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

Tuesday, August 14, 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.

Monday, August 13, 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.

Friday, August 10, 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.

Thursday, August 9, 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.

Wednesday, August 8, 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.

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.

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, 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.

Friday, June 8, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #77

"Lowest Common Denominator"
May 1994

In a Nutshell
Nightcrawler & Daytripper defeat D'Spayre and free their mother.

Plot: Lobdell/Ashford
Script: Cooper
Pencils: Robert Brown & Ken Lashley
Inks: Elliot, Champagne, Gorder, Hudson
Letter: Sharpe
Colors: Matthys
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Years ago, a young Nightcrawler is devastated when his best friend Christian tells him they can't play together, because Christian's father believes Nightcrawler to be a devil. Nightcraler is consoled by Margali, who tells him love always lass longer than hate. In the present, Nightcrawler rescues the gypsy boy targeted by the D'spayre-influenced mob, then hatches a plan with Amanda to defeat him. Meanwhile, Zero is targeted by a pair of robots programmed by Stryfe, but manages to escape them. Back in Germany, Nightcrawler attacks D'Spayre, using his happy memories of the time an adult Christian reunited with Nightcrawler and made amends as a shield, while Amanda takes advantage of D'spayre's divided attention to quell the mob. Defeated, D'Spayre disappears, vowing to return. Nightcrawler then admits to the rescued Margali that he was furious with her for keeping his true parentage a secret, but that he could never hate a woman who has only ever acted out of love for him. Meanwhile, a damaged Zero is joined by one of the Phalanx, who says he is Doug Ramsey.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

X-amining X-Force #34

"Guns & Poses"
May 1994

In a Nutshell
In the wake of "Child's Play", Rictor goes home.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inkers: Holdredge, La Rosa, Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the wake of the Gamesmaster's defeat, Moonstar reveals she is in fact Dani Moonstar, former New Mutant, then departs, with X-Force unwilling to try and force her to stay with them. Outside, Magma breaks things off with Empath, who leaves himself, and Warpath tells Magma X-Force can drop her off in England on their way home, as she hopes to search for her family. Meanwhile, Shatterstar shows Rictor a news report that his uncle & cousin were shot in a gunfight with Mexican police, prompting Rictor to reluctantly return home. Later, he is reunited with his family, but remains disgusted by their involvement in the illegal gun trade, while Cable's presence draws attention due to his physical similarity to Stryfe, who killed Rictor's father, triggering a fight. But Rictor uses his power to defuse the situation, then visits his cousin in the hospital, telling him he belongs in prison. When his cousin accuses him of being too good for his family now, Rictor admits he's not, but that he's trying to be.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #32

"Soul Possessions Part Two: The Leopard and the Cats"
May 1994

In a Nutshell
The truth about Psylocke & Revanche is revealed

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

Plot
Psylocke & Archangel, soon joined by the rest of the X-Men, battle Spiral, who drops some cryptic words to Psylocke before dancing away. Deciphering Spiral's words, Beast & Banshee manage to access the memory banks of Revanche's bionic eyes, allowing Psylocke to watch how Spiral helped Matsuo and the Hand meld her mind with Kwannon's, creating two women who are each a part of the other. Psylocke then tracks down Matsuo, who has killed Lord Nyoirin and, in the wake of Revanche's death, intends to die himself. But Psylocke convinces him to honor Revanche's death by choosing to live. She then returns to the X-Mansion and with Archangel at her side, tosses the bionic eyes into the lake, declaring that she has met the challenge to her identity posed by Revanche, and became a better, stronger person for it.

Friday, June 1, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #81

"Storm Warning!"
May 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Excalibur battle Cyber

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

Plot
Arrving on Muir Island, Zoe Culloden helps Excalibur subdue a raving Wolverine, hallucinating from Cyber's poisons. Meanwhile, Cyber pulls himself from the ocean and commanders a speed boat, heading to Muir Island. As Excalibur debates the best way to treat Wolverine, he wakes up and attacks again, thinking everyone is Magneto. Outside, Cyber arrives on the island and knocks out the power. When Wolverine lunges at Kitty, she phases through the attack, but the shock of having almost killed her brings him to his senses. Just then, Cyber attacks Wolverine, knocking them both into a cell. Kitty rushes inside, telling Zoe to close the door. As she does, Kitty phases herself & Wolverine out of the cell, leaving Cyber trapped inside.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #102

"The Polaris Plot"
May 1994

In a Nutshell
Polaris, Random & Forge seemingly uncover the plot behind the recent attacks on Polaris.

Writer: JM DeMatteis
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Starkings
Colorist: Matt Webb
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Maryland, Colonel Malone is cut loose by his superior, Beatrice Connors, for botching the Polaris situation, but he insists the best time to strike is now. In DC, Random awakens from a dream, while Storm uses her powers to create a reprieve from the winter weather, much to the delight of Rahne & Guido. At X-Factor headquarters, Polaris & Forge debrief Random in an effort to learn who has been targeting Polaris, which leads them to a front company, Beltway Travel. As Havok arrives in Hawaii, Polaris, Random & Forge are attacked at Beltway Travel by Commando & Avalanche, working for Colonel Malone. Random & Polaris defeat Commando & Avalanche, while Forge confronts Malone, who kills himself when it's clear he's defeated. Just then, Connors shows up, telling Polaris she's the head of the Polaris Project, but that Malone went rogue, hiring Random to test her, with the intention of then brainwashing her. Connors agrees to cooperate with a Congressional investigation into the matter, then leaves with Commando & Avalanche. At the airport, Polaris says goodbye to Random, then boards a flight for Hawaii, unknowingly being watched by Connors, who is fingering a familiar necklace.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #312

"Romp"
May 1994

In a Nutshell
Storm, Yukio & Gambit fight the Phalanx in New York

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Green & Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Kevin Somers
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Storm & Yukio fight the Phalanx, Gambit arrives in the city. After Yukio is injured in a blast from the Phalanx, Storm is able to shatter the Phalanx into pieces. Just then, a human, determined not to let a mutant save him, attacks the Phalanx pieces with a baseball bat. But the Phalanx reconstitutes itself and assimilates the human, then tries to do the same to Storm. Just then, Gambit intervenes, and manages to dislodge the Phalanx' hold on Storm, allowing her to fly herself, Gambit & Yukio closer to the shore. There, they meet an agent of the National Security Council, but the Phalanx quickly follow, and the NSC agent turns out to be one of them. Back at the mansion, Beast revives the unconscious Iceman, but he remains in a coma, with Professor X unable to read his mind due to psychic interference that may be caused by the presumably-still comatose Emma Frost.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

X-aminations in June 2018 (-ish)


With the end of June looming and with it, the end of my current six month schedule of reviews, I am working on the schedule for the second half of 2018. Obviously, I have fallen way off my schedule (what with it being the end of June, and me still working on May reviews...). So I want to take the start of a new review schedule as an opportunity to get back on track and ahead of reviews (so that when the inevitable real world problems arise, it takes longer for me to fall behind). There are two ways I can do that, and rather than pick one myself, I'm going to turn the decision over to you, the readers.

One option, as I've done before, is to schedule a run of one-review-a-week Retro X-aminations, going back to review older issues I missed (for one reason or another) the first time around.

The other option is simply to take the next "on sale" month's worth of issues (in this case, May 1994) and spread them out to one review a week.

I can make the case for both (Retros are a fun look back at some older stories, the one-review-a-week-for-a-month approach slows things down but doesn't entirely halt the forward progress of reviews), which is why I'm punting the decision to you. Sound off in the comments as to which approach you'd like to see me take to lead off the second half of 2018.

In the meantime, the next batch of previously-scheduled reviews to finish up the first half of 2018 sees more Joe Madureira, the end of the Psylocke/Revanche story along with a look at Gambit & Sabretooth's past together, and the debut of everyone's favorite walking-unresolved-plotline, Douglock!

On Sale March 1994
June 6: X-Men (vol. 2) #32
June 7: X-Force #34
June 8: Excalibur #77

June 13: X-Factor Annual #9
June 14: Cable #11

On Sale April 1994
June 20: Uncanny X-Men #313
June 21: X-Factor #103
June 22: Wolverine #82

June 27: X-Men (vol. 2) #33
June 28: X-Force #35
June 29: Excalibur #78

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Force in Focus: Solo

Spoilers, obviously, if you haven't seen the movie yet (and based on those box office numbers, a fair number of you haven't).


I've been on the record as saying I've never been a big Han Solo guy, and as a result, I wasn't terribly excited by the prospect of a standalone Han Solo movie. Somewhat ironically, that perspective perhaps served me best, as I ended up going into this movie with a relative shrug (I mean, it's a Star Wars movie, so I had some excitement, but nothing like I had for the previous three films of the Disney era), but came out of it having greatly enjoyed the movie, hungry for more.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

X-amining Cable #10

"The Killing Field Part II: Like Lambs to the Slaughter"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable & the Acolytes chase after Omega Red

Desription: Fabian Nicieza
Depiction: W.C. Wyman
Diction: Glen Herdlin
Delineation: Conrad & Milgrom
Dictation: Chris Eliopoulos
Dyes: Marie Javins
Delirious: Bob Harras
Dictator: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Omega Red attacks the Tyuratam space center, looking for information about Epsilon Red as part of his quest to cure himself of his death spore virus. Shortly after he leaves, Cable & the Acolytes arrive, and realize that the next step in Omega Red's quest will require him to be in space, meaning he is likely going to try to board Avalon from Magneto's old arctic base. Cable & Katu devise a way to breach the base's security, but once Cable & the Acolytes are inside, Cable is stunned to find Omega Red there, already a captive. He realizes he's been setup, and the Acolytes admit they need him in order to bring certain systems aboard Avalon back online. As Cable turns to attack his erstwhile allies, he is stopped by a voice behind him: Colossus, leading the rest of the Acolytes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

X-amining New Warriors #46

"Child’s Play (Fourth Move): Head Games"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
The Younghunt ends with Paige Guthrie starting a new game with Gamesmaster.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Darick Robertson
Inkers: Mahlstedt, Bulandi, & Akin
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Hallway Monitor: RobTokar
Shop Teacher: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The New Warriors & X-Force converge outside the Gamesmaster's Swiss chalet base. Assuming any plan they concoct will be foiled by Gamesmaster's telepathy, the two teams launch a frontal assault on the base. Gamesmaster responds by sending Siena Blaze and his captive mutants, all under his mental control, to fight the two teams, ultimately prevailing. With both teams unconscious, Gamesmaster declares himself the winner. Just then Paige Guthrie emerges and proposes a new game to Gamesmaster: let everyone live, and he gets to play against Paige, X-Force and the New Warrriors for the fate of the next generation of mutants. Amused, he agrees and declares Paige the winner, releasing his captives before disappearing. In the aftermath, the two teams ponder whether their lives are worth the price of this new game, and giving Gamesmaster the idea to influence new mutants. Ultimately, Cable concedes the point, but declares that if people like Gamesmaster are going to treat the survival of mutants like a game, then he intends to make sure it's a game they play to win.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

X-amining What If? #60

"What If Scott Summers and Jean Grey Had Married Earlier?" / "What If Scott Summers and Jean Grey had Never Fallen in Love at All?" / "What If Phoenix Had Fallen for Wolverine?"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Three stories examine alternate outcomes to the Cyclops & Jean Grey romance

Writer: Kurt Busiek
Pencils: Ron Randall
Inks: Art Nichols
Letterer: Bob Sharen
Colorist: Janice Chiang
Editor: Rob Tokar
Caterer-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As the guest arrive for the wedding of Cyclops & Jean Grey, the Watcher observes a reality in which the couple decide to get married much earlier, at the same time Beast leaves the X-Men for the Brand Corporation. This prompts the rest of the X-Men to go out on their own as well, to better spread Professor Xavier's views on human/mutant relations. However, whenever Xavier senses the awakening of Krakoa, he decides to accompany his still raw-team of new X-Men, leading him to be captured along with the rest of the mutants. While the Avengers & Sunfire eventually defeat Krakoa, it's too late to prevent the deaths of Xavier and the new X-Men.

Friday, May 11, 2018

X-amining Excalibur #76

"Dog Years"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Nigthcrawler & Daytripper attempt to rescue their mother from D'Spayre

Words & Pictures: Ashford, Lashley, Elliot
Letters & Colors: Brosseau, Matthys, Garrahy
Edits, Bigger Edits, Biggest Edits: Gaffney, Harras, DeFalco
Plot Assist: Scott Lobdell

Plot
In a German town, D'Spayre gloats to a captive Margali Szardos as he compels the townspeople to attack one another. In Mississippi, Amanda Sefton visits Nightcrawler, recovering in a hospital from the attack by Graydon Creed. He tells her that Creed is his half-brother and Mystique his birth mother, which prompts Amanda to tell him she needs his help rescuing her mother from D'Spayre. Meanwhile, Kitty misses a call from her dad as Rory tries to stop Britanic from leaving with a hovercraft, saying they still need to study the effect of being lost in the timestream on him. However, When Meggan insists they must aid Britanic, Kitty agrees and the three leave together. Later, Nightcrawler & Amanda arrive in Germany. As Amanda recuperates from the strain of teleporting them across the world, Nightcrawler attempts to save a young child from the angry mob, but is knocked out himself, much to D'Spayre's delight. However, Margali is pleasantly surprised that Nightcrawler has come to her aid, despite her betrayal of him, and realizes D'Spayre has no idea what her son has just given her.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

X-amining X-Force #33

"Child's Play Third Move: Rules Were Made To Be Broken"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Force battles Fitzroy

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: John Holdredge
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Guidance Counselor: Bob Harras (the mean one)
Cafeteria Monitor: Tom DeFalco (the meanest one)

Plot
Outside the Guthrie home, X-Force battles Fitzroy, tricking him into using his own life force to open a portal to the last place he's been. As X-Force jumps through, Cannonball's sister Paige follows them, over her mother's objections. Meanwhile, Justice delivers Firestar to Gamesmaster, who tells him he is well aware of Shinobi Shaw's plans to usurp him, that he knows Justice intends, in turn, to betray Shinobi, and that all the mutants captured in the Younghunt thus far are now connected to Gamesmaster, so to kill him would also kill them. In New York, the New Warriors blackmail Graydon Creed into telling them the Gamesmaster is at Shinobi's Swiss chalet, while X-Force arrives at Shinobi's penthouse and forces him to do the same. At the chalet, Karma wakes up and frees the captive mutants, revealing that she's been in control of Siena Blaze since Blaze attacked her in Madripoor. However, the Gamesmaster in turn reveals he's well aware of that, and takes control of Blaze himself, using her power to blast everyone into unconsciousness, declaring he'll use their powers against those coming to rescue them.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #31

"Soul Possessions Part One: The Butterfly & the Hawk"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Revanche dies as the truth about her & Psylocke starts to be revealed.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Lavern/Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Spiral watches through Revanche's bionic eyes as Revanche seemingly prepares to attack a sleeping Charles Xavier. Just then, however, the feed cuts out, and the next morning Xavier reveals to Psylocke that Revanche left him a note saying she was leaving. Psylocke declines to tell him that Revanche left Psylocke her bionic eyes. In Japan, Matsuo recalls his past relationship with Kwannon, then meets with Spiral. At the X-Mansion, Archangel invites Psylocke to breakfast while Xavier discusses his intentions to re-open Emma Frost's school with Beast, and Gambit checks on Rogue, who has been acting strangely since they returned from New Orleans. In Japan, Revanche tracks down Matsuo. She forces him to admit the truth of her origins. Dying of the Legacy Virus, she then asks Matsuo to end her life, and he does, a sensation Psylocke feels a half a world away, as she and Archangel return to the mansion to find Spiral waiting for her, offering to answer all the questions she has about her relationship to Kwannon.

Friday, May 4, 2018

X-amining Wolverine #80

"...In the Forest of the Night!"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine fights Cyber en route to Muir Island.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Ian Churchill
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine wakes up in Zoe's car, and starts freaking out when he remembers his broken bone claws. In Edinburgh, Cyber is loaded into an ambulance, but he wakes up and commandeers the vehicle. In Alberta, a couple is attacked & killed by Bloodscream, who steals their truck. Back in Scotland, Wolverine tells Zoe about the loss of his adamantium, and she shows him video of a lecture by a molecular biologist named Dr. Munoz, discussing how to bond adamantium to bone. Just then, Cyber catches up to them, and though Wolverine is able to fight him off by triggering an oxygen tank in the ambulance to explode, Cyber manages to slash Wolverine with one of his hallucinogenic claws. With Cyber seemingly dead once more, Wolverine & Zoe reach the ferry and ask to be taken to Muir Island.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

X-amining X-Factor #101

"Afterlives"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
X-Factor grapples with the loss of Madox.

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterers: Richard Starkings & Jon Babcock
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Skipping Madrox' funeral, a morose Havok goes to a diner alone. Following the service, Polaris discusses her grief with Storm at X-Factor's townhouse, while Wolfsbane & Strong Guy do the same at a nearby the park. At the diner, Havok stops a robbery attempt but, blaming himself for Madrox' death, loses control, blasting away the front of the building. Meanwhile, Forge pays Random for his help with the fight against Haven, and asks him to stay on, but Random declines. Later, Professor X uses his telepathy to help Moira relive some memories of Madrox, while Forge & Storm share a moment together. Elsewhere, Havok finally visits Madrox grave. Hoping that wherever Madrox is, he's at peace, and hoping he can forgive Havok for what he's done, Havok quits X-Factor, leaving his ID card atop Madrox headstone, where it's caught by the wind and carried away into a raging storm.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #311

"Putting the Cat Out"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
A power outage allows Sabretooth to escape

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inkers: Dan Green/Al Vey
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Buccellato/Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As an impatient Jubilee waits for Beast to finish checking the mansion's power core before taking her to a midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show viewing, Iceman checks on the comatose White Queen and Storm says goodbye to Bishop on her way to meet Gambit and an old friend in the city. Just then, the mansion suddenly loses power, and a surge blasts Iceman & the White Queen, knocking him out. With the power out, Sabretooth escapes from his cell and attacks Jubilee, who fends him off until Bishop arrives and blasts him through a wall. As Beast frantically works to restore power before the core explodes, Bishop chases Sabretooth into the tunnels beneath the mansion. With Jubilee's help, he manages to subdue Sabretooth without killing him, as Beast averts disaster and gets the power back on, but Iceman is still unconscious. In the city, Storm meets her friend, Yukio, who wanted to warn her about a threat against the X-Men. However, the threat has already found them, as members of the Phalanx appear before them.

Tuesday, May 1, 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

Friday, April 27, 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)