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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #22

"The Shadow Within"
December 1984

In a Nutshell
Rahne writes a fairy tale story. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Bill Seinkiewicz
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

In the Danger Room, Nightcrawler works on agility with Sam, hoping to help him become more maneuverable while flying. As Sam practices, Nightcrawler reaches out to a watching Rahne, hoping to help her see that he shouldn't be judged by his appearance, but frightened, she runs off. Rahne rushes past a sparring session between Colossus and Roberto. Roberto is suddenly filled with rage, his hands becoming claws, and he lashes out at Colossus, making the older mutant feel like he's come down with the flu. In one of the school's laboratories, Rahne watches as Professor X and a newly-arrived Moira MacTaggert study the alien Warlock. She then visits Dani, who is on the phone with her parents, but Rahne takes off before Dani finishes, leaving Dani to worry about both Rahne and Roberto's recent edginess.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #187

November 1984

In a Nutshell 
The Dire Wraiths attack Forge and Storm. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: John Romita Jr. & Dan Green 
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Leaving Forge's building in the midst of a thunderstorm, Storm overhears an alarm triggered by a Dire Wraith teleporting into the lobby. Investigating, she's attacked by a Wraith herself but his saved by Naze, who has arrived in response to a prophetic dream he had of Forge being under attack. As Storm calls up to the penthouse to warn Forge, he's attacked by a cadre of Wraiths. In response, Storm and Naze begin to fight their way up to Forge. Storm is chased onto the roof by a Wraith, only to discover that the thunderstorm has become a blizzard. Storm is able to lock the Wraith onto the roof, leaving it to die. Just then, a stunning mental wave envelops Naze, Forge and Storm, briefly linking their souls.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Walking Dead 3x11: I Ain't a Judas

Largely a treading water episode, as both Woodbury and the prison gear up for a bigger showdown in the wake of last week's sortie, it nonetheless featured a reunion a long time coming between Andrea and the group at the prison. Andrea's reaction to the changes wrought in her old friends effectively underlined just how much everyone has changed (when Carol told Andrea about Shane, it felt like she was describing events from four seasons ago, not just eleven episodes) as well as, unfortunately, just how broken a character Andrea has become (the fact that she even had to sneak out of Woodbury should have been enough of a warning bell to her about the Governor).

X-aminations in March

A slight deviation with a look at the final issue of Marvel Team-Up, featuring Spider-Man, the X-Men and Juggernaut, but otherwise, another month that's business as usual as we continue ahead through the Romita Jr. and Sienkiewicz runs.

March 6th: Uncanny X-Men #188
March 7th: New Mutants #23

March 13th: Marvel Team-Up #150

March 20th: Uncanny X-Men #189
March 21st: New Mutants #24

March 27th: Uncanny X-Men #190
March 28th: New Mutants #25

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Few Thoughts on the Oscars

Seth MacFarlane was about what I expected: not raunchy enough for the Family Guy crowd, too raunchy for Hollywood. For the most part, I thought he handled himself well. The monologue was pretty clever, though it could have used some editing (the sequences showing what MacFarlane did in Shatner's future would have worked better if they were shorter and not just, you know, the entire sequences) and I appreciated that MacFarlane didn't disappear later in the evening, popping up occasionally to move the show along and drop a joke or two. It bugs me when the host just pops up to bookend the show.

In terms of his actual jokes, some hit, some missed, but that's true of all hosts on all shows. In particular, I liked, "Argo tells the previously classified story about an American hostage rescue in post-revolutionary Iran. The story was so top secret that the film’s director is unknown to the Academy", and "tonight’s ceremony is being watched by close to a billion people worldwide–which is why Jodie Foster will be up here in a bit to ask for her privacy." And, of course, the bit about saying how the next presenter needs no introduction, then walking away.

Friday, February 22, 2013

And the Oscar Goes To...

Mr. Shabadoo's reign of terror as Oscar Pool champion continued unabated last year. Here's my picks in the the big six categories that will hopefully lhelp aunch me back into Oscar victory!

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams (The Master)
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

This is one of the two big locks of the night, as Anne Hathaway has gobbled up every possible pre-Oscar award for her turn as Fantine in Les Mis. If anyone can upset, it'll be Sally Field, nominated for her turn in Lincoln, the film which garnered the most nominations this year (and thus likely has widespread Academy support). Field is also two-for-two in terms of Oscar nominations, meaning she's never lost whenever she's been nominated. But it ain't gonna happen; Hathaway may as well clear one more space on her trophy shelf. So here's a little trivia to fill space: all five nominees this year are previous nominees, the first time that has ever happened in this category. Also, all five women are nominated for playing mothers to onscreen children, the first time that's ever happened in the category.

Last Week in TV #22

As promised, it's a shorter post this week thanks to Mrs. Teebore's absence this last week. Hopefully we'll do some catch-up before she leaves again in March. 

The Simpsons: Hardly Kirk-ing

Bart and Milhouse discovering that Milhouse can pass for his dad, then dressing him up like an adult is certainly an original idea. It's never gets anywhere close to the level of Bart getting a fake ID and taking his friends on a road trip to the Knoxville Wig Sphere, but it's definitely something we haven't seen before, and at this stage of the game, that's something.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

X-amining New Mutants Annual #1

"The Cosmic Cannonball Caper"

In a Nutshell
The first appearance of Lila Cheney

Writer, co-creator: Chris Claremont
Artist, co-creator: Bob McLeod
Inkers: McLeod & Palmer
Letterer: McLeod
Colorist: Sharen
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Chief: Jim Shooter
Presenter: Stan Lee

In the Danger Room, Professor X tests the upper limits of Sam's blasting power. As Sam struggles to raise a hydraulic ram, Xavier has Dani create a mental image of a Brood Queen, which frightens Sam and breaks his concentration, reinforcing the additional point of the test: to never let down his guard. Chagrined at his failure, Xavier tells him he'll do better next time. Later, Stevie Hunter is helping Dani with physical therapy when Roberto bursts into the room, brandishing tickets to the Lila Cheney concert. That Saturday, the New Mutants arrive at the concert early for the sound check. During the check, one of the speaker banks breaks, threatening to crush Lila. As Warlock and Sunspot shore up the speakers, Sam manages to push Lila to safety, earning her gratitude and affections. When Warlock discovers that the chains holding up the speakers were tampered with, Dani has Rahne shift into her wolf form. Rahne discovers an alien scent, and the New Mutants investigate. During the concert, they discover a large alien waiting to ambush Lila. A fight breaks out, and Sam is able to defeat the alien. But as the concert ends, Sam is caught in a massive blast of energy that encompasses Lila and her band, and they all disappear.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

X-amining Kitty Pryde and Wolverine #1-6

November 1984 - April 1985

In a Nutshell 
Kitty Pryde receives martial arts training and takes the codename Shadowcat. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Allen Milgrom
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski, Joe Rosen (issue #4),
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Louise Jones & Ann Nocenti, Ann Nocenti (#2-6)
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Issue #1: In Chicago, Kitty Pryde, on leave from the X-Men following her breakup with Colossus, visits her father Carmen at his bank. She overhears him being threatened, and interrupts a confrontation between Carmen and a group of Japanese businessmen. Carmen explains that the men represent a Japanese firm headed by a man named Shigematsu, who is buying the bank, but Kitty senses trouble. Her father leaves for Japan, sending Kitty back to Xavier's school. But Kitty, thinking Carmen is in danger, instead sneaks aboard a plane and follows him to Japan. Locating the office of Shigematsu, she is horrified to overhear her dad agree to use his bank to launder money.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Walking Dead 3x10: Home

Maybe I'm just a big ol' rube, but I remain impressed with this show's ability to surprise me. The Governor's attack on the prison was, in hindsight, telegraphed loud and clear, from the moment Andrea asked where he was and received a non-answer from a twitchy Milton. And even though I sensed something fishy going on by the time Carol and Axel were getting all flirty (Axel's development in this episode smacked of the show's now-standard "he's going to die soon so we need to make the audience care" characterization), I was still relatively surprised when the governor showed up and started nonchalantly firing into the prison. Though a large part of that surprise came from the fact that it seemed too early for the Governor to be attacking.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Last Week in TV #21

A full slate this week. Next week may be a bit light, as Mrs. Teebore will be out of town, but I am planning on watching a few things while she's gone, so we'll still have enough for a post. 

The Simpsons: Love is a Many Splintered Thing

A largely frustrating episode. If the show wants to bring back Mary Spuckler twice in a season, fine, but do something different with the character then. I know that, being voiced by Zooey Deschanel, it isn't like she's going to hang around as Bart's girlfriend full time, but ending every one of her appearances with Bart heartbroken gets repetitive.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #21

"Slumber Party!"
November 1984

In a Nutshell
Warlock and Doug Ramsey join the team. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Bill Seinkiewicz
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski & L. Lois Buhalis
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

At Xavier's mansion, a group of local girls arrive to have a slumber party in celebration of Dani's release from the hospital. Meanwhile, in outer space, Magneto detects the approach of Warlock, who smashes into Asteroid M, destroying it, en route to Earth. Back at the party, the girls rush Rahne and give her a makeover, while Sam and Bobby return from a baseball game. They're shooed out of the house by the girls, and are swimming when Warlock crashes into the lake. Believing his inert form to be a meteorite, Sam fishes him out and takes him back to the school for Professor X to study. Inside, Warlock awakens, and seeks out power to rejuvenate himself. Plugging into an outlet, he shuts down the power to he school. Moving through the house seeking further sustenance, Warlock is attacked by Lockheed and Illyana before the rest of the team intervenes.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #186

October 1984

In a Nutshell 
Storm and Forge grow closer as Storm deals with her power loss. 

Story, Script: Chris Claremont
Story, Pencils: Barry Windsor-Smith  
Inker: Terry Austin
Colorists: Wein & Scheele
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

In Dallas, Forge tries to help Storm recover from the loss of her powers, but she is largely unresponsive, much to Forge's frustration. Back at the mansion, Professor X searches for Storm using Cerebro, but is unable to locate her since experiencing a burst of extreme psychic pain from Storm through the rapport he shares with all the X-Men. Nightcrawler worries that this may mean Storm has died, but Professor X forges ahead, switching tactics to try scanning for Rogue. Back in Dallas, Storm emerges from her room and discusses her situation with Forge, asking about Rogue, who is still missing, and mourning the loss of her powers. The pair go for a swim, and Storm learns the extent of the injuries Forge suffered in Vietnam, realizing they share a sense of physical loss. Meanwhile, in Mississippi, Val Cooper continues to search for Rogue when she's attacked by a group of Dire Wraiths. She's rescued by Rogue, who is after Val for information on Storm's whereabouts.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Walking Dead 3x09: The Suicide King

Walking Dead is a show that is at its best when its racing along, when it doesn't slow down enough for the characters to settle into a rut and say stupid things. But after the breakneck pace of the first half of this season, especially the episodes leading up to the mid-season finale, a slow down episode like this one was a necessary chance for the characters to catch their breaths, impart some important information, and get ready for their next move.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Last Week in TV #20

A short post this week, as most shows took the week off in fear of the Super Bowl and to gear up for sweeps (I also didn't find the time to watch Glee, and haven't seen the return of Community yet). But everything'll come roaring back next week, including Walking Dead

Once Upon a Time: In the Name of the Brother

As with the last episode, the flashback in this one was largely superfluous (though it's always a pleasure to see Gregory Itzin, even if he was especially hammy), more or less just filling in details of the larger story we learned in Whale's first flashback earlier this season. Thankfully, the non-Regina events in Storybrooke were interesting enough to carry the episode, focusing on the best way to handle an intrusion from the outside world and featuring some genuinely humorous remarks on the nature of the characters' situation.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

X-amining New Mutants #20

October 1984

In a Nutshell
The New Mutants defeat the Demon Bear.

the writer: Chris Claremont
the artist: Bill Seinkiewicz
the letterer: Tom Orzechowski
the colorist: Glynis Wein
the editor: Ann Nocenti
the editor who is much taller, and coincidentally, Chief: Jim Shooter

In the Demon Bear's domain, a dimension which resembles an untainted American West, the New Mutants watch as the bear transforms Officer Tom Corsi and Nurse Sharon Friedlander into American Indian demons. As the New Mutants battle the demons, the bear attempts to pierce Illyana's wards protecting the doctors operating on Dani back in the real world. As the battle rages, the bear grows more powerful and his corruption fills the land. Amara saves Roberto from one of the demons, leaving her open for an attack by the bear, which transforms her into a demon as well. Illyana uses her Soulsword to fight off the bear, then plunges it into the possessed Amara. Believing Illyana has been consumed by her dark side and killed Amara, Sam attacks her, but a restored Amara admonishes Sam, telling him Illyana saved her. As the New Mutants regroup and debate their next move, Illyana convinces Rahne to re-establish her rapport with Dani so they can learn why the bear fears her. As the bear continues to attack Illyana's wards, she uses her Soulsword to destroy the demons possessing Tom and Sharon.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #185

"Public Enemy!
September 1984

In a Nutshell 
Storm loses her powers via Forge's Neutralizer. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: John Romita Jr. & Dan Green 
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski 
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

At the Pentagon, Henry Peter Gyrich leads a briefing on Rogue and unveils Forge's Neutralizer, declaring his intent to use it in apprehending Rogue for killing a SHIELD agent. Raven Darkholme storms in, angry that Gyrich intends to use the untested Neutralizer prototype, but is told that the president has authorized the action. Meanwhile, at Xavier's School, Storm interrupts a therapy session between Professor X and Rachel to declare that Rogue has gone missing. Worried she may be suffering a relapse in the control of her powers, Professor X and Storm go to Cerebro to attempt to locate her, while Rachel, spying Xavier's address book, calls her father, Cyclops. Meanwhile, within a secret chamber at the Pentagon, Raven, as Mystique, consults Destiny for the best course of action regarding Rogue. Raven then informs Forge that Gyrich and his NSA team intend to use his invention on Rogue. Furious, Forge calls the president as he flies off to intercept Gyrich. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Last Week in TV #19

Still catching up, but thanks to some pre-February sweeps re-runs, I'm not too far behind.

The Simpsons: Changing of the Guardians

It's kind of impressive that, this far into the show's run, the writers occasionally come up with a family issue the characters haven't yet tackled, but that's essentially what this episode does, as Homer and Marge try to find guardians for the kids should anything happen to them. The ensuing episode is perfectly cromulent, and while the resolution (that both the parents and kids have gained a greater appreciation for each other) is sweet and legitimately earned, the conclusion Homer and Marge take from it (there's no need to name legal guardians) doesn't exactly follow.