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

Thursday, July 29, 2021

X-amining Wolverine #106

"Openings and Closures"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine and Elektra visit Silver Fox's grave and Elektra's childhood home.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Val Semeiks
Inks: Chad Hunt & Al Milgrom
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Kolja Fuchs 
Colors: Derek Bellman & Malibu's Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Traveling through the Canadian Rockies, Wolverine & Elektra are surrounded by wolves, but Wolverine wins them to their side by sharing their food stores. Later, the pair arrives at the cabin Wolverine once shared with Silver Fox, and visits her grave. Later, Wolverine accompanies Elektra home to Greece. There, he meets Stavros, who recalls having served with a Canadian corporal during World War II. Stavros and the rest of the staff tell Elektra they have located Sawyer, the last of the men involved in the murder of her father, but Elektra insists it is time to move past vengeance. That evening, Stavros and his associates free the captive Sawyer in response to Elektra's wishes. As he rushes away to alert the police, a waiting Wolverine confronts him and scares him into staying quiet. Wolverine then covers for Stavros with Elektra, having been the Canadian corporal who fought with Stavros during the war. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

X-amining Generation X #20

"Bodies in Motion"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Banshee throws a barbecue to help the kids deal with recent events. 

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Bastion watches footage of Generation X's encounter with Emplate at Logan airport, ordering his assistant Daria to find everything she can on Chamber. Meanwhile, Banshee throws a barbecue in the Danger Grotto to lift everyone's spirits. During the party, Emma is visited by Nightmare and Banshee receives a call from Chamber and Skin, still on their way to California. Later, Penance joins the group and Emma helps Monet deal with the recent revelation of her relationship to Emplate. Just then, Nathanial Richards arrives with this grandson Franklin. In Boston, would-be handyman Chevy is urged to go back to Xavier's School, while in California, Chamber & Skin find a willing driver. At Xavier's School, Nathanial agrees to leave Franklin at the school, where he can learn how to handle his powers in light of his parent's recent death. Franklin quickly joins Artie & Leech in play, and the trio encounter a mysterious figure near their treehouse. Elsewhere, Bastion learns Chamber flew to Boston on a ticket purchased by Frost Enterprises, and orders an investigation into the company. In California, Chamber & Skin learn they've been picked up by known other than Howard the Duck. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #19 - Patreon First!

"Mirror, Mirror!"
August 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel & Captain Marvel team-up to battle Ronan the Accuser! 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Carmine Infantino 
Inker: Bob McLeod
Letters: Joe Rosen
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editors: Roger Stern & Jim Salicrup

Plot
In Texas, Ronan the Accuser targets a pair of Kree who are trying to lead new lives on Earth. He then proceeds to New York, where he attacks Carol Danvers. She transforms into Ms. Marvel, but is overpowered by Ronan. Just then, Captain Marvel arrives, having sensed Ronan's arrival on Earth. They fight, but Captain Marvel's surprise at finding Carol Danvers in a uniform similar to his allows Ronan to gain the upper hand, knocking them both out. Aboard his ship and under the supervision of the Kree Supreme Intelligence, Ronan probes Carol's mind, learning about her past and the events which led to her creation as Ms. Marvel. Though the Supreme Intelligence wants to use Carol's unique fusion of human & Kree DNA to his own ends, she manages to break free & release Captain Marvel. Together, the pair escape from Ronan's ship and later, reconcile, agreeing to remain friends before parting. 

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Monday, July 26, 2021

Blind Cerulean: Brisk, Brutal, & Coming Soon


Gene Kendall here, appropriating a blog post like some hog and announcing the release of my new novel, Blind Cerulean. In recent years, I’ve written about a fictional ’90s post-Nirvana alt-rock band, a politically incorrect cartoonist who accidently brings a supervillain into reality, and a paranormal investigator/crappy husband who finds himself trapped in a corner of the afterlife with a coven of horny ghosts. It’s only natural that my next novel would feature a teenage vigilante determined to bring down a corpulent drug kingpin. Clearly, there’s a logical progression here.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

X-amining X-Man #20

"The Mourning After"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Nate battles the Abomination to rescue Threnody

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Dana Morehead
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Telepathically searching New York City for Threnody, Nate Grey discovers her a captive of the Abomination, leader of the Forgotten, a group of sewer-dwelling people no longer welcomed by society, to which she formerly belonged. Nate intervenes, getting into a fight with the hulking Abomination. Reading the Abomination's mind, he realizes that he and the Abomination view Threnody differently, and proceeds to create a telepathic illusion in Abomination's mind of successfully beating Nate rather than fight him. As Abomination walks off, Nate explains to Threnody what he did, saying he's learning not to fight the fights he doesn't have to. Meanwhile, Selene is flying back to Manhattan, accompanied by Trevor Fitzroy & Madelyne Pryor, with her sights set on Sebastian Shaw. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

X-amining X-Force #59

"Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been?"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Force launches an investigation into Shatterstar's origins

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Anthony Casrtrillo
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Confused by it all: Bob Harras

Plot
With Shatterstar growing increasingly more unsure of his true identity - Mojoworld warrior bred or comatose mental patient Benjamin Russell - Cable interrogates him hard, psychologically & telepathically, to find the truth, much to the dismay of the rest of the team. As Rictor returns in Shatterstar's hour of need, the team sets out to find clues to his identity. Cable meets with Detective Charlotte Jones, only to learn that Benjamin Russell's file - as well as all the files on X-Force - have gone missing. Similarly, when the team investigates the Weissman Institute, they find it seemingly long-abandoned. Just then, the group is attacked by bounty hunters from Mojoworld, Gog and Magog, who teleport away with Shatterstar. But Cable manages to leap into their teleportation field and follow them, leaving the rest of the team behind on their crashing ship. Luckily, they land safely, thanks to the presence in the pilot's seat of none of other than Longshot! 

X-amining Ms. Marvel #18 - Patreon First!

"The St. Valentine's Day/Avengers Massacre"
June 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel teams up with the Avengers to battle Cenurion!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte 
Letters: Denise Wohl 
Colors: Phil Rache
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Hit by Centurion's blast, Ms. Marvel crashes into a building, attracting the attention of Wasp & Scarlet Witch. They intervene, preventing Centurion from killing Ms. Marvel. When he fights them off, they call the rest of the Avengers for backup. Centurion holds his own against the Avengers, but their attack gives Ms. Marvel time to transform into Carol Danvers, at which point Centurion seems to lose track of her. Meanwhile, Raven Darkholme is contacted by her superior and told to end her assault on Ms. Marvel, as it's attracting too much attention. Meanwhile, on Kree-lar, Bun-dall and Phae-Dor discuss whether or not the Supreme Intelligence has returned. Back on Earth, Ms. Marvel, wearing a new costume to disable Centurion's tracking abilities, rejoins the Avengers' attack on Centurion. She leads him to a power plant where she creates a giant electromagnet which disables Centurion's computer, making him vulnerable & allowing Ms. Marvel to knock him out. She and the Avengers unmask him to reveal Ballard; knowing he's been stalking her & Carol Danvers for months, Ms. Marvel worries that despite her victory, a nasty war has just begun. 

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

X-amining X-Factor #127

"Darker Destiny"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Factor is interrogated while Mystique tracks down the attackers of a young mutant. 

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Jeff Matsuda
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In Washington DC, young Trevor Chase, a friend of Raven Darkholme, is chased & severely beaten by members of the Friends of Humanity. Later, X-Factor is brought to a secret government facility to be interrogated, though Mystique, having learned of the attack on Trevor, escapes. Bastion questions the rest of X-Factor individually; each is asked about Shard, but everyone denies knowing anything about her. Meanwhile, Mystique visits Trevor in the hospital, disguised as a doctor, then gets the files on Trevor's case from the police while disguised as an assistant. She proceeds to run down the members of the Friends of Humanity, and scares them into confessing who ordered them to attack Trevor. As Forge is being interrogated, Val comes to get him, telling him Mystique is loose. He tracks her implant to Trevor's hospital bed, where she agrees to quietly return with him to X-Factor, but as she leaves, she sees Graydon Creed on TV, and promises that she's coming for him. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

X-amining Excalibur #102

"After the Bomb"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Excalibur deals with the fallout of Onslaught

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Casey Jones & Rob Haynes
Inkers: Scott Koblish, Jason Martin
Letterer: Comicraft 
Colorist: Ariane Lenshoek 
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Amidst news reports of the deaths of the Avengers and Fantastic Four in New York, Nightcrawler & Moira mourn their passing, Meanwhile, Kitty & Pete Wisdom have breakfast on the mainland, discussing the situation in the states and how the British Prime Minister is looking more favorably on Excalibur than the view of mutants held by the Americans. Meanwhile, Brian reminiscences about fighting alongside Captain America. Outside, Moira, Nightcrawler & Douglock oversee the transfer of Muir Island's prisoners to the new British intelligence agency. In Germany, Amanda Sefton, Colossus, and Wolfsbane return to Amanda's childhood home in search of her mother, Margali, but depart when their search comes up empty. As Kitty and Wisdom finish their breakfast, they are accosted by US government agents, sent to warn Kitty that she and her American teammates in Excalibur are no longer welcome in the US. Wisdom & Kitty respond by thoroughly beating them up, then including their bound-and-gagged leader in the prisoner transfer, sending along instructions to mail him back to America. Later, Excalibur receives word that Professor X is to be arrested by X-Factor, though Wisdom notes at least that means he's alive, then proceeds to lead the group out to the local pub. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #17 - Patreon First

"Shadow of the Gun"
May 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel struggles with repeated visions of her impending death. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Tony DeZuniga 
Letters: John Costanza 
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
After experiencing a series of vivid premonitions of her death brought on by her seventh sense, Carol has grown increasing distraught and stressed out. Combined with a heavier than normal workload at Woman magazine, her co-workers are starting to notice, and Frank Gianelli comes up with a plan to break her out of her funk. Meanwhile, Ballard and a woman named Raven, who has assumed the form of SHIELD director Nicky Fury, infiltrate the Helicarrier to retrieve a weapon Raven believes capable of destroying Ms. Marvel. Later, as Carol approaches the offices of Woman magazine, she is hit by snowballs thrown by Frank Gianelli, the beginning an office-wide snowball fight he's organized to lift her spirits. He succeeds, and they pair end up embracing, before Carol pushes him away, saying she needs a change of clothes. Transforming into Ms. Marvel, she flies off towards her apartment, at which point, she is blasted out of the sky by someone wielding the weapon which killed her in her visions. 

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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

X-amining X-Men: Clandestine #1-2


"Dreams of Darkest Destiny" / "The Destine's Darkest Dreams
October - November 1996

In a Nutshell
The X-Men meet ClanDestine

Writer/Penciler: Alan Davis
Inkers: Mark Farmer
Letters: Pat Prentice
Colors: Rosas & Laughlin
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: Xavier has a dream which he realizes is a memory, of helping two mysterious women repel an invasion by a demon named Synraith. As the original X-Men head into town, leaving Xavier to ponder this newfound memory, one of the women, Gracie Gamble, learns of Synraith's imminent return. She casts a spell to try and stop it, but instead, the spell splits and causes unforeseen happenings in two locations: the Xavier Institute, and Ravenscroft, home of Gracie's superpowered family, the clan Destine. There, Adam Destine and Kay, the other woman from Xavier's memory, are pulled into a portal, which the rest of ClanDestine traces to the X-Mansion. Meanwhile, when the Danger Room starts to act funny during a training session between Wolverine, Storm & Cannonball, Forge & Colossus are called in to help investigate. Just then, another rift opens, pulling in Xavier & Colossus. The X-Men debate going through the portal after them, but pull up short as it appears something else is coming through. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #16 - Patreon First

"The Deep Deadly Silence!"
April 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel fights Tiger Shark in the ocean depths. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Frank Springer
Letters: Gaspar Saladino & Rick Parker 
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Ms. Marvel breaks into Avengers Mansion, desperate to find the necessary scientific resources to give her the ability to fight Tiger Shark underwater. She briefly tussles with Beast and Scarlet Witch, but once she explains her situation, they give her access to the equipment she needs. After devising a method to both track Tiger Shark and breathe underwater, Ms. Marvel flies off. As she heads out over the bay, she is watched from afar by a sinister figure. Diving underwater, she tracks Tiger Shark to an sunken battleship, where he is holding the captive Namorita. Tiger Shark's raw strength overpowers Ms. Marvel, and when he hurls the battleship's missiles at her, she swims off to regroup. Drawing the attention of a giant squid, she fights it off, then is attacked by Tiger Shark. Taking advantage of his poor fighting skills, she gets close enough to knock him unconscious just as her ability breathe underwater wears off. She passes out, only to wake up aboard an Atlantean ship. Namorita explains that as Ms. Marvel fought Tiger Shark, Namorita was able to escape and summon help. Ms. Marvel is grateful, as the Atlanteans take Tiger Shark into their custody. 

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

X-amining X-Men: Brood #1-2


"Day of Wrath"
September - October 1996

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defend Hannah Connover from assassins sent by the Brood Empress!

Writer: John Ostrander 
Penciler: Bryan Hitch, Bryan Hitch & Sal Velluto (issue #2)
Inker: Paul Neary, Neary, Anyd Lanning & Harry Candelario (issue #2)
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: Hannah Connover, wife of Reverend William Connover, suffers from nightmares in which the Brood Empress tells her to submit to the Brood Queen inside her, or be killed by the Empress' assassins. Hannah's mental anguish is sensed by Jean Grey, vacationing nearby. As she and Cyclops try to track down Hannah, Professor X assembles a group of X-Men to assist them. Meanwhile, Hannah grapples with her past actions, infecting various followers of her husband's mission with Brood eggs before her humanity re-asserted itself. As the Brood Empress' Firstborn assassins arrive on Earth and are greeted by Josey Thomas, the Brood who infected Hannah, Hannah heads into town with two of the followers she infected. Tracking her, the Firstborn and the X-Men collide, with the Firstborn killing Josey and Hannah's Brood. The X-Men manage to fight off the Firstborn and escape into the desert with Hannah, where she is joined by more of her followers. Though Wolverine insists Hannah needs to die to kill the Brood Queen inside her, the rest of the X-Men vow to defend her. Hannah, however, begs them to kill her. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #15 - Patreon First

"The Shark Is a Very Deadly Beast"
March 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Tiger Shark 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Tony DeZuniga
Letters: Bruce Patterson
Colors: Phil Rachelson
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Returning from Boston, Ms. Marvel has a brief date with Michael Barnett, before returning to the office of Woman magazine. Meanwhile, Tiger Shark breaks free of his cell on Hydrobase. At Woman magazine, Carol learns about the break-in to her office when Jean DeWolff interviews Frank Gianelli. After DeWolff leaves, Carol calls Frank on the dodgy answers he provided; Frank admits that he knows the culprit - Ballard - to be a CIA operative, and wants to investigate further on his own. Carol gives him the go ahead. Elsewhere, Tiger Shark comes ashore, seeking out Namor's cousin, Namorita. A few blocks away, Carol checks out her new apartment, but is interrupted when the super-powered Wundarr crashes into her. She transforms into Ms. Marvel and attacks, but Wundarr turns out to be a friend of Namorita, who tried to stop Tiger Shark from abducting her. Desperate to save a helpless woman from Tiger Shark, Ms. Marvel chases after him and gains the upper hand, until he targets a pair of young bystanders, escaping while she saves their lives. Ms. Marvel then spots Tiger Shark entering the water with Namorita, and prepares to fight him on his ground, swearing that if he harms Namorita, she'll make him wish he'd never been born!

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



Monday, June 28, 2021

G. I. JOE #51 - September 1986 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



Swampfire changes color in bright sunlight

The Joes attack and Swampfire takes flight

Dreadnok Thunder Machine

Meanest machine you've ever seen!

Dreadnoks' Thunder Machine

is Joe's evil new foe

G.I. Joe a real American hero!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

X-amining X-Force and Cable '96


"Transmission"/"Denouement (Tribute, Part 4)"

1996


In a Nutshell

X-Force battles Pulse, a cybernetic Kree refugee, before helping him evade the Shi'ar. 


Writer: John Francis Moore, Terry Kavanagh & Ben Raab (2nd Story)

Penciler: Luke Ross, Ed Benes (2nd Story)

Inkers: Rob Hunter & Matt Ryan, Joe Pimentel & Matt Ryan (2nd Story)

Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft

Colorist: Shannon Blanchard & Malibu Color, Mike Thomas (2nd Story)

Editor: Jaye Gardner

Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Plot

Pulse, a cybernetic being composed of Shi'ar technology created by a rebellious faction of the Kree, flees the Shi'ar, ending up near Earth, where he covers his escape by destroying his ship. Meanwhile, Cable & Domino are overseeing a training session of X-Force in the Danger Room when the room suddenly goes haywire. Manifestations of Ultron, Deathlok and Warlock appear, each doing battle with X-Force. As Cable & Domino try to figure out what's wrong with the room, Deathbird contacts them, ordering them to help apprehend Pulse. Eventually, X-Force manages to break free of the room, at which point "Warlock" escapes. Upon seeing a surfboard near the boathouse, Warlock transforms into Pulse, his memory restored. He explains that he was drawn to the Shi'ar technology in the Danger Room, where he combed through the databanks for similarly-cybernetic beings as he tried to remember who he was. Just then, the Shi'ar forces arrive and demand Pulse. While Cable and the rest of the team stall, Siryn & Warpath help Pulse escape by beaming his mind off the planet, then feigning ignorance while turning over his robotic shell to the Shi'ar. Later, Pulse, reconstitutes a physical form aboard a passing ship, and continues his quest to find the Silver Surfer. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

X-amining Defenders #57 - Patreon First

"And Along Came...Ms. Marvel"
March 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel teams up with the Defenders to rescue Michael Barnett from AIM! 

Plot: Gerry Conway
Plot: Gerry Conway
Guest Writer: Chris Claremont
Plot: Gerry Conway
Penciler: George Tuska & Dave Cockrum
Inker: Dan Gree
Letters: Gaspar Saladino & Peter Iro
Colors: Francoise Mouly
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
In the past, Doctor Strange's Orb of Agamotto suddenly projects an image of Ms. Marvel, which sends Hulk into a rage, prompting Strange and Valkyrie to work in order to calm him down. The pair suggest the Defenders investigate the sudden appearance of Ms. Marvel, but they are soon drawn into other matters. In the present, Michael Barnett is captured by a hypnotist named Shaman. Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel, acting on a premonition from her seventh sense, seeks out the Defenders at Nightwing's apartment, where she meets him & Hellcat. Michael is taken by Shaman to agents of AIM, who seek to plumb his mind for information about Carol Danvers. Learning she fears an attack by the Hulk, AIM sets out to capture him using an advanced Warbot, attacking Hulk, Valkyrie, & Clea at Doctor Strange's home. Hulk is captured, but Nighthawk manages to get a tracer on the robot, and he alerts Ms. Marvel & Hellcat. The Defenders and Ms. Marvel track Hulk to AIM's base, where Ms. Marvel destroys the Warbot and the Defenders defeat the AIM agents, before Michael is freed from his hypnosis by Clea. 

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

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

X-amining Wolverine '96


"The Last Ronin"
1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Sunfire battle Red Ronin

Plot: Jeph Loeb (1st Story)
Script: Ralph Macchio, Joseph Kelly (2nd Story) 
Pencils: Ed McGuiness, Tommy Lee Edwards (2nd Story)
Inks: Nathan Massengill with Norman Lee, Rich Case (2nd Story)
Letters: RS & Comicraft, John Workman (2nd Story) 
Colors: Gloria Vasquez, Paul Becton (2nd Story)
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
In Japan, Wolverine visits Mariko's grave. He is approached by Silver Samurai, who wants his help freeing Sunfire from government custody. Meanwhile, Bastion meets with Japanese officials, trying to get their support for his anti-mutant Zero Tolerance operation. General Hirito tells him Japan as its own anti-mutant weapon already: Red Ronin. As Hirito executes the seizure of Red Ronin from the Fujikawa Corporation, he is watched by Yukio. Later, Wolverine frees Sunfire, who is struggling to control his powers, and Silver Samurai tells the pair the Hand is plotting to take control of Red Ronin for themselves. Working together, they stop the Hand, but Hirito orders Red Ronin's controller to activate the robot. As Red Ronin charges into action, Sunfire manages to create an opening to allow Wolverine inside, where he damages enough critical systems to stop the robot. Sunfire, however, almost loses control of his powers, prompting Wolverine to take him to Canada, in the hopes that James & Heather Hudson can help him regain control. Meanwhile, Red Ronin's controller is executed by Hirito, on orders from his mysterious benefactor, the government still intent on using Red Ronin to take control of the mutant problem. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #14 - Patreon First

"Fear Stalks Floor 40"
February 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel fights to protect her father and win his respect

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Carmine Infantino 
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Letters: John Costanza
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Checking on her father Joe at his construction site, Ms. Marvel manages to save him when he's trapped in a cascade of falling girders. Once he's safely on the ground, she transforms into Carol and overhears Joe angrily accusing the site's owner, Maxwell Plumm, of skirting codes & using substandard material. Carol offers to help investigate & gather evidence on Plumm, but her father refuses, saying it's man's work. Meanwhile, at Woman magazine, Frank Gianelli chases out someone trying to burgle Carol's office. Back in Boston, Carol suddenly feels as though she's being followed, and transforms into Ms. Marvel before flying off, not realizing she barely missed an encounter with Dracula. Just then, she gets a flash of her seventh sense, showing her father being threatened by a villain named Steeplejack. The strength of the flash makes her realize the events are happening in the present, and she races to the construction site, where she once again saves her father and defeats Steeplejack, who turns out to be Maxwell Plumm. Joe remains cold to the idea of a female superhero, despite having his life saved by one twice. Carol's mother, however, who immediately recognizes Ms. Marvel as Carol, insists that Joe loves her, while Carol comes to accept that her father will likely never change, and she no longer really cares if he does.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

X-amining Onslaught

I have long been frustrated with the way Blogger presents older posts and limits page results (frankly, I've long been frustrated with a lot when it comes to Blogger, but who has the time or mental bandwidth to change to something else now?). In an effort to somewhat combat that, this is the first in what I hope will be numerous posts collecting links to all the reviews of a relevant storyline/run in one handy place, in order. I will then post a link to this post on the site's X-aminations page (where I currently have links to assorted runs and storylines, but which are presented in Blogger's stupid "newest first and then only some" model). 

First up, of course, is "Onslaught". I'll update this with the link to Onslaught: Epilogue, once I review it (it wasn't published until December of 1996, roughly three months after the story to which it is meant to serve as an epilogue ended, a testament to its role as more of an "Operation: Zero Tolerance" prelude than an "Onslaught" epilogue), but for now, here's a handy guide to reviews of every issue of the crossover for your reading pleasure (?). 



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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Ultra Onslaught

Fleer Skybox 1996

Vital Statistics
100 cards, plus a three card promo set (featuring Heroes Reborn Captain America, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man), a four card Autographs chase set, a three card "Mirage" chase set featuring lenticular cards, and four exclusive Overpower hero cards and nine exclusive Overpower mission cards. 

Categorically Speaking
The majority of these cards are standard hero/villain portraits, with the standard 100th card checklist, plus twelve cards smack in the middle of the set that summarize the plot of "Onslaught" (these basically functions as an additional category but are not labeled as such). 

Firsts and Other Notables
"Marvel Ultra Onslaught" functions, essentially, as a trading card set featuring the major players in the "Onslaught" crossover. Each card front image is full bleed (no borders) and enhanced with CGI coloring/effects. Card backs list the character's real name, team affiliation and power, with brief biographical information about the character written either from the perspective of Professor X or Onslaught, along with information about the artists who worked on the card. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #13 - Patreon First

"Homecoming!"
January 1978

In a Nutshell
Carol Danvers visits her parents and battles Golden Blade & Sapper. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letters: Gaspar Saladino & Peter Iro
Colors: Francise Mouly
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Carol Danvers, along with Michael Barnett, visit her parents in Boston. In the wake of her recent encounter with Hecate and the Silver Scarab, Carol is now in full control of her transformations into Ms. Marvel, able to shift between the identities at will, and feeling more like herself than ever. Later, Carol & Michael attend a ball held on the deck of the USS Constitution, anchored at the Portsmouth Naval shipyard, in honor of a visit by the nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Halsey. When two alien robots - Sapper and Golden Blade - attack the Halsey, trying to absorb the radiation from its nuclear reactor, Carol springs into action as Ms. Marvel. Sapper tries to absorb Ms. Marvel's energy, but when she manages to damage Golden Blade, he orders a retreat. The two robots flee, but Carol suspects she hasn't seen the last of them. 

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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

X-amining X-Men Action Figures: Onslaught

Year of Release 
1996

Roll Call
Apocalypse (aka "Apocalypse Rising"), Jean Grey, Onslaught, Wolverine (aka "Wolverine Unleashed")

Firsts and Other Notables
"Onslaught" gets its own line of action figures, the second comic book-specific story to inspire its own line of figures (following after the "Age of Apocalypse" figures, as well as the animated series-inspired "Phoenix Saga" figures). These figures are on the whole larger in size than previous ones (both in height and overall girth) and most come with a smaller, less poseable, second figure: Franklin Richards with Wolverine, Ozymandias with Apocalypse, and Jean Grey with a small Juggernaut trapped inside the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak

Rather than a second figure, Onslaught comes with additional snap-on armor pieces that mimic his transformation from his original Magneto-inspired form to the more monstrous form he assumes in Uncanny X-Men #336.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

X-amining The Road To Onslaught

"The Road to Onslaught
October 1996

In a Nutshell
An overview at the events leading up to "Onslaught" & a look at the story's original plot outline. 

Firsts and Other Notables
A special promotional one-shot released the same month as the end of "Onslaught", this issue combines reprints of specific panels to layout the important story points leading up to the start of the crossover (including some of Professor X's history and assorted plot beats from the "Road to Onslaught" stories) along with text pages summarizing the intended overall plot outline of the crossover's story. 

In doing so, the plot outline pages layout a vastly more coherent story than what was presented in the issues themselves, one in which Onslaught has specific goals and his actions are intended to help carry them out. Here, it's said that his overarching plan is to create a worldwide collective intelligence, thereby eliminating prejudice (and free will). To that end, in order to boost the psionic energy of the world upon which he can gain more power, he makes his presence known to the world in order to increase fear & anxiety (hence the creation of his big citadel). The Sentinels were then intended to also generate fear and anxiety, and to serve as batteries to store all that energy for Onslaught. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #12 - Patreon First

"The Warrior and the Witch-Queen!"
December 1977

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Hecate & the Elementals

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letters:  Annette Kawecki 
Colors: George Roussous
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Ms. Marvel battles Hecate, who conjures images from Ms. Marvel's mind to attack her, until she learns that Hecate is not leading the Elementals, but rather, trying to stop them from acquiring the Ruby Scarab. She and Hecate face them down together, during which Hecate summons a mass of energy that begins to affect the space flight of Salia Petrie, as Ms. Marvel previously foresaw. Their fight spills out into the nearby Cape Canaveral facility, and though Carol Danvers desperately wants to help Salia, Ms. Marvel stays in control in order to prevent the Elementals from ending more lives. Ultimately, Hecate defeats the Elementals by transforming into their one true fear, the Living Mummy, but the resultant energy feedback following their defeat further imperils Salia, triggering the Cavorite crystal she's carrying to create a gateway into warp space. Finally gaining control, Carol Danver emerges with the Ruby Scarab in hand, furiously blaming Hecate for the death of her friend.

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