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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #45

"Claws Over Time Square!"
Early September 1991

In a Nutshell
Wolverine is attacked by Sabretooth and Lady Deathstrike while trying to rescue the Hunter in Darkness.

Writer: Larry Hama
Breakdowns: Marc Silvestri
Finishes: Dan Green
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Jubilee tells Wolverine about entrepreneur Ronald Parvenue's plan to display the captured Hunter in Darkness in Times Square, while a mysterious sniper sets up near the stage, preparing to shoot the Hunter. In the Morlock Tunnels, Albert sets off in search of more power to repair Elsie-Dee, much to the consternation of Masque and the Morlocks. Near the Brooklyn Bridge, Sabretooth climbs out of the river, stopping a mugger than mugging the target himself. Wolverine reaches Times Square just as Parvenue, attended by Lady Deathstrike, arrives on the scene, followed by Sabretooth. As the caged Hunter in Darkness is unveiled, Deathstrike is confidant his plight will draw out Wolverine, who does indeed intervene after the Hunter is shot and wounded by the sniper. Both Deathstrike and Sabretooth then leap into the fray, each attacking Wolverine, and their battle frees the Hunter, just as Albert's efforts trigger a city-wide blackout.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #41

"At Last...The Reunion!"
September 1991

In a Nutshell
Excalibur reunites with the X-Men, who turn out to be the Warwolves in disguise.

Story: Scott Lobdell & Dana Moreshead
Pictures: Dave Hoover, Ivy & Candelario
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colors: Glynis Oliver/Thomas
Edits: Terry Kavanaugh
Big Edits: Tom DeFalco

Excalibur and the X-Men reunite at a pub, though Kitty is still sore about being left in the dark about the X-Men's survival, and leaves to visit Lockheed at the hospital. Meanwhile, a criminal being transported in an armored car infuses a magical gem with the spirits of his associates, while Storm visits Kitty at the hospital, and the pair reconcile. Outside, the gem is tossed free of the car, and the energy emanating from it possess nearby office furniture, which sets about attacking people. As Excalibur and the X-Men attack the furniture, Dai Thomas arrives on the scene, suspicious of the X-Men. He shoots Colossus, who turns out to be one of the escaped Warwolves. His discovery prompts the rest of the X-Men to reveal themselves as Warwolves, and the group tries to fulfill their original mission by capturing Phoenix. They merge to form a portal to Mojoworld, but as the rest of Excalibur frees Phoenix, Nightcrawler tosses the gem at the Warwolves, just as the portal closes, eliminating both their problems. In the wake of the Warwolves' masquerade, Excalibur decides to make long overdue contact with the X-Men, for real this time, as both Nightcrawler and Kitty agree that their place remains with Excalibur.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Milch Studies: Hill Street Blues, Part One

Hill Street Blues is significant while reviewing the work of David Milch, not only as his first TV writing job, but also as the first series overseen by Milch as an executive producer.  Hill Street (created by Steven Bochco and Michael Kozoll) was considered groundbreaking television at the time, with its focus on realism and episode-to-episode continuity, not to mention the dramatic break from traditional television camera work, as evidenced by the use of handheld cameras in place of studio (floor) cameras.

Monday, March 28, 2016

X-aminations in April 2016

Here it is, the big linewide relaunch that's been building for months, culminating in the debut of a second X-Men series, the first issue of which still stands as the best-selling comic book of all time (and probably the most-stocked-in-quarter-bins comic of all time, too).

Plus, a new X-Factor team! Todd McFarlane's Spider-Man! A pun-tastic Peter David Wolverine one-shot! And, finally, Alan Davis brings a level of respectability and excitement back to Excalibur!

On Sale August 1991
April 6th: Uncanny X-Men #281
April 7th: X-Force #3
April 8th: X-Factor #71

April 13th: X-Men (vol. 2) #1
April 14th: Excalibur #42
April 15th: Wolverine #47

April 20th: Spider-Man #15
April 21st: Spider-Man #16
April 22nd: Wolverine: Rahne of Terra

On Sale September 1991
April 27th: Uncanny X-Men #282
April 28th: X-Force #4
April 29th: X-Factor #72

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #32

"The Jawa Express"
February 1980

In a Nutshell

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Bob Wiacek
Colorist: Petra Goldberg
Letterer: John Costanza
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

Stranded, Luke makes repairs to the Landspeeder, but the vehicle needs coolant. Threepio and Artoo offer up their own coolant, enabling Luke, Han and Chewbacca to evade a nearby Imperial patrol. Han worries that the droids' coolant won't last long, but Luke says they only need to reach the ship he flew to Tatooine. When they arrive where he landed the ship, however, they discover Jawas picking it apart. Han trades the droids for passage to Mos Eisley aboard the Sandcrawler, promising Luke he'll use some his bonus from Jabba to buy them back. En route, the Sandcrawler is attacked by Stormtroopers, who believe Luke and Han to be aboard. They fight off the troopers, after which, they stumble across some strange machinery in the desert. As they inspect the equipment, Luke suddenly orders everyone away, just before the machinery activates, freezing everything in its vicinity.

Friday, March 25, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #1-70

X-Factor, at least in terms of the first seventy issues which comprise the initial iteration of the book's status quo, is a series that had to overcome some pretty significant deficiencies to succeed. While the book's sales during these issues were, likely, always safe, wedded as it was (at least in terms of publishing) to the bestselling X-Men and New Mutants books, it was born of an editorial fiat (the return of Jean Grey) which pissed off many fans (who believed, not without merit, that it trampled on the classic ending of the already-classic "Dark Phoenix Saga") and nearly drove Chris Claremont away from Marvel an entire spinoff series-early. Secondly, the initial premise of the series, which featured the originally X-Men posing as human mutant hunters and mutant freedom fighters at the same time, was positively dreadful, on several levels: it didn't make much sense, it made the main characters look like idiots for not realizing how idiotic it was, and it utterly destroyed Cyclops, turning a character who had received the closest thing to a happy ending one can get in superhero comics into a moronic cad who abandoned his wife and newborn so, essentially so he could runoff and play with his friends (and, of course, make time with his old girlfriend).

It also didn't help that, under initial writer Bob Layton and artist Jackson Guice, the early issues of the series eschewed a very conscious Silver Age vibe, going so far as to revert Beast from his blue and furry form to flesh-and-blood, the better to reflect the physical makeup of the original X-Men from the sixties (and perpetuate the mutant hunter ruse). The problem was that not only had all the characters, not just Cyclops, changed, developed, and grown up since those comics were originally published, the X-Men universe, and comics in general, had grown up and changed as well, making X-Factor in its initial goings read very differently than its contemporaries, both within the X-line and out.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

X-amining Marvel Comics Presents #85-92: Just Friends

"Professor / Drawing Stares / If This Is Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium / Fool For Love / My Pal Mugsy / Beast, I'm Going to Kill You / Bring Me the Head of the Beast / Closure"
September - December 1991

In a Nutshell
Beast runs into an old friend at Belgian mutant symposium

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Rob Liefeld/Jae Lee (issues #85-86) Jae Lee (issues #87-92)
Inker: Tim Dzon, Tim Dzon/Don Hudson (issue #89)
Letterer: Todd Klein, Diana Albers (issue #89), Steve Dutro (issue #90)
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Issue #85: Dodging Ship's efforts to record his memoirs, Beast spots X-Factor's mail carrier being attacked by an armored figure. Beast fights him off, in the process learning the attacker has a beast-like face. Included in the rescued mail is an invitation to a mutant symposium in Belgium, which the armored attacker was meant to intercept. Issue #86: En route to Belgium, Beast tells his seatmate about his high school relationship with Jennifer Nyles, which ended when Professor X wiped her mind to protect Beast's identity. Arriving at the conference, Beast is excited to see that Jennifer will be a keynote speaker, just as he's attacked by the Constrictor. Issue #87: During the fight, Beast spots the aging Red Ghost, and after Beast defeats Constrictor, the Red Ghost's presence is explained when his Super Apes attack the conference and kidnap Jennifer.

The Walking Dead 6x11: Knots Untie

Ooooh boy...of all the episodes of The Walking Dead this was certainly one of them. There were...people...zombies...talking. Rick's group traveled to a new town. And...uh...well...

Alright, I'll be honest. I got nothing. This episode gave me very little to discuss and the viewer very little to digest.

Don't get me wrong. The premise of this episode is one town in the zombie apocalypse coming in contact with another town. They try to learn about each other and negotiate a deal while trying to be cautious. I think that could be an interesting and exciting episode. This was not an interesting and exciting episode.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

X-amining Wolverine: Bloody Choices

"Bloody Choices"

In a Nutshell
Wolverine teams up with, then fights, Nick Fury en route to killing a Hawaiian mobster and child molester.

Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: John Buscema
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Color Artist: Gregory Wright
Editor: Ralph Macchio

On holiday in Hawaii, Wolverine intervenes when a small boy tries to assassinate Mr. Bullfinch, a local crime lord, and is attacked by Bullfinch's bodyguard, Shiv. Wolverine takes the boy to a doctor he knows, and learns he has been abused by Bullfinch, who still has the boy's brother imprisoned. Wolverine tries to track down Bullfinch but finds Shiv waiting for him, and after escaping, is joined by Nick Fury, who is in town to take down Bullfinch. Together, they attack Bullfinch's mansion, and Wolverine battles Shiv once again. Bullfinch ultimately escapes, but Wolverine's pursuit convinces him to cut a deal with SHIELD. This enrages Wolverine, who wants Bullfinch to pay for his crimes, particularly the ones involving children, but Fury insists they can save more lives by letting Bullfinch live and feed them information. After locating the SHIELD safehouse where Bullfinch is being held, Wolverine and Fury comes to blows, with Fury fighting his best to honor his promise to protect Bullfinch but Wolverine ultimately prevailing, after which he chases down Bullfinch and kills him.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #31

"Return to Tatooine!"
January 1980

In a Nutshell
Luke returns to Tatooine, and runs afoul of Baron Tagge.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Jim Novak
Colorist: Carl Gafford
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

In deep space, Baron Tagge meets with his brother Ulric, announcing that their family's revenge on Darth Vader will come to fruition on the backwater world of Tatooine. Meanwhile, Luke has returned to his homeworld on orders from General Dodonna to recruit some additional blockade runners. Concerned by the sudden increase of Imperial activity on the planet, Luke and the droids head for Mos Eisely, stopping along the way at Luke's old home, where he runs into his old friends, Fixer and Camie, now married and working for the Tagge family. Hoping to avoid another Imperial patrol, Luke heads into a nearby canyon, where he encounters a bantha, seemingly frozen to death. But before he can investigate, Stormtroopers arrive and blast the bantha to pieces, prompting Luke to vow to discover what's going on once he's completed his mission.

Friday, March 18, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #70

"Ends and Odds"
September 1991

In a Nutshell
The X-Men & X-Factor deal with the aftermath of the Shadow King's assault.

New Writer: Peter David
Guest Penciler: Kirk Jarvinen
Guest Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorists: Glynis Oliver/Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

As Xavier probes Legion's mind for some remnant of his son, Cyclops, Marvel Girl & Storm worry about Xavier's physical condition and the strain he's putting himself under. Outside, Beast, Colossus and Forge attempt to clean up some of the damage wrought on the island by the Shadow King, while Rogue reconciles with Mystique, learning how she survived her apparent assassination by Val Cooper and came to take Val's place alongside the Shadow King. Elsewhere, Wolverine gives Jubilee some upsetting news, and Polaris is practicing her regained magnetic abilities along with Guido when the pair is approached by Val about joining a team intended to replace Freedom Force. Back inside the research facility, Xavier continues to search Legion's mind to no avail, and Marvel Girl brings herself along with the rest of X-Factor into his mind in order to convince Xavier to let Legion go. Regaining consciousness, word spreads on the island that Xavier will be alright, while he quietly says goodbye to his son, then ponders what he's to do with fourteen X-Men.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

To Better Know A Hero: The Punisher

Real Name
Frank Castle

First Appearance
Amazing Spider-Man #129 (February 1974)

Powers and Abilities
Possessing no superhuman abilities, Frank is a skilled soldier and hand-to-hand combatant. He’s accomplished in special forces operations, guerrilla warfare, and stealth tactics, and proficient in countless firearms, explosives, and melee weapons.

Gadgets and Accessories
Punisher uses a wide variety of weapons and gear to wage his war on crime, so much so that Marvel at one point published a series detailing his various weaponry (Punisher Armory). Punisher often travels in a van (his “battle van”) carrying assorted weaponry and surveillance supplies.

Friends and Allies
Microchip (David Liebermen, who provides tech support), Lynn Michaels (a police officer-turned-Punisher copycat), Lt. Martin Soap (the head of the NYPD’s anti-Punisher task force, secretly allied with Punisher), the Marvel Knights (a loose assortment of NY-based street level heroes with whom Punisher occasionally worked), Captain America’s Secret Avengers (the anti-Registration forces during the superhero Civil War).

Click here to read the rest of the post on Pop Optiq! 

X-amining X-Force #2

"The Blood Hunters"
September 1991

In a Nutshell
The new Weapon X battles Deadpool, and Feral guts Cannonball.

Ideas & Pictures: Rob Liefeld
Words & Insomnia: Fabian Nicieza
Letters & Tequila: Chris Eliopoulos
Color Art & Goatee: Brad Vancata
Edits & Exhaustion: Bob Harras
Sausage & Peppers: Tom DeFalco

In Canada, Deadpool oversees the theft of a shipment of defense software sought by Mr. Tolliver when he's attacked by Kane, the new Weapon X. The two fight, and Deadpool is defeated when Bridge intervenes, looking to speak with Kane. Bridge asks Kane to join him in hunting down Cable, and Deadpool teleports away while they're distracted, but Kane declines, telling Bridge to bury the past. Meanwhile, X-Force trains in the woods outside their headquarters, but Feral takes things too far, and in the heat of the moment, eviscerates Cannonball. He survives, but both he and Cable are left wondering what to do about Feral. Meanwhile, at the World Trade Center, Arianna Jankos' scientists finish work on a device, the completion of her agreement with Black Tom, which teleports Juggernaut back to Earth.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #280

"One Step Back -- Two Steps Forward"
September 1991

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defeat the Shadow King, but at the cost of Xavier's legs.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencilers: Andy Kubert with Steven Butler
Inkers: Inks-R-Us
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Shadow Prince: Bob Harras
Boss: Tom DeFalco

Xavier and a team of SHIELD agents penetrate the rubble of Muir Island to discover the Shadow King-controlled Legion holding a faction of X-Men captive. He quickly dispatches the SHIELD agents, then prepares to kill Xavier, but is stopped by Storm, who damages Legion enough to send him running, releasing the captive X-Men. Buying himself some time, Legion dispatches the X-Men still under his control to battle the rest, while Xavier prepares to enter the astral plane, with a contingent of X-Men protecting his body while the rest attempt to disrupt the nexus empowering the villain. On the astral plane, Xavier and the Shadow King fight, and the Shadow King shatters Xavier's legs, crippling him again.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Season Two, Wrap-Up (Part Two)

The moments of Season Two that don't quite hold up.  And, yes, the same subject tops the Highs and Lows list.

Season Two Lowlights
Detective John Kelly’s exit.  While the departure of David Caruso was orchestrated as well as could be expected, there is one element that’s a severe disappointment.  Caruso and Franz are still sharing a minimal amount of screentime together, meaning that Sipowicz barely interacts with his partner during their final days together.  The last episode with John Kelly doesn’t even feature Kelly and Sipowicz working a case together; in fact, Sipowicz is off in an allegedly humorous subplot involving a dead cop that croaked while engaged with Sipowicz’s old prostitute.  It’s literally Weekend at Bernie’s : Cop Style intercut with the story of Kelly investigating a dead baby, all while the political strings are being pulled to force him off the force.  Sipowicz and Kelly share one final scene together, one that is just as well written as I would expect it to be, yet it only lasts a minute or so.  Kelly says he’s going to leave, Sipowicz tells him not to, Kelly says his mind is made up, and then Kelly is gone.  I realize the producers stopped trying to sell the Kelly/Sipowicz partnership midseason last year, but it remains a disappointing conclusion to their pairing.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Force in Focus: Splinter of the Mind's Eye

Published in 1978, not long after the initial release of Star Wars, Splinter of the Mind's Eye is the first full-length original Star Wars novel to be published after the movie, making it retroactively the first book in what would later be dubbed the Expanded Universe. It features Luke and Leia, and details their adventures on the swampy planet of Mimban, where they crash land en route to recruiting a different world to join the Rebellion. On Mimban, they run afoul of a secret Imperial mining operation but end up befriending a group of natives. As the natives battle the Imperials, Luke and Leia race Darth Vader to a nearby temple containing the Force-amplifying Kaiburr Crystal (the titular Mind's Eye), where the pair duel the dark lord, ultimately defeating him and living to fight another day.

The novel is written by Alan Dean Foster, who ghost wrote the Star Wars novelization (which was published with George Lucas as the author). His contract was a two book deal, with Splinter representing the second book, and was conceived to be used as the basis for a low budget sequel to Star Wars should the movie flop. Those circumstances explain some of the choices Foster made in the narrative: it takes place entirely on one planet (making it cheaper to film), events on said planet take place entirely indoors or in a misty jungle (cheaper to film) and the story involves only Luke, Leia and the droids (because Harrison Ford wasn't under contract for all three original films, thus not guaranteeing his return for a sequel). Aside from the general edict of "make it filmable as a cheap sequel", Foster was more or less given free reign to develop the story as he saw fit; according to Foster, the only specific request Lucas made upon reading the manuscript was the removal of an opening space dogfight that led to Luke and Leia crashing on Mimban, as a space battle would have been too expensive to film (instead, they crash due to an equipment malfunction).

Friday, March 11, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #44

"Babes at Sea"
Late August 1991

In a Nutshell
Wolverine goes on a cruise to protect a psychic fetus being stalked by an invisible monster.   

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Larry Stroman
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

In Central Park, Wolverine thinks back to the time he was compelled to board a cruise ship by dreams of an infant being attacked by a monstrous creature. Aboard the ship, he befriends a trio of pregnant women, Gretchen, Rachel and Brenda. Rachel goes for a swim but is attacked in the pool by an invisible creature. Wolverine manages to fight it off, but not before Rachel and her child die. Realizing the pregnant women are being targeted, Wolverine urges them to stay locked in their cabin, while he hunts down the creature responsible. However, Brenda is killed by the creature in the elevator, but before it can kill Gretchen, Wolverine manages to knock it overboard and into the ship's propellers. Later, Wolverine visits Gretchen, telling her he has a feeling her baby is destined for big things; Gretchen agrees.

The Walking Dead 6x10: The Next World

Zombies don't exist.

I know, I know, I'm not breaking any news. But it's true, zombie don't exist and zombies (at least presented in traditional zombie movies) can never exist. Zombies defy the laws of physics, specifically law of conservation of mass. On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 least likely, 10 most likely) the likelihood of a zombie outbreak actually occurring is approximately -10,050,100,770.3691.

So, obviously, when watching The Walking Dead you need to suspend your disbelief. Believing in the zombie apocalypse is already a huge detour from reality. So, why then, is it so hard to swallow when the show introduces a man whose nickname is Jesus and is clearly magic?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #43

"Under the Skin"
Early August 1991

In a Nutshell
Wolverine fights a serial killer in the Central Park Zoo.

Writer: Larry Hama
Breakdowns: Marc Silvestri
Finishes: Dan Green
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Feeling pent up, and angry with Nick Fury for being secretive about Sabretooth, Wolverine leaps from the SHIELD helicopter, landing back down in the city. Meanwhile, Albert and Elsie-Dee's head emerge from the river in the Morlock Tunnels, and Albert strong-arms Masque into helping him find a power source. Wolverine prowls Central Park, getting in touch with his animal side, when he's drawn to the zoo. Inside, he finds the wolverine injured, and is attacked by the zoo's apparent night janitor, Linus, who has been torturing the animals, including the wolverine. Wolverine easily overpowers Linus, learning he's killed the actual janitor, then releases the wolverine, who runs after Linus. Elsewhere, Lady Deathstrike, having arrived in the city in search of Wolverine, orders her driver to take her to Ronald Parvenue, believing he'll help her locate him, while Sabretooth emerges from the river, catches Lady Deathstrike's scent, and declares that Wolverine had better watch out.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #40

"The Trial of Lockheed"
August 1991

In a Nutshell
Lockheed is placed on trial by his people.

Writer: Lobdell
Penciler: Hoover
Inker: Candelario & Dzon
Letterer: Oakley
Colorist: Vancata
Editor: Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: DeFalco

As doctors work to save Lockheed, injured in the battle with Doctor Doom, while Excalibur looks on, Lockheed's astral form is called to his people, who are putting him on trial for betraying their communal nature by living alone on Earth. In the course of the trial, Lockheed's explains his friendship with Kitty and his role as a member of Excalibur, telling the court of their adventures (some of which cause the court to fall asleep), arguing that he has found a new community with Excalibur. Lockheed is ultimately acquitted and allowed to return to his body, but his physical well-being is still touch-and-go. Just then, a helicopter lands on the roof of the hospital, alarming Rachel because the inhabitants are shielded from her psychic probes. Excalibur races to the roof, just in time to see the X-Men emerge.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Season Two, Wrap-Up (Part One)

Following the debut season, which featured a season-long story arc punctuated by done-in-one stories and ongoing character arcs, determining the structure of the show for the second year didn’t leave the creators with an obvious way to go.  I’m not sure if anyone will tell you Season Two is better than Season One (Okay, I guess someone out there will; some people even argue that Mike Scully had the strongest run on The Simpsons), but for the most part, the series remains a solid police drama.  The largest problem facing the producers is how to write off David Caruso, introduce Jimmy Smits, and try to keep the show running smoothly during the transition.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars Annual #1

"The Long Hunt"

In a Nutshell
Luke fights in the shadow of his father as the Star Warriors help free the planet of Skye from Imperial rule.

Guest Writer: Chris Claremont
Guest Artists: Mike Vosburg & Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Archie Goodwin
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

On the planet Tirahhn, Luke and Leia are attacked by a pair of Catuman Warriors on orders from Kharys, Majestrix of Skye, who recognizes them as Imperial fugitives. They're rescued by Han & Chewbacca, and Han, who knows Kharys from his smuggling days, decides to take the fight to Skye. However, the Millennium Falcon is shot down by TIE fighters in the skies over Skye. Forcing Luke & Leia into an escape pod, they are found by a rebel faction of the native S'kyri led by Aragh who, recognizing Luke, decide to help them rescue Han & Chewbacca from Kharys. As Han is tortured by Kharys for information about Luke, Leia, Luke & their S'kyri allies attack her citadel. With Luke drawing the attention of Kharys' forces, Leia sneaks inside and rescues Han & Chewbacca. Outside, Kharys joins the fight, drawing her own lightsaber and engaging in a duel with Luke in the sky above the citadel. Eventually, Luke defeats Kharys, killing her and thus freeing the planet from Imperial rule. In the aftermath, Aragh tells Luke that during the Clone Wars, their planet was saved due to the help of Obi-Wan Kenobi and his two pupils. One of those pupils, Darth Vader, later returned and used the debt owed to him to enslave the S'kyri, appointing Kharys the majestrix. Luke asks who Obi-Wan's other pupil was, and Aragh simply tells him he carried the same lightsaber as Luke.

The Walking Dead 6x09: No Way Out

People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and Rick can't do that as Rick Grimes. As a man, he's flesh and blood, he can be ignored, he can be destroyed; but as a a symbol he can be incorruptible, he can be everlasting!

What symbol are we talking about? No...Not Batman. But that would be awesome! Nah, the symbol is...well...of someone who decides to walk and start maniacally whacking zombies.

OK, that's kind of an odd symbol, maybe Batman Begins wasn't the best reference to use. But the point is Batman inspired a city to be better and now so has Rick Grimes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Universe Series II

Impel 1991

Vital Statistics
162 cards, plus five hologram chase cards (Spider-Man, Hulk, Punisher, Doctor Doom, Fantastic Four vs. Mole Man).

The front of the cards, feature an orange exterior border for heroes, gray for villains, with a shifting interior border color surrounding the central image . The card back features a headshot next to the power rankings, a bar graph displaying each character's aptitude in six areas: strength, speed, agility, stamina, durability, and intelligence. Beneath that are vital stastitics, linclduing group affliation (where applicable), height, weight and first appearance (the character's real name is listed below the head shot). Beneath that is the biographical data, with a "Did You Know?" fact along the bottom.

Categorically Speaking
Super-Heroes, Super-Villains, Arch-Enemies, Weapons, Legends, Rookies, Teams, Power Ratings. and checklist card.

The Walking Dead 6x08: Start to Finish

So, the shit hit the fan. It's not really a surprise. This is the midseason finale and we saw what happened at the end of last episode. The church tower fell onto the fence allowing Alexandria to be overrun by zombies.

And when the shit is hitting the fan, the undead are roaming your once safe town and all hope seems lost, you know what the best thing to do is? It's to start fighting with each other over your own personal beefs. Because pissing and moaning at each other is a real productive way to keep from dying.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Milch Studies - NYPD Blue Season Two, The Guest Stars

New characters introduced during the second year.  Some stick around for years, others fade away quickly.  I'll mention again that NYPD Blue streams on Amazon Prime, is being rerun on DirecTV's Audience channel, and is probably pretty cheap on eBay at this point, in case you'd like to watch along.

Justine Miceli as Adrienne Lesniak
Introduced in the third episode of the season, Lesniak follows the show’s standard pattern of introducing a new detective as a guest star, featuring him or her (usually “her”) intermittently throughout the season, and then deciding at the beginning of the next year if the character will become a regular.  Apparently, the producers expected the new hires to prove themselves over the course of an entire year.