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

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

X-amining X-Factor #134

"Child"
May 1997

In a Nutshell

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Eric Battle
Inker: Art Thibert, Sam Parsons & Hackshack Studios
Letterer: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Separations: GCW
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Anxious to get at Forge's hidden files, General Bowser downloads data off a CD-ROM confiscated from Forge. Instead, he infects the government's computer systems with a virus that gives Forge access to their files. Now properly positioned to continue their work free from government oversight, X-Factor sets out on their next mission, locating Mystique's young friend, Trevor Chase. Meanwhile, Guido awakens from his coma, and demands to see someone from X-Factor. Later, Bowser returns home to find X-Factor waiting for him, looking for Trevor. Back at the hospital, a federal agent almost tells Guido about X-Factor's apparent demise, but then Guido gets sedated in order to prevent any further damage to his heart. Back at Bowser's house, Trevor calls to X-Factors from upstairs. Mystique rushes to his side, and he tries to warn her just as two monstrous creatures crash through the walls. X-Factor manages to fight them off, but they escape with Bowser. Unbeknownst to X-Factor, the monsters were created by Trevor, and he seems to have set his sights on them next. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

X-amining X-Man #27

May 1997

In a Nutshell
Nate probes the true intentions of Havok's Brotherhood

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Roger Cruz 
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Jaye Gardner 
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Nate joins Havok and his Brotherhood on a mission to rescue Aurora from aboard a Department H train. Hanging back, due both to his diminished powers and his uncertainty about the Brotherhood's true intents, Nate only intervenes in the conflict to stop one of Department H's soldiers from killing everyone. Claiming the soldier's weapon-laden gauntlet for himself, Nate returns with the Brotherhood and the rescued Aurora to their base below Manhattan. There, Havok shows Nate to a meditation chamber containing a device which will help Nate access his locked away abilities. Shortly thereafter, Nate is able to levitate himself. Exploring the base further, he discovers a stash of deadly gas cannisters that were traveling with Aurora. Realizing getting the gas was the true objective of the mission, not rescuing a fellow endangered mutant, Nate confronts Havok. Reading his mind, Nate confirms Havok isn't brainwashed and truly believes in the Brotherhood's mission. But he also discovers the Brotherhood's secret member, his world's Dark Beast. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #344

May 1997

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle the Phalanx for the fate of the Shi'ar Empire

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Melvin Rubi
Inkers: Joe Weems with Scott Hanna, Marlo Alquiza, Harry Candelario & Tim Townsend
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Plot
With the Phalanx already in control of the Shi'ar royal palace, the X-Men arrive to rescue Lilandra. They realize the Phalanx are targeting the hatchery, home to the next generation of Shi'ar. Rogue dispatches Bishop and Deathbird to defend it, while Beast works to devise a way to separate the Phalanx techno parts from the organic ones. On Earth, Senator Kelly meets Henry Peter Gyrich at the Hulkbuster headquarters of Operation: Zero Tolerance. Despite his own anti-mutant sentiments, Kelly is growing concerned about the amount of power Bastion has amassed. Back at the Shi'ar palace, Bishop and Deathbird grow closer as they defend the hatchery. At the palace, the sight of all the dead Shi'ar triggers Joseph's memories of the Holocaust, and he attacks, blowing the X-Men's cover. Rogue and Gambit join the fray after him, until Beast succeeds in shutting down the Phalanx. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

G. I. Joe #88, July 1989 (The Commercial, Not the Comic…The Final One)



Girl, each time I try

I just break down and cry

Pain in my head

Oh, I'd rather be dead

Spinning around and around

Although we've come

To the end of the road

Still I can't let go

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

X-amining Excalibur #108

April 1997

In a Nutshell
Captain Britain & Meggan battle the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn!

Writer: Ben Raab
Penciller: Salvador Larroca 
Inker: Scott Koblish
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Tinsley
Separations: GCW
Editor: Matt Idelson
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
On Muir Island, Nightcrawler and Colossus playfully fence with each other. Afterwards. Amanda Sefton approaches Colossus, telling him that she's leaving Excalibur for personal reasons she can't share with anyone, especially Nightcrawler. Meanwhile, in London, the The Dragons of the Crimson Dawn continue their attack on Captain Britain. Back on Muir Island, Wisdom receives a strange email, after which he's harassed by Kitty about acquiring proper superhero attire. Elsewhere in the complex, Wolfsbane expresses her concern over Moira's work habits to Douglock, before departing with Kitty for Ireland. They have a hair appointment with the highly sought after Molly Fitzgerald. In London, Meggan regains consciousness, and is able to help Captain Britain defend himself. Watching nearby is Spiral, who is reminded by the Dragons that she is now one of them, and teleports everyone away but herself and Meggan. Confronted, Spiral assures Meggan she's no friends of the Dragons, and Meggan suggests they head to Muir Island for help. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

X-amining X-Force #65

"Lower East Side Story"
April 1997

In a Nutshell
Adam Pollina returns as Warpath & Risque are attacked by Blob & Mimic!

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inker: Mark Morales
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Separations: Team Bucce
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Risque visits Warpath at the X-Mansion, before the pair head into New York City, much to Siryn's dismay. As Warpath probes an evasive Risque for more information about her past, they arrive at a club in the East Village owned by a friend of Risque's. Inside, Warpath tries to get more info about Risque from her various acquaintances. Back at the X-Mansion, Siryn & Shatterstar practice in the Danger Room before being distracted by the sound of piano music. They follow it to find Caliban mysteriously playing like a virtuoso; as the rest of the team gathers around him, he suddenly has a seizure and collapses. Back at the club, Risque worries that she's getting too close to Warpath, just as she's approached by her mysterious boss, who tells her two others have arrived to finish the job she started. Just then, Blob and Mimic attack the club, trying to capture Warpath. He and Risque manage to fight off Blob & Mimir, but Warpath is angry about her obvious connection to them. She takes him to an apartment nearby. After Warpath assures her he'll stick by her as long as she's honest with him, she offers him a drink laced with a tranquillizer that knocks him out, thereby completing her mission. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

X-amining Generation X #26

April 1997

In a Nutshell
Jubilee tries to escape from Bastion while her classmates try to survive at sea!

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Joe Bennet & Joe Pimentel
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras

Adrift on a chunk of vegetation in the middle of the ocean after escaping from Black Tom, Chamber, M, Husk, Skin and Synch fight to stave off the effects of exposure and find a way to reach land, to no avail. Meanwhile, back at the school, Banshee mourns the death of Emma and desperately tries to find his missing students. Elsewhere, Jubilee manages to knock out the Operation: Zero Tolerance guards holding her, but when her powers overreact and seriously injures one of them, she stops to make sure he's okay, much to a watching Bastion's confusion as this delay leads to her recapture. Back at the school, Emma revives following another psychic encounter with Nightmare, revealing to Banshee that she was only faking her death and their students are still alive. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2024

G. I. Joe #80 - November 1988 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



Nobody beats G. I. Joe

Over the land and deep down below

Cobra BUGGs got an eye out for Joe

Nobody beats G. I. Joe

A Real American Hero!

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

X-amining Cable #42

"Tolerance"

April 1997


In a Nutshell
Cable & Storm fight Callisto & Marrow at a Lila Cheney concert. 


Writer: Todd Dezago 

Penciler: Randy Green

Inker: Scott Hana

Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft

Colorist: Mike Thomas

Editor: Bob Harras


Plot
In the Swiss Alps, Ch'vayre is visited by Sanctity, who urges him to track down Cable and make him realize it's time for him realize his true destiny. But Ch'vayre doesn't believe Cable is ready yet. Sanctity reminds Ch'vayre of his place. Meanwhile, Cable & Storm are attending a Lila Cheney concert on a tip that Callisto and Marrow are planning on attacking it in the hopes of triggering a mutant uprising. When Callisto and Marrow attack, they cause a panic, but Lila manages to calm the crowd while Cable and Storm move the fight outside. Callisto and Marrow escape, and Cable heads back inside to find the bomb they said they planted while Storm continues to search for their foes. Cable finds the bomb and Storm finds Callisto, who reveals the bomb will detonate once Lila is done singing. Cable telepathically alerts Lila, and she teleports the bomb to the other side of the galaxy. Cable and Storm are happy they prevented a disaster, but Cable remains certain a genetic war is on its way. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

X-amining X-Factor #133

"Down Under"
April 1997

In a Nutshell
Val Cooper & General Bowser investigate X-Factor's apparent demise. 

Writer: Howard Mackie
Art: Jeff Matsuda & Art Thibert
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Val Cooper and General Bowser investigate the site of Mystique and Forge's car crash, and discover no sign of them in the Potomac. They proceed to X-Factor's Fall's Edge headquarters, which recently exploded. Despite Val's protestations, Bowser orders a force of six men inside the remains of the building alongside himself and Val to secure Forge's technology. Meanwhile, Jamie Madrox visits the comatose Strong Guy at a hospital in DC, where he is confronted by Havok. Inside Fall's Edge, members of Bowser's team are taken out due to the conditions of the building, and when the group comes across a toxic gas leak, Bowser orders everyone out. Back at the hospital, Havok tries again to get Jamie to join his Brotherhood, but Jamie declines. At Fall's Edge, an electrostatic field is erected around the remains of the building, sealing it off, with the members of X-Factor declared dead. Inside Fall's Edge, Forge and the rest of X-Factor watch Bowser pull out, pleased their ruse has succeeded and thankful for the role Val played in selling it. Now, they can get on with reinventing X-Factor as something better. Back at the hospital, Havok teleports away, urging Jamie to side with him when the time comes. Jamie just wanting a normal life, tells Strong Guy to get better before leaving and missing a small movement of Strong Guy's hand. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

X-amining Wolverine #112

"The Light at the End of the Day"
April 1997

In a Nutshell
Wolverine fights an evil mime. 

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Anthony Winn
Inks: Dan Green 
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas & Graphic Colorworks
Editor: Mark Powers

Plot
Wolverine arrives in the East Village, where he stops two thugs from hassling a woman and a man. The woman, Kirsten, offers to help Wolverine get an apartment in her building. Meanwhile, a passing street mime is lured into a basement by an evil spirit. Later, Wolverine calls Jean and explains that he's attempting to prove he can live in the real world. But over the next few days, as he explores his new neighborhood, Wolverine finds it difficult to not blame himself for the damage caused by Professor Xavier's transformation into Onslaught. Seeking a job, Kirsten directs him towards a construction crew rebuilding in the wake of Onslaught. The foreman, Helen, makes it clear she abhors violence but brings Wolverine aboard. But when she and Wolverine later come across the thugs destroying Wolverine's motorcycle, she snaps and attacks them, helping Wolverine chase them off. With Helen offering no explanation, Wolverine enters his apartment, where the mime, now wearing a sinister smile, is waiting for him.

Monday, June 19, 2023

Friday, May 5, 2023

Efficient and Divine - Gene Kendall's New Crime Thriller (Also, Free Stuff)

 


Quick-witted and clean-cut Mason Mackay has something dark within. Struggling to accept his sinister urges, Mason must choose between those he loves and those who deserve brutal justice.

Gene Kendall here, once again acting like a hog and using a blog post to plug his projects. I've been at work for a few years now on Efficient and Divine, a small-town crime thriller series. (They're available on Kindle Unlimited, which is currently running a free trial promotion.) The first novel Almost Heaven is an origin story of sorts for Mason Mackay, a handsome documentarian who discovers a staggering capacity for violence.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

60 Years of X - 1970

Year 8: 1970
1970 X-Men Comics & Appearances: X-Men #66-68, X-Men Annual #1, Amazing Spider-Man #92

The X-Men have their series cancelled, then revived a few months later as a reprint title! An amazing friendship starts! And that's about it!

043 - Year 8 Cover: X-Men #66


Monday, March 13, 2023

G. I. JOE #72 - June 1988 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)

 


Nobody beats G. I. Joe

Nobody beats G. I. Joe

Fighting hard against the Cobra foe

Nobody beats G. I. Joe

A Real American Hero!

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #63

April 1997

In a Nutshell
The search for a Legacy Virus cure gets complicated as Sebastian Shaw returns and the Kingpin reveals himself!

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Ben Raab
Pencils: Carlos Pacheco 
Inks: Art Thibert
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Chris Lichtner , Aron Lusen & Liquid Graphocs
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
The X-Men an Shang-Chi battle the cyber ninjas, who reveal they are working for Sebastian Shaw, who shortly thereafter reveals himself to the X-Men. After a brief scuffle, Storm brokers a truce, while Cannonball slips away underneath a rickshaw headed towards Fujikawa Enterprises. At the Hong Kong branch of the Hellfire Club, Shaw admits he's seeking a cure for the Legacy Virus — and a financial interest in the production of it — but claims there is some altruism to his motives. He also secretly receives all of Moira MacTaggert's data on the Legacy Virus from Rory Campbell. Shortly thereafter, the X-Men depart for Fujikawa Enterprises, where Shaw believes the Elixir Vitae sought by Shang-Chi's father and key to the cure, is being held. However, Cannonball is already inside, and learns the new head of the company is none other than the Kingpin, who shortly thereafter reveals himself to the intruding X-Men!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

60 Years of X - 1969

 Year 7: 1969

1969 X-Men Comics & Appearances: X-Men #54-65, Sub-Mariner #14

Neal Adams saves the X-Men! Roy Thomas returns! So do the Sentinels & Professor X! Magneto gets a face! Havok, Sauron, Sunfire, the Savage Land mutates (& the Living Monolith...) debut!

037 - Year 7 Cover: X-Men #56


Monday, February 13, 2023

60 Years of X - 1968

 Year 6: 1968


1968 X-Men Comics & Appearances: X-Men #42-53, Avengers #53 & #60!

Xavier dies, Magneto returns, the X-Men disband! The Avengers crossover, Polaris debuts! Roy Thomas leaves, Gary Friedrich comes & goes, Arnold Drake arrives! All that plus Jim Steranko in 1968!

031 - Year 6 Cover: X-Men #50



Thursday, February 9, 2023

X-amining Classic X-Men #26 - Patreon First

October 1988

In a Nutshell
Banshee & Wolverine swap war stories and realize they indirectly crossed paths years before becoming X-Men!

Writer: Tom Orzechowski, Chris Claremont (additional pages)
Artist: John Bolton, Kieron Dwyer (additional pages)
Inker: Terry Austin (additional pages)
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colors: Gregory Wright
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Wolverine, Banshee, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops are having a "boys night" at Harry's Hideaway. When Wolverine tells a story about how he and his lady friend Cracklin' Rosa would sucker patrons of her Calgary bar into trying to beat Wolverine at a drinking contest, Banshee realizes they inadvertently crossed paths while Banshee was working as an Interpol agent. Banshee had followed a pair of wanted criminals to Rosa's bar, and Wolverine's antics had helped distract their bodyguards, allowing Banshee to signal the Mounties to arrest his man without any complication. In the present, Banshee points out how they both inadvertently learned something about teamwork that day, while Cyclops says he's proud to call them both teammates. 

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #14

March 1997

In a Nutshell
Franklin Richards deals with the aftermath of "Onslaught". 

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Pencils: Jim Cheung
Inks: Andrew Pepoy
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somerset
Editor: Kelly Corevese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Franklin Richards is having nightmares of his family disappearing and being replaced by the man he blames for their deaths, Joseph. In the morning, he wakes and is comforted by his friends Artie and Leech. All three boys are visiting Beast's childhood home along with Beast, Gambit, and Storm. Later that morning, Beast's father Norton invites the kids on a tractor ride. Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Dunfee, a group of men led by Grange Janssen discuss the recent assassination of Graydon Creed and the influx of mutants like Hank McCoy in their town. Grange decides its time they do something about it. Back at the McCoy farm, Franklin uses his powers to disable the tractor, creating an opening that allows the boys to run off into the woods. Gambit warns Storm, but when she flies off to find the boys, she is shot by Grange and his posse, who capture Artie and Leech as well as Beast when he intervenes. Unaware of his friends' capture, Franklin uses his powers to teleport Joseph to him, then attacks, angrily holding him responsible for the death of his family. Joseph is confused, but unable and unwilling to overpower Franklin. In the woods, the police arrive and defuse the situation, arresting Grange and his posse. Out in the field, Gambit comes to Joseph's defense and helps convince Franklin not to kill Joseph. But by then, Franklin's power has grown out of his control, and it takes the timely arrival of Leech, delivered by Beast, to shut it down. Having at least made peace with Joseph, Franklin resumes playing with his friends. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Thursday, February 2, 2023

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series 4x04 - Patreon First

"Proteus Part 1"

Original Airdate
September 30th, 1995

Writer
Bruce Reid Schaefer

Plot
On Muir Island, the energy-based mutant Proteus escapes from his cell. Moira MacTaggert calls Xavier for help, and while the X-Men race across the Atlantic in the Blackbird, Xavier tells them about his past with Moira. On Muir Island, Moira tells the X-Men about Proteus' ability to take control of host bodies and warp reality around him. As Proteus cuts a swath through Scotland searching for his father, the X-Men track him down. Confronted, Proteus uses his powers against the X-Men, overpowering their senses and terrifying Wolverine. From there, Proteus confronts his father, Joe MacTaggert, Moira's ex-husband, prompting a tearful Moira to admit that Proteus is her son!

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

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

X-amining X-Man #26

"Down to Earth"
April 1997

In a Nutshell
Nate seeks Moira's help in the wake of the loss of his telekinetic powers. 

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Guest Penciler: Pascual Ferry 
Inker: Jamie Mendoz & Howard Shack
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Separations: GCW
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Stuck in Switzerland without his telekinetic powers, Nate psychically projects himself to his friend, Peter Parker, to ask for help with his lost abilities. While touched Nate would seek him out, Peter admits he's not the best person to ask, and steers Nate in the direction of Moira MacTaggert. Nate physically travels to Muir Island, using his telepathy to sneak aboard cargo vehicles and mask his presence from Excalibur as he heads towards Moira's lab. However, Moira is well aware of his presence thanks to a device she's created. Nate asks for her help contacting Forge, but when Moira reaches Val Cooper, she's told X-Factor is dead. Moira proceeds to run some tests on Nate, and concludes there's nothing physically wrong with him: his own mind is, for some reason, suppressing his telekinesis. Meanwhile, Dark Beast suggests to Havok that he recruit Nate to his Brotherhood, but cautions him to leave Beast's name out of it. Back on Muir Island, Moira attacks Nate, hoping his instincts will kick in and allow his power out, but it doesn't. Later, as Nate ponders his next move, Havok and Fatale teleport onto Muir Island, and tell Nate they can help him. 

Monday, January 30, 2023

60 Years of X - 1966

Year 4: 1966


1966 X-Men Comics & Appearances: X-Men #18-29, Strange Tales #156. 

019 - Year 4 Cover: X-Men #28



Not a lot of great covers to choose from in '66. Werner Roth's cover to Banshee's first appearance stands out due to the red background & eerie spectral quality to Banshee & the energy created by the figure's movement.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

X-amining Classic X-Men #25 - Patreon First

"Just don't look it in its eyes"
September 1988

In a Nutshell
Wolverine is stalked by a hunter and fights a bear. 

Writer: Ann Nocenti, Chris Claremont (additional pages)
Artist: John Bolton, Kieron Dwyer (additional pages)
Inker: Terry Austin (additional pages)
Letters: Tom Orzechowski, Michael Heisler (additional pages)
Colors: Gynis Wein
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Moonlighting for Central, Wolverine destroys a building in the Canadian wilderness, but gets burned in the process. Making his way back to civilization, he is spotted by a hunter, who thinks the burned Wolverine may be a creature like Big Foot or Sasquatch. The hunter tries to sneak up on Wolverine, but Wolverine is amazed at how noisy the hunter is, noise which attracts a large bear. The bear attacks Wolverine but he manages to kill it. As the hunter gets closer to Wolverine, he fires an arrow at him, but Wolverine catches it and throws it back to the hunter. Hitting his thigh, the hunter is stunned to learn his prey isn't some dumb beast. Wolverine leaves the hunter be, then continues on his way home. 

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

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #343

April 1997

In a Nutshell
The Phalanx return as the X-Men fight to save the Shi'ar!

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Tim Townsend
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato and Team Bucce
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
As Bishop and Beast tend to the injured Deathbird, Gambit and Joseph arrive to interrogate her. However, Deathbird grabs Bishop's gun and fires on them, revealing both to be Phalanx, the techno-organic aliens who have decimated the Shi'ar Empire. Meanwhile, Rogue attempts to rescue the real Gambit & Joseph, but is drawn into conflict with the Phalanx. She is partially transmoded, which allows her to learn of the Phalanx plans for galactic conquest, just before Gambit & Joseph rescue her in turn. Back on Earth, Bastion arrives at an Operation: Zero Tolerance base with special cargo: the captive Jubilee. Back in Shi'ar space, the X-Men arrive at distant moon of Chandilar, the Shi'ar throneworld. They allow the Phalanx to destroy their ship, using the debris to mask their descent to the moon inside a makeshift lifeboat. Landing on the moon, they proceed to one of Deathbird's safehouses, and from there, teleport to directly to Chandilar!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

60 Years of X - 1965

Year 3: 1965

1965 X-Men Comics: X-Men #10-17, Fantastic Four Annual #3

013 - Year 3 Cover: X-Men #13

On his way out in '65 (shifting to only doing layouts & covers), Kirby turns in some of the strongest covers of his run, w/several icon entries. I like this one just a smidge more than #12, the other Juggernaut cover.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

60 Years of X - 1964

Year 2: 1964


1964 X-Men Comics: X-Men #4-9, Fantastic Four #28, Journey into Mystery #109, Strange Tales #120, Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1

007 - Year 2 Cover: X-Men #4


Of '64's mostly routine Silver Age covers, this stands out due to Kirby's knack for characterization: Pietro's indifference, Toad's simpering & Wanda's odd intensity. We know something about them before we even open the book.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

X-amining Deadpool #3 - Patreon First


March 1997

In a Nutshell
Deadpool & Siryn team-up to track down Black Tom!

Writer: Joe Kelly
Penciler: Ed McGuiness
Inkers: Nathan Messengill & Norman Lee
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft 
Colors: Matthew Pain
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Matthew Idelson
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Plot
In the wake of losing his finger, Deadpool takes bets at the Hellhole on how fast he can grow it back, but loses money when his finger doesn't return. Later, he receives a package from Black Tom Cassidy containing a hand that had been previously severed. This prompts him to visit Siryn at the X-Mansion, where he tells her about the package he received from her uncle. Siryn doesn't know where Black Tom is, but worried about Deadpool, she agrees to help him. They track the hand back to Doctor Killebrew, the former Weapon X scientist who experimented on Deadpool. He says he sent the hand to lure Deadpool to him, as he wants to atone for his past by saving Deadpool, saying not only is his healing factor failing, but his entire body is killing him from the inside!

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

Friday, January 6, 2023

60 Years of X - 1963

As an addendum/archive of my "60 Years of X" social media project, I will post the collective results of each year here upon its completion as a standalone post, and add the results to the running "60 Years of X" page (linked on the top of the left column on the home page) which will, by year's end, feature the entirety of the project and my favorite bits from each of the X-Men's sixty years of existence. 

Year 1: 1963

1963 Comics: X-Men #1-3, Tales of Suspense #49

001 - Year 1 Cover: X-Men #1

The pickings are slimmer in Year 1, of course, but it's hard not to go w/the iconic cover to the series' first issue, especially since I've had an Alex Ross recreation of it in poster form hanging on my wall for decades.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

X-amining Excalibur #107

March 1997

In a Nutshell
Salvador Larroca debuts as the new series artist while Excalibur is attacked by the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn!

Writer: Ben Raab
Penciller: Salvador Larroca 
Inker: Scott Koblish
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Tinsley
Separations: GCW
Editor: Matt Idelson
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Brian Braddock and Meggan arrive arrive in London for what Meggan says will be one of the happiest days of their lives, while back on Muir Island, Colossus, Wolfsbane, and Nightcrawler work together to build their own Cerebro unit to detect mutants. In London, Brian and Meggan discover that despite their recent heroics in saving the city, many of the citizens still blame them for the death of the "real heroes" at the hands of Onslaught. Angry, Brian declares he doesn't want to be a superhero anymore, just a scientist, then laments that he's letting his anger ruin his and Meggan's day. On Muir Island, Douglock urges Moira to take a break from her Legacy Virus research, but she refuses, determined to find a cure for the virus. Back in London, Brian and Meggan are picking out an engagement ring when Meggan is suddenly knocked out onto the street. Just then, Spiral appears, and Brian attacks her, thinking she targeted Meggan. But when Spiral reveals she's been marked by Crimson Dawn, the Dragons of Crimson Dawn, Meggan's actual attackers, emerge and reveal they have come to kill Brian!

Monday, December 19, 2022

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series 4x03 - Patreon First

 "Courage"

Original Airdate
September 23, 1995

Writer
Michael Edens, Sandy Scesny

Plot
On Muir Island, Moira checks out Morph's health, and he insists he's ready to rejoin the X-Men. Meanwhile, a group of Sentinels steal an advanced new polymer. Later, at the X-Mansion, the X-Men are overjoyed to be reunited with Morph. However, their celebration is cut short upon news of the Sentinel attack. Wolverine and Morph investigate the manufacturing plant the Sentinels attack, but pull out as Wolverine fears for Morph's stability. At the Sentinel's base, Master Mold plots to use the polymer to make himself a new, more powerful body, and orders the Sentinels to capture Bolivar Trask, Henry Peter Gyrich, and Professor Xavier. When the Sentinels attack the X-Mansion, Xavier is captured, in part because Morph freezes upon seeing the Sentinels. After Gyrich and Trask are captured, Morph manages to track down the Sentinel base. As Master Mold plans to steal Xavier's telepathic powers, the X-Men arrive and attack the Sentinels. Morph holds his own, using his shapeshifting abilities to fend off Master Mold. Trask ultimately sacrifices himself to destroy the base, allowing Gyrich and the X-Men to escape. But despite conquering his fears, Morph decides he's not ready to rejoin the X-Men after all, and sets out on his own. 

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


Tuesday, November 29, 2022

X-amining X-Force #64

"The Haunting of Castle Doom"
March 1997

In a Nutshell

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Anthony Castrillo & Mark Pajarillo
Inkers: John Holdredge & Marlo Alquiza
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In the present, Warpath, Sunspot, and Caliban watch in shock as Castle Doom suddenly disappears, though their Latverian companions are unperturbed, saying this sort of thing happens all the time in Latveria; one of them even saw ghosts while working in the castle as a young girl. Back in 1941, Dimitri Fortunov is stunned to realize they have arrived in the time when his cruel grandfather Baron Sabbat ruled Latveria. Sabbat is reluctantly hosting Baron Wolfgang Strucker of Hydra, who is testing a new machine designed to harness the powers of the cosmos. Nathanial Richards realizes it is that device which is preventing him from resynching Doom's time machine and sending the time traveler's home. Appearing as ghosts to the people living in 1941, X-Force works to destroy the machine, in the process staving off an assassination attempt on Sabbat by Strucker. Once Rictor manages to destroy Hydra's machine, everyone — as well as Castle Doom — returns to the present day. Cable destroys the time machine, telling Bridge SHIELD can do as it pleases with the rest of Doom's technology. Bridge surprisingly lets Cable and X-Force walk away without a fight, while Cable parts on friendly terms with Nathanial Richards, not knowing that Richards has his own agenda. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

The Week That Was 112222

First of all, happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the US/celebrating. May the day be what you want/need it to be! 

Secondly, what's this, then?

mea culpa, something new (that's a little old), and shameless plugs. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

X-amining Generation X #25


"The End"/ "Behind the Eight Ball" / "Cutting to the Chase" / "Putting Out the Fire" / "The Great Escape" / "Point of No Return" / "Enemy Mine" / "Duel" / "Splitting Heirs" / "On Land or Sea or Foam"
March 1997

In a Nutshell
Black Tom and Mondo attack the school! 

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Al Vey and Scott Hana
Letterer: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Vancata
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
After secretly lurking in the school's biosphere, Black Tom executes his revenge plot against Banshee, capturing Monet, Paige, Chamber, Synch and Skin while taking control of Emma's body and letting his evil Mondo creation loose in the school. As Banshee fights his demented cousin, Bastion secretly arrives and captures Jubilee. He also executes the evil Mondo. Meanwhile, Franklin Richards, Artie, Leech, Tana Nile, Howard the Duck and Beverly Switzler are rescued from Black Tom by the Man-Thing. Black Tom proceeds to force Banshee and Emma to fight one another. Banshee refuses to hurt Emma, but she takes control of his mind and forces him to blast her with his sonic scream in order to save the students. Just then, Banshee realizes the kids Tom has captured are just lifeless shells, and Black Tom reveals he's sequestered the real kids somewhere safe. Suddenly, the overlooked Penance attacks Black Tom, slicing apart his plant body. Thousands of miles away, with Black Tom's influence lifted, a plant pod releases from the ocean floor and rises to the surface, where it opens and reveals the real Monet, Paige, Chamber, Skin and Synch, adrift in the middle of the ocean. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

X-amining Cable #41

"Depths of Time"

March 1997


In a Nutshell
Cable & Bishop battle Sinsear!


Writer: Todd DeZago

Penciler: Steve Crespo

Inker: Scott Hana

Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft

Colorist: Mike Thomas

Separations: GCW

Editor: Mark Powers

Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Plot
Responding to an intruder alert, Cable and Bishop arrive at the remains of Cable's former space station Graymalkin, now residing on the ocean floor. Inside, they discover Sinsear. Angry at having lost his humanity in favor of his cybernetic parts, he hopes to use the station to return to his and Cable's future timeline and reclaim his humanity. But Cable and Bishop tell him he needs to earn back his lost humanity, and in the ensuing fight, the time displacement core is damaged. As it starts absorbing energy, Cable worries that it will overload and wipe out all of reality. He devises a means to shut it down, but to do so, someone must go inside the core, giving up their life to do so. Cable intends to do it himself, but Sinsear steps in, willing to sacrifice himself since he started the problem. Inside the core, Sinsear shuts down the overload, saving reality but scattering his atoms throughout the universe in the process. As they return home, Cable and Bishop discuss their respective dark futures. Upon arriving at the X-Mansion, Cable seeks out Storm, and asks her to tell him more about his sister, Rachel. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

The Runs: Chris Claremont & Paul Smith's Uncanny X-Men

Hey, if you want to hear me talk about the Claremont/Smith run on Uncanny X-Men — arguably the greatest X-Men run of all time — check out my buddy Ryan Alexander-Tanner's podcast The Runs, on which I recently appeared to do just that. 

You can stream the episode directly from here, or listen on most of the usual podcast platforms of choice

Monday, October 31, 2022

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 1

In celebration of the premiere of X-Men: The Animated Series thirty years ago today, here is my review of the series' inaugural episode. To read the rest of my reviews of the animated series (currently up to the start of season four), become a Patron now for as little as $1.25 a month!

"Night of the Sentinels Part 1"

Original Airdate
October 31 1992

Written by
Mark Edward Edens

Plot
After young mutant Jubilee's foster father reports her to the Mutant Control Agency, a Sentinel attacks her house, intent on capturing her. Jubilee has, however, snuck out to the local mall. The Sentinel tracks her there, drawing the attention of fellow mutants Storm, Rogue, Gambit & Cyclops, who destroy the Sentinel and take the unconscious Jubilee back to their mansion home. There, she encounters Beast, Morph, Wolverine, Jean Grey & Professor Xavier, and learns the group is called the X-Men a team dedicated to mastering their powers and achieving peaceful coexistence with the humans who often fear & hate mutants. Learning the Sentinels are the product of the Mutant Control Agency, the X-Men infiltrate their headquarters in order to destroy their files on mutants, but the agency's security forces are, unknownst to the X-Men, lying in wait for them.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

X-amining X-Factor #132

"Breakaway"
 March 1997

In a Nutshell
X-Factor starts quitting the government!

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Jeff Matsuda
Inker: Art Thibert
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Separations: GCW
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Forge tenders X-Factor's resignation to General Bowser. He reminds Forge that Mystique is still a wanted criminal in connection to Graydon Creed's death, but Forge doesn't much care. As X-Factor leaves, Val asks Forge why he didn't let her know about his plans; he tells her that she's not a mutant, and thus, it's none of her business. Elsewhere, Madrox visits his own grave. He is joined by Shard and Wild Child, who stage an encounter in an effort to gain Madrox's trust in order to get closer to Havok's Brotherhood. Meanwhile, Forge brings Mystique to the home of Trevor Chase, where they discover he's been kidnapped. The pair are attacked, and are seemingly run off a bridge to their deaths as they try to escape. At Fall's Edge, Sabretooth, Polaris, Shard and Wild Child are watched by government agents as they enter a building, after which the building explodes, leaving the agents to believe no one has survived. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

G. I. JOE #68 - February 1988 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)




Battle Force 2000

The secret force of G. I. Joe

Battle Force 2000

They can take on any foe

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


Wednesday, October 5, 2022

X-amining Wolverine #111

March 1997

In a Nutshell
Wolverine returns to the X-Mansion, finds himself out of place, and sets out on his own again. 

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Anthony Winn
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colors: Dana Moreshead
Separations: Graphic Colorworks
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Wolverine returns to the X-Mansion. He checks in with Cannonball, who has been maintaining his motorcycle, and learns Iceman is leaving the team following the attack on his father. Wolverine receives a mysterious package in the mail with a message from Zoe Culloden, entrusting it to him for safe keeping. Storm gives Iceman a unique mutant flower as a going-away-present, saying it has a hard time surviving in a standard environment — seemingly like a lot of the X-Men. Later, the team visits Harry's Hideaway, but Wolverine finds himself disconnected from the group. He goes to Auger Inn, and drinks a toast to his dead Madripoorian friends. He then returns home alone and depressed, and goes into the Danger Room. There, he is attacked by a evil spirit which raises Mariko's soul and offers to restore her to life. Wolverine rejects the offer, and drives off the spirit, at which point Stick appears and puts Mariko back to rest. He explains that the evil spirit is the enemy he and Elektra have been preparing Wolverine to fight. The next day, Wolverine gives Cannonball a new motorcycle, then rides off on his own, determined to prove he can survive in the real world on his own. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

X-amining Magneto #1-4

"Return of the Messiah" / "Atonement" / "Kill Zone" / "Specters"
November 1996 - February 1997

In a Nutshell
Joseph battles Exodus and comes to terms with his past as Magneto. 

Plot: Peter Milligan
Script: Jorge Gonzalez
Penciler: Kelley Jones
Inks: John Beatty, Mark Heike & Jim Sanders III (issue #4)
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Brad Vancata
Separations: Graphic Color Works
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras
Separations: Digital Chameleon

Plot
Haunted by his past as Magneto - a past he doesn't remember - Joseph seeks out the ruins of Magneto's fallen space station Avalon. He encounters a group of Acolytes being hunted by Humanity's Last Stand. They decide Joseph is indeed Magneto reborn. Reaching Avalon, Joseph is horrified after he reviews Magneto's personal logs. Elsewhere, Exodus remains the leader of another group of Acolytes, who plan to launch a New Avalon which, when launched, will kill millions of humans. Determined to stop Exodus, Amelia Voght grudgingly makes an alliance with Fabian Cortez, telling him about Joseph. Cortez locates Joseph and convinces him to pretend to be Magneto in order to stop Exodus. Joseph's efforts to pass himself off as Magneto reborn are strengthened when he helps fight off Humanity's Last Stand, but the Acolytes are perplexed when he spares the life of their commander, Colonel Armstrong. However, Armstrong ultimately dies of his injuries anyway. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #62

March 1997

In a Nutshell
The X-Men team-up with Shang-Chi to hunt for a Legacy Virus cure! 

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Ben Raab
Pencils: Carlos Pacheco 
Inks: Art Thibert
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Chris Lichtner & Liquid Color
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Outside the Scottish home of an old associate, MI-6 agent Clive Reston, Shang-Chi, Master of Kung-Fu, is attacked by a group of ninjas. He fights them off, only to be attacked in turn by Wolverine, who wants to test him. Their fight is ended by a lightning bolt from Storm, angry at Wolverine's actions. Cannonball arrives, and the group is introduced to Shang-Chi, after which they go inside Reston's home, where Reston, Cyclops, and Phoenix are waiting. They explain that Sebastian Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club, is seeking the Elixir Vitae, which he hopes to use to cure the Legacy Virus (and make massive profits in doing so). Since Shang-Chi's villainous father created the elixir, the X-Men need his help. Later, Shaw is at his Hong Kong offices when he's told the X-Men are en route to the city; he orders a "reception" for the group. Shortly thereafter, as the X-Men and Shang-Chi make their way through the streets of Hong Kong in a pair of cars, they are attacked by a group of Cyber-Ninjas. 

Monday, August 29, 2022

X-amining X-Man #25

March 1997

In a Nutshell
Nate and Jean Grey confront the revived Madelyne Pryor!

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Pencilers: Roger Cruz with Casey Jones
Inks: Bud LaRosa with Jason Martin
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft AD
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Madelyne talks to Threnody in a cemetery, trying to find out where Nate is. In the course of their conversation, Threnody realizes Madelyne is actually dead. Angry, Madelyne removes one of Threnody's psionic bafflers, knocking her out. Meanwhile, Nate senses Madelyne's return; after tracking her to the cemetery but finding her gone, he goes to Switzerland in search of her. At the X-Mansion, Jean is visited by the Askani woman named Sanctity, whom cryptically makes her aware of Madelyne's return. In Switzerland, Nate finds Madelyne and brings her to the cabin where they first met. Just then, Jean arrives in the Blackbird, and Madelyne attacks. During the ensuing three way battle, Madelyne realizes that, ultimately, Nate is going to side with Jean, while Nate realizes that Madelyne is his creation, formed of his psionic energy and memories of Jean from his own world as he sought comfort upon first landing on Earth. Angrily insisting she is a person with a right to exist, Madelyne angrily returns Nate's energy to him and leaves. Jean offers him a place with the X-Men once again, but he turns her down. He does tell her that he wished she'd been his mother. Later, Madelyne Pryor joins Sebastian Shaw in his bed. Back in Switzerland, Nate realizes that his telekinetic powers are gone, but is unsure if it is because of his confrontation with Madelyne, or the beginning of his end as his powers begin to consume him.