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

Friday, October 19, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #85

"The Phalanx Covenant Final Sanction Part One"
September 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine, Cyclops, Phoenix & Cable reunite to battle the Phalanx.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Farmer & Rubinstein
Letters: Brosseau
Colors: Kindzierski & Andreani
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cyclops & Phoenix arrive on Muir Island to find it overrun by Phalanx trying to access the genetic information stored in the computer systems. Their plane is attacked & sent crashing to the ground, but the timely arrival of Wolverine allows the three to retreat to a different part of the island. After checking in with Lang, the Phalanx track down the three X-Men, but just then, Cable arrives and helps push them back. The foursome formulate a plan in which Phoenix & Cable will telepathically disguise them while Cyclops & Wolverine infiltrate Moira's lab and retrieve a Cerebro component they can use to locate the captive X-Men. But when on the Astral Plane, Cable's proximity to Jean trigger memories of his childhood, which breaks their connection & attracts the attention of the Phalanx. Cyclops & Wolverine retrieve the component & prime the lab to explode, and Cable tells them he'll stay behind to cover everyone else's escape. But Wolverine goes back for Cable, and Phoenix manages to telekinetically protect them when the lab explodes. Picked up by Wolverine's pilot friend Harry, Wolverine tells him to make for Tibet, where the Phalanx are holding the X-Men captive.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #106

"The Phalanx Covenant Life Signs Part 1"
September 1994

In a Nutshell

Plot: Scott Lobdell & Todd DeZago
Script: Todd DeZago
Pencils: Jan Duursema, Roger Cruz
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Glynis Oliver
Cover: Steve Lightle
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
X-Factor arrives at the former monastery base of the Acolytes, called there by Professor X. They find X-Force & Excalibur waiting for them, and Xavier explains how the Phalanx infiltrated Muir Island, prompting Excalibur's flight to the monastery. During the briefing, Cannonball notices that Wolfsbane has gone missing, and he follows her deeper into the monastery, where Douglock is being sequestered. Elsewhere, Stephen Lang grapples with the sudden influx of rebelliousness within the Phalanx hive mind, including the canine-esque Shinar who is making his way through the European countryside. Back at the monastery, Wolfsbane & Cannonball are are soon joined by Xavier & Forge, who is overwhelmed when his perception of Douglock mixes with Xavier's telepathy. He asks Xavier to leave, and Douglock proceeds to tell them the history of the Phalanx, including their biological imperative to eliminate organic life inherited from Warlock's DNA. He then tells Forge he needs his help to learn more about the Phalanx, then fights his way past Nightcrawler, Polaris & Shadowcat to escape the monastery with a captive Forge, Wolfsbane & Cannonball in tow. The group then disappears, and Xavier declares he can't locate them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #316

"Generation Next Part One: Encounter"
September 1994

In a Nutshell
The Phalanx Covenant begins!

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Joe Madureira
Inks: Terry Austin & Dan Green
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Buccellato
Edits: Harras
Chiefs: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Monaco, the mute Monet St. Croix & her guardian are attacked by the Phalanx. Meanwhile, Banshee returns to the mansion after a trip to Massachusetts to find the X-Men acting strangely: Archangel acts accusatory after Banshee takes a call from Scott & Jean, Psylocke fails to sense him telepathically, and Gambit & Bishop don't bat an eye when he tests them by saying that Professor X is walking again. Fearing the worst, he checks on Sabretooth, and when Rogue tries to stop him, he attacks, revealing her to be one of the Phalanx. Releasing Sabretooth, Banshee tasks him with freeing Jubilee & the White Queen while he sees to exterminating the Phalanx. But when he discovers the Phalanx have breached the X-Men's computer and are planning on capturing the next generation of young mutants, he sets the system to explode, then rendezvous with Sabretooth, White Queen & Jubilee in the tunnels under the mansion, telling them they need to find the young mutants before the Phalanx do!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Force in Focus: Star Wars #74

"The Iskalon Effect"
August 1983

In a Nutshell
The search for Tay Vanis begins on the waterworld of Iskalon.

Script & Plot: Jo Duffy
Layouts: Ron Frenz
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Sent by Rebel command to the watery world of Iskalon in search of missing Rebel agent Tay Vanis, Luke, Leia, Lando, Chewbacca & the droids meet with Primor, leader of the planet's aquatic School. They learn that Vanis' droid, K-3PX, contained all the information Vanis had gathered about the Empire's secret project, and was last seen at the Gamandar Citadel, an Imperial base on the nearby planet Gamandar. Lando & Chewbacca decide to infiltrate the citadel along with the droids & Mone, Primor's son, leaving behind the more recognizable & notorious Luke & Leia on Iskalon. Instead, Primor takes them exploring underwater, during which Luke spots Kendel, Mone's wife, inside the air-breathing underwater city of Pavilion, her breathing apparatus smashed. As he & Leia rush to get her back in the water, on Gamandar, Imperial Admiral Tower, upon receiving news of the Rebel presence on Iskalon from his spy, fires a massive missile at the planet. The missile flies past the Millennium Falcon, then impacts near Pavilion, creating a massive tidal wave that floods the city.

Friday, October 12, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #80

"Out of Time"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
The "Douglock Chronicles" conclude, and it's revealed that Moira is infected with the Legacy Virus.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Chris Cooper
Pencils: Amanda Connor
Inkers: Harry Candelario, Randy Elliot, Keith Champagne
Letters: Dave Sharpe
Colors: Chris Matthys
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
With Stryfe's base beneath the Pentagon self-destructing, Shadowcat works to remove a similar self-destruct component from Zero. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler & Daytripper return from Germany, and Nightcrawler meets with Professor X to discuss the Legacy Virus. Back in the base, Britannic & Meggan manage to create a tunnel, enabling everyone to escape the base, but Zero, attempting to find a way to access the Legacy Virus data inside his mind, gets his face blown off. On Muir Island, Daytripper admits to Rory she too saw the vision of him as Ahab, but insists that the future is not absolute. Meanwhile, everyone reaches the surface before the base explodes except for Zero, prompting Douglock to go back for him. Just then, Zero hears a recording from Stryfe who tells him that, with his death imminent, he's released the blocks on Zero's mind, giving him access to the Legacy Virus data as one final taunt. Just then, Douglock returns, and Zero plunges Douglock's hands into Zero's damaged face, transmitting the data and telling Douglock to remember him before the base, and Zero, are destroyed. Back on Muir Island, invigorated by his discussion with Nightcrawler, Xavier seeks out Moira, only to learn that she knows the Legacy Virus can infect humans because she herself is infected.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

X-amining X-Force #37

"The Young and the Restless"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
The Externals visit Cannonball at his family farm.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Paul Pelletier
Inkers: Harry Candelario, Scott Hanna, Charles Barnett
Guessed Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Gassed Colorist: Monica Bennet
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Confronted by newfound mortality in the face of the Legacy Virus, the Externals seek out Cannonball at his family home. Nicodemus & Burke have died already, and Absalom is infected. Gideon tells Cannonball they've come to him because he represents hope. Meanwhile, at Campe Verde, Domino & Cable discuss a new base of operations for the team, while in the Bronx, Detective Hidalgo receives new information that may help him nail the Callasantos' sisters for the murder of their family. Back in Kentucky, Cannonball asks what the Externals want from him, and Absalom tells him Burke had a precognitive vision that Cannonball or someone close to him holds the key to curing the Legacy Virus. Just then, Absalom's power flares, one of the death knells of the virus, and Cannonball tells the Externals that when the time comes, he'll do whatever he can to help them. After they leave, Cannonball & Boomer declare their love for one another, then Cannonball says it's time to go back to Camp Verde to be with their friends and continue using whatever time they have left to make the world a better place.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #35

"Sunset Grace"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
Cyclops & Phoenix return from the future/their honeymoon.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Liam Sharpe
Guest Inker: Robin Riggs
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Color Art: Digital Chameleon
Sunrise Smile: Bob Harras
Glowing Orb: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cyclops & Phoenix awaken in their bodies, their minds having been returned from the far future by Mother Askani, aboard a SHIELD helicarrier. Nick Fury explains that he brought them  on board after a local woman they met on their honeymoon named Sunset used her powers to open a dimensional rift. With the rift threatening the entire planet, Sunset has asked for Cyclops & Phoenix. The pair enter the rift & encounter Grace. She explains that once her powers allowed her to escape into this pocket dimension, but after she tried to save her family by sending them into it at the time of their deaths, she lost control, and Charles Xavier had to help her regain control of her power. In the process though, she lost the ability to access the dimension, until she encountered Cyclops & Phoenix and their mission to the future unlocked her abilities. Phoenix is able to locate her family inside the rift, and after they're reunited, Sunset closes the doorway, sending Cyclops & Phoenix through. The world spared, Phoenix confirms to Cyclops that Sunset's family died, and that, as Sunset created the alternate dimension in the first place, Jean merely helped her subconsciously create facsimiles of them so she could live out her final years in peace & happiness.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Force in Focus: Solo Deleted Scenes

Taking another brief break from Star Wars reviews to look at the deleted scenes from Solo: A Star Wars Story.

Proxima's Den


Less a deleted scene than an alternate take on Han's arrival in Proxima's den and his first (onscreen) encounter with Qi'ra, this take arguably serves Qi'ra better, as she's introduced holding a knife to Han's throat before realizing it's him, establishing early her capacity to take care of herself and strike hard when necessary.

There's also a bit of banter from Han when he's ultimately captured by Moloch and dragged away to Lady Proxima that is, intentional or not, reminiscent of his later pleas to Jabba after being thawed from the carbonite in Return of the Jedi.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Flair Annual '94

Fleer 1994

Vital Statistics 
150 card (including the checklist card) plus a 18 card "Power Blast" chase set, featuring foil on one side and a larger portion of the front image, without foil, on the back. The last 18 cards of the set (before the checklist) are dedicated to "Maximum Carnage" and "Mutant Genesis" (the story which launched the second X-Men book).

The card fronts feature previously used artwork (including from covers, internal pages, and other trading cards), featuring both specific characters and significant moments from Marvel history, recolored with computer coloring techniques and, occasionally, added computer-generated effects. The character name/moment is written in shiny foil lettering.

The landscape orientated cardbacks feature a brief description of the historical moment featured on the card front, alongside a sphere overlaid with the cover of the issue featuring the moment (usually).

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

X-amining Cable #14

"Feat & Loathing Part 3"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable & Lee battle S'ym

Writer: Glenn Herdling
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Mike Sellers
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
After quickly dispatching D'Spayre, Belasco tells Cable & Lee that he's brought him to the Nexus of All Realities. It has been growing of late, encroaching on his realm of Limbo, and he believes Cable can help stop it. He tells him that the same individual who once corrupted Cable's mother and tried to forge a link between Earth & Limbo is using the Nexus to try again. Meanwhile, Cannonball & Siryn try to track down Cable, but can't locate him anywhere on Earth. Back in the Nexus, Belasco leverages Lee in order to get Cable's help, at which point S'ym reveals himself. He's pleased to meet the son of the Goblin Queen, but when he threatens Cable, Cable fights back, eventually gaining the upper hand via his mutant powers. He seemingly kills S'ym, at which point Belasco sends Lee & Cable back to Earth.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Gentlemen of Leisure on Patreon!

The moment you've all been waiting for has come: the opportunity to give us money! Yes, it's true, Gentlemen of Leisure now has a Patreon, allowing you, noble & generous reader, to support our creative endeavors at a variety of different financial levels, just like all your other favorite websites & podcasts (never let it be said that we won't eventually catch up to trends within about five years or so of when they're first trendy)!

In all seriousness, launching a Patreon is something I've considered doing for awhile - there aren't a ton of costs associated with the work we do here, but there are a few (mostly annual domain hosting fees, and the occasional issue I need to buy for scans). I've also had a few people tell me over the years that they'd like the opportunity to support our work, so after talking it over with some trusted confidants, Dr. Bitz and I decided to pull the trigger. Nobody here has delusions of getting rich on the internet, but hopefully, we can get those costs covered this way, and if there's enough support, maybe free up some time to write some new stuff for the site (I've got about a million ideas for various review series, and I'd love to bring back my Simpsons Retro Reviews), or even get a collected edition of "X-aminations" reviews put together (which has also long been a dream of mine). 

For the most part, no one will really notice a difference between this site pre- and post-Patreon. One of the big things I've always been adamant about it when considering doing this is making sure nobody has to pay for content they're already used to getting for free - not only does that feel a little like a dick move on my part, as a writer (particularly a writer who would like to someday support himself financially by writing), I want as many people as possible to read my writing, and hiding a chunk of it behind a paywall doesn't seem like a good way to make that happen.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Force in Focus: The Empire Strikes Back Action Figures Wave 3

Roll Call
AT-AT Commander/General Veers
Luke Skywalker (Hoth Outfit)
R2-D2 w/Sensorscope
Bespin Security Guard II
Cloud Car Pilot
4-LOM
C-3PO w/removable limbs
Imperial TIE Fighter Pilot
Zuckuss

Firsts and Other Notables
This wave of figures is arguably most known for the Zuckuss/4-LOM mixup, in which Kenner mislabels the figures: 4-LOM is the droid bounty hunter, but is called Zuckuss on his aciton figure packaging, while the bug-like Zuckuss is incorrectly labeled 4-LOM.

The Zuckuss figure (advertised as 4-LOM) was this wave's mailaway figure, offered ahead of the wave's release in stores. It also has a soft goods cloak.

Friday, September 28, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #84

"Things That Go Bump in the Night!"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine fights the Hunters in Darkness.

Script: Larry Hama
Guest Breakdowns: Ron Wagner
Guest Finishes: Reinhold, Younger, Palmer & Milgrom, Yancey Labat and Matt Banning
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
With members of the research team on the brink of death, Wolverine & James Hudson rush into the attacking Hunters in Darkness to retrieve a component of the communications array to call for help. But when the Hunters cut the power from the generator, Wolverine says they can't wait for help. As the others cover him, he makes a break for the loader suit. Elsewhere, as Albert, Elsie-Dee & Bloodscream track Wolverine, Albert detects the presence of the Hunter in Darkness whom they encountered in the past. Back at the research base, Wolverine fights his way to the alpha of the Hunter pack, who is the same creature he encountered previously and traveled with Albert & Elsie-Dee. Recognizing Wolverine, the now-wizened Hunter calls off the attack, and Wolverine asks Harry to fly him south. Elsewhere, Albert detects that Wolverine is traveling by air, prompting Albert to locate the stealth bomber he & Elsie-Dee previously used. Later, Wolverine completes his Canadian visit by visiting Silver Fox' grave. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #105

"Final Sacrifice"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Factor & the Nasty Boys battle Malice

Plot: DeMatteis/Dezago
Script: Todd Dezago
Pencils: Bryan Hitch
Inks: Andy Lanning
Letterer: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Washington, DC, a mysterious figure enters X-Factor's headquarters. In Hawaii, the Nasty Boys attack the Malice-possessed Havok, with orders not to harm Havok too much. The Nasty Boys manage to overpower Havok, until Strong Guy & Wolfsbane arrive. Believing they're helping their teammate, they attack the Nasty Boys, until Polaris intervenes, demanding that Malice leave Havok. At this point, Mr. Sinister suggests Malice cut her loses and simply possess Polaris again. Back in DC, the mysterious figure explores Madrox' old room. In Hawaii, Polaris agrees to host Malice, but when Malice leaves Havok, Mr. Sinister catches her in-between bodies, forcing her back into her necklace before destroying it. A dazed Havok demands to know what Mr. Sinister's ulterior motives in helping them are, but Sinister simply says that Havok's family is always in his thoughts, and that he'll return someday to take what he wants, before teleporting away with the Nasty Boys. Back in DC, the mysterious figure picks up a picture of X-Factor and is shocked when he sees Madrox.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #315

"Peers"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
Colossus defends Neophyte in a trial on Avalon.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Roger Cruz
Inkers: Green, Rubinstein, LaRosa, Barta
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Buccellato/Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Aboard Avalon, Colossus prepares for the trial of Neophyte and his role as the young man's defender. With Exodus serving as judge, Voght the prosecutor, and the rest of the Acolytes seated as the jury, the trial begins. With Milan's aid, Voght details how the Acolytes saved Neophyte, only to have him betray them. When Neophyte explains how his brief encounter with Charles Xavier showed him an alternate to Magneto's methods, a scuffle amongst the Acolytes starts up as Uniscione attempts to kill the boy. Exodus breaks up the fight and, in the face of the conflict, leaves to deliberate with the comatose Magneto. He returns, and is on the verge of executing Neophyte, when Colossus gives an impassioned speech. Comparing Neophyte's actions to those of Magneto, and arguing the Magneto he knew wouldn't condemn the boy, Colossus manages to sway some of the Acolytes, a fact not lost on Exodus, who decides to banish Neophyte to Earth instead of killing him. In the wake of the trial, Voght warns Colossus he has only alienated himself further among the Acolytes, while Exodus worries that his control over the flock is fading, and Magneto, looking on from afar - possibly - smiles.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

X-aminations in October 2018


After a look at Marvel's latest high-end trading card series, released as they attempt to wring every last dollar from the fading trading card market, and wrapping up the June '94 releases, it's time (at last) for the "Phalanx Covenant", the crossover which, in terms of structure, bridges the gap between the formally-structured crossovers like "X-Tinction Agenda" and "X-Cutioner's Song" and the more loosely-organized early crossovers like "Fall of the Mutants" and "Inferno" (which is the model to which most of the immediate post-"Phalanx" crossovers will return).

On Sale June 1994
October 3: Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Flair Annual '94
October 4: Cable #14

October 10: X-Men (vol. 2) #35
October 11: X-Force #37
October 12: Excalibur #80

On Sale July 1994
October 17: Uncanny X-Men (vol. 2) #316
October 18: X-Factor #106
October 19: Excalibur #81

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Force in Focus: Star Wars #73

"Lahsbane"
July 1983

In a Nutshell
The Rebels search for the datatapes of a crashed pilot on a strange planet.

Script/Plot: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Ron Frenz
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Having arrived on the planet Lahsbane in search of data tapes left behind by a downed Rebel pilot named Yom Argo, Luke & Threepio learn from the natives that the tapes have been taken to the Lahsbee's Forbidden City, which is surrounded by a large canyon the Falcon can't traverse due to pollen from the planet clogging its intake valves. As Artoo & Chewbacca work to repair the ship, an Imperial shuttle arrives on the planet, also seeking the tapes. As Luke & Lando attempt to hide the Rebels' presence from the Imperials, Leia & Dani take hot air balloons to the Forbidden City. Learning of their actions, Luke follows aboard a hang glider, while Lando is attacked by a Huhk, the hulking, monstrous adult form of the diminutive Lahsbee, which, according to Threepio, are quarantined in the Forbidden City. Lando manages to stun the Huhk, while Leia & Dani locate the tapes amongst a large treasure trove in the city. Just then, they are attacked by a group of Huhks. As both have lost their blasters, they're saved by the timely arrival of Luke. With the Falcon repaired and the tapes in hand, the Rebels leave the planet, while Dani absconds with the Imperial shuttle, having successfully looted the treasure from the city.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

X-amining Cable #13

"Fear & Loathing Part 2: A Kiss Before Dying"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable & Lee Forester battle D'Spayre

Scripter: Glenn Herdling
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inkers: Sellers, Conrad & Champagne
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Seemingly alone in the Everglades, Cable & Lee Forester seek shelter in a small cabin. Inside, they find an old man who says he is called Gramps. Suddenly, Cable hallucinates the moment when he lost his wife & son, after which a younger man named Sonny enters the cabin. Gramps sends both Cable & Lee to separate bedrooms, where Lee is visited first by her deceased father then Cyclops followed by Magneto, while Cable is visited first by his wife Jenskot, then Redd, Jean Grey, Rachel Summers & Mother Askani. Just then, Gramps reveals himself as D'Spayre, who is feasting on their fear. But Cable declares that while he may feel fear, he isn't ruled by it, and in order to give Lee something real to hold onto, he kisses her, breaking D'Spayre's illusions. Just then, Sonny appears, telling D'Spayre he's lost and to release Cable & Lee to him, shortly before he transforms into Belasco and greets the son of the Goblin Queen, telling him they have a mutual enemy in common.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Force in Focus: Star Wars #72

"Fool's Bounty"
June 1983

In a Nutshell
Luke & Lando escape from Drebble, but their search for Han leads to another dead end.

Script & Plot: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Ron Frenz
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Stan G.
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Surrounded by goons led by Bossk & IG-88, Luke & Rik Duel manage to escape, but Lando & Dani are captured. Luke attempts to contact Chewbacca & Artoo back at the Falcon, but the pair have entered the city, and briefly encounter one of the native Stenax. Lando & Dani are taken to Drebble, who hired the bounty hunters to capture Lando, and they briefly manage to escape. But Drebble's goons herd the pair into a carbon freezing chamber. Luke & Rik intervene in attempt to ave their friends, but are overwhelmed. Just then, Chewbacca bursts in leading a group of Stenax, having coerced them into helping him. He knocks out Bossk & IG-88, after which the rest of the goons quickly retreat or are defeated. Luke & Lando apologize to Chewbacca for reaching another dead end in the search for Han, as Rik ponders how to convince the Stenax to help him free Chidho. As the Falcon departs Stenos, Luke is stunned to discover that Dani has stowed away on board, having decided it was time to take a vacation from Rik, and that she wanted to spend it with Luke.

Friday, September 14, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #79

"Twisted Logic"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
Zero gains sentience as Moira reveals the Legacy Virus has spread to humans.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Chris Cooper
Pencils: Ken Lashley
Inks:  Harry Candelario & Randy Elliot
Lettering: Dave Sharpe
Coloring: Chris Matthys
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Excalibur, Douglock, & the family they rescued arrive at the destination to which Zero teleported them: one of Stryfe's secret bases, housing a large number of the droids hunting Zero, all dormant. Zero explains that he reasoned it was the last place the active droids would think to look, and Meggan realizes where the base is: beneath the Pentagon. Above, Val Cooper gives Forge a file on Shadowcat's father, but Forge is reluctant to act on the information for now. On Muir Island, Xavier & Moira continue their research into the Legacy Virus, while Stephen Lang is desperate to learn how Douglock escaped the Phalanx, though a shadowy figure tells him it doesn't matter. Back beneath the Pentagon, Meggan helps Zero realize he has gained sentience, which causes the inert droids to activate and start self-destructing, desperate to destroy Zero because, as Zero explains, his sentience has unlocked the secret of the Legacy Virus. Meanwhile, back on Muir Island, Moira reveals to Xavier that their worst fears have been confirmed: the Legacy Virus has mutated, and is now spreading to the human population.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

X-amining X-Force #36

"Genocidal Tendencies"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Force battles Nimrod!

Words: Fabian Nicieza
Doodles: Tony Daniel
Scribbles: Kevin Conrad, Joe Rubinstein & Harry Candelario
Graffiti: Chris Eliopoulos
Crayon: Marie Javins
Scolding: Bob Harras
Digestive Tendencies: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Domino & Cable stand alone against Nimrod. Domino's power proves initially difficult for Nimrod to counter, allowing time for the rest of X-Force to recover and join the fray. Together, they manage to blow off one of Nimrod's legs, creating an opening for Cable to telepathically transport himself and the two scientists working on the project into Nimrod's "mind". There, they convince Nimrod to run analysis on the human causality figures caused by a Nimrod Hunter unit existing 60 years before it should, thus intensifying the war between humans & mutants. When the numbers come back significantly higher than if Nimrod wasn't active in this time, it shuts itself down. In the aftermath, one of the scientists gives Cable Nimrod's neural net, but says they'll keep the remaining shell to study its alloys & defensive systems, a comprise Cable finds agreeable. Meanwhile, in Kentucky, Cannonball's family farm is visited by the X-Ternals.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #34

"Life & Consequences"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
The X-Men infiltrate Mr. Sinister's Nebraska base.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Breakdowns: Andy Kubert
Finished Art: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Following up on Sabretooth's intel, Beast leads Rogue, Gambit & Psylocke to infiltrate Mr. Sinister's base beneath a Nebraska orphanage, in the hopes of finding information on the Legacy Virus. They are briefly attacked by the thought-dead Riptide, but he is easily defeated, after which they discover Threnody at the center of the complex, having gotten her mutant power under control with Mr. Sinister's help. She tells them that she is taking advantage of his frequent absences to comb his databanks for information, but is shocked when they mention Riptide. Revealing that Mr. Sinister keeps genetic material on hand to create clones of the Marauders, she realizes the cloning chamber must have malfunctioned, creating a Riptide clone of its own volition. She then explains that the cloning process works in pairs, meaning a clone of Sabretooth has been created as well. He soon attacks, but is even more defective than Riptide, and falls apart after Rogue punches him. Declaring the clones to be too dangerous, Threnody destroys all the genetic material to prevent anymore. Beast urges her to leave with the X-Men, but she insists that Sinister won't realize what she's done for some time, and prefers to stay where she is, helping take down Sinister from the inside.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Force in Focus: Star Wars #71

"Return to Stenos"
May 1983

In a Nutshell
The search for Han leads Luke & Lando back to Stenos.

Script & Plot: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Ron Frenz
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Christie Scheele
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louis Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
On the trail of Bossk & IG-88, the Millennium Falcon returns to Stenos. Leaving behind Chewbacca & the droids, Luke & Lando head to a nearby tavern. Inside, Lando is spotted by Drebble, a past associate who offers anyone in the bar 10,000 credits to capture him, triggering a melee. During the ensuing fight, Luke gets them out of the bar, but the pair is separated. To escape the mob, Luke ducks inside a nearby building, and finds Rik Duel & Dani, missing their associate, Chihdo. Asking for his help, they lead him outside, where Lando rushes up, telling Luke he's found Han. They trail a pair of thugs carrying a carbonite block to a large building. After Luke contacts Chewbacca to tell him they've found Han, he & Lando fight their way inside, only to discover the block contains Chihdo, not Han, and that they're been surrounded by a group led by Bossk & IG-88.

Friday, September 7, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #83

"Cold Comfort"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine returns to Canada & reunites with the Hudsons.

Script: Larry Hama
Guest Pencils: John Nadeau
Guest Inks: Bud LaRosa & Keith Champagne
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine arrives in the Canadian arctic and reunites with James & Heather Hudson, who are leading a research team investigating the effects of the hole in the ozone layer. They show Wolverine a block of ice that once contained a massive beast he identifies as the Hunter in Darkness. Elsewhere in Canada, Elsie-Dee, Albert & Bloodscream are accosted by a group of thugs. Fighting them off, the trio sets off in search of Wolverine. Further north, the Hunter in Darkness penetrates the research station, attacking Wolverine and the team. Recognizing it's not the same Hunter he previously encountered, Wolverine is able to drive it off into the night, where it howls at the moon, calling for other Hunters. It is cry that is answered.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #104

"Malicious"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
Polaris battles a Malice-possessed Havok.

Plot: JM DeMatteis & Dezago
Script: Todd Dezago
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Lettering: Starking/Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In control of Havok's body, Malice attacks Polaris, hoping to kill her before Mr. Sinister can force the pair to re-bond. Meanwhile, Strong Guy reconnects with an old flame in his hometown of Rhinebeck, only to discover her feelings for him aren't as deep as his are for her. Back in Hawaii, Polaris manages to contain the Malice-possessed Havok in a metal shell. In Rhinebeck, Wolfsbane comforts Strong Guy's young cousin, who is worried about being a mutant, as well as a heartbroken Strong Guy. In Hawaii, Polaris discovers a dazed Beatrice Conners, Malice's previous host, just as Malice breaks free. Malice grabs Conners and tells Polaris if she doesn't let Malice kill her, Conners will die. In DC, Val Cooper tries to call in Quicksilver to help Havok & Polaris, but when he is unavailable, she picks up Strong Guy & Wolfsbane in Rhinebeck, cutting their vacation short. In Hawaii, Polaris agrees to Malice's terms, but just as Malice is about to finish her off, Mr. Sinister & the Nasty Boys arrive, telling Malice if she kills Polaris, her misery will only be all the more sinister.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #314

"Early Frost"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
Emma Frost learns the truth about the Hellions.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Lee Weeks
Guest Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Archanel & Storm pursue Emma Frost, whose mind is trapped in Iceman's body. Using Iceman's powers in new & inventive ways, she manages to evade capture, but Professor X calls off the X-Men; he suspects he knows where she's headed, and he & Banshee are already en route. Meanwhile, Bishop trains in the Danger Room under the watchful eye of a holographic representation of his deceased sister, Shard. In New York City, Emma Frost arrives at Frost Enterprises and uses Iceman's powers to fight past the security guards. Inside, she accesses the computer systems, and confirms her worst fears: all the Hellions are dead, slain by Fitzroy and his Sentinels. As the Frost guards surround her, guns drawn, she begs them to shoot her, but Xavier telepathically stops them, and Banshee offers her a hand, saying that mutants can't afford to keep fighting amongst themselves, and that while what happened to her students was tragic, there's no changing it, but she can start working to make things better for the next generation of mutants. She takes his hand and they depart, leaving Xavier to look over the list of slain Hellions and vow to never again allow innocent blood to be spilled in this insane conflict between races.

Monday, September 3, 2018

G. I. JOE #5 (November 1982) - The Commercial, Not The Comic



Here's an odd one. The second commercial to air for the G. I. Joe comic is for the fifth issue, cover dated  November 1982. Most likely, it went on sale in late summer of that year. Perhaps someone somewhere would like to search through Youtube archives of kids' TV commercials from that summer. Now, why do such a thing when great folks like 3DJoes have already archived all of the ads?

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Universe Series V

Fleer 1994

Vital Statistics 
200 cards (including the checklist card), plus three chase card subsets: four card holograms, nine card "Power Blasts" and ten "Suspended Animation" cards featuring cel-like renditions of characters from Marvel's current animated series.

The front of the main hero/villain cards feature an image of the character, with a solid color border running top to bottom on the left hand side, with the character's name in the top left written in shiny foil lettering.

Like the Marvel Masterpieces and the recent Fleer Ultra X-Men sets, these cards are pretty on thicker stock, with a glossy finish.

The hero/villain card backs are all landscape orientated, with a short bio above a power ratings graphic on the right (the power ratings *really* need an "energy projection" category, to balance out characters who may not be super-strong or great fighters, but still powerful). On the left, a “moment of truth” featuring a significant event from the character’s history (depicted via an original art recreation of the event) with the issue in which it occurred, above the character’s names and group affiliations. The card’s artist(s) is also listed on the back.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

X-aminations in September 2018


No Power Rankings this month (since the last two months' of reviews have been Retro X-aminations or limited series/one-off things), but we should be back on schedule as of 9/5, with minimal interruptions (barring unforeseen complications) at least through the end of the year.

And so we dive back in to regular goings, with more setup for Generation X, the conclusion of the Nimrod and Malice stories in X-Force & X-Factor, and the continuation of mild relevance for Excalibur, amongst others.

On Sale May 1994
September 5: Uncanny X-Men #314
September 6: X-Factor #104
September 7: Wolverine #83

September 12: X-Men (vol. 2) #34
September 13: X-Force #36
September 14: Excalibur #79

September 19: Cable #13

On Sale June 1994
September 26: Uncanny X-Men #315
September 27: X-Factor #105
September 28: Wolverine #84

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

X-amining Spider-Man/X-Factor: Shadowgames #1-3

"Shadowgames" / "Shadowclash" / "Shadowfall"
May - July 1994

In a Nutshell
Spder-Man & X-Factor take down a shadowy government project to artificially create superhumans.

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Penciler: Pat Broderick
Inker: Bruce Patterson (issue #1-2), Sam De LaRosa (issues #2-3) & Williams (issue #2),
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: While attempting to attend a charity event hosted by Flash Thompson, Spider-Man is attacked by a group of superhumans called the Shadowforce. Due to the presence of Flash, Spider-Man is unable to fully defend himself, and his annoyance at Flash is mimicked by Shadowforce member Mirrorshade before Spider-Man is captured. Witnessing all this, Flash ultimately contacts X-Factor for help, telling them Spider-Man was kidnapped by mutants. Forge investigates and discovers most of the members of Shadowforce are supposedly in prison, while Spider-Man wakes up in Shadowforce's base. After escaping confinement, he learns the members of Shadowforce are the result of a secret military project attempting to recreate the powers of existing superheroes. He copies data about the project onto a disk, then notices Mirrorshade, intent on killing Flash, escape, but before he can follow him, X-Factor arrives, triggering a conflict with Shadowforce.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

X-amining The Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix #1-4

"Wish You Were Here!" / "Tenure" / "Through the Years" / "Sacrifice"
May - August 1994

In a Nutshell
Cyclops & Phoenix spend their honeymoon two thousand years in the future, raising Cable & preparing him to overthrow Apocalypse.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Gene Ha
Inker: Al Vey (issues #1-4), Terry Austin (issue #2-3), Mark Pennington (issue #3), Joe Rubinstein (issue #3-4), Bill Anderson, Al Milgrom (issue #4)
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: In the midst of their honeymoon, Scott Summers & Jean Grey-Summers find their minds pulled two thousand years in the future and deposited in new bodies by Mother Askani, who turns out to be an elderly Rachel Summers. They arrive in the midst of an attack on the Askani stronghold by Apocalypse's forces, led by Ch'Vayre, in which they've captured the clone of Nathan Summers. Rachel explains that she needs Scott & Jean to help raise & protect Nathan, who is destined to destroy Apocalypse & liberate the world. Rachel manages to imbue Scott & Jean's new bodies with versions of their powers, an act which puts her in a coma. Together, they manage to rescue Nathan & escape Ch'Vayre along with Rachel's body, after which they set out to build their little family.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

X-amining Wolverine/Nick Fury: The Scorpio Connection

"The Scorpio Connection"
1989

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Nick Fury battle a new Scorpio.

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artist: Howard Chaykin
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Color Art & Special Effects: Richard Ory & Barb Rausch
Assistant Editors: Sarah Tuchinsky & Evan Skolnick
Editors: Gregory Wright & Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
A SHIELD camp in Peru is attacked, with everyone there, including David Nanjiwarra, killed by someone who leaves behind a Scorpio image. Receiving word of the attack, SHIELD head Nick Fury decides to investigate it personally due to his relationship with the original Scorpio. Meanwhile, Wolverine learns of Nanjiwarra's death, something SHIELD had hoped to keep from him, and decides to investigate his death himself, as Nanjiwarra was an old friend whom Wolverine suggested join SHIELD. When Scorpio attacks a SHIELD base in Venice, Fury is waiting, and though Scorpio escapes, Fury confirms its not his long-dead brother, the original Scorpio. Meanwhile, Wolverine tracks Scorpio from Peru to Istanbul, where he encounters Scorpio's mother, Amber D'Alexis, and is nearly killed by Scorpio, who believes he is the son of Fury's brother. Wolverine is rescued by Fury, and the pair track Scorpio to a base on the Aegean Sea, where Amber has laid a trap for them. However, when Scorpio & Amber attack a SHIELD facility in Atlanta, Fury & Wolverine are waiting, having escaped Amber's trap. Scorpio & Amber flee attempt to flee, but Fury manages to disarm Scorpio, at which point Amber reveals he's actually Fury's son. Wolverine kills Amber, but Fury stops him from killing Scorpio when he reveals that Nanjiwarra was a traitor to SHIELD, sating Wolverine's fury about his death. Instead, Fury takes Scorpio into custody, hoping to deprogram him, and Wolverine bids Fury farewell, while also congratulating him on becoming a father.

Monday, August 6, 2018

G. I. JOE: Season 3.2 -- Available Now!


It’s Gene Kendall again, with another post about my Kindle Worlds totally unsanctioned G. I. Joe project.  Kindle Worlds really was an inspired idea.  Enable fans capable of producing professional level work to pen prose novels based on licensed properties.  The copyright owners set basic guidelines, Amazon posts the digital files, and the money is split between the three parties.

Why couldn’t it last?  Perhaps because Amazon automatically set the price, listing most novels in the $3.99 range.  It’s not an outrageous price (especially when you consider the work that goes into a novel), but I can see why many readers balked.  It’s not as if any of these works belonged to the “official” canon of the respective properties.  And, really, to many fans, canon is king.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

X-amining Marvel Team-Up #100

"And Introducing Karma! She Possess People!" / "Cry -- Vengeance!"
December 1980

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of future New Mutant Karma

Writer/Co-Creator: Chris Claremont
Artist/Co-Creator: Frank Miller, John Byrne (2nd Story)
Artist/Embellisher: Bob Wiacek, Bob McLeod (2nd Story)
Letterer: A Kawecki
Colorist: Carl Gafford, Robbie C. (2nd Story)
Editor: Denny O'Neil
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Spider-Man is possessed by an unseen figure and made to attack a party hosted by General Coy. The Fantastic Four are in attendance, and defend Coy against Spider-Man. When Spider-Man gets the better of them, Coy's nephew Tran secretly intercedes, breaking Spider-Man's possession. The FF take him to the Baxter Building, where a scan reveals evidence of the possession. Mr. Fantastic contacts Professor X, who confirms the presence of a new mutant in the city. The FF & Spider-Man track the mutant to a church, where they encounter a young woman named Xi'an. She tells the heroes of her childhood in and flight from Vietnam, and how her criminal uncle General Coy and her twin brother Tran have taken her younger siblings hostage in order to force her to work for them. It was they whom she was attempting to rescue using Spider-Man (who she believed to be a criminal, thanks to news reports). The FF & Spider-Man agree to help Xi'an, but when they attack Coy, Tran, who shares Xi'an's mutant ability, takes control of the Fantastic Four and pits them against Spider-Man. This forces Xi'an to use her power to counter her brother's, ultimately killing him. Accepting she shares some her brother's darkness, Xi'an christens herself Karma and is reunited with her siblings, as the FF & Spider-Man marvel at her power.

Monday, July 30, 2018

G. I. JOE #1 (June 1982) -- The Commercial, Not The Comic


Gene Kendall here, with the beginning of what might become a regular segment.  Or just a one-off we’ll all forget.  For the past few months, I’ve been revisiting the Marvel run of G. I. Joe on my Twitter feed.  One aspect of those early issues that deserves attention is the animated commercials commissioned by Hasbro for the series.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

X-amining Incredible Hulk Annual #7

"The Evil That is Cast..."
1978

In a Nutshell

Writer/Co-Plotter: Roger Stern
Penciler/Co-Plotter: John Byrne
Inker: Bob Layton
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Janice Cohen
Editor: Bob Hall
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As the Hulk is treated by Doc Samson at nearby Gamma Base, Angel & his girlfriend Candy Southern are visited by Iceman and his girlfriend, Terri Sue Bottoms. As the couples are enjoying the pool, the two mutants are attacked by a mysterious figure who soon transforms into Master Mold. After Master Mold captures Iceman, Angel lures Master Mold to Gamma Base, where Angel is captured but Master Mold manages to anger the Hulk in the process, prompting the Hulk to grab onto Master Mold as the Sentinel flies into outer space. Angel & Iceman awaken aboard a space station, where they learn that Master Mold houses the mind of Stephen Lang. Hulk doesn't much care, and proceeds to tear apart Master Mold. Angel, Iceman & Hulk proceed to an escape pod, but when Master Mold reveals he's sealed the pods, Hulk kicks the pod containing the two mutants free and goes back to finish off Master Mold. Angel & Iceman land in the ocean just as the space station above them blows up, though Hulk soon emerges from the water, having leaped free of the station before it blew and grabbed onto the escape pod. Hulk heads back to Gamma Base, while Angel & Iceman hustle back to their waiting girlfriends.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

X-amining Avengers #53

"The Battle Joined!"
June 1968

In a Nutshell
The Avengers help the X-Men defeat Magneto.

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Roy Thomas
Artist: John Buscema
Inker: George Tuska
Letterer: Artie Simek

Plot
Spotting Cyclops standing over an unconscious Quicksilver, the Avengers, having been brought to the island by Angel, whom they left aboard their ship after discovering an electronic bug on him, are suspicious, and Cyclops responds to their suspicion by attacking them.Watching over a monitor, Magneto is pleased the Avengers have arrived & found the bug he planted on Angel before Angel escaped. After Cyclops escapes from the Avengers, they turn on each other, bickering, as Magneto uses his mind control device to set the X-Men against the Avengers. The Avengers manage to defeat the X-Men, but Angel, revealing that the Avengers' distrust of him and their infighting was all a ruse to lull Magneto into false confidence, manages to destroy Magneto's device, restoring the X-Men to their senses. Together, the two teams attack Magneto, but he flees along with the rest of his Brotherhood. However, as their escape craft leaves the island, Toad, fed up with the abuse he suffers at Magneto's hands, kicks him out of the craft, causing him to plunge into the water below, and disappear.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

X-amining Fantastic Four #28

"We Have To Fight The X-Men!"
July 1964

In a Nutshell
The Mad Thinker & Puppet Master team-up to pit the Fantastic Four against the X-Men.

Written by: Stan Lee (the Leader!)
Drawn by: Jack Kirby (the King!)
Inked by: Chic Stone (the Master!)
Lettered by: Art Simek (the Letterer!)
Colorist: Steve Buccellato

Plot
As the Fantastic Four discuss a news report involving the X-Men, the Mad Thinker enlists the Puppet Master to take control of Professor X. Once under the Puppet Master's sway, Xavier sends the X-Men to attack the Fantastic Four, telling his students the FF are plotting world domination. After arriving at the Baxter Building, the X-Men pick a fight with the Fantastic Four in order to lead them to a plateau outside the city where the Thinker has set a series of booby traps. With the FF captured, the villains reveal themselves, and Puppet Master orders Xavier to make the X-Men sleep. But with his control spread over five individuals across miles, Beast is able to resist his control long enough to shatter the radioactive puppet used by the Puppet Master to control Xavier. With the FF having freed themselves, the Mad Thinker unleashes his Awesome Android, which overpowers both teams until Xavier is able to use his telepathy to shut the creature down. Though the villains escape in the confusion, the two teams part as friends, with Mr. Fantastic considering the X-Men worthy representatives of the day's youth.

Friday, July 6, 2018

X-amining Cable #12

"Fear and Loathing Part 1: The Quick and the Dead"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable & Lee Forester battle a resurrected Senyaka.

Plotter: Scott Lobdell
Scripter: Glenn Herdling
Penciler: Mike Miller
Inkers: Conrad, Hanna & Sellers
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Lee Forester, the last surviving member of her crew, fights off their killer, Senyaka, until Cable suddenly arrives in response to a distress call she placed to the X-Men. Though Senyaka manages to disable Cable's bionics, Lee knocks the distracted villain out, and she & Cable flee deeper into the Florida Everglades. Unable to teleport them to safety, Cable & Lee brace themselves for Senyaka's attack. When it comes, Cable is able to telekinetically hurl a battery of sharpened sticks at him, killing him. But their victory is short-lived, as Cable points out they're still stuck in the alone in the wild, with no food, supplies, weapons or means of contacting anyone for help.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #5

"Hard Promises"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
Xavier & Lilandra's relationship struggles as the Shi'ar formally annex the devatstated & defeated Kree Empire.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Liam Sharpe
Inkers: Kevin Conrad, Steve Moncuse, Robin Riggs, Matthew Ryan
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Late one evening, Professor X, Storm, Forge & Jubilee are taken by a Shi'ar ship to Hala, former capital of the Kree homeworld, in order to attend a ceremony led by Lilandra in which the Shi'ar will formally join Kree territory to their empire. During the ceremony, Jubilee befriends a young Kree girl named Shym'r, whose brother tries to assassinate Deathbird. Later that night, Shym'r takes Jubilee to a rebel cell led by a Kree named Malakii. Jubilee later convinces Professor X to meet with Malakii, and they are joined by Forge, Storm & Lilandra. Though Lilandra & Malakii makes some headway in developing a relationship that will address some of the Kree's grievances, two of the more zealous members of his resistance group take a ship in order to detonate the stargate near Hala, which runs the risk of destroying the whole planet. Working together, Lilandra, Malakii and the X-Men manage to stave off disaster, but in the aftermath, Lilandra allows Deathbird to arrest Malakii. She insists that while he did help stop the destruction of the stargate and that she will consider his words about how the Shi'ar treat the Kree, he is still the head of a terrorist cell and must be punished accordingly. Realizing once and for all that their respective duties will always keep them apart, Xavier turns from Lilandra and returns home with the X-Men, his heart empty & cold.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men Annual #18

"Trust is a Two-Edged Sword" / "And Nothing Will Ever Be the Same"
1994

In a Nutshell
Shadowcat & Sabretooth rescue Jubilee from Caliban

Writer: Gelnn Herdling, Jeph Loeb (2nd Story)
Penciler: Ian Churchill, Tim Sale (2nd Story)
Inkers: Hilary Barta & Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings, Joe Rosen (2nd Story)
Colorists: Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas, Greg Wright (2nd Story)
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Caliban steals food from a group of young campers in order to feed Jubilee, whom he's abducted and is holding in the Morlock Tunnels. At the mansion, the X-Men discuss the note he left behind, demanding that Kitty Pryde bring him Sabretooth in exchange for Jubilee. After Kitty arrives from Scotland, Xavier & Jean convince Sabretooth to help her retrieve Jubilee, though they have no intention of handing him over to Caliban. Sabretooth leads Kitty to Caliban, who floods the tunnel, telling Kitty to phase while Sabretooth drowns. But Kitty saves Sabretooth, at which point a massive squid attacks, knocking out Caliban. Sabretooth manages to kill it, saving them all, but then he tricks Kitty into phasing so he can pass his manacles through her arm, disrupting their electronic mechanisms and setting himself free. Unrestrained, he viciously attacks Caliban, but Jubilee intervenes, blinding him and helping Kitty get him back into his restraints. Kitty then asks after Caliban, but he tells them to leave, insisting that he's destined to always be alone.

Friday, June 29, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #78

"Fire in the Wild"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
Excalibur meets Douglock

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Chris Cooper
Pencils: John Royle
Inks: Harry Candelario
Lettering: Babcock & Brosseau
Coloring: Chris Matthys
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Zero tries to teach Douglock about sentience & individuality while warning him about the threat of Stryfe's droids, who are targeting Zero & anyone with which he comes in contact, Britanic sets Excalibur's craft hovering nearby, unsure of why he was called to the location. As they wait, Kitty takes the opportunity to call her mom. Meanwhile, Xavier arrives on Muir Island to help Moira combat the Legacy Virus, while back in Maine, Zero encounters a family of campers, then helps unlock Douglock's memories of Doug Ramsey. When Stryfe's droids attack the family, Britanic and the rest of Excalibur spring into action to save them, with both Zero & Douglock joining the fray. They manage to destroy the droids, but as another wave arrives, Zero teleports everyone out of harm's way.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

X-amining X-Force #35

"Beg Tomorrow"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Force investigates the development of a new Nimrod

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inkers: Holdredge, Candelario, Conrad, Green, Champagne, Rubinstein
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Marshall, Lopez, Thomas
Edits: Bob Harras
Beggin the Schedule: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Domino & Shatterstar infiltrate Strong Industries to acquire an artificial intelligence chip in development there, Rictor & Warpath tail a scientist working on the project in order to obtain copies of documents involving his work. Cable, worried the US government is taking a step closer to initiating full scale mutant genocide, brings the evidence to Forge and acquires intel on the government's Sentinel base at Camp Hayden. Later, Siryn meets with Banshee and asks him for information about Nimrod. At the Guthrie farm, Paige insists to her brother that she intends to attend Xavier's School. At Camp Verde, Cable briefs the rest of X-Force on their mission to infiltrate Camp Hayden and put a stop to whatever artificial intelligence is being developed there. Using uncharacteristic stealth, their attack goes well until the AI activates itself and proceeds to easily defeat the team in the form of a rebuilt Nimrod.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #33

"The Hearts of Thieves"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
A tale of Gambit & Sabretooth's past together

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Andy Kubert
Inker: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
Le Grande Canard: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the past, a young Gambit rescues a woman named Genevieve from Sabretooth in Paris. In the present, Sabretooth stops his retelling to goad Rogue, but she insists he gets back to his story. He tells her how, in Paris, he tracked Gambit to a meeting with his brother Henri, where he explained that he planned to woo Genevieve in order to get close enough to steal a priceless necklace she stole from her husband, thus completing his initiation into the Thieves Guild. Elsewhere in the mansion, Beast ponders seeking Sabretooth's help to track down Mr. Sinister, while Sabretooth continues his story: after Gambit steals the necklace from Genevieve, Sabretooth captures her & Henri, telling Gambit to meet him at Notre Dame. There, he holds Genevieve & Henri over the edge, telling Gambit he'll trade one of them for the necklace. Gambit tosses him the necklace, but Sabretooth drops both, and Gambit saves his brother. Below, a dying Genevieve tells Gambit she loved him, and would have just given him the necklace. The story complete, Rogue goes outside, where Gambit tells Rogue he's a different man than he was then, but he needs her help to figure out what kind of man. Inside, Beast tells Sabretooth he needs to be at a briefing the next morning: he can keep trying to fight the world, or start finding a way to live in it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

X-aminations in July (-ish) 2018...and Beyond!


In the previous "upcoming X-aminations" post, I asked for feedback regarding the avenue I go down as I attempt to get back on schedule: take a break and post one-a-week Retro X-amination reviews, or simply slow my pace to one-a-week reviews for a while. In the end, I decided to split the difference, and do both!

So, after finishing up with the April '94 reviews, we'll look at a batch of retro reviews, followed by a handful of one-a-week standalone reviews of stuff on sale circa April and May of 1994. After that, hopefully, things will be back on a normal schedule and I'll have built up a backlog to help ride things out until at least the end of the year. 

And while the second half of the year will cover a fairly limited about a publication time (books on sale May through September of 1994), a lot of stuff is happening: "Phalanx Covenant", the next linewide crossover (and last traditional crossover for awhile) begins and ends, Joe Madureira returns to begin his run as the new regular artist on Uncanny X-Men, and the line adds its eighth non-reprint, non-future-set, non-cartoon tie-in monthly book in Generation X as the concept of "teaching young mutants how to use their powers" is dusted off and featured once more.

Friday, June 22, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #82

"Omnia Mutantur"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine returns to Japan & sets his ward up with Yukio

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert with special assist by Bob McLeod
Inker: Mark Farmer & Joe Kubert
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine lights incense at Mariko's tomb on the anniversary of her death. Outside, a group of hand ninjas wait to attack him, but Yukio convinces them that, since Wolverine lacks his healing factor & adamantium claws, he couldn't possibly be the Wolverine they are after. In Canada, Bloodscream discovers the inert Elsie-Dee. Reviving her, she proceeds to revive Albert, while Bloodscream lies to her, proclaiming himself a friend of Wolverine's. On Muir Island, Moira MacTaggert is concerned about Wolverine's physical regression, but Zoe Culloden leaves the island, declaring she has some ideas on how to address it. In Japan, Wolverine poses as a social worker to interview the abusive foster parents of his foster daughter Amiko. That night, donning his X-Men uniform, he removes her from the home and brings her to Yukio. He then cuts a deal with Silver Samurai: in exchange for the Honor Sword of Clan Yashida, Silver Samurai will ensure the Japanese child welfare authorities accept Yukio as Amiko's new guardian.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #103

"Friends and Family"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
Polaris joins Havok in Hawaii while Wolfsbane joins Strong Guy on a visit home.

Plot: DeMatteis/DeZago
Script: Todd DeZago
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Hitching a ride with Random, Strong Guy & Wolfsbane arrive at the upstate New York home of Strong Guy's aunt & uncle. Meanwhile, Polaris joins Havok in Hawaii, though the the couple is being unknowingly watched by a Malice-possessed Beatrice Connors. Back in New York, Wolfsbane is charmed by Strong Guy's family, while Val Cooper testifies at the Pentagon that Madrox' death was caused by Haven, not the Legacy Virus. In Hawaii, Polaris helps Havok get over his guilt for Madrox' death, while in New York, Strong Guy & Wolfsbane explore the town, meeting people from Strong Guy's past. In Hawaii, Havok is confronted by Connors, while in New York, Wolfsbane suddenly senses that he's in trouble, but Strong Guy reminds her they are no longer psychically bonded. However, when Polaris approaches Havok, she is shocked to discover he has been taken over by Malice!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #313

"Hands Across the Water"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
Storm, Gambit & Yukio manage to drive off the Phalanx.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Joe Madureira
Inks: Dan Green
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Buccellato/Somers
Editor: Bobbit Harras
Why?: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Pulled underwater by the Phalanx, Gambit is able to trigger an explosion that allows him to escape & pull Yukio to the surface. At the X-Mansion, Beast tries to revive the comatose Iceman, while Banshee consoles a distraught Jubilee and Professor X confronts the recaptured Sabretooth, confirming his dedication to curing Sabretooth of his homicidal tendencies. Back in the city, Storm fights off the Phalanx who had been disguised as a NSC agent, then reunites with Gambit, while elsewhere, the leader of the Phalanx, Stephen Lang, deals with a surprisingly-independent Douglock. In New York, using Yukio as bait, Gambit & Storm team-up to charge an enormous ship anchor with kinetic energy, then drop it on the Phalanx, triggering a large enough explosion to scatter the pieces of the Phalanx into the ocean, though Storm knows this won't be the last time the X-Men face them. Back at the mansion, Iceman wakes up, ranting about being trapped in the mansion, prompting Professor X to calmly welcome the White Queen back to the land of the living.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

X-amining Cable #11

"The Killing Field Part 3: Divide & Conquer"
May 1994

In a Nutshell

Writer: Glenn Herdling
Penciler: M.C. Wyman
Inkers: Farmer, Barta, Lowe, Conrad, LaRosa, Hanna, Rodier
Letterer: Starkings
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cable uses his control over Magneto's arctic base to escape from the assembled Acolytes, then watches as they split into teams to find him. Meanwhile, in Flordia, Lee Forester's first mate Paolo is pulled into the water by an unseen attacker and killed. As Cable uses the base to pick off the Acolytes one by one, Voght teleports him out of the fray, telling him that Omega Red is planning to release his death spore virus in the base, not outer space, thereby killing all life on the planet. While some of the Acolytes are okay with this, she is not. Cable fights his way past Colossus to get to Omega Red, but Omega Red overpowers him just as the virus is about to release. Just then, Katu intervenes, using his power to obliterate both himself & Omega Red, saving the world. In the aftermath, Colossus tells Cable there's no reason to continue fighting, and Cable tells Colossus that he hopes he knows what he's doing, for humanity's sake.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

X-amining X-Factor Annual #9

"Contact" / "Cleaning House"
1994

In a Nutshell
Xavier meets Haven as X-Factor battles Professor Power.

Writer: JM DeMatteis, Matthew Friedman/Amy Meyer (2nd Story)
Penciler: Matt Broome, Kerry Gammil (2nd Story)
Inker: Steve Moncuse/Terry Austin, Hilary Barta (2nd Story)
Letterer: Janice Chiang, Richard Starkings (2nd Story)
Colorist: Glynis Oliver, Ashley Posella
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On the Astral Plane, Haven appears before Professor X, wanting to talk to him, while X-Factor arrives at a SHIELD base in DC, having been tasked to guard a large container being shipped to Idaho. Shortly after departing, an energy wave hits the truck, and the group is attacked by a pair of cyborgs. As Xavier & Haven debate the merits of her philosophy and discuss Haven's background, X-Factor defeats the cyborgs, but in the process, the container they're transporting is opened and another cyborg emerges, declaring he is Professor Power, an old enemy of Xavier's. As Haven comes to realize she'll never win Xavier over to her way of thinking, she expels him from the Astral Plane. X-Factor ultimately defeats Professor Power. In the wake of her encounter, Haven mediates on her goals, including having had her agents free Power as a means of handling Xavier.