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

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

X-aminations in May 2018 (-ish)


I mean, some of these reviews will get published in May...

Seriously though, I am continuing to work to get caught back up to a regular release schedule, and hope to be there soon. And as I work on the full schedule for the back half of 2018, I'm going to try to build in some time to get back ahead of the reviews, to prevent these kinds of delays (which will probably mean a few weeks of "retro X-aminations" at some point, but we'll see).

Anyways, our next set of issues feature the second departure of John Romita Jr. from Uncanny X-Men followed by the debut of Joe Madureira, the completion of the "Child's Play" crossover between X-Force & New Warriors, and the first ever review of an issue of What If?, which serves as an epilogue of sorts to the Cyclops/Jean Grey wedding!

On Sale February 1994
May 2: Uncanny X-Men #311
May 3: X-Factor #101
May 4: Wolverine #80

May 9: X-Men (vol. 2) #31
May 10: X-Force #33
May 11: Excalibur #76

May 16: What If? #60

May 23: New Warriors #46
May 24: Cable #10

On Sale March 1994
May 30: Uncanny X-Men #312
May 31: X-Factor #102
June 1: Wolverine #81

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

X-amining Cable #9

"The Killing Field: In Humanity"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable battles Omega Red on Muir Island

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: M.C. Wyman
Inker: Jason Gorder
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Cable visits Phoenix on Muir Island to discuss their shared parentage, the Acolytes seek out Omega Red in the sewers of London, offering him the opportunity cure himself of the death spore virus which causes him to drain the life force of others. Later, WHO calls Excalibur for help dealing with attacks in London. Shadowcat & Phoenix respond, but Moira holds Cable back in order to run some tests on him. During the tests, which render Cable's bionic arm useless, Omega Red attacks, easily dispatching Moira and overcoming the one-armed Cable. When Cable regains consciousness, Shadowcat explains that Omega Red is gathering the equipment he needs to cure himself of the death spore virus, but in doing so, he will release the virus out into the world. Cable declares he will take care of Omega Red himself, but then Shadowcat reveals where Excalibur learned all this information: the Acolytes.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

X-amining New Warriors #45

"Child's Play Second Move: Sleeping with the Enemy"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Karma returns as the New Warriors are drawn into the Younghunt.

Writer: Nicieza
Pencilers: Robertson & McKinney
Inkers: Mahlstedt, McKenna & Stegbauer
Letterer: Avon
Colorist: Hondru
Editor: Tokar
Editor-in-Chief: DeFalco

Plot
As the Gamesmaster explains the details of the Younghunt to the captive Cannonball & Boomer, Night Thrasher briefs the New Warriors on his and Justice's undercover sting of Shinobi Shaw. They are interrupted by an attack from the armored Tribunal, operating in Graydon Creed's name. In Madripoor, Moonstar & Empath are attacked by Siena Blaze while trying to locate Karma, but Karma manages to take control of Blaze. Back in New York, the New Warriors defeat the Tribunal, aided by the sudden arrival of Justice, who reveals that Firestar is the next target of the Younghunt, and he needs to bring her to Shinobi Shaw in order to maintain his cover. Firestar reluctantly agrees to play along, and Justice delivers her to Shaw, who reveals he plans to use her as bait to get close enough to the Gamesmaster to use the other captive mutants to overthrow him and the rest of the Upstarts. However, though Shaw believes his plans are shielded from Gamesmaster, in truth, Gamesmaster is well aware of them. But just then, Siena Blaze contacts him, announcing that she's captured three more targets: Moonstar, Empath & Karma.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #4

"Theories of Relativity"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
The truth about the relationship between Mystique & Nightcrawler is revealed.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Richard Bennet
Inker: Steve Moncuse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Washington, Mystique kills a general allied with Graydon Creed, hoping to send Creed a message. In France, Creed receives some information about his heritage that so enrages him, he kills the man who delivered the information. Later, Nightcrawler arrives in America at Forge's request, and with Rogue, attends the general's funeral. There, Mystique sets off a bomb and, teasing Nightcrawler, tells him that if he wants answers about his own heritage, he'll need to go to Mystique's home. Creed proceeds to visit Forge in DC, threatening him, after which Rogue & Nightcrawler meet with Forge and are tasked with apprehending Mystique. Rogue takes Nightcrawler to the house in Mississippi where she lived with Mystique. Nightcrawler finds Creed inside, and he reveals the new information he recently acquired: that, like Creed, Nightcrawler is the son of Mystique. Just then, Mystique arrives, and Nightcrawler uses his image inducer to trick Mystique into confirming Creed's information. Just then, an attack helicopter arrives, called by Creed. In the ensuing fight, Mystique & Nightcrawler are thrown off a cliff, and Rogue is forced to let Creed go in order to rescue them. But Mystique lets herself fall to ensure Rogue saves Nightcrawler, for reasons known only to her. Rogue & Nightcrawler fly off, with Nightcrawler unsettled by everything he has learned about his family.

Friday, April 20, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #75

"Hello, I Must Be Going"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Phoenix takes the place of Captain Britain in the timestream, who emerges as Britanic.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artist: Ken Lashley
Inker: Randy Elliot
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorists: Garrahy & Matthys
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Excalibur returns from the wedding of Cyclops & Jean Grey, with Rachel particularly jubilant, as she now believes it is more likely she may be born into this timeline. However, once they arrive on Muir Island, Meggan confronts Rachel, telling her she can no longer ignore Captain Britain's calls for help. Just as she's about to explain what's happening to the rest of the team, Amanda Sefton arrives, answering Nightcrawler's call for help about Meggan's earlier condition, which causes an angry Rachel to storm off. She once again partially transforms into Captain Britain, and after a heart-to-heart with Kitty, realizes she can't hold off the inevitable. Using Meggan as an anchor, Amanda creates an opening in the timestream, and Rachel is able to find Captain Britain. Saying goodbye to her friends, she pulls him out and takes his place, disappearing into the timestream. However, the Captain Britain who emerged from the timestream is changed, and tells everyone to call him "Britanic"!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

X-amining X-Force #32

"Child's Play (First Move) With a Roll of the Dice"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Cannonball & Boomer are captured as the Younghunt begins

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: Jon Holdredge
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Nova Roma, Magma is captured by Fenris, but Empath manages to escape. At the Hellfire Club in New York, Justice meets with Night Thrasher and tells him he's learned the next targets of the Upstarts are the surviving members of the New Mutants & Hellions. In Kentucky, X-Force arrives at Cannonball's family home, where his sister Paige tells them how Cannonball & Boomer were captured by Siena Blaze. Elsewhere, Gamesmaster calls a meeting of the Upstarts, reminding them not to kill their targets, and pointing out that would-be members Fenris are already in the lead of the latest game. Back in Nova Roma, Fenris attempts to capture Empath, but are stopped by Moonstar, while Fitzroy confronts X-Force at the Guthrie farm. In New York, Shinobi Shaw informs Justice to either bring the next target to him, or else let one of the other Upstarts take a crack at her, and Justice flies off to confront his girlfriend, the former Hellion known as Firestar.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #30

"The Ties That Bind"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
The wedding of Cyclops & Jean Grey

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As she finishes getting ready for the ceremony, Jean reads a letter Wolverine sent to her & Scott in his absence. Meanwhile, Hank, Warren, Bobby & Alex struggle to tie Scott's bow tie, before Professor X arrives to finish the job, and lead them all outside. Shortly thereafter, the ceremony begins as Jean walks down the aisle, and then she & Scott are married. As the reception begins, Sabretooth ponders causing trouble, but is dissuaded by an unseen figure. Later, the assorted friends & family members of Scott & Jean mingle and catch-up amid the assorted wedding traditions. As the evening winds down, Jean pulls Professor X onto the dance floor and uses her telekinesis to share a dance with him. Later, with the guests having retired to bed or Harry's Hideaway for a night cap, Scott says goodbye to Xavier on his way to the airport, thanking him for the life he gave him, and telling Xavier that he loves him. As Scott leaves, Xavier finds himself, in the wake of the wedding, looking at the work still before him, and the people around him, with new eyes, just as he opens his own letter from Wolverine, telling him simply to lighten up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

100 Things X-Men Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die is the latest installment in Triumph Books' "100 Things...Fans Should Know" series, which, as the name suggests, catalogs the must-see, must-do, and must-know things for fans of assorted comic books, TV shows, bands and sports teams. With this volume, author Brian Cronin (the man behind the long-running "Comic Book Legends Revealed" articles for Comic Book Resources' "Comics Should be Good!" blog, as well as two previous books of comic book legends) provides new and long-time fans alike a one-volume guide to Marvel's Merry Mutants, highlighting important characters, creators, stories and issues from the fifty-five year history of the X-Men. While the format breaks each entry into a single numbered item, and each chapter is presented in a seemingly-random order (ie it doesn't start in the 60s and end in the present day), the book is an engaging read, as Cronin crafts a narrative history of the X-Men even as he jumps from character info to creator info, from behind-the-scenes stories about crafting specific issues to entries on the various films,  preventing the book from reading like a dry recitation of facts in chronological order.

Friday, April 13, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #79

"Cyber! Cyber! Burning Bright!"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Cyber breaks three of Wolverine's claws.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Adam Kubert
Inkers: Mark Farmer & Mike Sellers
Letterer: Pat Brosseay
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine is surrounded by SAS troops at a bank in Edinburgh as he tries to withdraw money from his Landau, Luckman & Lake trust fund. LL&L agent Zoe Culloden calls off the troops, explaining that someone claiming to be Wolverine assaulted the bank earlier. Wolverine recognizes him as Cyber. Elsewhere, Cyber forces a professor to show him the bones of William Burke; hallucinating, he sees Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, and intends to claim it for himself. Meanwhile, Zoe brings Wolverine to her office, where she attacks him, believing him responsible for the death of her mentor, Chang. Wolverine gives her his Honor Sword, telling her to scan it for the blood of Chang's true killer. He then leaves, but is attacked outside the office by Cyber. Angry that his adamantium is gone, Cyber snaps off the claws on one of Wolverine's hands, but is then felled by a filing cabinet dropped on him by Zoe, who has verified that Wolverine didn't kill Chang. As SAS troops arrive on the scene, Wolverine & Zoe slip away, heading for Muir Island.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #100

"Mahapralaya!"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Factor defeats Haven but Multiple Man succumbs to the Legacy Virus

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Starkings
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Corvese
Group Editor: Harras
Chief: DeFalco

Plot
In the wake of having cured Wolfsbane, Haven once more entreats X-Factor to join her. But when she reveals that she has a satellite poised to trigger multiple earthquakes around the world, triggering her world-ending Mahapralaya, Havok decides he's through reasoning with her, and orders X-Factor to arrest her. But Haven simply transports the group, save Wolfsbane & the Madrox duplicate enamored of her, onto another plane of existence, and when they emerge, it is inside a holding cell. They are unable to free themselves, but the cell door is opened by Haven's brother, Monsoon, who has been secretly working with Val Cooper to bring Haven down from the inside. However, her troops, led by the Madrox duplicate, intercept them, and a fight breaks out, during which an increasingly-sick Madrox slips away to find Haven.

With the rest of X-Factor holding off Haven's troops, Val & Monsoon lead Havok & Polaris outside, where they use their powers in concert to destroy the satellite before it can do any damage. Just then, Haven appears, carrying a dying Madrox. She tells Havok he is sick with the Legacy Virus and came to her for help, but only Havok can decide if she helps him. He reluctantly tells her to do so, and she takes him to the same plane where she took Wolfsbane, emerging a moment later declaring Madrox healed. But he simply falls from her arms, dead. Haven realizes that the Legacy Virus must be mutantkind's own Mahapralaya and teleports away, leaving an anguished X-Factor with the body of their teammate.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #310

"...Show Me the Way to Go Home..."
March 1994

In a Nutshell
Cyclops & Cable battle the X-Cutioner during Cyclops' bachelor party

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Dan Green
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On their way to Cyclops' bachelor party, Cyclops & Banshee respond to a proximity alarm in the mansion and discover Cable waiting to talk to Cyclops. At a bar in Greenwich Village, the rest of the male X-Men have gathered, wondering what is keeping Cyclops. Back at the mansion, X-Cutioner teleports inside, and Cyclops sends Banshee onto the party. As Cyclops & Cable hash out their issues pertaining to Cyclops sending Cable into the future as a child, Sabretooth senses X-Cutioner, and alerts Cyclops. As the party continues, the X-Cutioner heads towards the med bay, intent on killing the comatose Emma Frost. He is stopped by Cyclops & Cable, who work together to force X-Cutioner to retreat. Afterwards, Cable & Cyclops make peace, then Cable teleports Cyclops to the party, and assures him that he'll be at the wedding.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

X-amining X-Men: The Wedding Album #1


"Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue & Gold" / "Cut to the Video"
1994

In a Nutshell
Jubilee reads Jean's diary, and Kitty Pryde creates a video album for Scott & Jean.

Writer: Scott Lobdell; Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza (2nd Story)
Pencils: Ian Churchill; Ken Lashley, Tom Lyle, Ron Garney & Jae Lee (2nd Story)
Inkers: Jason Minor, Randy Elliot, and Harry Candelario; Scott Hanna, Andrew Pepoy, Bill Sienkiewicz, & Jae Lee (2nd Story)
Letterers: Dave Sharpe & Jon Babcock
Colorist: Chris Matthys; Pat Garrahy & Chris Matthys (2nd Story)
Dress Designer: Nicole Miller
Stills from X-Men #30: Andy Kubert & Matt Ryan
Editor/Designer: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Jubilee helps Jean go through some of her old clothes, and the pair discuss Wolverine's absence and Jubilee's less-than-positive feelings about marriage. When Jean's fashion designer friend arrives to drop off her wedding dress, Jubilee discovers Jean's diary and, despite knowing better, decides to read it. When Jean returns and discovers Jubilee, she's mostly mad because, while the diary represents her private thoughts, Jubilee should have known that Jean would have talked to her about any of them, had she asked. Jubilee apologizes, and admits that reading about Jean's relationship with Scott through the years has given her a better appreciation for marriage, and the pair leave to check out Jean's dress.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Milch Studies: LUCK


Five years passed between the fast death of John from Cincinnati and Milch landing another show on HBO.  In the meantime, he did produce his ‘70s New York cop drama Last of the Ninth pilot, but couldn’t convince the network to commit to the series.  (Some databases say it aired once as a movie, but I can’t find any confirmation of this.)  Last of the Ninth was based on Bill Clark’s earliest days on the police force and would’ve been the closest to NYPD Blue Milch had gotten since arriving at HBO.  The network vetoed what would seem to be an easily sellable premise, and instead gave Milch permission to go to work on another dream project.
This one was about horse racing.  And it turned out to be just as commercially viable as a surfing series concerned with the spiritual state of the nation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Unstacking the Deck: Fleer Ultra X-Men Series I

Fleer 1994

Vital Statistics
150 base card set (including the checklist card), as well as several insert/chase sets: a nine card "team portrait" set that combines to form one image, a six card foil-etched "Fatal Attractions" set, a six card foil-etched "Greatest Battles", and a six card foil-etched X-Overs set. Additionally, there is a six card Team Triptych that is exclusive to packs sold from Wal-Mart, and a five card "promo pack" sold with Sega's X-Men video game (which contained versions of the base set cards with the Sega logo on the back).

Categorically Speaking
Super Heroes, Super Villains, Original Team, X-Overs, Team Tryptichs, Deceased, Wolverine's Greatest Battles

Firsts and Other Notables
Fleer is the company which, in the early 80s, helped breaks Topps' monopoly on the production of baseball cards, and by 1991, with the sports card market in the midst of a booming sales bubble (helped, in part, by the opening of the market by Fleer), it released its first "Fleer Ultra" set of baseball cards, a high-end series produced in smaller quantities than the "regular" Fleer set, featuring thicker card stock and silver ink (not unlike how the Marvel Masterpieces card sets are, essentially, an upscale version of the regular Marvel Universe sets). In July of 1992, Marvel purchased Fleer outright, which is why this series (and subsequent X-Men series) are produced by Fleer instead of Skybox, as with the previous sets (though Marvel would, in turn, purchase Skybox as well, in 1995, with both acquisitions often cited as two of the numerous bad business decisions that led to their bankruptcy in 1996).

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

X-aminations in April 2018


Wedding bells are ringing in the January '94 issues, as Scott & Jean finally tie the knot in X-Men #30 (well, "finally" in terms of their thirty year courtship; it's more like "already" in terms of their engagement apparently happening yesterday in comic book time...). But it's not all bachelor parties and wedded bliss, as both X-Factor & Excalibur deal with significant losses in big, double-sized, divisible-by-25 issues, X-Force gets drawn into the Upstarts plotline and a crossover with the similarly-themed, Nicieza-written New Warriors, and Nightcrawler learns the truth about his heritage.

On Sale January 1994
April 4: X-Men: The Wedding Album

April 11: Uncanny X-Men #310
April 12: X-Factor #100
April 13: Wolverine #79

April 18: X-Men (vol. 2) #30
April 19: X-Force #32
April 20: Excalibur #75

April 25: X-Men Unlimited #4
April 26: New Warriors #45
April 27: Cable #9

Thursday, March 22, 2018

X-amining Cable #8

"Fathers and Sons Part Three: Day Spring"
February 1994

In a Nutshell
The truth about Cable & Stryfe is revealed

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Aaron Wiesenfeld
Inkers: Holdredge, Vey, Sellers, Minor, Hanna, Conrad, Banning & Hudson
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Stryfe blasts Tyler and obliterates Askani's energy form, but Tyler's connection to her still allows him to show Stryfe events from his past. Meanwhile, Zero details Cable & Stryfe's survival to Cyclops, Jean, Xavier, Domino, Rictor & Siryn, then teleports Cyclops, Jean, Xavier & Domino to Tyler's base. They arrive just as Stryfe witnesses the truth of his origins as a clone of Cable captured by Apocalypse. A battle ensues, but Zero is able to reconstitute Askani, who, with Xavier & Jean's help, brings the group into Stryfe's mind, where they relive the tragic events of his childhood, as well as Cyclops' & Tyler's troubled pasts. Askani pleads with Stryfe to give up his hold on Cable's body, which he does, but only because he realizes that by dying, he takes the hope of curing the Legacy Virus with him. Cable, now in control of his own body, slumps to the ground, and Cyclops embraces the man he now knows to be his son. Cable asks after Tyler, whom Xavier declares escaped while they battled Stryfe. With that, Cable is eager to move on, but Cyclops asks if there's anything he wants to say to him, or ask about. Cable pauses, then declares he'd like to know a little more about his mother. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

X-amining X-Men Action Figures: X-Men Series V & VI, X-Force Series III

Year of Release
1994

Roll Call

X-Men Series V
Silver Samurai, Morph, Beast, Random, Fitzroy, Robot Wolverine (Albert)



X-Men Series VI
Senyaka, Rogue, Bonebreaker, Ch'od, Raza, Kylun, Civilian Wolverine


X-Force Series III
Cable (4th Edition "Air Assault"), Pyro, Rictor, Sunspot, Mojo, Quark, Shatterstar (2nd Edition)



Friday, March 16, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #74

"In the Name of Love"
February 1994

In a Nutshell
Phoenix finds herself being pulled into the future by Captain Britain.

Written with Love: Richard Ashford
Drawn with Passion: Ian Churchill
Inked with Adoration: Harry Candelario, Cam Smith & Randy Elliot
Lettered with Affection: Pat Brosseau
Colored with Devotion: Garrahy & Matthys
Edited with Compassion: Suzanne Gaffney
Grouply Edited with Appreciation: Bob Harras
Chiefly Edited with Concern: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Captain Britain suddenly appears before Phoenix, and she feels herself being pulled into her future as a result, causing her to break the connection. This act of self-preservation proceeds to fill her with guilt as she sees the sad condition Meggan in is, as Moira & Rory Campbell examine her. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler checks on the captive Spoor, and later, Rory tries to get Rachel to open up about her guilt. Elsewhere, Mr. Sinister meets with Gamesmaster & Siena Blaze, and his anger at the latter's failure to retrieve Proteus' DNA is lessened when he discovers Blaze scratched Phoenix, thus providing Sinister with Rachel Summers' DNA. Back on Muir Island, Nightcrawler ponders his heritage while missing Cerise, and Kitty finally decides to unpack following her move to the island. The next morning, Moira checks on Meggan and finds her in a feral state. When Excalibur intervenes, Meggan attacks Phoenix, crying out for her to help free Captain Britain. Just then, Rory is able to dose Meggan with a sedative, knocking her out, prompting an angry Phoenix to tell Rory he had no right to jump in on her behalf. 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

X-amining X-Force #31

"Cry Uncle!"
February 1994

In a Nutshell
Warpath & Juggernaut help Siryn & Black Tom reconcile.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: John Holdredge
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Blarney Stone: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Warpath meets with Kelvin Doneghann, a reporter & childhood friend of Siryn's, to discuss Black Tom's attack on the Cassidy's family lawyer Flaherty, with Kelvin noting that if Black Tom had wanted to kill him, he could have, suggesting he's really after attention, specifically from Siryn, who is continuing to deal with her problems by drinking. Later, Kelvin meets with Juggernaut, who is worried because Black Tom needs medical treatment he can only get after turning himself in. The pair devise a way for Black Tom to turn himself in to the authorities and give Siryn some closure on their relationship, and with Warpath's help, arrange a meeting between the two. At the grave of Siryn's mother, whom Tom also loved, the two argue, with Siryn ultimately accepting how much of a father Tom was to her, while forcing Tom to accept that he is responsible for his own evil actions. As Siryn declares that she's giving up drinking, Tom allows himself to be arrested. Juggernaut, watching from the shadows, points out to Warpath that if Siryn truly stops drinking, she may not need him anymore. Warpath agrees, but says, that may be the price of friendship.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #29

"Return to Hellfire!"
February 1994

In a Nutshell
Archangel & Psylocke attend a party at the Hellfire Club.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Archangel watches alongside Beast & Professor X as Psylocke challenges Sabretooth in the Danger Room. Afterwards, amidst preparations for Scott & Jean's wedding, he ponders his romantic history, then receives an invitation to the Hellfire Club's annual gala, sent by Shinobi Shaw, with whom Archangel was friendly as a child. Spotting it, Psylocke reveals she too is a member of the club, and the pair agree to attend the party in the hopes of learning more about the Upstarts. At the party, the pair are knocked out by Tessa, Shaw's assistant, and awaken to find Shinobi waiting to offer his old friend Archangel the place of White King in the Inner Circle Shaw is hoping to rebuild in his image. When Archangel refuses, a fight breaks out, which ends when Psylocke uses her psychic knife on Shinobi, forcing him to relive all his paternal angst. Archangel & Psylocke then depart, leaving Shinobi what he's always been: alone. 

Friday, March 9, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #78

"Deathstalk: A Test of Mettle"
February 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Bloodscream.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inkers: Mark Farmer & Mike Sellers
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine rides his motorcycle, honor sword of the Clan Yashida outstretched, at Bloodscream. Four weeks ago, Wolverine travels on foot through the Canadian wilderness, unknowingly being tracked by Bloodscream & Cylla. Wolverine recalls how the honor sword was forged from a meteorite, while Bloodscream recounts his origin for Cylla. Wolverine eventually arrives in the town of Logan, to find his motorcycle waiting for him, having been shipped there because his name was on the shipping tag. Outside, a starving Bloodscream drains Cylla of her energy, then attacks Wolverine, who manages to slice him with the honor sword, seemingly killing him. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #99

"The Cure!"
February 1994

In a Nutshell
Haven cures Wolfsbane

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Starkings
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Corvese
Group Editor: Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
After an exhaustive night going over the government's data on Haven, Polaris remains suspicious of her terrorist intentions, but concedes the government may be right. Just then, Random arrives, seeking asylum from the government forces that hired him to kill Polaris. Forge proceeds to hire him on as extra muscle for X-Factor's upcoming mission to arrest Haven. Meanwhile, Haven shows Val Cooper more of her operation. Later, X-Factor arrives at Haven's estate and are greeted by her brother, Monsoon. When Random attacks him, a fight breaks out, until Haven quells it and invites everyone inside. X-Factor is stunned to see Val on the side of Haven, who doesn't deny the charges that she's trying to trigger a new beginning for humanity by wiping out large swaths of the population. When Wolfsbane, feeding off Havok's anger, attacks Val, Haven grabs her and manages to cure her of the mutate process, returning her to her human form and severing her bond with Havok, at which point a grateful Wolfsbane declares she is standing with Haven.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #309

"...When The Tigers Come At Night!"
February 1994

In a Nutshell
Xavier reflects on his romantic past in the wake of Scott & Jean's engagement.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inkers: Dan Green & John Holdredge
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Professor X has a dream in which he grapples with his subsconscious, in the form of Magneto, regarding his reservations about Scott & Jean's upcoming marriage. He realizes that he's never had a healthy relationship, with his mother's abuse at the hands of his stepfather prompting him to seek out women he views as needing him, like Gabrielle Haller, or with built-in distance, like Lilandra. He then recalls his relationship with Amelia Voght, a mutant nurse with which he fell in love when he was most vulnerable, after being crippled by Lucifer, but who eventually left him for fear his plans involving the X-Men would lead to war between humans & mutants, and on whom Xavier briefly used his powers to make her stay with him, an act of which he is deeply ashamed. Magneto helps him realize through these reminiscences that he wants what he's never been able to have, and is taking it out on his students. Just then, he awakens as Jean covers him with a blanket, and he clears the air with her, making her promise him that she will love Scott forever, and accept his love in return.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

X-amining Cable #7

"Fathers and Sons Act Two: Illumination"
January 1994

In a Nutshell
Cyclops & Jean learn the truth about Cable as Stryfe targets Tyler.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Aaron Wiesenfeld
Inker: Al Vey & John Holdredge
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Tyler tortures Askani in order to force her to show him what happened after Nathan Summers was taken into the future. At Camp Verde, Stryfe, in Cable's body, attacks Rictor & Siryn before leaving. At the X-Mansion, Domino arrives to tell Cyclops & Jean Grey that Cable is their son, and that Stryfe is in control of his body. Meanwhile, Tyler watches as the infant Nathan, near-death due to the techno-organic virus, is cloned by the Askani clan as a contingency should he die. Domino, Cyclops, Jean Grey & Professor X arrive at Camp Verde and tend to Rictor & Siryn, explaining that Stryfe is in control of Cable's body. Just then, Zero appears before the group, looking for help fulfilling his programming to neutralize weapons, while Stryfe infiltrates Tyler's sanctuary, inadvertently freeing Askani as he targets Tyler.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

X-amining Gambit #1-4

"Tithing" / "Honor Among Thieves" / "The Benefactress" / "Thief of Time"
December 1993 - March 1994

In a Nutshell
Gambit learns his wife is still alive, and attempts to bring her back to full health, disrupting the relationship between the Thieves and Assassins Guilds in the process.

Story: Howard Mackie
Art: Lee Weeks
Inks: Klaus Janson
Art Assist: Jason Gorder (issue #4)
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: Gambit's brother Henri infiltrates the mansion in order to urge Gambit to return home for the titheing, telling him that Bella Donna's brother Julien is stirring up trouble between the guilds. Just then, Henri is killed by a group of Assassins led by Julien. Gambit tracks them down, and learns that Bella Donna is alive, prompting him to head down to New Orleans, as Rogue insists on accompanying him.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

X-aminations in March 2018



A pretty straightforward month, as we cover one months' worth of issues, along with the X-Men's fancy new trading card set for 1994 and the next waves of action figures, featuring a look at Xavier's past, the start of a new X-romance, another Mr. Sinister appearance, and some concrete answers about Cable!

On Sale December 1993
March 7: Uncanny X-Men #309
March 8: X-Factor #99
March 9: Wolverine #78

March 14: X-Men (vol. 2) #29
March 15: X-Force #31
March 16: Excalibur #74

March 21: Unstacking the Deck: X-Men Fleer Ultra '94
March 22: Cable #8

March 28: Action Figures: X-Men Series V & VI and X-Force Series III

Friday, February 23, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #73

"Memories Are Made of This"
 January 1994

In a Nutshell
Excalibur battles Siena Blaze

Writer: Richard (RAM_ Ashford
Penciler: Terry (ROM) Shoemaker
Inker: Randy (KILOBYTE) Elliot
Letterer: Pat (MEGABYTE) Brosseau
Colorists: Mathys & Garrahy
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Shadowcat manages to phase Nightcrawler free of the rock into which he teleported, while Phoenix works to repair the electro-magnetic damage wrought by Siena Blaze's power. Elsewhere, Rory Campbell washes up on Muir Island's shore, his ship having been damaged by Blaze's blast. Inside, Blaze locates the disc containing Proteus' DNA information. But Nightcrawler & Shadowcat manage to get the disc away from her while Phoenix confronts her directly, and is able to match Blaze's power enough to send Blaze teleporting away. Phoenix then alerts her teammates to the presence of Rory Campbell, and Nightcrawler helps bring him to safety. Later, Shadowcat contacts Xavier to tell him about Blaze's attack, then puts in a call to Braddock Manor to check on Meggan, only to find her in a feral, beast-like state.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

X-amining X-Force #30

"Something Worth Fighting For"
January 1994

In a Nutshell
Shatterstar battles Adam-X inside Murderworld

Play by Play: Fabian Nicieza
Field Camera: Tony Daniel
Ink Stuff: Conrad, Holdredge & Gorder
Titles Designer: Chris Eliopoulos
Spectrum Coordinator: Javins
Key Grip: Bob Harras
Best Boy: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Shatterstar & Adam-X fight one another inside Murderworld, with Arcade revealing that the innocent life he's using to motivate Adam-X is none other than Windsong, Shatterstar's wife. Meanwhile, Tempo departs from Camp Verde, after which Domino arrives. Elsewhere, Siryn asks Warpath to accompany her home to Ireland, while in Ireland, Black Tom & Juggernaut return to Cassidy Keep. Inside Murderworld, Shatterstar reveals that Windsong is just a hologram, prompting Adam-X to team up with him to against Arcade. They reach the control room, where Arcade reveals the real Windsong, but Shatterstar recognizes her as a fake too, and proceeds to stab himself in the chest as a distraction that allows him to get close enough to Arcade to stab him, only to discover Arcade is a robot as well. Later, Adam-X departs to track down the person who hired Arcade to target him, while Shatterstar is picked up by Rictor, with Shatterstar calling his day uneventful.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #28

"Devil in the House"
January 1994

In a Nutshell
The X-Men deal with the presence of Sabretooth in their midst.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Jubilee wakes up from a nightmare of being hunted by Sabretooth, prompting Jean Grey to call an emergency meeting between herself, Cyclops, Storm & Beast to discuss Professor Xavier's recent decision to bring Sabretooth into the mansion. Meanwhile, Xavier runs some tests on the Legacy Virus-infected Revanche, then learns that Sabretooth is resisting psychic treatments from Psylocke, demanding instead that Jean perform them. Rogue & Gambit bring Sabretooth his dinner, and Sabretooth taunts Rogue with mysterious references to Gambit's past. Later, Scott & Jean present their objections to Xavier, but he insists that Sabretooth will stay. Determined to confront him once and for all, Jean enters his cell, ostensibly to give him the psychic treatment he's demanding. But she refuses, telling him he needs to deal with what he's done and not run away from his issues, winning his respect. The next morning, a nervous Jubilee, needing to confront her own fears about Sabretooth, brings him his breakfast.

Friday, February 16, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #77

"The Lady Strikes"
January 1994

In a Nutshell
An adamantium-less Wolverine fights Lady Deathstrike.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inkers: Mark Farmer, Mike Sellers & Mark Pennington
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Lady Deathstrike attacks Wolverine, and their ensuing fight destroys most of Heather Hudson's home. When Wolverine is forced to pop his bone claws and Lady Deathstrike realizes both that he lost his adamantium and that his healing factor is barely working, she breaks off her attack, saying that while she may have been cheated out of her revenge, she won't give up her honor by killing Wolverine while he's in that condition. As she and Ronald Paravenue leave, they are approached by Cylla & Bloodscream, looking for Wolverine. Lady Deathstrike tells them she no longer seeks his death, but won't stop them from tracking him down, and they continue to do so. Back at Heather's house, Wolverine says goodbye to her and Puck, then heads north to Buffalo Wood, not realizing that Cylla & Bloodscream are close behind him.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

G. I. JOE: Season 3.1 -- On Sale Now!



Gene Kendall here, shamelessly appropriating a blog post to talk about my Kindle Worlds project.  G. I. Joe: Season 3.1 is my attempt to continue the animated adventures of America’s highly trained special missions force, presented today in a digital file.  The origins of this story can be traced back over three decades ago to the aching sense of disappointment I experienced following G. I. Joe: The Movie.  No, not dissatisfaction in the movie itself…disappointment that no new episodes of G. I. Joe followed!

X-amining X-Factor #98

"Into Oblivion"
January 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Factor learns more about Haven.

Writer: JM DeMatteis
Penciler: Greg Luzniak
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Lois Buhalis
Colorist: Matt Webb
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Despite Havok & Forge's orders to arrest Haven, X-Factor is torn over whether to do so, with Polaris in particular vehemently defending her, until Haven simply teleports away. The team continues their debate back at their headquarters, where Havok & Forge share their government intel that Haven is responsible for a number of recent cataclysms, triggered in an attempt to jump-start her prophesied "New Humanity", including the recent Kennedy Center bombing X-Factor responded to. Polaris remains dubious however, citing that the intelligence came from the same government that recently tried to kill her. Later, Madrox tries to reabsorb all his errant duplicates, but is unable to reabsorb two of them. Meanwhile, Random approaches Strong Guy & Wolfsbane looking for X-Factor's help, telling them he was targeted by the same soldiers who attacked Polaris. And at her retreat in the California mountains, Haven initiates an eager Val Cooper into her organization.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #308

"Mixed Blessings"
January 1994

In a Nutshell
Cyclops & Jean Grey get engaged.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
Inkers: Dan Green & Al Vey
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On Thanksgiving, Scott & Jean walk the grounds, reflecting on their past together. Meanwhile, Beast & Jubilee interrupt Forge, Banshee & Storm's leaf raking efforts, while Iceman, Gambit & Rogue attempt to build a scarecrow with Bishop, before deciding to start a football game. In Missouri, a man leaves his family and joins others aboard a bus labeled "Phalanx". Back at the X-Mansion, the football game concludes with Xavier getting tackled as he calls everyone in for dinner, while Scott & Jean's reminiscences conclude with Jean proposing to Scott. Later, as the X-Men gather for Thanksgiving dinner, Scott & Jean announce their engagement, and though Xavier has some reservations, he is grateful that, for a change, his children are happy.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Force in Focus: Solo Teaser Trailer


Of all the various films Disney has released and/or announced since its acquisition of Star Wars, the one that I've been the least excited about has been Solo. For the most part, this is because I've never been a terribly big Han Solo guy (unlike, apparently, all other Star Wars fans); I like him fine as part of a group of character (ie one of the original trinity) or as a mentor to Luke/Rey/Finn, a foil/romantic partner for Leia, etc. But he does little for me on his own/as the central character of a story (I haven't read the original Han Solo novels, which I understand to be excellent, but the best stuff of the AC Crispin Han Solo trilogy in the old Expanded Universe was the stuff surrounding Han, filling in historical events leading up to his momentous drink in the Mos Eisley cantina). I've also been ambivalent about this film because I really want to see Disney use one of this standalone movies to tell a story that doesn't take place between episodes three and four (bear in mind, if the long-rumored Kenobi solo film starring Ewan MacGregor does materialize, this particular objection of mine will fade quickly).

Friday, February 9, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #72

"Ooohhh...Siena!"
 December 1993

In a Nutshell
Siena Blaze attacks Muir Island

He wrote it: Richard Ashford
He drew it: Ken Lashley
They inked it: Andy Elliot & Cam Smith
He lettered it: Pat Brosseau
They colored it: Garahy & Matthys
She edited it: Suzanne Gaffney
He grouply edited it: Bob Harras
He chiefly edited it: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The Gamesmaster is tasked by a mysterious figure with acquiring the DNA mapping of Moira's son, Proteus. On Muir Island, Moira tests Excalibur in the Proteus Room, a virtual reality version of the Danger Room. Elsewhere, Gamesmaster charges Siena Blaze with acquiring the data from Moira and promising Siena points in the Upstarts competition for killing her. On Muir Island, Excalibur settles in to their new cottage home when they receive word of a fire on a nearby oil rig. Working together, they manage to rescue the workers and put out the fire. Meanwhile, scientist Rory Campbell hires a ferry to take him to Muir Island. Back on the island, Sienna Blaze, who set fire to the oil rig as a distraction, attacks Moira. With Phoenix sensing the danger, Nightcrawler & Shadowcat attempt to teleport to her side, but Sienna senses Nightcrawler's disruption of the EM field, and shifts his location slightly so that they materialize inside solid rock.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

X-amining X-Force #29

"Toy Soldiers"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
Shatterstar is abducted by Arcade.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Pencils: Matt Broome
Guest Inks: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Spending a day away from X-Force in an attempt to assimilate into the local culture, Shatterstar is captured by Arcade. Meanwhile, Cannonball & Boomer depart to visit Cannonball's family. Cable checks in on Tempo, then with Siryn & Warpath, before contacting Domino and asking for her help. Elsewhere, Shatterstar wakes up inside Murderworld, and is compelled to fight against a group of warriors from his world by Arcade, who has taken a family hostage. Shatterstar manages to defeat the warriors and set the family free, but then Arcade introduces another player looking to take down Shatterstar: X-Treme.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #27

"A Song of Mourning A Cry of Joy"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
Thenody debuts & Infectia dies of the Legacy Virus

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Richard Bennet
Guest Inkers: Bob Wiacek/Scott Hanna
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In LA, the powers of a mutant woman named Thenody flair out of control, killing a pair of police officers. At a nearby hospital, Rogue, Beast & Iceman check on Infectia, who is dying of the Legacy Virus. They meet Dr. Nathan Milbury, who takes a blood sample from Infectia, then mysterious disappears. At the X-Mansion, Revanche & Psylocke spar. In LA, the X-Men track down the lab of Gordon Lefferts, the doctor Infectia came to LA to see. Inside the lab is Threnody, whom Mr. Sinister approaches and offers a role helping him find a cure for the Legacy Virus. Rogue attacks Sinister, telling him she won't let him use another mutant for his twisted goals. But Threnody's power - which is triggered when she's around people suffering from the Legacy virus - activates again, and Beast overrules Rogue, declaring that Sinister- a scientist with no morals - has a better chance of helping her than the X-Men. Later, Beast returns to the hospital, and carries Infectia out onto a ledge, allowing her to see one final sunrise before she dies.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

X-amining Cable #6

"Fathers and Sons Act One: Sunset Breaks"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
Tolliver is revealed as Tyler, Askani returns, and Cable meets Mr. Sinister.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Dwayne Turner
Guest Inkers: Jon Holdredge & Hary Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Zero confronts Tolliver, learning he his actually Tyler, Cable's son. Eager to get revenge on his father for sacrificing him to Stryfe, Tyler reveals he has made a deal with someone to further that goal. Meanwhile, Cable meets Domino at the grave site of his mother, and he asks her to help him find Tolliver. Just then, the pair are confronted by Mr. Sinister. Outside the X-Mansion, a member of the Askani arrives in the present, looking to protect Cyclops & Jean Grey. Back at the graveyard, Cable & Domino attack Mr. Sinister, who drops some cryptic remarks before blasting Cable and teleporting away. As Domino asks Cable what Sinister did to him, Cable blasts her in turn, announcing that Sinister has set him free. Outside the X-Mansion, the Askani is captured by Tyler & Zero, while inside, Jean is startled by sudden psychic emanations. Sensing her fear, Cyclops rushes to her side, and she announces that somehow Stryfe is back, and determined to see them both dead.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

X-amining Avengers #369

"Of Kith & Kin: Bloodties the Finale"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men & Avengers unite to stop Exodus & save Genosha.

Writer: Bob Haras
Pencilers: Steve Eptin & Jan Duursema
Inker: Tom Palmer
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Mike Rockwitz
Editor: Ralph Macchio
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Exodus attacks Cortez, seemingly killing him and taking Luna for himself. On the streets above, the X-Men & Avengers unite as the skies turn yellow and outside communications are jammed, actions attributed to Exodus. As Storm & War Machine investigate the barrier and confirm it is psionic in nature, Professor X telepathically contacts the two teams, who send a contingent to aid him, Beast & US Agent against the Magistrate Elite and liberate the mutate concentration camp. Just then, Exodus appears, with Crystal, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch & Jean Grey in his thrall, and orders the mutates of Genosha to slaughter all humans, or else his barrier surrounding the island will contract, killing everyone. Recognizing that Exodus is telepathically fanning the mutates' fervor, the two teams split, with one group holding off the mutates while another attacks Exodus as Xavier probes his defenses. Sensing that the's stretched too thin, Xavier telepathically blasts Exodus, allowing Black Knight to get in close enough to shut him down with his plasma sword. The barrier disappears and the mutates back down, but Exodus recovers enough to escape, blasting Quicksilver on his way. Black Knight revives him with CPR, and days later, as the country begins to rebuild, Xavier ponders whether keeping his identity as a mutant a secret has done more harm than good.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

X-aminations in February 2018


With "Fatal Attractions" and "Bloodties" both behind us, things settle in for what passed as normal in late '93, as Sabretooth moves into the mansion, Adam-X returns, Gambit gets his own limited series, and Jean proposes to Cyclops!

On Sale October 1993
February 7: X-Men (vol. 2) #27
February 8: X-Force #29
February 9: Excalibur #72

On Sale November 1993
February 14: Uncanny X-Men #308
February 15: X-Factor #98
February 16: Wolverine #77

February 21: X-Men (vol. 2) #28
February 22: X-Force #30
February 23: Excalibur #73

February 28: Gambit #1-4
March 1: Cable #7

Monday, January 29, 2018

The Milch Studies: John from Cincinnati - “I Don’t Know, Butchie Instead”


The official description of John from Cincinnati reads: “In Imperial Beach, California, the dysfunctional Yost family intersects with two new arrivals to the community: a dim-but-wealthy surfing enthusiast and (a) man spurned by the Yosts years ago.”

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?  A family drama set against the backdrop of the professional surfboarding scene, introducing viewers to the characters from the perspective of two outsiders -- one they grow to love, one they already hate.  If you’re a TV exec convinced that young people want a sexier Six Feet Under meets X-Games at the Beach, and this guy all the critics love is going to be running the series, of course you’re going to pick this up.

Friday, January 26, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #76

"Northern Dreams"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine heads to Canada, trailed by Lady Deathstrike.

Script: Larry Hama
Guest Pencils: Tom Coker
Guest Inks: Al Milgrom
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Riding his motorcycle into Canada, Wolverine crashes, killing a rabbit and injuring a fox that ran into the road. He is found by a group of bikers, and mistaking their concern for a threat, he pops his bone claws, which causes him to pass out from the pain. In Manhattan, Ronald Parvenue tells Lady Deathstrike that his sources have alerted him to Wolverine crossing the border into Canada, and they depart to track him down. Later, the bikers show up at Heather Hudson's house with the unconscious Wolverine, having found her address in his wallet. Wolverine dreams of Magneto's attack, then wakes up, having been unconscious for two days. Lady Deathstrike tracks down the bikers who helped Wolverine, learning his whereabouts.  Wolverine asks Heather to hack into Canada's government databases for information on the Weapon X project. As they search, Puck bursts into the house, alerting them to a suspicious limo outside. Just then, Lady Deathstrike crashes through the window.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #97

"The New Humanity"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
X-Factor becomes embroiled with Haven's movement.

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Guest Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Corvese
Group Editor: Harras
Chief: DeFalco

Plot
Lorna find herself transported to a pocket dimension by Haven. The pair briefly discuss Haven's "New Humanity" philosophy before Haven sends Lorna back to DC. In upstate New York, Random returns home, unaware his house is being monitored. Lorna confers with Professor X about Haven, and he asks her to look into the woman for him. Afterwards, Lorna discovers an increasingly morose Madrox, his personality splintered such that each dupe is manifesting a different trait. In Albany, Random is attacked by the troops outside his house, but defeats them all. The next night, X-Factor, sans Forge & Havok, attend a seminar being held by Haven. As she launches into her "New Humanity" speech, however, she's interrupted by a plasma blast, as Havok & Forge burst into the room, declaring that Haven is under arrest. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #307

"Night and Fog: Part Four of Bloodties"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
Sersi fights Exodus.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Dan Green
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis
Colorist: Buccellato/Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Beast, Professor X & US Agent fight to protect the mutates from the Magistrate Elite, above them, Sersi battles Exodus. At the UN, Black Widow officially withdraws the Avengers from their charter. Back in Hammer Bay, the X-Men enter the city, as Sersi & Exodus' are blown apart by their fight. Beneath the capital citadel, Quicksilver & Jean Grey search for a way inside, hoping to get to Cortez & Luna. They run into Scarlet Witch & Crystal, after which Cortez appears, using Luna as a human shield, and frightened of retribution at the hands of Exodus. Just then, Exodus blasts into the tunnels, and Cortez shrieks to Crystal & Quicksilver that if they ever want to hold their daughter again, they must destroy Exodus.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Milch Studies: John from Cincinnati - “Some Things I Know…”


John from Cincinnati, created by David Milch and “surf noir” novelist Kem Nunn, is the oddest series in Milch’s biography.  The only Milch series to feature supernatural elements, the show was conceived at the behest of HBO’s new management, who viewed Deadwood as too expensive to continue.  They also wanted a show that could attract a young audience, and apparently because Milch was already in the room with them (and maybe they felt bad about canceling his show), the execs asked if he had any thoughts on a show based in the world of surfing.

Even though he’s lived there since the early 1980s, nothing in Milch’s work communicates any affection for southern California.  Milch later implied in a talk that his interest in surfing begins and ends with old Annette Funicello movies, and that he views surfers as the dumbest people in America.


Friday, January 19, 2018

X-amining Wolverine: Global Jeopardy

"The Heart of Animals"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine teams up with Namor, Ka-Zar & Shanna the She-Devil to help endangered animals.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Richard Howell
Inks: Bill Anderson
Lettering: Steve Dutro
Colors: Richard Howell
Photography: Gerry Ellis
Editing: Glenn Herdling
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine, Namor, Ka-Zar & Shanna the She-Devil all witness endangered animals disappear before their eyes. Independently, they track the missing animals to an island. After a brief fight between Namor & Wolverine, the group is captured by the Conservator, who has turned his island, Castillo, into a safe haven for the endangered species of the world. After being freed by Ka-Zar's sabretooth tiger Zabu and a devilish dinosaur, Shanna convinces the Conservator he could do more to help endangered species by educating people rather than hiding them away on an island. This prompts him to turn Castillo into a wildlife preserve, in the hopes of creating a living, public memorial to the world that had once been, when all animals - two and four-legged - coexisted with nature instead of savaging it.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

X-amining Avengers West Coast #101

"Genosha, Mon Amour: Bloodties Part III of V"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
War Machine battles Exodus in the skies over Genosha.

Writer: Roy Thomas
Penciler: Dave Ross
Inks: Tom Dzon
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Nel Yomtov
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As the Avengers confront the United Nations over the terms of their charter, the contingent of the team that journeyed to Genosha are confronted by Exodus. War Machine engages him as the Scarlet Witch & Crystal head off to find Luna and the rest of the Avengers try to stop the fighting between the mutates and humans. Elsewhere, Professor X, Beast & US Agent discover a mutate concentration camp in the tunnels beneath the city, protected by the Magistrate Elite. On the outskirts of the city, the X-Men defeat the Unforgiven, while in the skies above the city, Exodus overpowers War Machine, only to find Sersi ready to go one-on-one with him.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #3

"The Whispers Scream"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
In the wake of Birdy's death, Sabretooth comes to Xavier for help quelling his homicidal rages.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Mike McKone
Inkers: Mark McKenna (with assist from Mick Gray) & Steve Moncuse
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Dana Moreshead
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Maverick tracks down Sabretooth, who is growing increasing unhinged & slaughtering everyone involved in a deal gone bad, to a monastery in Barcelona, but Sabretooth manages to escape. Meanwhile, a man named Geinstach, who was also involved in the deal, meets with Commcast, hoping to hire him for protection. Instead, Commcast suggests Maverick or Wolverine. Maverick infiltrates the X-Mansion, hoping to get Wolverine's help, but Xavier offers the X-Men in light of Wolverine's absence. Meanwhile, Sabretooth meets with Commcast, looking for a telepath; he directs him to one affiliated with the Yashida clan in Japan, then contacts Maverick to give him a lead on Sabretooth. The X-Men split up, with Rogue, Gambit & Bishop going to Frankfurt to protect Geinstach, only to find him dead.. In Japan, Beast & Maverick are greeted by Silver Samurai, and they attempt to stop Sabretooth, but when he discovers the telepath has been incapacitated since the bombing of Hiroshima, Sabretooth runs off, and Beast knows where he is going: to Professor X. Later, Sabretooth sneaks into the school and finds Xavier in the library, but Xavier stops him with a telepathic blast, then enters his mind. Observing scenes from Sabretooth's childhood, he tells him Sabretooth has the ability to choose not to kill. Xavier will help him overcome his homicidal urges, but not by suppressing them the way Birdy once did. Sabretooth agrees, then later bemoans that he is essentially a prisoner. Xavier tells him it could be worse, but that he'll cure him, and then Sabretooth will pay for his crimes.