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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

X-amining X-Men #54

"Wanted: Dead or Alive -- Cyclops!"
March 1969

In a nutshell: The X-Men meet Cyclops' brother and battle the Living Pharaoh.

Chief Pharaoh: Stan Lee
Scroll Writer: Arnold Drake
Mummy Designer: Don Heck, Werner Roth (2nd story)
Hieroglyphics Perpetrator: Vince Colleta
Graffiti Letterer: Jean Izzo, Artie Simek (2nd Story)

The X-Men are attending the college graduation of Cyclops' younger brother Alex, expressing some surprise at Scott having never told them about his brother. After the ceremony, Alex returns to his dorm to change and is kidnapped by men dressed like ancient Egyptians. The X-Men arrive at Alex's room and see signs of a struggle, and Marvel Girl is able to telepathically tracks the kidnappers. Elsewhere, Alex awakens, a captive of a man calling himself the Living Pharaoh. The Pharaoh tells Alex they are both mutants and that Alex is the only one who can oppose him, then prepares to kill him. The X-Men arrive just then, and the Pharaoh and his men escape during the ensuing battle. The X-Men leave Cyclops and Alex alone to discuss Cyclops' dual identity when the Pharaoh returns, stunning both of them.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Last Week In TV #2

Thoughts on some of what I watched on TV last week.

The Venture Bros.:  Pomp and Circuitry
Hank is probably my favorite character (at least amongst the main cast) so I thoroughly enjoyed what was essentially a Hank-centric episode, although the secondary plot featuring Phantom Limb escaping Guild captivity and teaming up with Professor Impossible, while funny (I always appreciate a Professor Impossible appearance, mainly because Reed Richards is such fertile ground for comedy), felt more disconnected from the main plot than with most Venture outings. Amongst the highlights were Hank and Dean's list of career choices, Brock's fight with the Vatican's karate gorilla Swiss Guards, the Venture Bros. take on the slow clap, and Doc Venture's take on college admissions ("he's a legacy").

Friday, September 24, 2010

Summer Movie Report Card 2010

Days are getting shorter, the temp is getting colder, and the movies are getting less blockbuster-y. Summer is turning into fall, and that means its time to look back at the summer that was, movie-wise.

Two big movies I wanted to see but which fell through the cracks were the acclaimed Toy Story 3 and the 80s-nostalgia, 'roid-filled action extravaganza The Expendables, but I'll hopefully catch those on DVD (or maybe even a theater still).

Anyways, here's what I thought of what I did see.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

X-amining X-Men #53

"The Rage of Blastaar!"
February 1969

In a nutshell: The X-Men fight Blastaar

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Arnold Drake
Penciller: Barry Smith, Werner Roth (2nd story)
Inker: Michael Dee, John Tartigalone (2nd story)
Lettering: Herb Cooper, Jean 'Simek' Izzo (2nd story)

In the Negative Zone, Blastaar watches Earth through an interdimensional interface, knowing his anti-matter body would be destroyed if he crossed dimensions and swearing to find a way to attack Earth and avenge his past defeats. Meanwhile, Marvel Girl is testing one of Professor Xavier's inventions, a matter transport device. The machine stuns her but continues to run, increasing in power and drawing Blastaar from the Negative Zone. As Blastaar attacks, Marvel Girl summons the X-Men. Angel, Cyclops and Beast battle Blastaar as Iceman creates ice mannequins, with which Marvel Girl telekinetically attacks Blastaar. He easily destroys them, but the melting ice creates a link between Blastaar and the still-running matter transport device, which seemingly kills him.   

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last Week In TV #1

In an effort to continue writing about current TV shows now that Lost is done and Heroes is mercifully off the air, I've decided to try a weekly "Last Week in TV" post, discussing the various shows I watched in the previous week (Sunday through Friday). Something I liked about a particular episode, something I didn't like, whatever strikes my fancy as I'm watching it. I'll do my best to avoid simply saying "this episode was good" or "that part was funny" (but don't be surprised to see me phoning it in with that kind of stuff from time to time). I probably won't talk about every show every week either. We'll see. It's a work in progress. But look for it every Monday.

Oh, and spoilers are a given. 

Anyways, the traditional 2010-2011 Network Television season kicks off in earnest this week when tons of new and returning shows have their premieres, but I thought I'd warm up with a few early starters and some summer season finales that aired last week.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Commercials I Hate

The magic of DVR has all but eliminated most of my commercial watching. (Although product placement now runs rampant.) The one exception is sports which I generally watch live. This means I still watch some commercials. And some (pretty much all) commercials annoy me. Here is sampling of my most hated relatively recent commercials:

(Oh, and I'm aware that, even though I hate these commercials, by posting them and having more people watch them I'm doing just what the ad executives want. But...whatever.)

I hate this commercial for two reasons. First of all, what a crappy bartender! If she talked to me like that I would have said "Well, I may not care about taste, but you apparently don't care about a tip." I may or may not have followed up that statement with three snaps in a Z formation.

Secondly, if I did care about taste Miller Lite would certainly not be the answer. Of course, that's more a universal complaint I have about the beer commercials that dominate the sports landscape touting the great taste of their watered down piss beer.

My problem this commercial is it doesn't make any sense. If he's racing home, why is he jumping and hiding in the van and using the rear view camera when the kids he was racing show up? And if they're "racing home" wouldn't this be a sibling racing him? Why is the mom leaving the other sibling looking dejected on the lawn? The whole thing is just weird. That is unless the commercial has been edited to change the original intent. The plot thickens!

I have a theory. If you notice, you don't see the kid who challenges Parker to a race lips move at the start of the commercial. I would bet dollars to donuts (mmmm...donuts) that originally the kid was a bully threatening to kick Parker in the nuts and steal his lunch money. So Parker isn't racing, he's running for his life and uses the van to safely elude the bullies.

I suppose some focus group decided the original scene was a bit too morbid or something.

My problem with this commercial is simple. If I ask for a cocktail and you make me a drink that weak I will be punching you in the face. Period.

First of all, the State Farm spokesperson just screams douche. But maybe that's just me.

My real problem with the commercial is the friends of the sandwich guy (who we'll call Doug). Really? You're going to make fun of Doug for being poor? What's wrong? Does Doug not have any terminal illnesses to tease him about? Were you sick of ribbing Doug about the day his parents died in a house fire? What a bunch of asses.

And another thing, State Farm douche, don't act like switching insurance companies is going to magically fix Doug's (or anyone's) money problems. Because it won't. And even if it did Doug would still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat remembering that fateful day mixing matches with bug spray cost his parents their life. Money can't clean the stain on your soul, State Farm!

Friday, September 17, 2010

X-amining X-Men #52

"Twilight of the Mutants!"
January 1969

In a nutshell: The X-Men defeat Magneto and Mesmero, and prove that Magneto isn't Lorna's father.

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Arnold Drake
Penciller: Don Heck and Werner Roth
Inker: John Tartigalone, John Verpoorten (2nd story)
Lettering: Sam Rosen

Mesmero orders his guards to kill the captured Erik the Red, but Erik easily defeats them and then collapses the roof, trapping them. He then proceeds towards Magneto, but Lorna intervenes, reluctantly defending her father. But Erik tells Lorna he is there to join Magneto, not to slay him, and Magneto, still paralyzed, accepts his help.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Retro Review: I Married Marge

Or the One Where: Homer tells Bart and the Lisa the story of how he came to marry Marge.

The Setup: Worried she may be pregnant again, Marge goes to see Dr. Hibbert, leaving Homer in charge of the kids.

Notable Notes: This is the second "flashback" episode, chronicling past events in Homer and Marge's life. It reveals several details, including the circumstances of Bart's conception and Homer's proposal, Marge and Homer's wedding ceremony (an event which later writers are surprisingly faithful towards), Bart's birth, and how Homer came to work at the power plant.

Smithers first name is revealed to be Waylon in this episode.

Monday, September 13, 2010

To Better Know A Hero: Quicksilver

Real Name: Pietro Django Maximoff

First Appearance: X-Men #4, March 1964 

Nicknames and Aliases: Pietro Frank, Matheo Maximoff,

Powers and Abilities: Quicksilver possess the mutant ability to move and think exceedingly fast. He can run at speeds up to Mach 5, and his body is designed to survive the rigors of moving at such speeds.

For a time following the Scarlet Witch's depowering of 98% of the world's mutants, Quicksilver was powerless before artificially gaining the ability to briefly move forwards and backwards in time. His original abilities have since been restored.

Friday, September 10, 2010

X-amining X-Men #51

"The Devil Had a Daughter!"
December 1968

In a nutshell: The X-Men escape from Magneto while Lorna is torn between the X-Men and her father. Later, Iceman storms off.

Editor: Stan Lee
Writer: Arnold Drake
Penciller: Jim Steranko, Werner Roth (2nd Story)
Inker: John Tartigalone
Lettering: Sam Rosen, Herb Cooper (2nd Story)

Magneto confirms that Lorna is his daughter, and offers her a place at his side as ruler of the world. Enraged, Iceman demands Magneto tell Lorna the truth about his evil past, and the X-Men attack. Magneto orders Mesmero and his Elite Guard into the battle. Overwhelmed, the X-Men begin to retreat but the Elite Guard bar their way. Cyclops blasts the ceiling and it caves in, crushing Magneto's legs and temporarily crippling him. As the X-Men escape, Lorna digs Magneto out of the debris.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Retro Review: Burns Verkaufen der Kraftwerk

Or the One Where: Mr. Burns sells the nuclear power plant to Germans.

The Setup: A depressed Mr. Burns contemplates selling the power plant in order to have more time to pursue other interests.

Notable Notes: Phil Hartman guest stars as Homer's stock broker.

The "Land of Chocolate" sequence was not in the original script (the dialogue referring to it was, but the actual dream sequence was added later).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Five Memorable Moments from Beverly Hills, 90210

Much to the continued embarrassment and consternation of Mrs. Teebore, I am an unabashed fan of Beverly Hills, 90210, having grown up watching its ten season run and continuing to watch occasional episodes, thanks in large part to Soapnet reruns. In honor of 90210 Day (9/02/10) here are five of the most memorable moments from 90210.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Few Thoughts about the Emmys

The opening, in which Jimmy Fallon, members of the cast of Glee, Tina Fey, Joel McHale, and Jorge Garcia (amongst others) sang and danced their way on stage to Springsteen's Born to Run was pretty awesome.