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

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Patreon First - Ms. Marvel

While by the end of the first season of the animated series, I was raring to go further, the end of season 2 feels like a good place to pivot to something else. I will return to reviewing the show (especially with the third season representing the series' creative peak), but for now, let's tackle another X-adjacent comic book series, the original Ms. Marvel!

This is perhaps the most X-adjacent series we've looked at yet, but it does have some decent, if indirect, X-Men connections. For one, both Deathbird & Mystique make their first appearances in its pages. For another, the very end of the series ties in with Rogue's debut and her stealing of Ms. Marvel's powers, the act which brings her to the X-Men and defines much of her early appearances. And finally, Chris Claremont writes the majority of the series (and even works with his X-Men collaborator Dave Cockrum, for a few of those issues), which in turn leads to Claremont effectively "adopting" the character, bringing her over to X-Men in a supporting role for a time after her solo series ends. So it's definitely worth looking at in the context of a series with some ties, however tangentially, to the X-Men.

With that said, next week, Ms. Marvel #1!

Monday, February 22, 2021

X-aminations in March 2021 & March 1996 Power Rankings


It's all Onslaught, all the time, as the crossover expands to include Avengers, Fantastic Four and Hulk, while Excalibur reaches its 100th issue and X-Factor its 125th!

On Sale June 1996
March 3: Uncanny X-Men #335
March 4: Avengers #401
March 5: Fantastic Four #415

March 10: Cable #34 
March 11: Incredible Hulk #444
March 12: Excalibur #100

March 17: Generation X #18
March 18: Wolverine #104
March 19: X-Factor #125

March 24: X-Man #18
March 25: X-Force #57
March 26: X-Men (vol. 2) #55Po

Friday, February 19, 2021

X-amining Cable #33

"Never is a Very Short Time"

July 1996


In a Nutshell

Cable battles Post! 


Writer: Jeph Loeb

Penciler: Ian Churchill & Rick Leonardi

Finishes: Scott Hanna

Letterer: RS & Comicraft

Colorist: Mike Thomas

Editor: Mark Powers

Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Plot

Cable, hoping to find some way to control the techno-organic virus raging since his encounter with Nate Grey, is examined by Beast. Shortly thereafter, Cable catches up with Storm, who asks him to read her mind for any clues pertaining to Onslaught as a result of her recent encounter with Post. He does, but finds her memories of Post blocked. Just then, he learns that Blaquesmith's headquarters has been firebombed. Arriving on the scene, Cable is attacked by Post, who Cable recognizes as a mutant he once saved from the super-villain Mandarin. As they fight, Cable finally pieces together the truth of Onslaught's identity, but finds himself overwhelmed by Post. However, Post, remembering what he owes Cable, is unable to kill him, and instead leaves him, badly injured, lying on the street. 

Thursday, February 18, 2021

X-amining Excalibur #99


"Fire with Fire"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
Excalibur gets closer to the truth about Black Air & the Hellfire Club, as the Red Queen makes her move. 

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: Casey Jones
Inker: Tom Simmons
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Ariane Lenshoek
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Combing through the files stolen from Black Air, Excalibur realizes the intelligence organization is deeply connected to the Hellfire Club, with the Hellfire Club directly bribing the British government on their behalf. Wisdom reaches out to a safe contact within the intelligence community, sending him all the files and telling him to spread them around to anyone with an interest in taking down Black Air before getting the hell out of London. Just then, Brian Braddock contacts Excalibur, the Hellfire Club's show-of-force via the mystical column of fire convincing him the team needs to make their move on the club soon. Meanwhile, the Hellfire Club holds an emergency meeting, the black side angry that the red side is progressing their plans on their own. They proceed to Black Air headquarters, where the Red King reveals their new link to the mystical power source under London: Douglock. The next morning, Excalibur heads to London, while Brian prepares to don his Captain Britain uniform once more and the Black Queen is visited by Onslaught. At Black Air headquarters, the Red Queen, having seduced the Red King, reveals herself to be Margali Szardos, then uses Douglock to access the power under London. The source of the power turns out to be a demon, who overpowers Margali and takes over her body. Free at last, the demon unleashes its power, sending the people of London into a frenzy as the city begins to burn...

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

X-amining Generation X #17

"The Skin of our Teeth"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
Chris Bachalo returns as Skin battles the X-Cutioner!

Writers: Scott Lobdell and Stan Lee
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
On the run from the X-Cutioner, Skin & Chamber stumble across a carnival, and Skin stashes the weakened Chamber in a pond for safe-keeping. Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Banshee is confronted by Synch's angry parents, while outside, Jubilee comforts Synch. Back at the carnival, the X-Cutioner catches up with Skin, whom he believes killed Angelo Espinosa, despite that being Skin himself. Elsewhere, Emma confronts Monet about her recent behavior, telling her it's time to come clean about all her secrets. At the carnival, Skin does his best to utilize his training as well as the trappings of the carnival to fight off the X-Cutioner, growing more confident in the use of his powers as he does so. He then retrieves Chamber, and the pair continue their journey to the X-Mansion, though neither is terribly sure how they're going to get there...

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 2 - Patreon First

 Once again, ranking all the episodes of the X:TAS season past! 

13. "X-Ternally Yours"


Hands down the worst episode of the season, with its garish character designs, puzzling adaptation choices, and warmed over plot offering little to recommend it. 

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021

X-amining The Further Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix #1-4


"Digging Up the Past" / "Unnatural Selection" / "The Origin of a Species" / "Beginnings"
June 1996 - September 1996

In a Nutshell
The origin of Mister Sinister is revealed as Cyclops & Phoenix are sent to the past to stop Apocalypse! 

Writer: Peter Milligan
Penciler: John Paul Leon
Inker: Klaus Janson (issue #1-2), Shawn Martinbrough (issues #2-4), Tommy Lee Edwards (issue #3)
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Kevin Somers
Enhancements: Malibu's Hues
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: In Victorian London, when scientist Nathanial Essex has his theories of evolution dismissed by the Royal Society, he decides to continue his work in private. A chance encounter with a man named Cootie Tremble leads Nathanial to the various freaks and outcasts which Cootie and his gang, the Marauders, have assembled in the sewers beneath the city. Essex presses Cootie and the Marauders (and their captives, as the subjects of his experiments) into his service. Elsewhere, Apocalypse emerges from hibernation, and learning of Essex' work, seeks him out. Meanwhile, Cyclops and Phoenix suddenly appear in London, cast apart from one another and unsure where - or when - they are. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 2 Episode 13 - Patreon First

"Reunion Part 2"

Original Airdate
February 19th, 1994

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writer: Michael Edens 

Plot
As the captive Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey and Morph are imprisoned in Mister Sinister's Savage Land citadel, the rest of the X-Men arrive in the Savage Land only to discover their powers are no longer active. They are quickly attacked - and captured - by the Nasty Boys and Savage Land Mutates, though Wolverine manages to escape into the jungle. As his teammates are brought to the citadel, Wolverine encounters Ka-Zar, and the pair agree to team-up in order to attack the citadel and free their respective peoples. At the citadel, Mister Sinister reveals his plan to create super mutants using a device he's created that takes a power from one mutant and gives it to another, which he demonstrates by giving Vertigo Magneto's mastery of magnetism. Just then, Wolverine & Ka-Zar arrive, with Ka-Zar freeing the captive Savage Land natives while Wolverine manages to free the X-Men. After Xavier smashes the machine robbing everyone of their powers, a battle breaks out between the X-Men, Nasty Boys, and Mutates. As Cyclops blasts Sinister, Sinister calls out to Morph for help, but Morph fights Sinister's implants and blasts him, causing him to explode into thousands of pieces. In the wake of Sinister's defeat, the X-Men help the natives rebuild their villages before returning home, though the threat of Sinister returning remains. 

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Friday, February 5, 2021

X-amining Wolverine #103

"Top of the World, Ma!"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
Elektra begins training Wolverine in the hopes of restoring his humanity

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Val Semeiks
Inks: Chad Hunt
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas & Malibu's Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Wolverine climbs to the top of the World Trade Center, the first task set to him by his new sensei, Elektra, who is working to restore his humanity. Inside, she sets up a dojo inside an abandoned restaurant, hanging a scroll on the wall which seems familiar to Wolverine. She proceeds to train with him relentlessly, believing that if he regains his reasoning skills & mental conditioning, the rest of his humanity will follow. Later, Wolverine is meditating calmly, but Elektra still likens him to an unsheathed sword. She proceeds to lock him inside a refrigerator as a test. Inside, he realizes he saw the scroll Elektra hung in their makeshift dojo inside Ogun's dojo years ago, and summons the wherewithal to escape. He grabs the unsheathed sword Elektra left behind and tracks her to a nearby rooftop, where they spar. Elektra seems to win, but his defeat is jut a ruse for Wolverine to get close enough to sheath the sword in the scabbard Elektra is carrying, thereby completing the test. 

Thursday, February 4, 2021

X-amining X-Force #56

"Crazy for You"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
Siryn & Shatterstar return to the Weisman Institute to rescue Deadpool

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inkers: Bud LaRosa & Mark Morales
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
During a training session/game of tag with Shatterstar, Siryn suddenly remembers her time at the Weisman Institute and how Deadpool was captured trying to save her. Meanwhile, Warpath is in Miami with Risque, joyriding on a motorcycle. Back north, Siryn and Shatterstar proceed to the Weisman Institute and sneak in. Once inside, a troubled Shatterstar breaks off on his own; he's found by Dr. Weisman & Jeremy Stevens, who refers to him as "Benjamin Russell". Meanwhile, Siryn searches for Deadpool, and is confronted by multiple Deadpools of varying degrees of insanity. Eventually, she realizes they are all in her head, and she finds the real one, locked up in a padded room. In Miami, Warpath & Risque help a young man being attacked for being a mutant, but he turns out to be a disfigured human who is just as angry at mutants as his attackers. Back at the institute, as Siryn gets Deadpool out of his cell, she too is confronted by Dr. Weisman as well as Jeremy Stevens, and forces the Gamesmaster to reveal his control of Dr. Weisman. The game over, he allows Siryn & Deadpool to leave. Outside, they find Shatterstar waiting, and Siryn berates him for abandoning her, but he tearfully  tells her that after his encounter with Gamesmaster, he thinks his whole life is a lie. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #54

"Inquiring Minds"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
The identity of Onslaught is revealed! 

Story: Mark Waid
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Cyclops is consoling Cannonball, upset over the lecture he received from Professor X, when Gambit & Bishop, leading a charge of X-Men, announce that Juggernaut is somewhere on the mansion grounds. As Cyclops splits the group into search parties, Jean enters the psychically-shield Z'Nox chamber beneath the mansion with Juggernaut in order to dig into his mind and learn Onslaught's secret undisturbed. When she seals the room, Cyclops feels his telepathic rapport with Jean end, prompting him to seek out Xavier. As the rest of the X-Men continue the search, the real Beast breaks out of the prison where Dark Beast had been holding him, only to be confronted by two shadowy figures. At the mansion, Cyclops informs Xavier about Jean, and he promises to search for her. When Cyclops tells him about Juggernaut, Professor X tells Cyclops to lower the mansion's defenses in order to lure Juggernaut to his target, Xavier, at which point the X-Men can defeat him as they so often have before. As Jean works to open Juggernaut's mind, Xavier begins to search telepathically for Jean, but is distracted by his frustration over his many recent failures, until he finally expresses all his pent-up anger in a burst of rage. Below, Jean is able to pull Onslaught's identity from Juggernaut's mind; horrified, she tells him Onslaught is inside the mansion, and he needs to run as far away as possible. Juggernaut does so, but as soon as he emerges from the chamber, he is mentally snared by Onslaught, who leads him to Xavier's study, where a waiting Onslaught rips the gem of Cyttorak from Juggernaut, removing his powers, before revealing himself as none other than Charles Xavier. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 2 Episode 12 - Patreon First

"Reunion Part 1"

Original Airdate
February 12, 1994

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writer: Len Wein 

Plot
Attempting to escape the Savage Land, Magneto & Xavier climb up the cliffside where Xavier's plane waits, but they are met at the top by the collective Savage Land Mutates, who capture them both. Meanwhile, after receiving a call for help from Morph, Wolverine, Jean Grey, and Cyclops track Morph to a theater where he's using his shapeshifting powers to perform. Backstage, he tries to send the X-Men away, but a waiting Mister Sinister and the Nasty Boys attack them. In the Savage Land, Ka-Zar helps free Xavier & Magneto, and the three agree to work together to free the captive Savage Land natives. Back at the theater, with the help of a conflicted Morph, Mister Sinister manages to capture Jean Grey. In the Savage Land, Ka-Zar, Magneto & Xavier sneak into the citadel, but find the mutates waiting for them. Ka-Zar manages to escape, but Xavier & Magneto are captured as Mister Sinister & the Nasty Boys arrives with Jean Grey. As Morph's commitment to Sinister waivers, leading him to be chained up alongside the rest of the captives, Sinister orders Sauron to brainwash Xavier, who proceeds to call the X-Men and urge them to come to the Savage Land. Though the X-Men suspect a trap, they fly off to the Savage Land to rescue their teammates. 

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Friday, January 29, 2021

X-amining X-Man #17

"One Step Forward"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Man battles Holocaust some more

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa & Rob Hunter
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
With Threnody, held hostage by Holocaust, not picking up on his signals, Nate telepathically accesses her power in order to blast Holocaust away and free her. The pair return to helping survivors of Holocaust's attack, though Threndoy is racked with guilt over having fed on one of the survivor's husband's death energy, assuring his death. Meanwhile, Madelyne Pryor, on a mission from Selene, encounters Trevor Fitzroy at a bar in London, and lures him outside. Back in Greece, Holocaust returns and tries to kill Threnody, but Nate intervenes, unleashing his full power and flying the villain high up into the air. In London, Fitzroy approaches Madelyne and kisses her, but is stunned to discover how cold and lifeless she feels. In the skies above Greece, Holocaust once more asks Nate to join him & Onslaught, but Nate refuses before finally managing to crack Holocaust's armor. In London, Fitzroy reveals that he knows who sent Madelyne, and dons his crystalline armor, though Madelyne is able to smash it and send him to his knees, at which point Selene reveals herself. She thanks Madelyne, then leans in to kiss Fitzroy as he screams in terror. In Greece, Holocaust retreats, telling Nate that now that he's been tested, Onslaught will be coming for him himself. Nate returns to Threnody, who insists he needs to find help. With Nate still distrustful of the X-Men, Threnody mentions other heroes located in New York, and he asks her to tell him more about the Avengers...

Thursday, January 28, 2021

X-amining X-Factor #124

"Future Memories"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Factor acclimates to having Sabretooth in their midst as mysteries mount around them. 

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

Plot
X-Factor, including new member Sabretooth, engages in a virtual reality training session, one which is being recorded and will be sent to their superiors. Val is hoping it will show them what Sabretooth is really like, prompting his removal, but Forge fears they already do. During the sessions, Shard suddenly reappears, much to Wild Child's delight. During the break in action, Polaris tries to talk to Forge, but he demurs, prompting Polaris to fly off alone as she wonders if she can believe in what the team is becoming. Shard proceeds to tell Forge about the government agents who broke into the base recently. Meanwhile, Random returns to Dark Beast's lair, where Fatale is waiting with orders for Random to return to X-Factor. She teleports him to just outside Fall's Edge, where he runs into Polaris, who quickly tells him about Havok's departure and her decision to remain with the team despite her reservations about its recent changes. Meanwhile, Val receives a call from her superior, and when she asks about the break-in, he in turn asks about Shard, prompting Val to pass  her off as a trick played by Mystique. Elsewhere, Sabretooth is enjoying the unrest his presence has caused, while Shard worries that her future is already starting to come true, as she knows there is already a hound amongst X-Factor. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #334

"Dark Horizon"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
Juggernaut arrives at the X-Mansion seeking Jean Grey's help

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Tim Townsend
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors & Enhancements: Steve Buccellato Team Bucce
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Juggernaut arrives on the grounds of the X-Mansion, hiding in the lake while he waits for Cyclops & Jean to return home. Meanwhile, Bishop & Gambit are working to repair Cerebro when they hear an alarm triggered by Juggernaut and leave to investigate. Cyclops is working out in the Danger Room when Jean interrupts, announcing she had an encounter with Onslaught. In Colorado, Archangel & Psylocke try to contact the X-Men but are unable to do so, prompting them to return to the mansion. In Xavier's study, Cannonball expresses his frustrations & doubts since joining the X-Men, but Professor X doesn't really entertain them and coolly dismisses Cannonball. Outside, Gambit & Bishop discover Juggernaut, who quickly knocks out both of them. In the infirmary, Dark Beast is checking out the newly-devolved Wolverine, but under increased scrutiny, he accidentally loosen the restraints, allowing Wolverine to run off on his own. Storm considers following him, but is stopped by Cannonball, who thinks they need to talk about Professor X. At a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Bastion meets with Graydon Creed, admonishing him for his attempted assassination of Senator Kelly. Meanwhile, Jean returns to the boat house to find Juggernaut waiting for her; he removes his helmet to prove his sincerity at needing her help. In the mansion, Xavier performs an impromptu test on Cyclops, raising Cyclops' suspicions, while far beneath the mansion, Jean leads Juggernaut into the Z'Nox chamber, where she can safely explore his mind to learn the secret of Onslaught...

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 2 Episode 11 - Patreon First

"Mojovision"

Original Airdate
February 5, 1994

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writer: Brooks Wachtel  

Plot
After Mojo - ruler of the extradimensional Mojoworld - complains that the ratings of his star actor's show are going down, Longshot storms out. Desperate for new content to goose the ratings again, Mojo's major domo suggests using the X-Men in Longshot's place. On Earth, Cyclops & Jean Grey are shopping for a new TV when Mojo suddenly appears on all the screens in the store. He announces they've been cast in his show, and Mojo's technician Spiral teleports herself into the store, capturing Cyclops, Jean and the rest of the X-Men, sending them to Mojoworld. There, they are paired off and forced to star in a series of television shows, much to the dismay of a watching Longshot, who is frustrated with having been replaced. When Jean manages to briefly shut down some of Mojo's cameras, infuriating the audience, Longshot makes his move, infiltrating the broadcasting station where Spiral is controlling the operation, and shuts it down. Without his audience, Mojo is defeated, and the X-Men return to Earth, leaving Mojo to watch a new program, one set in the Savage Land, as Professor X & Magneto fail to save Shanna from the pterodactyl man Sauron, who captures her and brings her to Magneto's old citadel, now the home of the Savage Land's new master. 

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Monday, January 25, 2021

X-aminations in 2021 Part 1


Onslaught, Onslaught, Onslaught! 

After several months/what feels like years of build-up, the first half of 2021 finally brings us to the main event itself! And in a testament to the sheer bloat of the event (and the X-Line in general in the summer of 1996), "Onslaught" itself is...pretty much as far as we're going to get by this summer. Though some of the blame there does fall on my shoulders - while work-related travel and comic convention volunteering are still non-factors thanks to the pandemic, my wife and I are expecting our second child in early June (and, on top of that, are hoping to sell our current house and move into a new one in the next couple months - I love my comics, but moving them sucks!), so in an effort to both stay on top of reviews in the next few months and give myself a bit of cushion around the birth of the new baby, I am taking every opportunity to schedule a "single review" week between now and then, and clustering a bunch of those towards the end of May and into June. It helps, of course, that Marvel is just churning out X-stuff non-stop in this era - and if you think this is a lot, wait until after "Onslaught": I always map this stuff out a little ahead of these posts, and there are fully fourteen limited series and one-shots that either conclude or launch between the end of "Onslaught" and January 1997. Marvel will declare bankruptcy in December of '96, and they are clearly milking the cash cow that is the X-Men for every last drop at this point. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

X-amining X-Men: Time Glider: #1-4

This review comes courtesy of Patreon supporter Miles Stokes. After supporting the site at the "Extraordinary" level or higher for twelve months, he chose this series for review. To get the chance to pick your own issue or series for review, and support the site, become a Patron here

"X-Men: Time Gliders"
December 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants over a time-traveling glider in this Hardee's promotional tie-in. 

Writer: Ben Raab
Penciler: Mike Gustovich, David Boller (issue #2), John Herbert (issue #3), Roman Morales (issue #4)
Inkers: Dan McConnel, David Boller (issue #2), Bill Anderson (issue #3), Derek Fisher (issue #4)
Letters: Jim Novak, Janice Chian (issues #2-4)
Colors: Jim Hoston

Plot
Beast builds a time machine he dubs the Time Glider in order to aid in his research about the Legacy Virus. Empyrean, who wants to use the machine to spread the Legacy Virus throughout history, thereby making more victims whose energy he can harvest, sends Commando to retrieve it. Commando steals into the X-Mansion and is confronted by Cyclops, but manages to escape with the Time Glider. As the X-Men follow Commando to Empyrean's island in the Florida Keys where the rest of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are waiting, Beast works to build another Time Glider. The X-Men infiltrate Empyrean's island, and Wolverine faces off against Blob, Rogue battles Avalanche, and Storm fights Phantazia. Inside, Empyrean tests the stolen Time Glider as Beast completes the second one. As the X-Men defeat the Brotherhood, Beast uses his Time Glider to block Empyrean, forcing the glider to return to the present without Empyrean, who remains trapped in the past. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 2 Episode 10 - Patreon First

"Beauty and the Beast"

Original Airdate
January 15, 1994

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writer: Stephanie Mathison

Plot
At a hospital for the blind, Beast confers with a colleague regarding an upcoming procedure they've developed to hopefully the restore the sight of a young woman named Carly, to whom Beast has grown close. Just then, the Friends of Humanity attack the hospital due to Beast's presence, and he's forced to rescue Carly from the burning building. Watching news of the attack, Wolverine decides to do something about the Friends of Humanity & poses as a victim of mutant violence to infiltrate the group. Meanwhile, in the Savage Land, Magneto & Xavier are captured by Amphibious, but manage to escape when two large sea serpents attack their boat. Back in New York, Beast learns Carly's father doesn't want him present for the operation because he's a mutant, but after Jean calms him down, Beast returns in time for Carly to see him for the first time following the successful operation. But after Carly's father chases Beast out of the room, the Friends of Humanity kidnap her. At the Friends' headquarters, Wolverine meets with Graydon Creed, whom he recognizes; when Creed leaves to interrogate Carly, Wolverine contacts the X-Men, telling them where he is and asking them to bring a holoprojector. As Beast attacks the headquarters in a rage, Wolverine helps free Carly and when the X-Men arrive, Jubilee activates the projector, showing images of Sabretooth, Creed's father. Hysterical, Creed confirms that Sabretooth is his father in front of his followers as the X-Men leave with Carly. Later, Beast tells Carly they can't be together due to the danger it would put her in because of the world's anti-mutant prejudice, but her father does thank him for saving his daughter, which Beast considers a promising start towards making things better.  

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

X-amining Wolverine #102.5

"Slay-Per-View" / "Costume Re-Partee"
1996

In a Nutshell

Wolverine is taken to Mojoworld in an effort to goose Mojo II's ratings. 

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Mark Buckingham, Mike Wieringo (2nd Story)
Inks: Dan Green, 
Letters: Arnie Sawyer Studios
Colors: Paul Mounts & Bongotone Studios, Chick Maiden (2nd Story)
Editor: Matthew Mora

Plot
Wolverine is on Mojoworld, battling an assortment of his greatest enemies. The last thing he remembers is training with Elektra when they pair were attacked by the X-Men, shortly before Spiral arrived and teleported him away. Elsewhere, Dazzler & Longshot caught wind of Mojo II's actions, and along with the X-Babies, head to his stadium. There, Wolverine continues to fight against an onslaught of friends and foes alike (all Warwolves in disguise), but the audience begins to tune out, confident Wolverine won't last against such tremendous odds. As Dazzler, Longshot and the X-Babies arrive, they convince Wolverine to give up and throw the fight, at which point the audience tunes out entirely, depriving Mojo II of his power. They then team-up with Wolverine to defeat the Warwolves and shut down Mojo II's transmission, after which, they send Wolverine home. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 2 Episode 09 - Patreon First

 "A Rogue's Tale"

Original Airdate
January 8, 1994

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writers: Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

Plot
Mystique meets with Mister Sinister, who informs her that Professor X is away from the X-Men, giving her a clear shot at winning Rogue back. Later, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attack a farmers market to lure out the X-Men; during the fight, Rogue spots a blonde woman which causes her to scream in pain. The X-Men bring Rogue back to the mansion, where she checks out as physically fine, but continues to hallucinate the blonde woman while experiencing tremendous headaches. She flies out of the mansion and ends up following visions of the woman to the hospital where the discovers the woman comatose, while the one taunting her changes into Mystique. As the X-Men battle the Brotherhood outside the hospital, Mystique tells Rogue to touch her. She does, and remembers how Mystique took her in as a teenager, teaching her control over her powers, and eventually setting her against Ms. Marvel, the blonde woman. During their confrontation, Rogue permanently absorbed Ms. Marvel's power, and haunted by her, sought out Xavier, who helped suppress her memories of Ms. Marvel. Back in the hospital, having absorbed Mystique's power, Rogue begins to shift into Ms. Marvel as the remnants of her mind begin to take over Rogue's body. Using Cerebro, Jean enters Rogue's mind and helps her contain Ms. Marvel and regain control of her own mind, after which Rogue affirms to Mystique that her place is with the X-Men. Later, Rogue visits Ms. Marvel in the hospital and touches her briefly, after which a smile appears on Ms. Marvel's face. 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Unstacking the Deck: Fleer Ultra X-Men: Wolverine

Fleer 1996


Vital Statistics 
100 cards (including the checklist card), plus a nine card Holoflash foil and three card "mirage" insert sets. 

Categorically Speaking
Weapon X, Department H, Second Genesis, Japan, Allies, Madripoor, Mojoworld, Enemies, X-Men, Age of Apocalypse, Savage Beast 

Firsts and Other Notables
While not Fleer's only offering of X-Men cards this year (they also put out the higher end chromium set, as well as a set of "Onslaught"-specific cards), this is the set which is the most direct sequel to the previous two years' "Fleer Ultra X-Men" sets. It is, however (in perhaps the most 90s thing ever) focused on Wolverine, rather than the full X-Men team/universe. 

As such, aside from the more standard "allies" and "enemies" categories, most of the categories represent a specific time or setting from Wolverine's history, with each nine card subset featuring characters culled from that era/setting alongside the relevant Wolverine card (so the Department H cards feature Wolverine in his first costume along with cards for Alpha Flight characters, the Madripoor subset his Patch outfit and cards for Tyger Tiger, Roughhouse, etc.). 

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 2 Episode 08 - Patreon First!

"Time Fugitives Part 2"

Original Airdate
December 18th, 1993

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writer: Elliot Maggin  

Plot
As the time storm wipes out his son Tyler, Cable travels back in time. He arrives just after Bishop in the past, intent on stopping Bishop from destroying the mutant plague in order to save Cable's future. The two tussle, but Bishop manages to escape. Shortly thereafter, Bishop incites a riot outside an apartment building where mutants are being quarantined, and reunites with the X-Men when they respond to the riot. Cable tries to assassinate Bishop there, but is spotted, and a fight breaks out between him and the X-Men. It ends when Cable teleports away. At his temporary base, he asks his computer for more information about the X-Men, and learns about Wolverine's healing factor, giving him an idea. Later, Cable teleports to the Senate chamber where Beast is speaking, shortly after Graydon Creed tries to infect Beast with the virus. Cable grabs Wolverine and teleports out, later telling Wolverine he needs his help. After the X-Men track the now-infected Creed to the Friends of Humanity base, Cable & Wolverine arrive, exposing Apocalypse's involvement. He blasts Wolverine into the vials containing Apocalypse's plague, infecting him, but also causing his healing factor to create the anti-bodies needed to cure the plague, thereby saving Cable's future. Cable then destroys the rest of the virus and the lab as the X-Men and Apocalypse flee the destruction. Bishop returns to his home time to discover the plague was prevented, but the world is still just as grim, while Cable returns to his time and discovers Tyler alive & well, and everything back to normal. 

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Monday, January 4, 2021

G. I. JOE #47 - May 1986 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



 You're on a high speed mission in enemy water

There's no turning back

You aboard the G.I.Joe Devilfish

Devilfish

When you run into a Cobra attack

Cobra attack!

Cobra's got a new Hydro-sled

Cobra's an evil foe

And Cobra's new Hydro-sled

Is going to get G.I. Joe

G.I. Joe -- a real American hero!


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

X-amining What If? #87

This review comes courtesy of Patreon supporter Michael Langenmayr. After supporting the site at the "Extraordinary" level or higher for twelve months, he chose this issue for review. 
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"Cat and Mouse"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
Jubilee must survive against an escaped Sabretooth

Plot: Dan Abnett/Andy Lanning
Script: Dan Abnett
Pencils/Inks: Frank Teran
Inkers: Dan Green & Tim Townsend
Letters: Steve Dutro
Colors: Christie Scheele
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In the tunnels beneath the X-Mansion, Jubilee discovers that Bishop has been killed by Sabretooth, who escaped his cell when Beast accidentally overloaded the mansion's power core. She runs back to the mansion, past the unconscious forms of Iceman and Emma Frost, only to find Sabretooth attacking Beast. He manages to fight Sabretooth off long enough to tell Jubilee to reboot the power core. Jubilee succeeds in doing this as Sabretooth finishes off Beast. She then blasts him with fireworks, allowing her to run elsewhere into the mansion. Drawing Sabretooth into the Danger Room, she attacks him with simulacrums of Hellfire mercenaries and Brood drones, then lures him into piercing one of the mansion's power conduits, frying him with dangerous amounts of energy, before managing to engage the room's laser grid defenses to keep him safely locked away.