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

Friday, June 29, 2012

Retro Review: Lisa's First Word

Or the One Where
We learn the story of Lisa's birth/first word. And Maggie says her first (and thus far only) word.  

The Setup
While trying to get Maggie to talk, Marge tells the kids the story of Lisa's first word (Bart's was "aye carumba", said after walking in on Homer and Marge having sex; Marge declines to tell that tale).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #160

"Chutes and Ladders!"
August 1982 

In a Nutshell 
Colossus' sister Illyana is kidnapped by Belasco.

Script: Chris Claremont
Pencils: Brent Anderson
Inks: Bob Wiacek
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colors: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The X-Men are training on their island base while being unknowingly watched via a scrying device by a sinister figure. The figure calls out to Illyana, and when she wanders off, Kitty follows her. Illyana disappears inside a dark temple, and when Kitty enters, she vanishes as a circular patch of light appears beneath her. One by one the rest of the X-Men similarly vanish. Kitty awakens inside a sinister, grotesque room and is confronted by a warped, degenerate version of Nightcrawler and the ruler of the realm, Belasco. He imprisons Kitty inside a large crystal and calls forth his servant S'ym, ordering the demon to deal with the rest of the X-Men. As S'ym departs and the X-Men arrive in Limbo, Belasco gives Illyana an amulet containing a Bloodstone, telling her he intends to make her his apprentice and craft more of the Bloodstones.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

X-aminations in July

It's New Mutants time (sort of)! This month will see the first expansion of X-aminations as we begin coverage of the very first (and most definitely not the last) X-Men spinoff.

However, after the initial four issue arc, it will be a couple months before we start covering New Mutants regularly (by my rough estimate, sometime in October). My plan for covering the two series is to examine both issues of each series from the same month each week (with X-Men on its usual Wednesdays followed by New Mutants on Thursdays) just like how you would have bought the issues back in the day. So we'll cover the November issues of both series one week, then the December issues the next week, and so on. The goal is to keep X-Men on its once-a-week schedule, so when there's annuals, limited series or special one-shots featuring the X-Men that don't have a corresponding New Mutants issue, those X-Men-centric issues will be given their own week and New Mutants will be skipped, in order to keep the two main titles in synch.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Retro Review: Mr. Plow

Or the One Where
Homer starts a snow plowing business

The Setup
After wrecking his car driving home on a snowy night, Homer decides to replace it with a plow.

Notable Notes
Adam West and Linda Ronstadt guest star, as themselves. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #159

"Night Screams!"
July 1982 

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men fight Dracula.

Author: Chris Claremont
Guest Penciler: Bill Seinkiewicz
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The X-Men arrive in New York to visit Misty Knight, but at her apartment they find only her roommate Harmony Young. Harmony agrees to let the X-Men crash at the apartment while Kitty visits her parents, and Kitty departs, escorted by Storm. Meanwhile, in New Mexico, Corsair catches up with Cyclops, Havok and Polaris, and ponders whether he'll stay on Earth or return to space with the Starjammers. Back in New York, the X-Men grow concerned when Storm doesn't return, at which point they are contacted by the hospital, Storm having been admitted with a slashed throat. When Colossus and Wolverine arrive at the hospital, they find Storm on her feet, believing she was mugged, and demanding to be discharged. Back at the apartment, Storm awakens to open the window and invite inside the fog hovering outside.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dr. Bitz Ranks Every Television Series Ever...Sorta (Part 8)

If you've been paying attention to these posts you've seen that at the end of a post I preview the upcoming shows for the next post. However, the last post's preview will now be wrong because I decided to call an audible.
I didn't want to make changes to the list after I initially started but I kept looking at what was coming up and I knew I had change it. It was bothering me too much. However, I probably could have gotten away without mentioning it because my last rankings post was two months ago. Two months! I surprised even myself when I discovered that. No more delays, let's get to the rankings (as always, the rules to my list are here):

25. Deadly Games: Dr. Gus Lloyd is a video game designer who creates a virtual reality game where he's the hero saving a heroine modeled after the ex-wife he still loves from various baddies modeled after people he doesn't like in his real life. Shockingly, after a laboratory mishap the video game characters come to life and go after his real life ex-wife. So it's up to Gus to save his ex-wife from various video game villains of his creation.
Let's face it, this show was made for me...especially 14 year old me. Unfortunately this show came out when special effects on TV shows, especially a UPN show on a tight budget, were lacking. But I still appreciated this show. How can you not like the camp value of villains like "The Boss" (modeled after Gus's first boss) who is vulnerable to red ink or "The Orthodontist" whose weakness is sugar? I was sad to see this show only last 13 episodes but, surprisingly enough, it actually had a bit of resolution!

Friday, June 15, 2012

To Better Know a Hero: Green Lanterns

So Green Lantern has been in the news a lot lately, the "real" news, even, thanks to DC's recent reveal of the character as gay. However, as is usually the case, non-comic book news site don't quite know/aren't telling the whole story, so I figured now was as good a time as any to create a Green Lantern primer. Because, as is usually the case with comics, nothing is ever that simple...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #158

"The Life That Late I Led..."
June 1982 

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men fight Rogue inside the Pentagon.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

On the X-Men's base in the Bermuda Triangle, Carol Danvers spars with the Starjammers while Dr. Corebau runs a series of biological tests on her. Meanwhile, Oracle of the Imperial Guard attempts to telepathically wake Professor X from his coma. Scanning his mind, she is overwhelmed by the presence of great evil in his consciousness. When she attempts to withdraw, Xavier subconsciously takes control of her mind and tries to user her power to kill himself before Wolverine severs their connection. Just then, Kitty draws the X-Men's attention to Senator Kelly, who is appearing on TV denouncing mutants in general and the X-Men in particular. Moira worries that the government might be able to track down the X-Men via the information Professor X shared with the FBI back when he was working with them, and Kitty suggests having the Starjammers create a virus capable of erasing all references to the team from the federal databases.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Last Week in TV #35

Following the Game of Thrones finale last Sunday, we limp to the final "Last Week In TV" post for the 2011-2012 season. Which means, amongst other things, we won't get around to discussing the rest of Glee or the final Community episodes of the Dan Harmon era, because I am just that far behind in TV watching.

But "Last Week in TV" will be back sometime in September with the start of a new TV season, and, most likely, with a slightly different approach. But we'll get to that in due time. First, here's some final thoughts on a few finales.  

Game of Thrones: Valar Morghulis 

For better or worse (and in some cases, it was both) this episode was less a typical season finale and more a season epilogue that also did a lot of work to setup season three. Even before the horde of zombies arrived to give us our "here's what's coming" cliffhanger, we were given a very clear picture of where most of the characters are headed in the next season. Which is interesting only because that's the kind of work that's usually done in season premieres (and one of the reasons why season premieres are usually pretty boring). By doing the work of establishing the upcoming conflicts and character arcs at the end of the season (with last week's "Blackwater" serving as the climax of this season), Game of Thrones is able to tie the setup of next season to the epilogue of this one, making for a more satisfactory experience I'd like to see more shows try to emulate.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #157

May 1982 

In a Nutshell 
The X-Men and Starjammers defeat the Shi'ar and save the planet.

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Don Warfield
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Near Pluto, the X-Men and Starjammers are working frantically to repair their ship when Colossus suddenly collapses, succumbing to the still-healing injuries he suffered at Deathbird's hands. As he's looked after by Sikorsky, Lilandra reveals that she tried to contact Chancellor Araki via the imperial commlink in order to get him to call off the attack on Earth, but while a connection was established, he never answered. Desperate, Professor X establishes a mindlink with Nightcrawler and Kitty, still aboard the Shi'ar flagship, and tells them Lilandra is safe. While doing so, he senses an anomaly within himself, but when he attempts to probe it, his mind shuts down, putting him into a vegetative state. Meanwhile, aboard the Brood's ship, the Brood attack Deathbird for allowing Lilandra and the X-Men to escape, but Deathbird holds them off, promising to deliver the super-powered X-Men to them to be used as breeders for the Brood. Aboard the Shi'ar flagship, Nightcrawler and Kitty escape from their quarters just as Admiral Lord Samedar orders them killed.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Last Week in TV #34

Game of Thrones: Blackwater

After several feints, cutaways and allusions, Game of Thrones gives us our first out-and-out battle, and suitably, it also gives us the first episode set entirely at one location. It was well worth the wait, giving us an intense, focused depiction of Stannis' attempted invasion of King's Landing. While the show's budget can't allow for it do too many episodes like this (even on an HBO budget) they at least they made the most of the opportunity.