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

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Unstacking the Deck: X-Men Series I

Impel 1992

Vital Statistics
100 cards (including one checklist card), with five hologram chase cards featuring original art.

Categorically Speaking
Heroes, Villains, Teams, Ex-X-Men, Allies, the Danger Room

Firsts and Other Notables
After releasing two full sets of Marvel Universe cards (with a third following shortly behind this one), this is the first set of trading cards to exclusively feature Marvel's cash cow X-Men, with the added conceit that every card is drawn by Jim Lee, arguably the most popular of Marvel's artists at the time. Lee provides not only the central image on the front of the card, but the headshots on the back, as well five additional, original images for the hologram chase cards.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

X-aminations in September 2016

Summer is coming to a close, and there's time left for just one more vacation. Unfortunately, the X-Men decided to take it in Mojoworld this year, apparently because Mojo dropped a ton of money into someone at Marvel's lap to be 1992's go-to X-villain.

After covering the '92 annuals, we then look at a couple personally momentous issues as the series draw ever closer to the Image Exodus, while Alan Davis' big Necrom/Phoenix storyline reaches its climax in Excalibur.

September 7th: X-Men (vol. 2) Annual  #1

September 14th: Uncanny X-Men Annual #16
September 15th: X-Factor Annual #7
September 16th: X-Force Annual #1

On Sale March 1992

September 21st: X-Men (vol. 2) #8 
September 22nd: Excalibur #50
September 23rd: Wolverine #54

On Sale April 1992
September 28th: Uncanny X-Men #289
September 29th: X-Force #11
September 30th: X-Factor #79

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #46

"The Dreams of Cody Sunn-Childe!"
April 1981

In a Nutshell
While searching for Han, Lando & Chewbacca discover a long-vanished hero from the early days of the Rebellion.

Writer: Wally Lombego
Artist: Carmine Infantino
Inker: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Diana Albers
Editor: L. Jones & Dan F.
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

While searching for Boba Fett, Lando & Chewbacca, aboard the Millennium Falcon, are suddenly pulled out of hyperspace and discover a strange city floating in space. Landing, they soon encounter Cody Sunn-Childe, a Rebel hero who disappeared years ago. Meanwhile, an Imperial ship led by Captain Plikk detects the rent in dimensional fabric caused by the Falcon, and seeking glory for herself & crew, investigates. Meanwhile, Sunn-Childe tells Lando of how, in the midst of his war against the Empire, he nearly died but was saved by a group of beings who, in the process, granted him tremendous psychic power. The experience led him to eschew violence, and he created the floating interdimensional city for himself and his followers to live in peace. Later, the Imperials manage to penetrate the dimensional barrier and attack the city. When Lando & Chewie attempt to defend it, Sunn-Childe is moved to action, using his tremendous power to attack the Imperial ships. But at the last minute, he pulls back, ashamed of what's he done, and allows the Imperials to use the last of their energy to destroy himself and the city, but leaving the Imperials helpless in the process. Lando is shocked, and insists that lofty ideals alone just aren't enough when dealing with the Empire, but out of respect to Sunn-Childe, he leaves the Imperials stranded rather than destroy them, denying them their glory and leaving them to the fate they made for themselves. He then steers the Falcon back through the dimensional rift, and returns to the search for Han Solo.

Friday, August 26, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #78

"Playing With Fire"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
X-Factor is divided as they protect a controversial doctor from the MLF.

Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Larry Stroman & Brandon Peterson
Inked: Al Milgrom
Lettered: Dave Sharpe
Colored: Mike Thomas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Dr. Tucker receives a call from a young woman, warning him that the MLF is targeting his clinic. Meanwhile, Val attempts to unveil X-Factor's new Danger Room to the team, but the doorknob comes off the door, while Mr. Sinister arrives at MLF headquarters to retrieve Hairbag & Slab. Later, Havok contacts the X-Men to warn them about Mr. Sinister, after which Val announces that X-Factor has been called in to help protect Dr. Tucker. When the team learns the nature of his medical work, both Wolfsbane and Quicksilver opt to sit out, due to ethical conflicts with Tucker's work. When the MLF attack the clinic, Wildchild seriously wounds Tucker before X-Factor arrives, and Wolfsbane is forced to enter the fray to help Polaris, paying her back for recently letting Cannonball go free. But when a dying Dr. Tucker asks Wolfsbane to deliver his data to the government, she instead destroys it. Upon returning to their base, Stryfe is curious how X-Factor knew to expect their attack, and Tempo removes her helmet, revealing the face of the woman who had earlier warned Tucker. As X-Factor flies home, Quicksilver tells the team about his daughter, and how his initial reaction to her not being born a mutant damaged his marriage.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

X-amining X-Force #10

"Answers (And Questions)" / "X-Ternals: A Prologue" / "X-Tenuating Circumstances Part 3"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Cannonball learns he's an External, the Externals plot to capture him, and Rictor returns.

Plots What?: Rob Liefeld
Scripts Where?: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils Who?: Mark Pacella
Inks How? Dan Panosian
Letters When: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors Why: Dana Moreshead
Under Sedation: Bob Harras
Questions (& Questions): Tom DeFalco

As Kane battles the MLF, Gideon meets with his fellow Externals, a group of immortal mutants, to discuss the recent awakening of Cannonball. He is lambasted for mistakenly believing Sunspot to be the next External, but promises to dispatch Crule to rectify the mistake. Meanwhile, Kane comes face-to-face with Stryfe and discovers he has the same face as Cable. At X-Force's headquarters, Cable orders Masque & Sauron to be taken to the morgue while he tells Cannonball about the Externals and his status as one of them. At the MLF headquarters, Stryfe toys with Kane before knocking him out. Waking up just outside Department K, Kane rushes in to see General Clarke. Believing Cable to be Stryfe, he tells him that Bridge was right, and that they should put the Weapon Prime program at his disposal. Clarke isn't sure Weapon Prime is ready, but he does introduce Kane to Rictor, who is also looking forward to bringing down Cable. Elsewhere, Mr. Tolliver dispatches Deadpool to pay Domino a house call, in order to remind her how much it displeases him when his employees ignore their job.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #288

"Time and Place"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Bishop acclimates to the ways of the X-Men.

Plotters: Jim Lee & Whilce Portacio
Dialogue: Byrne/Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Andy Kubert
Guest Inker: Bill Sienkiewicz
Letterer: Starkings
Coloring: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

As Colossus, Archangel & Iceman roughhouse with Cyclops & Beast, Bishop trains in the Danger Room under the supervision of Professor X. In the wake of the jarring sessions, Bishop asks Storm, under whose tutelage Xavier has placed him, to take him into the city, to acclimate him to life in this time. Later, Iceman picks up Opal for their night on the town, while Archangel listens to a message from Charlotte Jones before flying off naked into the night. That evening, a group of X-Men, including Bishop, arrive in the city. Bishop shortly spots Styglut, the last of the criminals Fitzroy released, and attacks him. The two fight, and eventually, Bishop kills Styglut, avenging Malcolm & Randall's deaths. But Storm chides him for ignoring bystanders, and stresses that while killing may be his way, it is not the X-Men's way. Returning to the mansion, Bishop has a more successful session in the Danger Room, then presents his command insignia to Storm, affirming that she is the leader, not him, and that he still has much to learn.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Milch Studies: NYPD Blue, Season Six -- The Wrap-Up

Season Six is the most ambitious season of the series since Season One; that much is hard to deny.  Ranking the season amongst the previous years is difficult, given that there’s so much to process, and it’s unlikely that any fan of the show wanted those two beloved, well-established characters to die.  Even if the execution is flawless, the producers are put in the position of doing something that no one really wants them to do.  And although this isn’t the show’s final season -- it’s not even David Milch’s final season -- you do get the sense that this entire year was written as a goodbye.

If I had to rank the seasons, based on quality, I’d place Season Six at around the middle.  It’s a noticeable improvement over Season Five, and it’s likely ahead of Season Four.  (Seasons One and Three remain my favorites, with Season Two floating around the middle, as well.)  There’s one caveat to this season, however -- Rick Schroeder just isn’t very good.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #45

"Death Probe "
March 1981

In a Nutshell
Luke is trapped aboard a Rebel ship with a murderous probe droid.

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Penciler: Carmine Infantino
Inkers: Day & Stone
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: John Costanza
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

A Rebel ship is attacked by a larger, more sophisticated Imperial probe droid. The droid quickly dispatches the crew and takes control of the ship, much to the pleasure of Admiral Krall, the mastermind behind the advanced droid. Meanwhile, Luke is on a routine patrol when he encounters the ship, which blasts his X-wing out from under him. Fortunately, Luke and Artoo are able to escape the wreckage and reach the commandeered ship. They fight way their through the ship as the droid uses its automated systems against them, eventually realizing the droid has taken full control of the ship and intends to explode its reactor once it reaches the rest of the Rebel fleet. Using the Force to mask his movements, Luke is able to override the droid's control, then he and Artoo board an escape pod as the ship jumps to lightspeed. Moments later, it emerges from hyperspace and flies into Admiral Krall's Star Destroyer, just as the droid detonates the reactor, destroying both ships.

Friday, August 19, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #53

"The Chimerical Mystery Tour"
April 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolverine defeats Mojo, saving existence.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Marc Silvestri
Inks: Dan Green (w/an assist from Barta & Janson)
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Rosas/Tinsley/Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Wolverine, Mystique & Spiral attack Mojo, attempting to stop him from delaying the Crunch and thus ending all existence, but he sets his plasma wraiths on them and offers the captive Jubilee the opportunity to save Wolverine in exchange for becoming his slave. Suddenly, Gateway appears, and shows Wolverine that the solution lies with Albert & Elsie-Dee, along with a cruise missile. Figuring it out, Wolverine sends Mystique & Spiral to get the missile, while he stalls Mojo. As Wolverine battles more wraiths, Mojo reveals that he knows Jubilee will agree to his terms, since Abcissa is the Jubilee who said yes. In Canada, Spiral confirms the adamantium skeleton found by Albert & Elsie-Dee is from an alternate Wolverine, and agrees to send them back in time to unravel the mystery in exchange for a missile from their stealth bomber. Sending the missile through the vortex, Wolverine hops onto it and steers it towards Mojo. In his panic, he releases Jubilee, who jumps onto Wolverine's motorcycle and manages to grab Wolverine and race into the collapsing vortex just before the missile hits Mojo. Suddenly, Wolverine is in the midst of a poker game, and gets interrupted by a call from Jubilee; she needs Wolverine to come bail her out of jail in Tokyo.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #49

"Let There Be Dark"
April 1992

In a Nutshell
Necrom begins his attack on Excalibur.

Writer/Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Mark Farmer
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

FI6 attempts to capture the perpetrator of the recent string of heists, but the perpetrator is Necrom, who absorbs the life force of the FI6 agents to increase his own power. He attempts to do the same to Micromax, but Micromax seems to disappear before he can, and Necrom flies off for Excalibur's lighthouse. At the lighthouse, amid an increasing number of cross-time intrusions, Excalibur debates their next course of action. In London, Inspector Thomas discovers Micromax, who shrank at the last minute to escape Necrom. He wants to warn Excalibur, but Thomas says their communication lines are dead. At the lighthouse, Necrom telepathically contacts Excalibur, explaining that the increase of cross-time breaches is his doing, as the various alternate worlds are collapsing into a singularity that will destroy them all, unless Rachel unleashes the Phoenix Force to stop him. On Otherworld, a mystified Roma is monitoring the collapsing realities when Merlin suddenly appears, declaring that the final gambit begins.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #7

April 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & the X-Men escape from the Hand.

Plot & Breakdowns: Jim Lee
Finishes: Art Thibert
Dialogue: Scott Lobdell
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Coloring: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Though it runs the risk of killing Wolverine, Matsu'o orders Dr. Cornelius to continue probing Wolverine's memories to learn the whereabouts of the C-Synthesizer. Upon realizing he buried it with Janice, scientist who died during Wolverine's first encounter with Omega Red, Matsu'o orders Wolverine killed. Just then, Psylocke springs into action, Wolverine's near death having snapped her out of Matsu'o's control. As she fights Omega Red, elsewhere, Maverick frees the captive X-Men with the help of Sabretooth, who's been telepathically ensnared by Psylocke. But when Psylocke is knocked out by Matsu'o, the X-Men have to fight Sabretooth as well. Elsewhere, upon Psylocke's defeat, Wolverine breaks free and attacks Omega Red. He's quickly joined by Maverick and the rest of the X-Men, but when an explosion threatens the building, they're forced to evacuate to the Blackbird. On Mojoworld, Longshot's rebellion has failed, but Dazzler decides to bring some X-Men to the fight. On Earth, Matsu'o digs up Janice's coffin, but finds Wolverine waiting for him. He dispatches the Hand ninjas, but Matsu'o escapes again, and Wolverine turns the C-Synthesizer over to Maverick.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Milch Studies: NYPD Blue, Season Six -- Guest Stars & Stray Thoughts

In the years that follow, Deadwood will become famous amongst its fans for David Milch’s ability to turn its bit players into genuine stars of the series.  Season Six of NYPD Blue shows Milch’s early inclination to do this, as characters who have previously spoken only a few lines of dialogue begin to force their way into the stories and shape the direction of the series.  If you were one of the NYPD Blue regulars who witnessed your role diminished so that these bit players can move into the spotlight, this probably didn’t make you very happy.  For the viewers, however, it adds an element of unpredictability and realism to the series.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Force in Focus: Rogue One Trailer

We've learned a little bit more about Rogue One since the first teaser trailer was released back in April, notably that both Jimmy Smits as Bail Organa and Darth Vader will be making appearances in the film, and that Forest Whitaker is playing Saw Guerra, a character first introduced in one of the better Clone Wars arcs (there's also been some info released about some of the planets seen in the film and a few snippets about some of the other characters). This week, Disney unveiled a new trailer during Olympic coverage on NBC, which shortly thereafter hit the internet. Here's five standout things from the latest look at the new movie.

Atmospheric Star Destroyer 

Old Star Wars canon suggested that Imperial Star Destroyers (as opposed to the ones used by the Republic during the Clone Wars) weren't atmospheric, but here we've got a pretty amazing shot of one hovering over some kind of mesa on a planet, so that's apparently changed. Which is fine, because that's a pretty awesome shot.

Friday, August 12, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #77

"Great X-pectations"
April 1992

In a Nutshell
The Mutant Liberation Front attacks X-Force.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Larry Stroman
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

At a free clinic, a couple learns from Dr. Tucker that a prenatal test he's developed shows a 55% chance their child will be born a mutant. Meanwhile, the Mutant Liberation Front attacks X-Factor's headquarters, where they're holding Nasty Boys Hairbag & Slab. X-Factor forces them to retreat, but only after they've freed the prisoners. However, as Zero opens a teleportation portal, Polaris is able to grab hold of Stryfe and pull him partially through, trapping him halfway on either side of the portal. As both teams attempt to pull Stryfe onto their side, he uses a hidden weapon to force X-Factor to let him go, and they're left with nothing but his gauntlet. Later, Val and Alex debrief Jamie about his experience with the Nasty Boys, and realize that Mr. Sinister was their leader. Outside, Lorna is trying to get Rahne to open up when Cannonball suddenly flies down and scoops up Rahne. He says he's there to rescue her, but she insists her life is with X-Factor and Alex now. When Lorna and then Alex catch up to them, intending to arrest Cannonball, Rahne pleads with Lorna to let him go, and she does. At MLF headquarters, Stryfe gives the team a new mission: destroy Dr. Tucker, his clinic, and his mutant test.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

X-amining X-Force #9

"Underground and Over the Top" / "X-Tenuating Circumstances"
April 1992

In a Nutshell
Masque & Sauron are killed as X-Force turns the tide against the Brotherhood.

Gilligan: Rob Liefeld, Mark Pacella (2nd story)
The Skipper: Dan Panosian,
The Millionaire: Fabian Nicieza
His Wife: Chris Eliopoulos, Dave Sharpe (2nd story)
The Movie Star: Steve Buccellato
The Professor: Bob Harras
Mary Anne: Tom DeFalco

Cable rushes Sam to the medlab, even though he's clearly dead. Once there, he urges Sam to wake up, saying he's a High Lord. Outside, Warpath, Shatterstar & Siryn fight Blob, which ends when Shatterstar slashes him in the mouth and Blob retreats. Inside, Feral attacks Sauron, who is shot by Cable shortly before Thornn attacks Cable, slashing his face and exposing metal beneath his skin. With the arrival of the rest of the team, Masque and Phantazia realize they're outnumbered, and Phantazia bugs out. Masque attempts a diplomatic retreat, but Cable reminds him that he warned Masque not to push his luck, and Shatterstar runs Masque through with his sword, killing him. Just then, Sam emerges from the medlab, wondering what the heck is going on.

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #287

"Bishop to King's Five!"
April 1992

In a Nutshell
Bishop joins the X-Men.

Plot: Jim Lee
Script: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: John Romita, Jr.
Inks: Scott Williams (with assistance from Ivy, Sienkiewicz, Panosian, and Wiacek)
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colors: Going/Rosas
Edits: Bob Harras
More Edits: Tom DeFalco

Bishop, Malcolm & Randall track down the remaining criminals from their future to a Manhattan nightclub. In the ensuing melee, most of the criminals are killed, but Malcolm & Randall die as well, protecting Bishop. Just then, the X-Men arrive on the scene and admonish Bishop for his excessive use of force. He tries to save Storm from one of the remaining criminals, but his intentions are misinterpreted, and he is badly wounded in the ensuing fight. Unconscious, he remembers the events leading up to his arrival in the present, as he, Malcolm & Randall pursue Fitzroy. In the process, they discover a long lost message from Jean Grey; incomplete, it chronicles the deaths of the X-Men at the hands of one of their own. This prompts Bishop to visit the Witness, who is believed to be the last person to see the X-Men alive, but refuses to tell Bishop the identity of the traitor. Just then, Fitzroy escapes from prison, and Bishop, Malcolm & Randall pursue him and his army of criminals into the past. Waking up, Bishop finds himself in the X-Mansion, and is forced to accept that the X-Men are real. He then meets privately with Professor X, who afterwards introduces Bishop to the rest of the X-Men as their newest teammate.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Milch Studies: NYPD Blue, Season Six -- The (Remaining) Cast

Season Five received some criticism for going through the motions and coasting on the show’s established reputation.  Season Six is…certainly not Season Five.  It brings us around six dream/fantasy sequences (in the past five seasons combined, the show has only presented one), shakes up the cast in an irrevocable fashion, has more crying scenes and emotional breakdowns than ever before, and kills off four established characters.  Two of them, major stars of the series that leave a noticeable hole.

X-aminations in August 2016

This should have been posted last week, but got lost in the shuffle as I scrambled to get out of town for a long weekend. Anywho, here's what's coming in the month ahead, a pretty straightforward but nevertheless momentous chunk of issues, as Bishop joins the X-Men and Rob Liefeld brings our long national nightmare to an end as he stops drawing X-Force (unfortunately, his immediate replacements are even worse, if you can believe it).

Also, I've already called an audible on the schedule I outlined in June, slotting in a look at the first series of X-Men trading cards, all drawn by Jim Lee, at the end of the month, pushing back all the "Shattershot" '92 annuals into September, since I'm also going to be out of town Labor Day weekend, and fairly busy the week leading up to it.

On Sale February 1992
August 10th: Uncanny X-Men #287
August 11th: X-Force #9
August 12th: X-Factor #77

August 17th: X-Men (vol. 2) #7
August 18th: Excalibur #49
August 19th: Wolverine #53

On Sale March 1992
August 24th: Uncanny X-Men #288
August 25th: X-Force #10
August 26th: X-Factor #78

August 31st: Unstacking the Deck: X-Men Series I

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #44

"Duel a Dark Lord!"
February 1981

In a Nutshell
Luke learns Darth Vader is his father.

Writer/Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Al Williamson & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Veitch
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Lando announces that Han has survived the carbon freezing process. Pleased, Darth Vader gives Han to Boba Fett, and orders the chamber reset for Luke, then tells Lando he's leaving a garrison in the city, another alteration to their deal. Outside, Luke exchanges fire with Boba Fett and some Stormtroopers, before entering the chamber to face Vader. Lando then secretly communicates with his security forces, capturing the Stormtroopers escorting Leia & Chewbacca and promising to help them rescue Han. Elsewhere, Luke and Vader's duel takes them out onto a reactor gantry suspended over a large shaft. Leia and the others arrive too late to stop Boba Fett, but Lando says they can still make it to the Falcon. At the reactor core, Vader cuts off Luke's hand, after which he urges Luke to join him, saying together they can defeat the Emperor. When Luke refuses, Vader tells him the truth about his father: Vader is Luke's father. A disbelieving Luke lets go of the gantry, plummeting down the shaft, eventually landing perched on a weather vane on the underside of the city. As the Millennium Falcon prepares to flee Bespin, Luke reaches out to Leia in the Force, desperate for help. She turns the Falcon around, managing to catch Luke just as the vane gives way. As the Imperials close in, Artoo repairs the ship's hyperdrive, enabling them to escape to hyperspace. Later, they rendezvous with the Rebel fleet, and Luke receives a new cybernetic hand, then wishes Lando and Chewbacca well as they depart to rescue Han.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

X-amining Marvel Comics Presents #90-97: Servants of the Dead

"Life Underground" / "Chase in the Dark" / "In the Cathedral of the Dead" / "Nothing to Fear..." / "Pursuit" / "Shadows" / "The Bride" / "Death's Servant"
December 1991 - March 1992

In a Nutshell
Ghost Rider & Cable team-up to save a young woman from a death cult.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Guang Yap
Inker; Bud La Rosa
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Freddy Mendez
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Terry Kavangh

Investigating the Morlock Tunnels, Cable rescues a woman being pursued by the Grateful Undead, which draws the attention of Ghost Rider. Together, the two battle the Undead and the apparent god who leads them for the life of the woman, until it's revealed that the woman is one of the Undead as well, and their god a human necromancer. Learning that his people have become assassins, he puts an end to the Grateful Undead, and allows the woman to choose her own fate. She decides to return to death, after which Cable and Ghost Rider go their separate ways.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

X-amining Incredible Hulk #392

"War and Pieces Conclusion: Fortunes of War "
April 1992

In a Nutshell
Hulk & X-Factor overthrow Farnoq Dahn

Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Dale Keown
Inks: Mark Farmer
Lettering: Joe Rosen
Coloring: Glynis Oliver
Edits: Bobbie Chase
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Havok has been captured by Farnoq Dahn, who plans to harness Havok's power to overcome his country's lack of nuclear arms. When CIA agent Galvin learns Dahn has drugged Val Cooper, he threatens to pull US support, but Dahn kills him. Meanwhile, the rest of X-Factor reach the front lines of Dahn's defenses just ahead of the Pantheon. Inside, Hulk, having followed the captured Havok into Dahn's palace, reveals himself. Outside, the rebel forces led by the Pantheon threaten to overwhelm X-Factor and Dahn's forces, prompting him to initiate his contingency plan: two dozen missile, each with a civilian strapped to it. He orders the rebels to stand down, then launches two missiles to show he means business. Hulk manages to save the small boy tied to one missile, while X-Factor rescues the boy's mother from the other. Hulk then tears through Dahn's defenses and captures the dictator, but when the Pantheon put him on trial before his people, most continue to support him. But Hulk insists they need to follow the will of the people, and doesn't allow the Pantheon to execute him. However, just then, Dahn is killed by Rick Jones, disguised as one of Dahn's soldiers. Wolfsbane approaches him in the aftermath, and he says he couldn't stand that after everything, Dahn was just laughing in the face of his people's continued support. He breaks down, saying he never thought he could do something like that, and Wolfsbane hugs him, telling him she knows the feeling.