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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?