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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.

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.