops find Storm. Elsewhere, new Upstart Sienna Blaze is angry to learn her attack on the three X-Men hasn't killed them yet. Back at the mansion, Psylocke & Bishop set out to rescue their comrades. In Antarctica, Xavier, Storm & Cyclops recall events leading up to the crash for any information about their attacker, remembering being hit by a massive energy blast on their way home from the Savage Land and how Cyclops lost his visor trying to bring the craft down safely. With the blizzard outside the remnants of the plane raging, Storm attempts to tame it, but its size overwhelms her, triggering a massive fever. The next morning, Cyclops & Storm awake to find Xavier gone, having set out in the night in search of a psionic imprint he detected, a search which ultimately leaves him stranded in the blizzard. Storm & Cyclops set out after him, encountering Blaze, who once again tries to kill them. But working with a returned Xavier, they manage to defeat her, though she uses her power to escape, triggering an electro-magnetic vacuum that nearly destroys the X-Men. But Storm is able to protect the trio until Xavier senses the arrival of Bishop & Psylocke, who retrieve them. Later, Xavier recalls his rescue by an unseen friend, as a shadowy figure watches the Blackbird depart.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x03: The Queen’s Justice


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> Pyke -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Old Town

Dragonstone
Jon Snow shows up. That was fast! You know, I'm not necessarily upset at the show for speeding up certain things, like travel, but it is a bit jarring compared to the, possibly overly, deliberate pacing earlier in the series. However, despite not needing to spend several episodes with Jon Snow traveling, this show does seem to have difficulty conveying any passage of time between when Jon Snow left and when he arrived.

Anyway, Jon Snow and Tyrion are the first to meet and they do that Han Solo/Lando Calrissian thing where you act like you hate each other only to then show affection for each other. Not sure who they trying to initially fool but this wasn't the most egregious use of this trope. At least their “affection” was just a smile and head nod.

Tyrion and Jon Snow catch up a little bit since Jon Snow last saw Tyrion relieving himself off the Wall. Jon Snow is lead to Daenerys who, of course, immediately demands fealty because she is the rightful ruler of Westeros. She's nice enough to allow Jon Snow be warden of the North, though.

Jon Snow rejects this saying all this talk of ruling Westeros is pointless until the White Walkers are dealt with. He's not wrong but I can't help but feel he's going about this wrongly. Frankly, they both are. Daenerys needs allies but alienates them by demanding complete loyalty when they first meet doesn't seem the best way to garner support. And Jon Snow might want to try to explain the White Walkers better and not just immediately claim everybody is an idiot.

So, things are tense and seem to be going south. Beyond that, Jon Snow is kind of trapped because they took his boat. That's another way not to gain allies.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #68

"The Search Begins"
February 1983

In a Nutshell
Leia meets Fenn Shysa on Manadalore while searching for Dengar.

Script: David Michelinie
Layouts: Gene Day
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Corellian Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke, Leia & Lando depart Arbra, each in search of a different bounty hunter who may be able to provide information as to the whereabouts of Boba Fett & Han Solo. Leia, looking for Dengar, lands on the planet Mandalore. She and Threepio come across a group of Imperial-backed slavers, but before they can intervene, the slavers are attacked by soldiers wearing armor like Boba Fett's. Leia meets their leader, Fenn Shysa, and he takes her back to his village, where she learns about Boba Fett's past and discovers that Shysa has captured Dengar, who was attempting to claim a bounty on Shysa. Dengar agrees to tell Leia everything she wants to know in exchange for breaking him free. That night, while Leia distracts Shysa and knocks him out, Threepio frees Dengar. But as the three race for Leia's ship, Dengar reveals that he's altered their deal, having signaled the local Imperial troops in the hopes of capturing an even bigger bounty than Shysa, just as Leia & Threepio are surrounded by a contingent of Stormtroopers.

Friday, August 4, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #66

"Back to the Present"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
The truth between Widget is revealed as Excalibur travels to the future.

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

Plot
In 2013, Ahab attempts to harness the residual temporal energy surrounding Kate Pryde to follow Rachel Summers back in time. But the combination of that energy, radiation from the Sentinel attack that triggered Rachel's time jump, and Kate's phasing ability cause a malfunction that results in her being fused with a Sentinel and tossed into the timestream, emerging as Widget two years later before fleeing to warn Rachel. In the present, Excalibur returns to Braddock Manor, and Rachel immediately prepares to return to her future timeline. In 2015, Widget encounters the RCX, then senses Rachel entering the timestream just as Ahab launches a Sentinel attack, hoping to capture Widget. The link between Widget and Rachel opens a gateway stable enough for the rest of Excalibur to travel into the future, where they assist the RCX in repelling Ahab and the Sentinels. However, both Widget & Rachel are captured as Ahab retreats. Though the RCX insists Excalibur would be insane to go to the Sentinels headquarters, Nightcrawler declares that since they're stranded in the future, their choice is simple: defeat the Sentinels or die trying.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

X-amining X-Force #23

"Compromising Positions"
June 1993

In a Nutshell

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Mood: Beef Candelario
Alphabet: Spike
Our Ted Turner: Marie
MIA (Missing-in-Australia): Bob Harras
Muck-a-Muck: Tommy Dee

Plot
X-Force retrieves Crule from the hospital, offering to take down the X-Ternals if he helps them locate the group. Meanwhile, Cannonball confers with Xavier, hoping to find a way to rescue his friends while keeping his word to Gideon. In Canada, Domino & Grizzly escape Weapon: Prime with Hammer's help, while in Oregon, Gideon assures Saul that X-Force will come for their friends, likely sneaking in to attempt a rescue. But when X-Force, sans Cannonball, arrives near Saul's home, they decide to take the opposite approach, and blast their way in, taking Gideon & Saul by surprise. In Boston, Vanessa is confronted by Deadpool & Sluggo. However, they're shot from behind by Domino & Grizzly, and Vanessa tells Domino she knows where X-Force is. Back at Saul's home, X-Force has retrieved their captured friends, and Gideon expresses his dismay that Cannonball broke his word. Sunspot gives Gideon a letter written by Cannonball, explaining that while he promised to stay away, the rest of X-Force didn't. Saul says that without Cannonball, the X-Ternals may all die, to which Shatterstar declares, as X-Force departs, that if the X-Ternals don't leave X-Force alone, that will happen anyway.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #21

"The Puzzle Box"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men head to Japan in search of the truth about Psylocke.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Brandon Petersen
Inker: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The X-Men interrogate the two Psylockes, and when both telepathy and Wolverine's senses fail to determine which is the real deal, Xavier declares the team must go to Japan to find Lord Nyoirin to learn the truth. In Alaska, Cyclops reunites with his grandparents, while in Seattle, the Dark Riders target Mesmero, killing him for being unworthy before executing one of their own sickly teammates. In Japan, Lord Nyoirin meets with Shinboi Shaw, and agrees to use Kwannon to kill the X-Men in exchange for Shinobi supporting Nyoirin's claim on Clan Yashida's holdings. Elsewhere, Gambit, Beast and the two Psylockes infiltrate Nyoirin's ancestral home. Taking out his guards, they discover a secret painting of Kwannon, resembling Asian Psylocke, in Nyoirin's study. In Tokyo, Shinobi attacks Matsu'o, angry that Matsu'o has prevailed on Gamesmaster to block Shinboi's efforts to kill Psylocke. In Nyoirin's study, the suspicions of the X-Men grow, but as they question Psylocke, they're attacked from behind by Silver Samurai, who declares that in order to regain the place of honor lost to Clan Yashida, he must kill them all.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x02: Stormborn


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> Pyke -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Old Town

Dragonstone
We start this episode in Dragonstone where Daenerys and Tyrion are finally talking! Since taking over Westeros with dragons would be too easy and narratively unsatisfying Daenerys wants to defeat Cersei...more cleanly?

To be fair, burning down everything wouldn't lead to a fun land to rule over. Lady Tyrell isn't buying that, though. Peasants loved Margaery but she still died. So, maybe a few peasant being burnt wouldn't be all that bad? In the end, Daenerys wants to be a responsible leader and keep innocent casualties to a minimum. Despite my sarcasm, I do agree. It is nice not to kill innocents.

Beyond that, Daenerys also grilled Varys on his shifting loyalties. Varys pretty much says that he's loyal to Westeros and will be loyal to her so long as she's a good queen. Daenerys excepts this on the condition that Varys let's her know if she's being a bad queen. They agree. Of course, neither of them think of the scenario of Daenerys being a bad queen in such a way that Varys fears repercussions for speaking up against her and thus plots against her in secrecy. But I did!

Anyway, the war plan is for the Tyrells and Dorne to lay siege to King's Landing because they believe the Lords won't rush to defend Cersei from local Westerosi armies. Meanwhile, the foreign armies of the Unsullied and Dothraki attack Casterly Rock. Everyone is amenable to this plan so Yara takes Ellaria Sand and the Sand Snakes back to Dorne to gather their army. What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men Annual #17

"The Gift Goodbye" / "Of Kings and Queens and Promises"
1993

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of the X-Cutioner and the death of Mastermind.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Jason Pearson, Tom Grummet (2nd Story)
Inker: Mark Farmer, Al Milgrom (2nd Story)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis, Steve Dutro (2nd Story)
Colorist: Kevin Tinsley & Eric Moran, Glynis Oliver (2nd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In San Miguel, the X-Cutioner kills Tower. Elsewhere, Jean is shopping with her son Nate when the pair is attacked by a group of Nimrod Sentinels. Thankfully, they are rescued first by XSE agents Bishop & Shard, then by Icemaster and his X-Men. In the real world, on Muir Island, Storm, Colossus & Archangel are trying to determine how to rescue Jean, Bishop & Iceman, who have been sucked into a dying Mastermind's mind after they arrived on the island following a strange letter Mastermind sent to Jean. Inside Mastermind's mind, the illusions he's created start to break down, while outside, the rest of the X-Men detect the arrival of the X-Cutioner, who wants to kill Mastermind. As the X-Men fight X-Cutioner, Jean is able to break Mastermind's illusion and send her teammates' minds back into their bodies, but she refuses to leave the dying Mastermind behind. But after he elicits a promise from Jean that she won't remember him with hatred, he uses the last of his strength to force her out, then dies. Outside, the X-Cutioner manages to escape, but he leaves behind a grievously-wounded Colossus.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

X-aminations in August 2017


A big month ahead, as we get the launch of yet another regular series (albeit a quarterly one) in X-Men Unlimited, the start of the next linewide crossover, "Fatal Attractions", in X-Factor, and, sadly, the end of Alan Davis' Excalibur run, along with a look at the fourth series of Marvel Universe trading cards.

On Sale April 1993
August 2: X-Men (vol. 2) #21
August 3: X-Force #23
August 4: Excalibur #66

August 9: X-Men Unlimited #1
August 10: X-Factor Annual #8
August 11: Cable #2

On Sale May 1993
August 16: Uncanny X-Men #302
August 17: X-Factor #92
August 18: Wolverine #71

August 23: X-Men (vol. 2) #22
August 24: X-Force #24
August 25: Excalibur #67

August 30: Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Universe Series IV

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Game of Thrones 7x01: Dragonstone


Opening Credits Map
King's Landing -> Dragonstone -> The Twins -> Winterfell -> The Wall -> Old Town

Hey, Game of Thrones is back! I...don't have much to say except that. So, let's get to the review!

The Twins
We start off with Walder Frey addressing his family at a feast. This is a bit odd since Walder died at the end of last season, so I at first I thought this was a flashback. Then he gave a toast with his clan where he obviously poisoned the wine. So, yeah, the Freys die and “Walder” reveals himself\herself to be, of course, Arya.

Later, Arya is wandering towards King's Landing to do some more killing when she comes across some Lannister soldiers. They turn out to be decent folk and even offer Arya some food and wine. I'm not sure what exactly the point of this scene was. Maybe it was to make Arya feel guilty about killing all the Freys when there may have been some good eggs in there or maybe it's to teach Arya to be more careful about indiscriminately Lannisters in the name of revenge or maybe it was an excuse to get Ed Sheeran to sing and appear on screen.

Friday, July 21, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #70

"Tooth & Nail"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Sauron.

Script: Larry Hama
Penciler: Dwayne Turner
Inker: Richard Bennet
Letterer: Steve Buccellato
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Wolverine fights Sauron, Jubilee escapes from her captors aboard a pterodactyl. Elsewhere, Rogue escapes from Brainchild's prison, and orders him to tell her who made the fist of iron and meddled with his mind. At Sauron's citadel, Sauron's followers join the fight, pummeling Wolverine with rocks and seemingly burying him alive. Meanwhile, Jubilee fights off one of her captors with her Walkman, knocking him off his pterodactyl, and when she urges her mount to save him, she earns the respect of his fellow riders. who declare she is now one of them. Elsewhere, Rogue spots a stampede of dinosaurs heading towards Sauron's citadel, and inside, Wolverine emerges from the rock pile to discover that he's in the path of the herd of dinosaurs Sauron has summoned.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #91

"Underpinnings"
June 1993

In a Nutshell
Multiple Man is infected by the Legacy Virus.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Quesada
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Underlord: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the tunnels beneath Genosha, X-Factor hunts for the escaped mutate, hoping to capture him before the Magistrates kill him. Finding an interactive map of the system, Polaris sees a trio of Magistrates approaching Wolfsbane, but when Havok & Strong Guy arrive to help, she has already overpowered them. Meanwhile, Val meets Quicksilver at the airport, and continues to manipulate him. Back in the sewers, Madrox finds the escaped mutate. He is near death, and in order to resuscitate him, Madrox is forced to create a duplicate, thus exposing himself to the same disease killing the mutate. After he's revived, the mutate reiterates that he doesn't want to die a lab rat, so X-Factor returns him to the treatment center and ensures he's allowed to die with dignity. The Genoshan president promises Havok they'll free the mutates of their mental conditioning once they've found the source and cure for the disease afflicting them, and as they leave, Wolfsbane tells Madrox he looks like death warmed over.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #301

"Dominion!"
May 1993

In a Nutshell
Fitzroy attacks Forge & Mystique.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Dan Green
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Master Mold: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Fitzroy tortures Selene in order to attract the Gamesmaster's attention and call a meeting of the Upstarts. There, the Gamesmaster reveals their next high profile target will be Forge. At the X-Mansion, Colossus tends to his sick sister, while Moira & Xavier debate sharing their suspicions that Illyana is infected with the Legacy Virus. Xavier says he is bringing someone in to interface with the Shi'ar diagnostic equipment to be sure. Meanwhile, Storm & Bishop are en route to Forge's home in Eagle Plaza when they detect an energy surge in the area. At Eagle Plaza, Fitzroy attacks Forge & Mystique. Forge sends Mystique to call for help, then does his best to fend off Fitzroy. At the X-Mansion, Mystique's call sends the rest of the X-Men racing to respond. At Eagle Plaza, Fitzroy overpowers Forge, but is briefly distracted by Mystique returning in the form of Bishop. But after seeing through the ruse, Fitzroy triggers a massive explosion, just as Storm arrives outside Eagle Plaza.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #67

"The Darker"
January 1983

In a Nutshell
Chewbacca & Threepio battle an ancient evil inside Arbra

Script: David Michelinie
Layouts: Ron Frenz
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Hoojib Wrangler: Jim Shooter

Plot
On the way to a briefing, Artoo overhears a call for help and follows it into one of the base's many tunnels, an action spotted by one of the Hoojibs. At the briefing, Leia announces that the Rebels have learned one of three bounty hunters worked with Boba Fett to capture Han Solo, and then was cut out of the deal by Fett, so the Alliance intends to find all three in the hopes they'll turn on Fett. As the Rebels prepare to depart, the Hoojibs tell Threepio about Artoo's absence, leading he & Chewbacca to journey deep inside the base. They eventually discover a massive ancient city protected by a force barrier, and inside, a damaged Artoo along with a creature called the Darker, who claims to be the dark energy of the original Arbrans taken physical form. Able to control emotions, he fills the Hoojibs with fear and turns Chewbacca's devotion to his friends into rage, setting him after Threepio. Stumbling across a library, Threepio learns that the Darker can be dispersed by coming into contact with the energy field surrounding the city. After Threepio breaks the Darker's control by calling on Chewbacca's affection for Han, Chewbacca throws the creature into the field, destroying him. Returning to the surface, they are greeted by a Rebel pilot who tells them Luke is looking for them, and to get ready to depart: their "vacation" is over.

Friday, July 14, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #65

"White Lies, Dark Truth"
 May 1993

In a Nutshell
Excalibur defeats Nigel and the RCX.

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

Plot
Nightcrawler realizes Kitty is an impostor, confirming that Nigel is up to no good. He & Cerise shake their Warpie guards and teleport to where their teammates are being held captive. Meanwhile, watching from Otherworld, Roma promises to keep her vow not to interfere, even though Captain Britain faces certain death. At Cloud Nine, Nigel attempts to coerce Captain Britain into serving his agenda, but Captain Britain discovers he's been tricked about Meggan's comatose state. His ruse revealed, Nigel sets the Warpies to attack Captain Britain. Elsewhere, a fight breaks out between more Warpies and the revived Excalibur, though some of the Warpies join the side of Excalibur, whom they've come to like. As word of the fight spreads, Nigel orders the rest of the Warpies away, leaving behind a badly beaten and dying Captain Britain. Roma then appears before him and revives him, paying him back for her previous manipulations. As the battle rages, Nigel gets the drop on Nightcrawler, but Captain Britain intervenes, saving him and allowing Nightcrawler to knock out Nigel, ending the fight. In the aftermath, Alistair agrees to look after the remaining Warpies, just as Rachel appears before her friends, declaring that with her memories fully intact, she now intends to return to the future, hoping the power of the Phoenix can make a difference there.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

X-amining X-Force #22

"Ordnance Weighed in Blood"
May 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Force returns to Earth with Cable's stuff in tow.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Inkers: Conrad/Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorists: Tinsley/Moran
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Graymalkin breaks up, Lila Cheney teleports Iron Man & the SHIELD force back to their shuttle and the rest of X-Force to Camp Verde, while Cannonball & Sunspot head back to Earth aboard an escape pod Professor managed to get them into before the station exploded. Elsewhere, the captive Boomer, Warpath & Siryn learn they've been captured by Gideon & the Externals. At Camp Verde, Cannonball & Sunspot touch down, and while they can't preserve Professor's programming, all of Cable's gear, jettisoned from Graymalkin, lands shortly thereafter. In Canada, Domino, Grizzly & Hammer break into Department K searching for info on Cable, only to be confronted by the new Weapon: Prime team. In Boston, Deadpool attacks Vanessa and her roommate, and Deadpool's associate Sluggo kills one of them. In Arizona, X-Force is inventorying the equipment they received from Graymalkin when they are contacted by the Externals, who declare that if Cannonball doesn't turn himself over to them, they will kill his captured teammates.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #20

"Digging in the Dirt"
May 1993

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Revanche.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inkers: Mark Pennington, Bob Wiacek (pgs 22-23)
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Professor X & Jubilee visit Colossus & Illyana, after which Jubilee heads outside to rollerblade. On the way, she bumps into Psylocke, who approaches Cyclops in the hanger and kisses him. Rattled, he rushes past Jean, who grows suspicious when Psylocke emerges after him. Jean proceeds to check on Beast & Gambit in the Danger Room, then Storm & Rogue in the infirmary. Meanwhile, Cyclops packs a bag, telling Xavier he's going to visit his grandparents in Alaska. After he lukewarmly bids goodbye to Jean, she confronts Psylocke in the Danger Room and asks point blank if she & Cyclops are having an affair. Psylocke admits she's attracted to Cyclops, but that nothing has happened. When Jean asks if Psylocke is telepathically manipulating him, a fight breaks out, which is interrupted by the appearance of someone wearing Psylocke's old armor. Believing it to be a hologram conjured by Jean, Psylocke attacks, but the armored figure overpowers her. As the rest of the X-Men, drawn to the commotion, enter the Danger Room, the armored figure removes her mask to reveal Psylocke's original form, declaring she is the real Betsy Braddock, and that Psylocke is, and has always been, an impostor.

Monday, July 10, 2017

The Milch Studies: DEADWOOD Season One - “Suppose the Foot Says…”


As unbelievable as this might seem, the starting place for Deadwood can be found in the book of 1st Corinthians, Chapter 12:  Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars Annual #2

"Shadeshine!"
1982

In a Nutshell
An untold tale of Han Solo.

Scripter: David Michelinie
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Rudi Nebres
Colorist: George Roussos
Letterers: Rosen & Chiang
Editor: Jim Salicrup
Word Speeder: Jim Shooter

Plot
Searching the planet Ventooine for a possible weapon called the Shadeshine, Luke, Lando & Threepio are chased into a temple by Stormtroopers. Inside, they discover a statue of Han Solo & a priest named Vetter Piin, who tells them that Han, having saved Piin's people from the Shadeshine, is considered the savior of Ventooine. He activates a recording made by Han, which recounts the tale. Landing on the planet in search of a valuable spice, Han inadvertently foiled an assassination attempt on Tieress Chrysala, consort to the ruling Satab. A grateful Chrysala took Han to the Satab's palace, where he learned the Satab was a cruel dictator ruling through the power of the Shadeshine, which burned out the user's body, forcing each Sataba to select a replacement while he entered the Hall of Satabs, to be placed in suspended animation until a cure is found. Having been selected to be the next Satab, Chrysala spared Han that fate by touching the Shadeshine first. Then Han & Chrysala prevented the former Satab from entering hibernation, forcing his body to burn out, after which Chrysala willing entered hibernation without naming a successor, thus ending the deadly cycle. Declared a hero, Han left the planet with the Shadeshine, which he destroyed aboard the Millennium Falcon. The story over, Luke manages to trick the pursuing Stormtroopers into entering the Hall of the Satabs, trapping them in suspended animation. As they Rebels leave the planet, despite not acquiring the Shadeshine, they are comforted by having once again heard the voice of their friend.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

A Very Special Episode - Amazing Spider-Man #96-98


As you may or may not know, Doctor Bitz and I are two of the co-hosts of "A Very Special Episode", a podcast which reviews "very special" episodes of pop culture - those stories where the usual rhythm or tone of an ongoing narrative is briefly interrupted to discuss a serious, topical or otherwise atonal issue, usually with little advance warning or subsequent follow-up. Most often, we review TV episodes, like the infamous child molester episode of Diff'rent Strokes or the episode of Family Ties where Alex Keaton grapples with the death of his previously-unmentioned best friend by turning the show into a one-act play.

But in our recent episode, we branched out  to review a very special comic book story for the first time, specifically the Comics Code-less anti-drug story in Amazing Spider-Man #96-98. Given that a lot of the regular readers of this site read, you know, comic books, and/or are generally fans of Spider-Man, I figured I'd give the episode a special plug here. Plus, Doctor Bitz and I (along with one of our other co-hosts, Full House Reviewed's Ryan Alexander-Tanner) are joined for the episode by the writer of the Chasing Amazing blog, Mark Ginocchio, who also recently wrote the book on Spider-Man, 100 Things Spider-Man Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die

So while you're waiting in line for Spider-Man: Homecoming this weekend, give it a listen, and if you like what you hear, check out some of our other episodes (and if you want to buy Mark's book, too, I won't stop you...).

The link below will enable you to listen to and/or download the episode directly, but you can also listen via iTunes, Google Play, Podbean or Stitcher, with links to all four on the show's main website linked to above.

http://media.averyspecialepisodepodcast.com/AVerySpecialEpisode021.mp3

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

X-amining Cable #1

"Rocks and Waves"
May 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable emerges in his future time and reunites with Kane.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Art Thibert
Inker: Danny Miki, Dan Panosian, Trevor Scott & Al Milgrom
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Kane watches a recording of a battle involving Cable & his Clan Chosen teammates. Having become something of an expert on the Clan Chosen's exploits in the hopes of getting a better understanding of Cable, his activities draw the attention of the Citizens Protectorate's General Haight, who wants to prevent Kane from interfering with his plans. After Kane defeats some street thugs sent after him by Haight, he hires the Flatliners to capture or kill Kane. The Flatliners track Kane to the Clan Chosen's hideout, and they have the upper hand until Cable suddenly returns and helps turn the tide. Evacuating their base, Cable tells the Clan they need to go to Niagra, where the New Caananites have built a new Time Displacement Nexus. Meanwhile, General Haight offers Sinsear the opportunity get revenge on Cable by traveling back in time. At a base in the Adirondacks, Cable briefs the Clan Chosen on the Tinex, which is in Niagra Falls. Kane hopes it will enable him to return to his home time, and Cable reveals the New Caananites are planning on using it to maintain their control over the High-Lord ascension by killing someone in the past: Cable.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Milch Studies: DEADWOOD Season One - “Okay, What If We Do It As A Western?”


Following the fast cancellation of Big Apple, David Milch spent the next three years without a show on the air.  Still wanting to create something out of Steven Bochco’s shadow, most likely burned out on NYPD Blue scripts, and with a post 9-11 resolve to “never” write about contemporary America again (he’d later renege), Milch found himself pitching a new series to HBO.

Friday, June 30, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #69

"Induction in the Savage Land!"
May 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine, Rogue & Jubilee are sent on a scouting mission to the Savage Land.

Script: Larry Hama
Penciler: Dwayne Turner
Inker: Chris Ivy
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine, Rogue & Jubilee arrive in the Savage Land, having been sent on a scouting mission by Professor X. After fighting off a dinosaur, they set up camp, and Rogue takes to the air to scan for magnetic anomalies while Wolverine sniffs things out on the ground. He encounters a pair of Fall People captured by a group of Mutates. Meanwhile, Rogue discovers a ranting Brainchild inside one of the Savage Land's ancient citadels, and Jubilee is captured by a Pterosaur Rider. Wolverine follows the Mutates to some kind of temple, where he intervenes to prevent the sacrifice of the captive Fall People, while Rogue realizes Brainchild has seemingly encountered Magneto recently. Back at the temple, Wolverine fights his way through the Mutates and their barbarian allies only to come face-to-face with their leader: Sauron.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #90

"A Green and Tender Place"
May 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Factor learns of a new threat in Genosha.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Quesada & Buzz
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolfsbane attacks Polaris, angry upon learning the way her mind has been tampered with, but Polaris manages to calm her down by calling on her own experiences with mind control. Elsewhere, Havok, upon learning of the Genoshan government's continued manipulation of the Mutates, battles the President's mutate bodyguard, until the President agrees to show X-Factor the truth behind the current Genoshan situation. Over the Genegineer's objections, the President proceeds to take X-Factor to an abandoned hospital where doctors, including Moira MacTaggert, have been secretly working to fight a disease targeting mutants, to which the Mutates are especially susceptible. As they discuss the situation, one of the Mutates, not wanting to die in the hospital, escapes into the tunnels beneath the building. The President orders the Magistrates to find and kill him, but Havok interjects, declaring that X-Factor will track him down and bring him back alive.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #300

"Legacies" / "Epilog"
May 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle the Acolytes in France

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: John Romita Jr., Brandon Petersen (2nd Story)
Inker: Dan Green, Dan Panosian & Al Milgrom (2nd Story)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos, Richard Starkings (2nd Story)
Colorist: Steve Buccellato, Glynis Oliver (2nd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Nightcrawler arrives in France at Professor Xavier's request, and receives a Cerebro booster from Forge, who leaves before the X-Men arrive. Elsewhere, the Acolytes, who have captured Moira MacTaggert, probe her memory for details about the process with which she briefly brainwashed Magneto and the X-Men. As the X-Men rendezvous with Nightcrawler, Moira tells one of the Acolytes, the young Neophyte, how Cortez actually killed Magneto, a truth later confirmed when Neophyte overhears Cortez talking with Gamesmaster, prompting him to flee the Acolytes castle. Using Forge's device, the X-Men locate the Acolytes, just as Neophyte is found by a young human girl who is slain by Cortez' guard, sent to retrieve Neophyte. The X-Men defeat the guard and Neophyte agrees to help them infiltrate the castle. They arrive just as Cortez is about to kill Moira, and a battle ensues. Cortez attempts to abandon the Acolytes and escape, but he is delayed by Neophyte long enough for Wolverine to gut him. Xavier offers Neophyte a place with him, but Neophyte declines, saying he must find his own way in the world, but that Xavier and Magneto's dreams are more similar than either realizes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

X-aminations in July 2017...and Beyond!


The second half of this year finds us diving deeper into 1993, which means we're deeper into Marvel's 30th anniversary celebration of the X-Men/their continued efforts to glut the market with as much product as possible. Which means there's not one, but two event crossovers on tap for this chunk of issues: "Fatal Attractions", the official celebration of the X-Men's anniversary, an indirect crossover which finds each series contributing a double-sized issue over a five month period, along with Wolverine & Excalibur finally being brought into the crossover fold and the occurrence of some pretty significant events which will impact the franchise for years to come, and "Bloodties", a shared celebration of the X-Men and Avengers' 30th anniversaries, a relatively "quiet" crossover which only involves two X-books but still features at least one double-sized issue with a gimmick cover.

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