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

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Game of Thrones 8x01: Winterfell



Opening Credits Map

Last Hearth -> Winterfell -> King's Landing

Winterfell
Daenerys had once says that she wants to break the wheel. If that’s the case the she’ll have to break Game of Thrones because this show is coming full circle!

Force in Focus: Star Wars #91

"Wookiee World"
January 1985

In a Nutshell
Han, Lando & Chewbacca return to Chewbacca's homeworld of Kashyyyk!

Script & Plot: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Tony Salmons
Finisher: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Han, Lando & Chewbacca arrive on Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld. As they make their way to Chewbacca's home, they're confronted by a pale figure who says the Wookiees have dubbed him "Knife", and has made friends with Chewbacca's brother-in-law, Vargi. Knife & Vargi accompany the group to Chewbacca's home for drinks, only to find it empty. Chewbacca is worried, but Han & Lando suggest his family is merely out shopping, since Chewbacca had wanted to surprise them and thus they had no way of knowing he'd be home. However, when Chewbacca's son Lumpy comes home accompanied by three Wookiee thugs, Knife reveals he's holding Chewbacca's family hostage, and that he hopes to restart the slave trade on Kashyyyk. Leaving the captive Han & Lando behind, Knife parades Chewbacca down to the spaceport, hoping to break the spirit of those resistant to his slave trade. However, Han & Lando escape, and Han is able to release Chewbacca, only to be savagely beaten by Vargi. Chewbacca intervenes, but holds back, fearing for his family, until Lando arrives, having released Chewbacca's family. Unrestrained, Chewbacca defeats Vargi, inspiring an uprising against Knife's collaborators. Knife, however, manages to escape, but Han vows to track him down for a rematch as soon as possible.

Friday, April 19, 2019

X-amining Excalibur #86

"Back to Life"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Pete Wisdom debuts as Excalibur heads to Genosha.

Writer; Warren Ellis
Pencil Artist: Ken Lashley
Ink Artist: Tom Wegrzyn
Letterer: J. Babcock
Colorist: J. Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Thailand, in the wake of a disastrous mission, British Intelligence operative Pete Wisdom decides to quit. Later, on Muir Island, Brian Braddock finishes work upgrading Moira's hovercraft to serve as Excalibur's chief mode of transport, which he dubs the Midnight Runner. Just then, agents of British Intelligence's Black Air organization arrive, along with Pete Wisdom, and enlist Excalibur's help in going to Genosha alongside Wisdom to help settle the war still raging between the humans and mutates. Despite feeling like they're being played, Excalibur agrees to go. As they arrive in Genoshan airspace, Kitty questions Wisdom, and he reveals that conditions in Genosha are far worse than they believed, with both sides of the conflict suffering massive starvation. Just then, rockets pepper the Midnight Runner, sending it crashing to the ground as all of reality crystallizes, then shatters.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

X-amining X-Force #43

"Teapot in a Tempest"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Reignfire is revealed to be Sunspot as reality ends.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: Kevin Conrad
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
With Cable occupied in Israel, Cannonball decides to combine Cerebro with Cable's time displacement core in an attempt to locate the missing Sunspot. Much to his surprise, it works, pinpointing Sunspot on an island in the North Atlantic. Meanwhile, in Greenwich Village, Rictor & Shatterstar go clubbing, while Boomer tries to help a troubled teenage girl get off the streets. Back at X-Force's base, Cannonball contacts Cable, but he's unable to return with X-Force's vehicle. Just then, Locus appears, having been abandoned by Sunspot and shocked to learn she's been gone six months. When she learns that X-Force has located Sunspot on Earth, she agrees to take them to him. They stop along the way to pickup Boomer, Shatterstar & Rictor, then arrive at the Mutant Liberation Front's base in the North Atlantic, in the middle of a pitched battle, just after Reignfire has attacked Moonstar. Cannonball demands to know where Sunspot is, and Reignfire responds by removing his mask and declaring that he is and has always been Sunspot. Just then, reality begins to crystallize, and Cannonball realizes it is what Cable & and the X-Men were trying to stop, as everything turns to crystal, then shatters.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #41

"Dreams Die!"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Legion accidentally kills Xavier in the past, ending reality.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencilers: Andy Kubert & Matt Ryan
Inker/Finishes: Matt Ryan
Letterers: Oakley & NJQ
Colorists: Kevin Somers/Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Legion attacks Magneto twenty years in the past, the X-Men who followed him to that time attempt to stop him. In the present, Lilandra contacts Professor X, telling him a crystallization wave launched by the M'Kraan crystal is destroying worlds, and it's heading towards Earth. In the past, the battle between Legion, Magneto and the X-Men draws the attention of Apocalypse, who decides it's time for the order of ascension to begin, in which only the fittest will survive. In Haifa, Iceman uses his power to freeze all the water in Legion's body, seemingly stopping his attack. But Legion restores himself and, having overpowered Magneto, prepares to strike a killing blow. Just then, Xavier throws himself between Legion & Magneto, taking the strike intended for Magneto, killing himself in the process. Having slain his own father, Legion blinks out of existence, and the X-Men disappear as well, save for Bishop, who is left behind, his mind damaged by the energy that ripped away Legion & the X-Men. In the present, the crystallization wave reaches Earth, and as it approaches the X-Men, Rogue reaches out and kisses Gambit, just as all of reality transforms into crystal, then shatters.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #15 - Patreon First!

"Shadows and Light"
December 1994

In a Nutshell
Glitterspike & Rosa face the Shadow Dancer

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Metalhead regains consciousness, Glitterspike flies over the desert with Rosa, who manages to damage his anti-grav unit, sending them both crashing to the ground and knocking them out. Metalhead, Mama Hurricane & Louise Wingfoot race into the desert in search of Rosa. Meanwhile, Rosa & Glitterspike wake up in a cave, brought there by the Shadow Dancer. As Glitterspike picks a fight with the creature, Rosa sneaks away. At Zhao's compound, Fitz convinces Cerebra to stay with the team under his leadership, while Krystalin learns that her father has died. In the desert, Metalhead, Mama Hurricane & Louise find Rosa inside the cave, and the group discovers a crashed space ship, realizing the Shadow Dancer is a stranded alien. Just then, the Shadow Dancer appears, but rightly senses the group means it no harm. Glitterspike, however, comes out of the shadows and attacks the Shadow Dancer again, but Metalhead intervenes, forcing Glitterspike to drain his reserves of light energy, then knocking him out. Later, the group emerges from the cave, with Louise declaring that Rosa's baby will be fine, while a powerless Glitterspike wakes up inside the cave to find himself face to face with the Shadow Dancer.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Force in Focus - The Rise of Skywalker Teaser


After what seemed like a really long time to go without either a teaser or a title for Episode IX, both were finally revealed this last Friday at Star Wars Celebration. Here then are a few of the things from that teaser trailer which caught my eye/sparked my interest.

Phantom Menace Parallels 


Billed as the last chapter in a nine part saga, and with this trailer released just a few weeks ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the release of the first chapter in that saga, I love the way the early moments of the trailer echo the early moments of the Phantom Menace trailer, from the "every generation has a legend" title card, to the cut of a vehicle racing across a desert landscape, to the way the vehicle is moving left to right in Phantom but right to left in this one, thereby completing the loop.

Friday, April 12, 2019

X-amining Wolverine #90


"The Dying Game"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Returned to the X-Mansion, Wolverine fights Sabretooth.

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

Plot
Back at the X-Mansion, Wolverine confronts the captive Sabretooth, who attempts to push through the force field entrance to his cell to attack him. But the pain of the field forces him back. Wolverine proceeds to do his best to go about his business, ignoring Sabretooth, but something doesn't sit right with him. Hearing news reports about serial killer Linus Dorfmann, Wolverine realizes that Sabretooth is slowly building up his pain tolerance in order to breach the field. He rushes to Sabretooth's cell and arrives just as Creed forces himself through the force field. A vicious brawl ensues between the two, but Wolverine holds back, not using his claws, until Sabretooth threatens to hunt down and kill every woman Wolverine has ever loved, starting with Jean Grey and ending with Jubilee. With that, Wolverine loses control, pinning Sabretooth down with one claw on either side of his head. As Sabretooth taunts him further, Wolverine pops his third claw into Sabretooth's head, just as reality crystallizes around them.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

X-amining X-Factor #111

"Explosive Performance"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Strong Guy suffers a heart attack as reality crystallizes, then shatters.

Plot: John Francis Moore
Script: Todd DeZago
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Glynis Wein
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The K'Lanti appear before Lila & X-Factor, demanding she return the Harmonium they entrusted to her for safekeeping. Lila agrees to return it to them, and they give her "about an hour" to do so, leaving a series of diamond-shaped bombs in the skies above Madripoor for motivation. Lila teleports herself, Strong Guy & Polaris to Cygnus Prime, a junk world where Jordik likely sold the Harmonium after he stole it from Lila. In Washington DC, Val Cooper is trying to track down X-Factor when she spots Madrox on the street, but he disappears into a crowd. On Cygnus Prime, Strong Guy fights a creature guarding the junk while Lila & Polaris search for the Harmonium. In the process, he absorbs a dangerous amount of kinetic energy. On Earth, Forge, Havok & Wolfsbane work to defuse the K'Lanti's bombs. Just then, Lila, Strong Guy & Polaris return with the Harmonium, but as the K'Lanti depart, they leave Lila with one of the bombs. When it explodes, Strong Guy takes the brunt of the blast, absorbing the energy, which proves to be too much for his heart. He collapses, and as Lila tries desperately to revive him, all of reality crystallizes, then shatters.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #321

"Auld Lang Syne"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Cable attempts to contact the time-lost X-Men as Legion puts his plan into action.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Mark Waid
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inkers: Townsend, Green & Rubinstein
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Twenty years ago in Haifa, Xavier & Magneto fight side-by-side in a bar brawl, in defense of a disabled veteran being harassed by the patrons. In the present, Xavier, Cable & Phoenix work together, assisted by Shi'ar technology, to send Cable's mind into the past, in order to contact the X-Men stranded there and warn them of Legion's intentions to alter the future and the threat that poses to reality. In the past, those X-Men continue to struggle with not knowing their reason for being in the past, hoping it will become clear soon. Elsewhere, Legion visits his mother Gaby, appearing before her as Xavier, an act that Xavier telepathically senses, realizing Gaby is in danger. As he and Magneto rush to her, Cable arrives in the past, and manages to restore the X-Men's memories. Meanwhile, Xavier & Magneto arrive at the hospital to find a distraught Gaby, at which point Legion emerges, declaring that, in his time, Magneto will become the greatest villain the world will ever know, and for that, he must now die.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #14 - Patreon First!

"All That Glitters"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
As the Freakshow settles in to a new town, they're attacked by Glitterspike.

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In California, a woman is killed by an assassin with light-based powers named Alexi. Meanwhile, Fitz and Luna reunite with the remaining X-Men. Meanstreak is less than pleased to see Luna, but Fitz says they have bigger things to worry about, revealing Xi'an's defection to the Theater of Pain and his intentions to take the group down. Elsewhere, the Freakshow arrives at the home of the Keewazi Nation, where they are welcomed by Louise Wingfoot, an old friend of Mama Hurricane's. Later, Rosa receives a check-up, learning she'll be having a boy, while the assassin - code-named Glitterspike - is given the location of a woman he's trying to track down as payment for his last job. Back in the Keewazi Nation, Dominic runs into the Shadow Dancer, a quasi-legendary creature that lives in the hills surrounding the town, whom Louise says is only supposed to be appear when trouble is near. Just then, Glitterspike flies into town, revealing himself to be Rosa's abusive ex-husband. Metalhead attacks him, but is bested, at which point Glitterspike declares that as he's the father of Rosa's baby, from now on he'll be taking care of both of them.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #90

"The Choice!"
December 1984

In a Nutshell
Tensions simmer as Luke, Kiro & Rik Duel's gang return to Endor.

Script/Plot: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Bob McLeod
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Coloring: Bob Sharen
Lettering: Rick Parker
Editing: Ann Nocenti
Chief: J. Shooter

Plot
Princess Leia & Mon Mothma return to Endor from their mission to Herdessa just as Luke & Plif return alongside Rik Duel's gang and an injured Kiro. As Kiro is rushed to medical attention, Mon Mothma briefs Admiral Ackbar on the resurgent Imperial activity she & Leia encountered on Herdessa. Later, Luke & Leia discuss Leia's struggle to reconcile her roles as warrior & diplomat, as well as their father, deciding to keep their relationship to Darth Vader a secret for awhile longer. They then visit a recovering Kiro, and when Luke & Kiro deduce that Kiro tapped into the Force to help save the galaxy, he asks Luke to train him as a Jedi. Luke refuses, angering Kiro. Meanwhile, Mon Mothma & Ackbar host the first meeting of a galactic parliament, where it is agreed that anyone not present forfeits their right to vote. Elsewhere, a fight breaks out between some Rebel soldiers and Rik Duel's gang when Rik is accused of cheating at cards, which leads to Chihido being shot. Luke intervenes and puts a stop to the fight, but Rik insists on vengeance, until Kiro talks him down, having realized the importance of patience and listening to one another. Leia believes it is the action, more than words, which taught Kiro this lesson, while elsewhere, Mon Mothma & Ackbar lament the parliament's decision to forfeit, due to their absence, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca and Lando's rights to help the Alliance govern moving forward.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

X-amining Ghost Rider/Punisher/Wolverine: The Dark Design

"The Dark Design"
1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine, Ghost Rider & Punisher return to Christ's Crown to defend Lucy Crumm from Blackheart.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inker:Al Milgrom
Letterers: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the town of Christ's Crown, Ghost Rider attempts to save Lucy Crumm from the Corrupt, servants of Blackheart. He succeeds, but is infected by one of the Corrupt in the process, forcing him to transform back into Dan Ketch. Meanwhile, Punisher & Wolverine, telepathically drawn to the town by Lucy, meet up, then proceed to rendezvous with Dan, Lucy, and Lucy's group of rebels. When Wolverine & Punisher learn Blackheart has returned, they agree to help the rebels defeat him, but just then, the Corrupt attack, drawn to the location by Ghost Rider's infection, and capture Dan & Lucy. When Punisher & Wolverine lead the rebels to rescue them, Punisher & Wolverine are captured as well, and Blackheart torments them with images of their own personal hells. But all three heroes manage to throw off the illusions, and together, they are able to defeat Blackheart. Lucy forgives him, then leaves with Ghost Rider, Punisher & Wolverine, after which Mephisto appears before his son. He offers to join forces with Blackheart, but Blackheart refuses, instead killing Mephisto with a blade poisoned by the blood of Lucy, an innocent child, and takes his place as the new ruler of Hell.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #13 - Patreon First!

"Dead End"
October 1994

In a Nutshell
Xi'an joins the Theater of Pain

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Big Daddy: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Brimstone Love enters the Garage, easily bypassing the Driver's security. He watches as the Driver begins the process of digitizing Junkpile, then emerges from the shadows to offer Xi'an a place with the Theater of Pain. When the Driver attacks Brimstone, he knocks him aside, which disables the power, freeing Junkpile, Xi'an, Fitz, & Luna. Junkpile immediately attacks the Driver, who uses his car to defend himself, injuring Junkpile. As a result, Junkpile's mutant power starts pulling all the metal in the room towards him in order to heal him, damaging the Garage in the process & destroying the Driver's cache of digitized mutants. Devastated, the Driver drives off, as Fitz blasts Brimstone Love to prevent him from reclaiming Luna. Meanwhile, Xi'an heals Junkpile, then interrupts Fitz's battle to tell Brimstone Love he's decided to join the Theater. Brimstone Love gives Luna a reprieve for the time being in thanks for leading him to Xi'an, then the pair teleport away, leaving Fitz to declare that he's going back to find the rest of the X-Men, at which point they'll take down the Theater of Pain once and for all.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #89

"I'll See You in the Throne Room!"
November 1984

In a Nutshell
Luke helps overthrow an Imperial-aligned government on the planet Solay.

Story: Ann Nocentir
Art: Bret Blevins
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Fighting alongside local rebel leader Raggold on the planet Solay, Luke storms the throne room of the corrupt King Blackart. But during the battle, Raggold is shot, and with his dying breath, tells Luke he was struck down by a traitor in their midst. Luke immediately thirsts for vengeance, but is stopped by another rebel, Mary, who reminds him revenge is not the way. Weeks later, Imperial forces attack the planet, and Mary is killed. Enraged, Luke vows to find whomever killed Raggold, robbing the rebels of his leadership, which in turn led to the Imperial resurgence. Luke befriends a young thief named Scamp, who tells him the rebellion was an Imperial scam designed to fail all along, and eventually takes Luke to meet Braxas, a local information broker. Braxas agrees to tell Luke the identity of the rebel traitor in exchange for passage off Solay, and Luke agrees. Braxas gives him a data tape revealing Raggold was the traitor all along, and that he killed himself out of guilt. Shocked, Luke once more abandons his quest for revenge and leaves the planet with Braxas, vowing to return one day to finish what Raggold & Mary started.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

X-amining X-Men Action Figures: The Phoenix Saga / X-Force Series IV & V Action Figures

Year of Release
1994 - 1995

Roll Call
X-Men: The Phoenix Saga


Warstar, Corsair, Spacesuit Wolverine, Phoenix, Gladiator

X-Force Series IV


Black Tom, Cable (v5), Commcast, Killspree, Slayback, Warpath (v2), X-Treme

X-Force Series V


Avalanche, Cable (v6), Commando, Exodus

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #12 - Patreon First!

"Hit and Run"
September 1994

In a Nutshell
Xi'an tracks down the Driver.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Leadfoot: Joey Cavalieri
King of the Road: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Intervention from the black market's security forces cool the tension between Fitz & Junkpile. As Brimstone Love watches from a distance, Luna explains how she encountered Junkpile & traded freeing him for help. Meanwhile, Xi'an receives the location of the Driver from Haiku, but Haiku warns the Driver that Xi'an is coming. In Texas, Metalhead helps the Freakshow settle into their new home. At the black market, Junkpile joins Luna, Fitz & Xi'an as they set out for the Driver's base. Brimstone Love, intrigued by Xi'an, decides to follow rather than confront them. The group arrives at the Driver's base in Arizona, but are caught in a laser grid after entering by the Driver, who tells them the place is called the Garage, and it is the final destination for all who enter it.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Monday, March 25, 2019

X-aminations in April 2019 & November 1994 Power Rankings


Well, this is it. The month the X-books are all cancelled. Yep, this is the month Marvel decided to put out to pasture all eight of the books in their bestselling line, including one that was only four issues old after a months-long promotional push. So long, X-Men!

At least, that was what the early marketing for "Age of Apocalypse" would have had us believe, even if self-described Dumb About These Things Teenage Me was smart enough to know Marvel wouldn't *really* be cancelling my beloved X-books. But while an outright cancellation was marketing mumbo-jumbo, this upcoming months' worth of books does mark an ending of sorts for all the series, as they will be replaced after this by alternate reality books for four months. And the creators, to their credit, make the most of the "fake ending" device to "end" the series with a variety of different bangs, from declarations of love to shocking reveals to one hardcore lobotomy. 

But first, another Punisher, Ghost Rider & Wolverine team-up.

April 4: Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Dark Design 

April 10: Uncanny X-Men #321
April 11: X-Factor #111
April 12: Wolverine #90

April 17: X-Men (vol. 2) #41
April 18 X-Force #43
April 19: Excalibur #86

April 24: Generation X #4
April 25: Cable #20

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #88

"Figurehead"
October 1984

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Lumiya

Script/Plot: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Bob McLeod
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Julianna Ferriter
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Princess Leia & Mon Mothma visit Herdessa, in the hopes of enticing the world to join the Alliance of Free Planets. At a reception, Leia is pelted with mud by disaffected citizens, and the ruling Herdessan Guild sets their cyborg head of security, Lumiya, after the culprits. But with diplomatic talks stalling, Leia goes for a walk, and sees Lumiya arrest Suzu, the woman who threw the mud. When Suzu claims she & her partner Finn will now be executed by the Guild as an example, Leia intervenes, helping Suzu escape. Leia is taken to a hideout where Suzu explains that anyone not affiliated with the Guild suffers and risks being sold into slavery, at which point Lumiya & her security forces attack the hideout. Most of the rebels are captured, but Leia escapes, just as the Guild captures the rest of the Alliance delegation, intending to sell them into slavery and revealing they've allied with the Imperial remnant. As Stormtroopers arrive on the planet, Leia rallies the suffering middle class, who rise up and attack the Guild, while Leia manages to injure Lumiya, forcing her out of the fight. With the Guild overthrown, Mon Mothma & Leia take their leave, needing to warn the Alliance that the Empire is operating at an increased capacity. Before she leaves, Leia warns Suzu & Finn to watch out for the still-at-large Lumiya, while Lumiya, watching from a distance, says that Leia will soon learn how dangerous she really is.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Unstacking the Deck: Fleer Ultra X-Men Series II

Fleer 1995

Vital Statistics
150 cards (including the checklist card), plus a nine card "Hunters & Stalkers" insert set in gold, silver & rainbow variations, a ten card "Sinister Observations" insert set, and a ten card "Suspended Animation" insert set.

Categorically Speaking
Teams, X-Overs, Greatest Battles, Spring Break

Firsts and Other Notables
As with the previous Fleer Ultra set, this series features high-end production values (though not as high end as the "Flair Ultra" line), such as thicker card stock, glossy fronts, and foil-embossed lettering featuring art from a variety of comic book, sci-fi & fantasy artists (including Boris Vallejo, John Romita Sr., and former X-Factor artist Larry Stroman).

The main card fronts feature simply the image, with a black box on the bottom listing the character's name. Cardbacks are fairly limited as well, just the character’s name(s), a short bio, and the card artist’s name. No first appearance or power info, no group affiliations, etc.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #11 - Patreon First!


"Crossed Signals"
August 1994

In a Nutshell
Junkpile returns!

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Mark McKenna
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Monster Trucker: Tom DeFalco

Plot
His business concluded, Xi'an tells Fitz they're leaving the roadhouse, and Luna decides to tag along. Shortly thereafter, Brimstone Love appears at the roadhouse, looking for Luna. At Zhao's complex, Meanstreak rages about Xi'an abandoning the team, while Victor Ten Eagles decides to return to Santa Fe. In the desert, Frostbite is picked up by the Driver. Meanwhile, Xi'an, Fitz & Luna arrive at a black market in El Paso, where Xi'an meets with Haiku as a shadowy figure watches Fitz & Luna. Elsewhere, the Driver uploads Frostbite into his database. Back at the market, Fitz tells Luna he can tell she's hiding something from him, and she reveals that she had plans to meet Junkpile in El Paso, prompting him to emerge from the shadows. Fitz immediately attacks him, but Luna intervenes, telling both of them fighting makes no sense if they're all going to work together.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #87

"Still Active After All These Years"
September 1984

In a Nutshell
Kiro helps disable a doomsday device triggered by the Rik Duel gang.

Script/Plot: Jo Duffy
Artwork: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Michael Higgins
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Continuing his diplomatic mission, Luke & Plif land on the planet Shawken, along with Kiro & Rik Duel's gang. As Luke, Plif & Kiro meet with Santor, the planetary representative, to discuss the upcoming galactic parliament, Rik, Dani & Chihido explore some nearby ruins, hoping to find something worth pillaging. When Kiro learns this is their intent, he rushes off, determined to stop them, while Luke continues the talks. Kiro finds the gang inside an underground chamber, and his scuffle with Chihido triggers a mechanism that seals the chamber. When word reaches Luke & Santor about their predicament, Santor worries they may have activated one of his people's long-dormant weapons. Reaching the site, Luke is forced to disable a defense mechanism, which reveals to Santor which device has been activated: a doomsday weapon with the potential to destroy the galaxy. With Plif's help, Luke is able to unseal the chamber & release Rik, Dani, Chihido, then he & Kiro journey deeper into the chamber to try & stop the weapon. They soon reach an underground body of water, and Kiro insists on going ahead on his own. Guided by the Force, Kiro manages to disable the weapon, which triggers a massive explosion. As Luke fishes out the unconscious Kiro, Plif declares that he can sense some signs of life in Kiro, & Luke declares he's going to keep Kiro alive, as they all him at least that much.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

X-amining Cable #19

"The Dark Ride Part 3: In the Name of the Father"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
Cable's son declares himself Genesis, heir to Apocalypse.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inks: Mike Sellers & Kevin Conrad
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Surrounded by the Dark Riders, Cable agrees to become Tyler's captive if he lets the rest of Cable's companions free, and the group teleports away after Cable slips Storm his X-insignia, enabling them to track him. At an old fortress of Apocalypse's, Tyler declares himself Genesis, intending to absorb the powers of the mutants captured by the Dark Riders, as well as Cable, so he can change the future. With Caliban's help, Storm & Domino find the fortress & sneak inside, confronting the Dark Riders. Their battle triggers explosions inside the fortress as Cable uses his telepathy to make Tyler feel all the regret Cable has for the turns Tyler's life has taken. With the base coming down around them, Tyler refuses to relinquish his power & teleports away, leaving Storm to pull everyone free as the fortress collapses. Cable once again mourns his lost son, while amidst the wreckage, a figure stirs.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

X-amining Generation X #3

"Dead Silence"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
Generation X battles Penance.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Banshee escapes from Penance thanks to the intervention of Husk, but Husk is injured & Penance flees deeper into the woods surrounding the school. Elsewhere, a woman named Cordelia tries to convince Mondo to go back with her to the States. At Xavier's, Jubilee & Synch encounter Penance, with Synch's aura protecting them. Just then, Banshee catches up with them, and asks Jubilee & Synch to get Husk to the infirmary. Synch agrees, but Jubilee continues on after Banshee & Penance. Elsewhere, the Orphan Maker shows Nanny his falling-apart-armor, and she declares that he's growing up. Back at the school, M & Emma confront Penance, but their psychic abilities don't stop her either, and Banshee declares they're just going to have to work to wear her down. But Jubilee is still on her trail, suspecting that Penance doesn't truly mean them any harm since she was brought to them by Gateway, and she watches as Chamber reaches Penance and, drawing on their shared experiences of having paid a price for their mutant abilities, convinces her to stand down. Later, Skin visits a recovering Husk in the infirmary, resuming their game of Scrabble.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #10 - Patreon First!

"Roadwork"
July 1994

In a Nutshell
La Lunatica Returns as Xi'an leaves the X-Men.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inkers: Koblish, McKenna, Adams, Sanders
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Smith, Caponsacco
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Highway Patrol: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Xi'an gloats over the fallen Zhao, then storms out of complex, telling the X-Men he doesn't need any of them. Meanwhile, Bloodhawk arrives in the Savage Land. In Mexico, La Lunatica escapes from a Circuit-Skips sent after her by the Theatre of Pain, while Fitz catches up to Xi'an, who wants to tag along as Xi'an goes over the edge. Inside Zhao's complex, the X-Men help Frostbite put her teammates in a cryogenic freeze to hopefully stop their genetic deterioration, while the Driver returns to his base with the mutant he rescued, only to zap him with a beam of light. Elsewhere, Xi'an & Fitz stop at a roadhouse. Xi'an, still looking to find the Driver, now so he can locate other mutants to serve as his muscle, is looking to call in a favor, but Fitz spots Lunatica amongst the crowd. He chases her outside and the two fight until Lunatica gets the drop on Fitz, then kisses him. She tells him to stop holding back and to let the fire inside him rage, and he gladly agrees, calling himself her man.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #86

"The Alderaan Factor"
August 1984

In a Nutshell
Leia encounters a Stormtrooper from Alderaan.

Writer: Randy Stradley
Penciler: Bob McLeod
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Over Luke's objections, Leia travels alone to the planet Yinchor, hoping to sway the local Yinchorri to the side of the Rebellion. Once on the planet, however, she learns the Yinchorri have betrayed her to the Empire, a result of the Empire having kidnapped the local Yinchorri ruling body. Her shuttle targeted by a pair of TIE fighters, Leia manages to destroy one and ground the other, but her ship crashes as well, with Leia managing to activate her emergency beacon before going down. As Luke, Lando & Chewbacca take off in the Falcon to rescue Leia, she discovers the pilot of the TIE fighter survived as well, and is a fellow survivor of Alderaan. Though Leia is appalled he would still be serving the Empire after they destroyed their homeworld, the two work together to stay alive in the desert wastes of the planet. Sensing conflict in him, Leia offers the Stormtrooper a place in the Rebellion, but he declines, unwilling to upend his life for a dream that may never come true. But when the local Imperial governor catches up to the pair and orders the summary execution of the Yinchorri leadership followed by Leia, the Stormtrooper is appalled by the governor's cruelty. Just then, the Falcon arrives, and both Leia and the Stormtrooper attempt to escape on the ship, but the Stormtrooper takes a shot intended for Leia, saving her but preventing him from getting aboard as the Falcon flies off, leaving Luke & Lando to pull a heartbroken Leia inside.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

X-amining Rogue #1-4

"An Affair to Remember" / "Choices" / "The Gauntlet" / "Back to Life!"
Jan - April 1995

In a Nutshell
Rogue must defend herself & Gambit from attacks by Belladonna and the Assassins Guild.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Pencils: Mike Wieringo
Inks: Terry Austin
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Dana Moreshead
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Issue #1: On the anniversary of the first manifestation of Rogue's power, in which she inadvertently put her childhood sweetheart Cody into a coma, Rogue tells Gambit about the incident before departing for her annual pilgrimage to the hospital where he resides. Meanwhile, as Belladonna assumes leadership of the Assassin's Guild on the death of her father, she is approached by Candra, who offers to renew her pact with the Guilds. Bella says she'll consider it, then kidnaps Cody as revenge on Rogue for stealing her memories, telling Rogue she'll do the same to everyone she holds dear. Issue #2: Rogue is contacted by Tante Mattie, warning her that Belladonna has Cody and is targeting Rogue's loved ones. After she helps Gambit defeat a group of Assassins sent by Belladonna, she urges him to let her handle things on her own. But when he learns his ex-wife is behind the attacks, he follows Rogue to New Orleans. Arriving in the city, Rogue is swarmed by Assassins, as Belladonna tells Candra she'll renew the Guild's pact once her business with Rogue is concluded.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #9 - Patreon First!

"Brand X"
June 1994

In a Nutshell
Xi'an battles Zhao!

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: James Sanders III
Letterer: Lopez & Dutro
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The X-Men arrive on Zhao's ranch, called there by Krystalin, who emerges from inside, along with Victor Ten Eagles; both are acting strangely. When the X-Men press her on it, Zhao emerges, declaring that she is one of his X-Men now, as they all will be, whether they like it or not. When the X-Men resist, they are attacked and captured by the brainwashed Krystalin & Zhao's X-Men. Elsewhere, Bloodhawk meets an old friend named Liebowitz who asks him to look into some aggressive developers operating in the Savage Land. Back at Zhao's ranch, Zhao prepares to insert a chip into each of the X-Men that will make them subservient to him. In Texas, a newly-manifested mutant is on the run, but is offered sanctuary by a mysterious figure. Back at the ranch, Xi'an attempts to use his disintegration power to free himself, but Zhao strikes first, entering his mind in order to activate the chip. In Xi'an's mindscape, he battles Zhao, but is overcome, until the manifestation of his dark side appears and offers to help. Reluctantly, Xi'an merges with his dark side, enabling him to overpower & defeat Zhao. In the real world, Xi'an breaks free of his restraints, and when Cerebra asks if he's alright, he grins evilly and replies he's never been better.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Force in Focus: Return of the Jedi Action Figures Wave 2

Roll Call
The Emperor
AT-ST Driver
B-Wing Pilot
Han Solo In Trench Coat
Princess Leia in Combat Poncho
Prune Face
Rancor Keeper
Teebo
Wicket W. Warrick
Lumat
Paploo (not part of the pOTF line, late in wave 2)

Firsts and Other Notables
A decidedly smaller wave than the previous one, this contains figures of just two of the main characters, Han & Leia, in their respective Endor garb (Luke will get his Endor-specific release in the later Powers of the Force line, alongside a new Lando figure).

Thursday, February 28, 2019

X-aminations in March 2019 & October 1994 Power Rankings!


Following the Rogue miniseries and the conclusion of November '94's titles, we dive into the first batch of "final issue before "Age of Apocalypse!" issues, as reality begins to crystallize and most of the series try to end on some kind of cliffhanger.

On Sale November 1994
March 6: Rogue #1-4

March 13: Generation X #3
March 14: Cable #19

On Sale December 1994
March 20: Uncanny X-Men #321
March 21: X-Factor #111
March 22: Wolverine #90

March 27: X-Men (vol. 2) #41
March 28: X-Force #43
March 29: Excalibur #86

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

X-amining Wolverine: Scorpio Rising

"Scorpio Rising"
1994

In a Nutshell
Wolverine, Nick Fury & Scorpio help stop a Hyrda coup.

Writer: Howard Chaykin
Artist: Shawn McManus
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Gloria Vasquez
Group Editor: Nelson Yomtov
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Recently freed from Soviet rule, the governing body of the nation of Carpasia is wiped out by Hydra, with the goal of replacing the government with a ruler loyal to Hydra, triggering a civil war within the country. When Michael Fury, training with his father, hears about the coup, he breaks the Cosmic Key out of SHIELD containment and dons his Scorpio garb, intent on fighting alongside his people. Meanwhile, Wolverine gets drawn into the Carpasian conflict on the side of the rebels, and he runs into Nick Fury, on the trail of his son. Together, they free Scorpio from Hydra, who attempted to lure him to their side using a Life Model Decoy of his deceased mother. The presence of the LMD makes Wolverine and Fury realize Hydra is augmenting their army with LMDs, and track the production facility to an abandoned nuclear power plant, which Scorpio destroys with the cosmic key, thereby crippling Hydra's efforts. In the wake of their defeat, Scorpio is named acting president of Carpasia. Wolverine & Nick Fury leave the country, with Wolverine telling Fury he has a lot to be proud of in his kid.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #8 - Patreon First!

"Ghost Winds"
May 1994

In a Nutshell
A new team of X-Men debut as the other X-Men part ways with the Freakshow.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Jim Sanders III
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Krystalin marvels at Victor Ten Eagles' holograms of the original X-Men, before the pair set out to track down the mysterious shadow they observed flying in the night sky. Meanwhile, Mama Hurricane & the Freakshow prepare to depart Iron Horse. In New Mexico, Krystalin & Victor visit an agricultural cooperative only to find the place ransacked, Victor's contact encased in ice and saying they were attacked by agents of Zhao. At Iron Horse, Mama Hurricane gives Xi'an a map of all the previous Mutant Underground routes, while Metalhead decides to stay with the departing Freakshow. Meanwhile, Krystalin & Victor track the cooperative's attackers to a desert compound. Inside, they're attacked by a group of apparent mutants styled after the original X-Men. Together, Krystalin & Victor are able to fight off the X-Men, but as they try to escape, Zhao himself knocks them out, declaring they are to become one of the Chosen - one of his X-Men!

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Monday, February 25, 2019

BLACK HAT BLUES - Gene Kendall’s New Novel, On Sale Now!


Gene Kendall here, announcing my second creator-owned novel, Black Hat Blues! Don’t care about the ’90s alternative rock boom? Didn’t understand why I’d devote a year writing G. I. Joe novels for a defunct publishing venture?

Fine. I’ll do a novel about comic books, instead.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #85

"The Hero"
July 1984

In a Nutshell
Han, Chewie & Lando run afoul of Drebble and the Lemo/Sanda Gang.

Script & Plot: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Bob McLeod
Finishes: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
While Drebble rages against being conned by Lando, on Endor, Lando learns that the Alliance is declaring Drebble a hero of the Rebellion, thanks to all the actions Lando took in his name (hoping to cause problems for him). Mon Mothma also announces another series of diplomatic missions to invite worlds to help form a new galactic government, prompting Han & Lando to volunteer for a mission to Keyorin. After landing on the bounty hunter-friendly, Han & Lando run into both Drebble & members of the Lemo & Sanda gang Lando conned, still searching for the Dancing Goddess statue. Drebble gets the drop on the Han & Lando, turning Han over to the Lemo/Sanda gang & taking Lando aboard the Falcon. Han, realizing Lemo & Sanda won't recognize Lando since he was in disguise when he conned them, direct them towards the Falcon, then escapes with Chewie's help. On board the Falcon, Drebble hears the Alliance proclamation calling him a hero and making him a captain in the Alliance. When the Lemo/Sanda gang descends on the ship, looking for the Dancing Goddess, Drebble joins Lando defending the Falcon until Han, Chewie & Drebble's allies arrive to turn the tide. Pleased with his heroic actions, Drebble lets the Rebels go, and Lando gives him a reward: the Dancing Goddess statute.

Friday, February 22, 2019

X-amining Excalibur #85

"Edge of Night"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
Shrill & Amanda help Kitty defeat Gravemoss.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: Ken Lashley
Inker: Tom Wegrzyn
Letterer: Jon Babcock
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Nightcrawler urges Kitty to hand over the Soulsword, Shrill reveals that Gravemoss is in control of his body. She then blasts Nightcrawler, and Kitty uses the distraction to phase away. With a moment to herself, Kitty returns the sword to her body and remembers the training she received from Wolverine. When Gravemoss teleports into the room, Kitty attacks him. Overwhelmed, Gravemoss teleports to Nightcrawler's room. Realizing his body possesses knowledge of swordfighting, he draws a sword and returns to Kitty, forcing her to draw the Soulsword to defend herself. Using Nightcrawler's skills, Gravemoss defeats her, but Shrill intervenes again, along with a still-alive Amanda, which gives Kitty an opening to use the sword to do what it does best: break enchantments, thereby expelling Gravemoss from Nightcrawler's body. Kitty hands over the sword to Amanda, who in turn gives it to her mother, only to discover that with the defeat of Gravemoss, Margali's position on the Winding Way has improved. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

X-amining X-Force #42

"A Lie of the Mind"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Force visits Generation X as Warpath makes peace with Emma Frost.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Terry Dodson
Inker: Kevin Conrad
Letterers: Pat Brosseau & Chris Eliopoulos
Color Art: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Warpath, Siryn , Boomer & Cannonball visit the Massachusetts Academy. As Warpath meets with his former teacher Emma Frost, Siryn discusses her feelings for Warpath with her father. Emma pushes Warpath on his feelings regarding the death of his brother, and is outraged by his belief that she had anything to do with the massacre at his reservation, equivocally stating she did not. Elsewhere, Cannonball gives his sister a hard time about going to a school where the former White Queen is the principal, but she reminds him that his own stories of his life with the New Mutants contain a fair amount of wild and irresponsible decisions on his part. Just then, Boomer interrupts, inviting them to witness a shop-off between her & Jubilee at the local mall. Elsewhere, a shadowy figure is gunned down after breaking in to the Verschlagen biochemical research facility. When his mask his removed, the intruder turns out to be the husband of Mrs. Verschlagen, and she realizes they need to prepare for a visit from Clan Yashida. Back in Massachusetts, Warpath & Emma's talk comes to an angry close, as he tells her to take better care of her new students, while she insists to him he's closer to an untimely death than he is to Siryn. Joining his teammates outside, Warpath decides to join the others at the mall, telling them it's time to celebrate tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #40

"The Killing Time"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
A young Xavier & Magnus encounter Legion in the past, while in the present, Lilandra delivers a dire warning.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inker: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the past, Xavier invites his friend & hospital co-worker Magnus to dinner, after which Magnus has an encounter with an amnesiac "John Doe" patient. In the present, the X-Men scour the Negev Desert for their missing teammates but discover only Phoenix, who informs them that Legion has taken the rest of the X-Men into the past. Back at the mansion, Sabretooth, believing the place empty, attempts to escape, only to discover Wolverine has returned home. In the past, Magnus is tending to John Doe when Doe suddenly reaches into Magnus mind, discovering the horrors in his past. Magnus rushes off to find Xavier, believing Doe to be one of the mutants they've discussed recently, and when they return to the hospital, they discover John Doe psychically manifesting both fire and images of strange individuals. In the present, Cable & Domino rendezvous with the X-Men at Xavier's behest, but they are interrupted by the sudden appearance of a Lilandra, appearing via a holographic transmission to warn the X-Men that Legion's actions in the past pose a threat to the fabric of all reality. When Xavier asks how she could possibly know this, Lilandra reveals that she is surrounded by a half dozen Watchers, the deliverers of the warning.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #7 - Patreon First!

"Hurricane Force"
April 1994

In a Nutshell
The X-Men meet Mama Hurricane

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The fight between the X-Men and the Freakshow is brought to a halt by the arrival of Mama Hurricane and her associate Rosa. Elsewhere, Krystalin arrives at the home of Victor Ten Eagles, the person Xi'an sent her to contact. Back in Iron Horse, Mama Hurricane brings the X-Men into her base of operations, where Cerebra realizes that Rosa is pregnant with a mutant as Xi'an attempts to heal Metalhead of the disease with which Contagion infected him. Later, Hurricane confirms she is the same person who helped shepherd mutants to the sanctuary of Avalon during the Great Purge. Just then, a group of armored Trackers, seeking the Freakshow, attack the base, but working together, the X-Men & Freakshow fight them off. Afterwards, Xi'an declares he is going to find Avalon. Meanwhile, Victor Ten Eagles shows Krystalin the reason she was sent to him: a shadowy figure flying in the night sky, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Archangel.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #84

"Seoul Searching"
June 1984

In a Nutshell
Han & Chewbacca discover the lost planet of Seoul 5.

Writer: Roy Richardson
Penciler: David Mazzucchelli
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editors: Jones & Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
After a string of luck playing cards, Han is facing down an old man who wages a crystal he claims comes from the lost Seoul system, along with a map to the planet where he found the crystal.  Intrigued, Han agrees to play & beats the man, who accuses Han of cheating, prompting him and Chewbacca to race out of cantina after the other gamblers Han beat turn on them. Out the funds they'd so recently won, Han decides to investigate the old man's claims and follows his map to Seoul 5. Landing on the outskirts of the city, Han proceeds by himself, soon discovering an Imperial presence on the planet as well. Ducking the Imperials, Han ends up inside a room filled with crystals like the one he won from the old man. With Stormtroopers in close pursuit, he goes deeper into the chamber & discovers a pair of archaeologists whom the Empire has captured in the hopes of using their knowledge to weaponize the crystals. They tell him the crystals were the source of the Seoularians' energy, and that he possess the control crystal. Han is able to use it to escape the Imperials along with the scientists, but in the process, he reunites all the crystals, which creates a massive energy buildup. Realizing the danger, he and the archaeologists race back to the Falcon, and manage to get off the planet just before it explodes. The scientists are saddened by the loss of the crystals, but glad the Empire won't be able to use them.

Friday, February 15, 2019

X-amining Wolverine #89

"The Mask of Ogun"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
En route to the X-Mansion, Ogun returns.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Fabio Laguna
Inks: Fabio Laguna
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine arrives on the outskirts of New York City, on his way home to the X-Mansion, when he is intercepted by Ghost Rider, who tells him his old mentor Ogun has returned. He follows Ghost Rider to a museum, passing through carnage in the streets triggered by Ogun's presence. Inside the museum, they discover Ogun's demon mask, which Wolverine had destroyed, as part of an exhibit on Japanese martial culture. Just then, the mask connects with a suit of armor on display, manifesting Ogun, who attacks Wolverine. Ogun taunts Wolverine to unleash the beast inside him, but Wolverine recalls how Ogun had taught him to balance the man and the beast within, and with Ghost Rider's help, manages to destroy Ogun's mask once more. He briefly sees that the figure inside the armor looks like him, before it fades away, the armor collapsing. Wolverine explains to Ghost Rider that the figure wasn't really Ogun, just his spirit, reaching out from beyond the grave to attack him with a piece of himself. Meanwhile, at the X-Mansion, Gambit taunts Sabretooth with the fact that Wolverine will be returning soon; unimpressed, Sabretooth tells Gambit to tell the runt he's waiting for him.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

X-amining X-Factor #110

"Creatures on the Loose!"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles aliens in Madripoor.

Plot: John Francis Moore
Script: Todd DeZago
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Matt Webb
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
On the planet Boh-tan-ee, a hooded figure learns her quarry has gone to Earth. Meanwhile, on Earth, X-Factor suddenly appears in Madripoor, teleported there by Legion. They land atop a spaceship floating in the bay, from which emerges a massive rock-like alien. Strong Guy battles the creature, during which he is captured by a mysterious figure in a trenchcoat. Meanwhile, Mystique is flying to Paris from Israel, steadfast in her desire for revenge on Legion. Back in Madripoor, the electrical energy of the alien creature affects both Polaris' and Havok's powers, while Strong Guy finds himself a captive of the alien Jornick, who is using an image inducer to appear human. Just then, Lila Cheney teleports in, telling Strong Guy that Jornick has robbed her treasure hoard, including a music box she needs to avert a war. But Jornick reveals he sold the box, leaving Lila despondent over her fate. Elsewhere, the rest of X-Factor struggles to stop the destruction wrought by the creature released by Jornick, until Strong Guy and Lila arrive, and Lila teleports the beast back to its home planet. Upon her return to Earth, however, she finds a massive spaceship in the skies above Madripoor waiting for her, and she tells Strong Guy they're in big trouble now.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #320

"The Son Rises in the East"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
"Legion Quest" begins as Legion heads into the past.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Mark Waid
Penciler: Roger Cruz
Inker: Tim Townsend
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Legion easily overpowers the X-Men, Storm realizes the X-Men have been fooling themselves that they could overcome him. She thinks back on their meeting with Gabrielle Haller and the combined forces of Israel & Palestine, brought together in the wake of Legion creating a large black dome in the Negev desert filled with off-the-chart energy readings. With all the troops sent against him getting chewed up, Storm declares that the X-Men will take care of the situation. But now, Storm is less confidant as Legion briefly teleports her to the past, to just moments before the plane crash that killed her parents. Returning to the present, he tells her the trip was no illusion, then declares he's going back in time to mutantkind's most critical moment. Quickly, Storm orders Psylocke to telepathically link herself to Bishop, who is absorbing Legion's chronal energy. Through Bishop, Psylocke is able bring along herself, Storm & Iceman as Legion disappears into the past, leaving behind only Jean Grey, who manages to telepathically alert Xavier to the situation before passing out. Meanwhile, Shi'ar Empress Lilandra is awoken by Jahf, first guardian of the M'Kraan crystal, who declares he must speak with her. When Lilandra asks what could possibly be so urgent as to force Jahf to abandon his sacred post, he declares nothing, save the end of all that is.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #6 - Patreon First!

"Freakshow"
March 1994

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle the Freakshow

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: James Sanders III
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Meanstreak, Krystalin, Bloodhawk & Fitz fly back from New York, Bloodhawk once more bids adieu to the team and flies off, followed shortly thereafter by Fitz, who recklessly jumps out of the craft after Bloodhawk. Disgruntled, Bloodhawk gets him safely to the ground, albeit in the desert still miles away from the rest of the X-Men. Eventually, Fitz comes across a meditating Xi'an, and together, they return to the X-Men's camp. There, the X-Men intercept a transmission from someone calling herself Mama Hurricane. Xi'an hopes this is the same Mama Hurricane who helped mutants during the Great Purge, as she may be able to help him find more mutants. After he dispatches Krystalin on a separate mission, he and the rest of the X-Men track Hurricane's signal to an abandoned town in Arizona. There, they encounter the Freakshow, a group of genetically modified Degens. When Xi'an asks after Mama Hurricane, a fight breaks out, during which Metalhead is infected with a disease by Freakshow member Contagion, prompting Xi'an to confront Breakdown, the Freakshow's leader, and remove the glove from his "destruction" hand.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #83

"Sweetheart Contract"
May 1984

In a Nutshell
Lando helps a group of rebels overthrew an oppressive monarchy on the planet Drogheda.

Story: Linda Grant
Art & Lettering: Bob McLeod
Coloring: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
On the planet Drogheda, Lando and the sister of Queen Sarna, Danu, are attacked by a group of rebels looking to depose the queen, but are rescued by Harlech, head of the Royal Guard. At the citadel, Lando reunites with Sarna, an old flame, and she tasks him with rooting out the rebels from their base inside a mine. Leading the Royal Guard, Lando leaves orders to capture, not kill, the rebels as he enters the mine to flush them out, but to his horror, the Royal Guard massacre the rebels as they emerge from the mine. Lando manages to capture one of them alive, and learns from him that in the wake of the Empire's collapse, the people of Drogheda simply want to establish their own government. Feeling played, Lando tells Sarna she can find some other sucker to help suppress the desired democracy of her people, but Sarna orders the Royal Guard to capture him. He manages to escape, running into Danu, who has been secretly helping the rebels. Realizing the time for their uprising is at hand, she signals her allies and they storm the citadel, with Lando fights alongside them, ultimately capturing Sarna. Sentencing her to exile, Danu offers to pay Lando to take her with him off-planet. Looking to salvage some profit from the adventure, he agrees, and both Lando & Sarna depart Drogheda, bickering with one another over a potential business venture.

Friday, February 8, 2019

X-amining Cable #18

"The Dark Ride Part 2: Judgement Day"
December 1994

In a Nutshell
Cable, Domino, Storm & Caliban track the Dark Riders to Egypt.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inkers: Sellers, Lowe, Barta, Carani, Ryan, Branch,
Letterer: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Snake Charmer: Bob Harras
Elephant Boy: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Hunting for the Dark Riders, Cable, Domino, Storm & Caliban arrive in Alexandria, Egypt, where Caliban is able to locate Tusk. Captured, he agrees to lead them to his teammates, but when they're surrounded by a sandstorm Storm can't control, they realize it's a trap just as the Dark Riders attack. Cable and his companions once again hold their own, prompting Gauntlet to turn on Hurricane, who twice promised he could defeat Storm and twice failed, declaring that he's been tested and failed. But Harddrive teleports the Dark Riders away, followed shortly thereafter by Cable and his companions. They arrive in a ruined city which Cable recognizes as Akkaba, a place where, in the future, Cable's rebel group will establish a base, not realizing it is the birthplace of Apocalypse. Just then, the Dark Riders emerge from the city behind their leader, who removes his helmet to reveal that he is Cable's son, Tyler.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #7

"Memories"
December 1994

In a Nutshell
Storm, Gambit & Phoenix are caught in a power struggle between Candra & Storm's old mentor.

Writer: Mackie
Penciler: Romita
Inker: Rubinstein
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Matt Webb
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Edits: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Storm, accompanied by Gambit & Jean Grey, arrives in Cairo at the behest of her dying mentor, Achmed El-Gibrar. At the same time, Candra arrives, with designs on exploiting the latent power of one of Achmed's current urchins, Jamil, whom Candra's associate Bond has been following. When Storm meets with Achmed, he makes her promise to look out for Jamil, but Jamil decides to ally himself with Candra, and leaves Achmed's side along with a fellow urchin named Karima whom they capture. To honor her promise to Achmed, Storm challenges Candra to a duel for Jamil. As Gambit battles Bond, Storm fights Candra. The woman are evenly matched in terms of power, but Storm's experiences on the streets allow her to sucker punch Candra, winning the fight. But Jamil declares he still wants to remain with Candra, and Storm is forced to return to Achmed only with Karima. But Achmed tells her she has succeeded in honoring her promise. As he dies, he declares that Karima will be the new leader of his gang of young thieves, and Storm calls forth a massive storm to honor her fallen teacher.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

X-amining Generation X #2

"Searching"
December 1994

In a Nutshell
Penance escapes and Generation X gives chase.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letterer: Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Jubilee confronts a silent Gateway on the roof of the school, Monet shares her deductions about Penance with Emma & Banshee, stating she believes Penance to be connected to Emplate in some way. As Paige & Skin play scrabble, an alarm sounds: Penance has slashed her way out of the infirmary. Banshee & Emma split up the students and lead search parties after her into the surrounding woods. Elsewhere, an armored figure attempts to assassinate Cartier St. Croix, only to have his armor start to fall apart. Back at the school, Banshee & Husk close in on Penance, only to fall into a trap laid by her, which results in Penance placing one of her razor-sharp fingers in Banshee's mouth.