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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #58

"Sundown!"
April 1982

In a Nutshell
Threepio & Artoo race the clock to save the Rebel fleet.

Script/Plot: David Michelinie
Pencils/Plot: Walt Simonson
Inks: Tom Palmer
Colors: Don Warfield
Letters: Janice Chiang
Editrix: Louise Jones
Emperor: Jim Shooter

Plot
As Luke, Lando & Chewbacca leave Arbra aboard the Falcon to rendezvous with a contact named Ferret, the rest of the Rebels prepare to hide the fleet from Imperial attention, a risky maneuver that involves placing the ships inside the corona of the planet's sun, protecting them inside a massive forcefield generator. Once the ships are safely protected in the sun, Leia and everyone but the maintenance crew of the generator prepare to leave aboard a shuttle. But Artoo detects a malfunction, and is left behind along with Threepio when the shuttle departs. The malfunction knocks out the crew, and when an Imperial patrol arrives in the system, Leia and and everyone aboard the shuttle are forced into hiding. Meanwhile, the Falcon arrives at Bazarre, a massive ship where they'll meet Ferret. Back inside Arbra's sun, Threepio & Artoo race against the clock to bypass the malfunction and save the Rebel fleet, while Luke & Lando are accosted onboard Bazarre by some of Ferret's men. Threepio & Artoo are ultimately successful, but then Leia learns that the Falcon isn't responding to any communications, as though it simply dropped out of existence.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

X-amining Tales of Suspense #49

"The New Iron Man Meets the Angel"
January 1964

In a Nutshell
Iron Man fights Angel

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: Steve Ditko
Inker: Paul Reinman
Letterer: Sam Rosen

Plot
Angel is flying over a Stark facility just as it triggers an atomic explosion as part of a munitions test. The ensuing radiation brings out Angel's dark side, and when he returns to the X-Mansion, he easily bests his teammates before declaring his intent to join the evil mutants and flies off. Hoping to draw their attention, he goes on a rampage, and Professor X reaches out to the Avengers for help. Iron Man is the only one to respond, and he attempts to capture Angel. But Angel manages to evade and outfly Iron Man, so Iron Man resorts to a desperate gamble: depleting his power, sending him plummeting to the ground, in the hope that Angel's better nature will come to the surface. It does, and Angel rescues Iron Man, after which Iron Man meets the X-Men, and Professor Xavier promises to repay Iron Man for his help.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #57

"Hello, Bespin, Good-bye!"
March 1982

In a Nutshell

Writer/Plot: David Michelinie
Pencils/Plot: Walt Simonson
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor/Plot: Louise Jones
Nerf-Herder-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As Lando plummets to the planet below, Lobot grabs an emergency rocket vest and manages to slow their descent enough to land safely on Bespin. They then work with some local Ugnaughts to defeat an Imperial patrol, and the Ugnaughts agree to take Lando to their leader. Meanwhile, Luke & Shira arrive on Bespin. Spotting them & recognizing Luke, Treece attempts to capture them so he can present Luke to Vader. On the planet below, Lando learns the Empire had enslaved the Ugnaughts on Cloud City, and outraged, vows to help them retake the city. They arrive just in time to relieve a pinned-down Luke & Shira, and Luke uses the Force to seemingly detonate the Ugnaughts' remaining bombs, sending the city crashing down. Believing the place lost, Treece and the Imperials evacuate, after which the city stops falling and Luke reveals he only detonated the primers, triggering smaller explosions that temporarily caused the city to fall. With the Empire believing the city destroyed, Lando leaves Lobot & the Ugnaughts in charge, then he, Luke & Shira set off for home.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

X-amining Captain America #402-408

"The Prowling" / "City of Wolves" / "Children of the Night" / "Dances with Werewolves" / "Leader of the Pack" / "Lord of the Wolves! / "Dark Dawn"Early July - October 1992

In a Nutshell
Cap-Wolf

Writer: Mark Gruenwald
Penciler: Rik Levins
Inkers: Danny Bulanadi, Don Hudson; Ray Kryssing (issue #404),
Steve Alexandrov (issue #405)
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Gina Going, George Roussos (issue #408)
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Investigating the disappearance of his friend & pilot John Jameson, Captain America learns the moonstone which controls John's werewolf transformations has gone missing. Investigating reports of werewolf attacks in New England, Cap and fellow Avenger Dr. Druid are attacked by a werewolf, who is in turn captured by Moonhunter. Cap tries to stop Moonhunter, but he gets away, delivering the captive werewolf to Nightshade and their mysterious boss, who reveals he has the moonstone, whose power is drawing all the werewolves to them. Later, Wolverine, also investigating the werewolf reports, is attacked and captured by Moonhunter. As another group of wolves attack Druid & Cap, Wolverine is hypnotized and sent after Captain America.

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Milch Studies - Big Apple



After acknowledging in an interview that he felt a need to move out of Steven Bochco's shadow, David Milch exited NYPD Blue to create the generically titled drama Big Apple.  His co-creator was Anthony Yerkovich, the creator of Miami Vice and a former Hill Street Blues writer.  (Reportedly, Yerkovich conceived Miami Vice as a serious drama, and not the fashion showcase that Michael Mann envisioned.)  CBS was enthusiastic about the series, positioning Big Apple as its adult drama for Thursday nights, a night the network felt it could own with Survivor and CSI at 8:00 and 9:00 respectively.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #56

"Coffin in the Clouds"
February 1982

In a Nutshell
Lando fights to save Cloud City.

Writer/Plot: David Michelinie
Pencils/Plot: Walt Simonson
Inks: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor/Plot: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Investigating the deserted Cloud City, Lando is attacked by a deranged Lobot, raving about a danger to the city, while an Imperial bomb disposal unit led by Captain Treece arrives. Believing them to be the danger referenced by Lobot, Lando arranges for Lobot to attack the Imperials. Meanwhile, Leia returns from a scouting mission on Arbra to learn that Lando hasn't reported in from Bespin, so Luke and fellow pilot Shira Brie are going to investigate. Back on Bespin, a bomb detonates in the city, and in the aftermath, Lando learns from Treece that the city was evacuated due to bomb threats made by disgruntled Ugnaughts, and that eleven bombs remain. Agreeing to a truce, Lando & Treece work together to reprogram Lobot, who in turn manages to defuse the remaining bombs. With the crisis averted, Lando suggests Treece consider treating the Ugnaughts with the same consideration he used to, at which point Treece declares their truce over and kicks Lando over the side of the city.

Friday, January 13, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #62

"Reunion!"
October 1992

In a Nutshell
The Weapon X team tracks down Aldo Ferro.

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

Plot
Sabretooth frees himself from Wraith's restraints and attacks Wolverine, but their fight is interrupted by the arrival of Silver Fox, who says they will all need to work together to find out what's causing Mastodon's sudden aging, and if it will impact them. Silver Fox leads the group outside to her ship, where Hines is waiting. Just then, Mastodon dies, and the sight of it convinces Hines to help the group. With the help of Wraith's neighbor, they hack some Weapon X files, and discover the list of all the participants by code-name. Cross-indexing that list, they find another, listing "Ferro" along with project architects Hines, Cornelius & the Professor. Hines agrees to take them to Ferro's castle on a private island. The group infiltrates the castle and finds a young, muscular man waiting for them. Assuming he's Ferro's bodyguard, Sabretooth asks where Ferro is, and he replies that he *is* Ferro. Just then, Maverick emerges, saying he is the bodyguard.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #55

"The Ghost of Braddock Manor"
October 1992

In a Nutshell
Psylocke guest stars as Sat-yr-9 & Jamie Braddock attack.

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

Plot
Captain Britain & Psylocke spar with one another, while Kitty & Meggan return home from a shopping trip to find Nightcrawler practicing martial arts as well. Meanwhile, Kylun says goodbye to Cerise before leaving to visit his parents. That night, Excalibur hosts a party at Braddock Manor, with Courtney Ross & Alysande Stuart in attendance, among others. Outside, a meditating Feron is attacked by a shadowy figure, and later, Alysande is attacked in her room as she changes clothes. As Excalibur rushes upstairs at the sound of her cries, the lights go out, and when they reach her room, they discover her body, badly mangled. Just then, Psylocke detects fear from the guests downstairs, and Nightcrawler teleports there, but is taken out by a second assailant. As Captain Britain, Psylocke & Meggan follow him, Alysande's killer knocks out Cerise & Alistair, but Kitty escapes. Downstairs, Captain Britain discovers one of the attackers is Courtney Ross, who reveals herself as Sat-yr-9 just as the other attacker appears with an unconscious Psylocke: Captain Britain & Psylocke's older brother, Jamie.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #13

"Hazardous Territory"
October 1992

In a Nutshell
The X-Men rescue Xavier from Hazard.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Art Thibert
Art Assist: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Lois Buhalis
Colorists: Rosas/Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The X-Men infiltrate Almagordo, discovering the secret basement level where Hazard is holding Professor X. Meanwhile, Cannonball contacts the X-Men, but only Jubilee is home to take his call, while Rusty & Skids deliver a scroll to Stryfe which bears an image of Apocalypse. Back at Almagordo, the X-Men battle Hazard, a fight which ends when Cyclops blasts Hazard's gauntlets, triggering a release of his power that destroys most of the facility and leaves Hazard drained. Wolverine tries to question him about what he hoped to find at Almagordo, but Xavier insists there was nothing there, that any answers to be found aren't where Xavier's father died, but perhaps they can be found where he lived.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #55

"Plif!"
January 1982

In a Nutshell
The Rebels befriend the Hoojibs and find a potential new base.

Writer: David Michelinie
Penciler: Walt Simonson
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorist: D. Warfield
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
A group of Rebels, led by Leia & Chewbacca, scout the planet Arbra as a potential site for a new base. Meanwhile, Lando departs from the Rebel fleet to check in on Cloud City. On Arbra, the Rebels learn the small animal-like creatures native to the world are actually an intelligent species called Hoojibs, which communicate telepathically. Their leader, Plif, tells the Rebels how they've been chased from their home, a nearby cavern filled with crystals whose energy sustains them, by a creature called the Slivilith, which soon attacks the Rebels. Teaming up, the Hoojibs and the Rebels kill the Slivilith, and though the Hoojibs' cavern is an enticing prospect for a base, Leia refuses to take it from the Hoojibs. However, Plif suggests they share it, and offers to be their hosts indefinitely. Meanwhile, Lando arrives at Cloud City to find the place seemingly deserted, but is stalked by an unseen figure.

Friday, January 6, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #83

"Painting the Town"
October 1992

In a Nutshell
X-Factor takes the X-Patriots out on the town.

Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Mark Pacella
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Richard Starkings
Colors: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
X-Lord: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Tensions remain high between X-Factor and the X-Patriots, moreso when Jenny Ransome & Philip Moreau arrive. Inside the X-Patriots' ship, Rahne meets a young mutant named Taylor who uses his cold fire power to sculpt, while Val admonishes Havok for agreeing to accompany the X-Patriots back to Genosha. They are drawn outside by a commotion to find Cameron Hodge attacking everyone. But Hodge is actually Lukas, lashing out, and Havok shuts him down, before deciding the X-Patriots need to blow off some steam and offering X-Factor as guides to help them explore the city. Elsewhere, Rick Chalker completes an operation to replace his hands with razor sharp fan blades, but when he discovers he's left himself no way to leave his lab, he slaps his forehead in disgust, accidentally killing himself. Back in New York, Havok & Polaris accompany Prodigal to the Statute of Liberty, Strong Guy takes Pirouette dancing and Quicksilver & Lukas con a belligerent drunk at a bar. Meanwhile, Rahne takes Taylor to an art museum, but he wanders off when Rahne starts arguing with Madrox. Outside the museum, Taylor uses his power, drawing the attention of a group worried he's going to burn down the park. They attack and beat him before running off. As Madrox attempts to chase them down and call for help, a distraught Rahne tries to help the unconscious Taylor.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

X-amining X-Force #15

"To the Pain!"
October 1992

In a Nutshell
Cable rescues Domino & kills Tolliver; X-Force rescues Sunspot.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Guest Inker: Al Milgrom
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Crule attacks X-Force, determined to kill Cannonball, but Rictor blasts him off their ship, after which the team agrees to help Cannonball rescue Sunspot from Gideon. Meanwhile, at Tolliver's Sicilian home, Deadpool attacks Cable, but their fight frees the real Domino, who blasts Deadpool from behind with Cable's gun. The pair then run off to find Tolliver himself. As X-Force gets closer to Gideon's home, he contacts them, eliciting a promise from Cannonball to stay out of X-Ternal business in exchange for Sunspot's whereabouts. Later, X-Force arrives at Ophrah Industries and fights their way to a super-charged Sunspot. Hoping his blast field will protect him, Cannonball carries Sunspot into the air, where he releases a massive blast of energy. In Italy, Cable & Domino leap onto Tolliver's helicopter, but Cable convinces Domino to drop off before it reaches a height from which she won't be able to survive a fall, telling her to find X-Force. He then proceeds to destroy the chopper, seemingly killing Tolliver, before teleporting back to Graymalkin. Deadpool wakes up to find Vanessa, the fake Domino, missing, while on his space station, Cable declares its time for him to stop being the prey and start being the hunter. Later, X-Force arrives at Camp Verde, and welcomes their newest member, Sunspot, to the team.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #293

"The Last Morlock Story!"
October 1992

In a Nutshell
The death of Mikhail, Callisto and the Morlocks.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Breakdowns: Rurik Tyler
Pencils: Tom Raney
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Letters: Lois Buhalis
Colors: Kevin Tinsley
Edits: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Storm, Bishop & Colossus follow the Morlocks deeper into the tunnels, and are shocked to find Mikhail waiting, who declares himself the Morlocks' new leader. Elsewhere, Jean attempts to find Archangel, while Callisto attacks Professor X. As Colossus tries reasoning with his brother, Mikhail uses his power to open the floodgates keeping the East River out of the tunnels. Elsewhere, Xavier manages to fend off Callisto, but then Mikhail teleports the pair to his side, telling the X-Men that he intends to put the Morlocks, and himself, out of their misery by killing them all, which he views as redemption for the lives he took in the Void. Meanwhile, Jean locates Archangel and tells him that contrary to what he believes, his wings don't have a consciousness of their own, and that he's in control of his own actions. With the water rising, the X-Men try to stop Mikhail, but he teleports them all out of the tunnel just before he, Callisto and the Morlocks die. Returning home, Storm mourns the loss of her plants, destroyed by Callisto, while a devastated Colossus calls his sister to cancel his trip home and the surprise he promised.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

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


"X-Cutioner's Song" is looming, but for those of you looking forward to it, unfortunately it's going to have to wait, as I'm going to try a little experiment first (for those of you dreading "X-Cutioner's Song", well, you get a longer reprieve).

This spring, my wife and I are planning on moving, which this time around, also involves selling our current house. That means we're looking at a bunch of annoying moving-related work on both ends in the months ahead (much of it has already started). Combine that with the fact that, once we do move, my internet service will likely be spotty for a few days, and the need to rebuild my backlog of posts is apparent (also making that need apparent: the number of posts recently going live well past the noon timestamp I give them...). Writing three X-aminations a week (plus a weekly Force in Focus, plus stuff like this), the only conceivable way for me to build up any kind of backlog is to take a break, but since I'm reluctant to go too long without ANY X-aminations posts (I've got quite a streak going), I'm going to do something a little different: Retro X-aminations.