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

Friday, September 30, 2016

X-amining X-Factor #79

"Rhapsody in Blue"
June 1992

In a Nutshell
Quicksilver & Madrox confront a mutant suspected of murder.

Composed by: Peter David
Melody by: Jim Fern
Harmony by: Al Milgrom
Notes by: Michael Heisler
Chorus by: Glynis Oliver
Orchestrated by: Bob Harras
Lead Guitar: Tom DeFalco

After a mutant is suspected of murder, Quicksilver & Madrox are dispatched to Maine to help the local authorities capture her. Meanwhile, Lorna is attacked and knocked out by an unseen assailant while shopping. In Maine, Quicksilver & Madrox learn the suspect is a young woman named Rhapsody, whose mutant abilities only recently manifested, causing her to lose her job as a music teacher after the school board fired her. The biggest supporter on the board was Harry Sharp, who was recently found dead, with Rhapsody looking over his corpse. When the pair encounter her, she uses her power to hypnotize Madrox, but Quicksilver manages to capture her and snap Madrox out of her hallucination. But in the face of her insistence that she's innocent, Madrox  gets Quicksilver to agree to stay in town until everything gets sorted out, to ensure Rhapsody doesn't get railroaded by the local authorities. Back in DC, Val is briefing Alex on X-Factor's next assignment when Rahne interrupts, saying that Lorna's in the hospital, and they don't know if she'll survive.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

X-amining X-Force #11

"Friendly Reminders"
June 1992

In a Nutshell
Deadpool fights Domino, teasing her true identity.

Plot: Rob Liefeld
Script: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Pencils: Mark Pacella
Inks: Dan Panosian
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Edits: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

While a contingent of X-Force delivers Sauron's body and Thornn back to the Morlocks, warning them not to repeat their leader's folly, Deadpool infiltrates their base, knocking out Siryn before battling Shatterstar and doing the same to him. He then attacks Domino, whom he calls "Vanessa", on behalf of Mr. Tolliver. He asks her to tell him she's not falling for Cable, but she can't, Enraged, he gets the upperhand, then reminds her that when this job is over, she'll still just be Vanessa, and the property of Tolliver. He leaves, warning her not to make him come back and remind her again. Meanwhile, Kane tells GW Bridge that Cable is apparently leading the MLF as well as X-Force. Bridge asks if he wants SHIELD to get involved, but Kane says it's better to keep their involvement on the sly. For now, he and the rest of Weapon: Prime are ready to make their move. Elsewhere, Tolliver visits a prisoner, whom he's held captive for over a year, declaring that soon no one will remember anything of her: Domino!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #289

June 1992

In a Nutshell
Forge proposes to Storm.

Writing: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Whilce Portacio
Inks: Scott Willaims
Lettering: Tom Orzechowski
Coloring: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Storm continues Bishop's orientation while Bobby nervously prepares for a date with Opal, during which she'll be meeting his parents for the first time. Meanwhile, Hiro is keeping watch on Iceman's parents from afar. Back at the mansion, Mystique, staying at the school at Wolverine's request, taunts Warren about his life pre-Archangel, drawing the attention of both Storm and Forge. This leads to Forge and Storm arguing, with Forge taking Storm to task for putting her responsibilities with the X-Men over their relationship. He tells her that he knows she is more than her cool, detached "Goddess" persona, but Storm isn't so sure. Forge declares he'll prove it to her, and asks her to marry him. Meanwhile, Bobby & Opal meet Bobby's parents for dinner, but Bobby's dad is blatantly racist about Bobby dating an Asian woman. Just then, Hiro interrupts, saying they're about to die, but that he is there to rescue Bobby and his family. As Bobby asks from who, Hiro's fellow cyber-ninjas suddenly appear, declaring that in order for vengeance to be exacted, Bobby's parents must die!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

X-aminations in October 2016

The Image Exodus continues in October, as we look at Whilce Portactio's last issue of Uncanny X-Men. Also, the X-Men/Ghost Rider crossover concludes, and Wolverine (annoyingly) goes bi-weekly again.

The first week of the month is a short one, due to the work I'll be doing prepping for the local fall comic-con on October 8th. If you happen to be a reader from the Midwest, come to the show and say hi! I'll be at the creator check-in desk most of the day.

October 5th: Ghost Rider #26
October 6th: Marvel Comics Presents #101-108 (Wolverine & Nightcrawler) 

On Sale April 1992
October 12th: X-Men (vol. 2) #9
October 13th: Excalibur #51
October 14th: Wolverine #55

On Sale May 1992
October 19th: Ghost Rider #27
October 20th: Excalibur: XX Crossing
October 21st: Wolverine #56

October 26th: Uncanny X-Men #290
October 27th: X-Force #12
October 28th: X-Factor #80

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #49

"The Last Jedi"
July 1981

In a Nutshell
Luke & Leia team up with a would-be Jedi to save a planet from the Empire.

Writer: Mike W. Barr
Artists: Walt Simonson & Tom Palmer
Colorists: D. Warfield & C. Scheele
Letterer: Shelly Leferman
Editor: Louise Jones
Empire Liason: Jim Shooter

Responding to a faint distress call, Luke, Leia & the droids discover Prince Denid, heir to the planet Velmor, who fled his planet after the death of his father and an Imperial-backed coup supported by his younger brother. He is accompanied by Jedidiah, his longtime protector, who turned down his dream of becoming a Jedi to stay with Denid. During the crash, Jedidiah was injured, and now believes himself to be a Jedi, much to Luke's dismay. Together, the group departs for Velmor, hoping to return Denid to power , thus keeping Velmor from siding with the Empire. With Luke posing as a smuggler and Leia as Denid's betrothed (who died in the crash), they interrupt the coronation of Denid's brother. While Denid's claims are being investigated, Imperial Captain Traal approaches the disguised Luke and makes him a deal to kill Denid. He plays along, until he's forced to use his lightsaber,revealing his identity to Traal, when Denid & Leia are attacked by Denid's brother, Outnumbered, Luke uses the Force to contact Jedidiah, who springs into action, delaying Traal at the cost of his life while Luke deals with Denid's brother & his treacherous regent. With Traal captive and his brother dead, Denid is crowned ruler of Velmor, but Leia turns down his proposal. As they leave the planet, Luke sends Jedidah's body into space, saluting him as a true Jedi Knight.

Friday, September 23, 2016

X-amining Wolverine #54

"Station Identification"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Wolverine meets Shatterstar.

Guest Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Darick Robertson
Guest Inker: Don Hudson
Letterers: Brousseau & Heisler
Colorist: Kelly Corverse
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

A group of teenagers calling themselves the Vid Kids chase down a Morlock, beating him to death while filming the whole thing, after which they send the tape to a news station. Seeing the story on the news, Shatterstar decides to investigate. Meanwhile, Rogue & Wolverine are training in the Danger Room, after which they too see the news report, and Wolverine leaves to track down the Vidkids as well. Soon, he and Shatterstar cross paths and attack each other, until Shatterstar recognizes Wolverine and kneels to him in deference. Together, they track down the Vidkids, who are in the midst of stalking another homeless mutant, and defeat them, but Shatterstar is shocked to learn they fight for no other reason than the fun of it. However, Wolverine doesn't let Shatterstar kill them; instead, he smashes their video camera, saying the best way to punish kids is to take away their toys. Later, they watch as the police arrest the Vidkids, with Wolverine noting they're still getting the attention they wanted, and Shatterstar left unsure about his place in the world.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

X-amining Excalibur #50

"Winner Loses All"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Phoenix battles Necrom

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

Necrom taunts Rachel, but Kylun is able to drive him off. However, Feron decides to face Necrom anyways, and runs off, with Kylun following to protect him. As the two attack Necrom, they're joined by Micromax. Necrom survives their attack, but is weakened. Meanwhile, inside the lighthouse, Excalibur realizes they can combine their various bodies to form a single being, capable of navigating and repairing the collapsing realities. They reach Otherworld, home of Merlyn & Roma, but Necrom is waiting, and Rachel decides to unleash the Phoenix Force to fight him, even at the cost of her memories. The two battle in a brawl that spills out into space. Ultimately, reasoning it's more power than he can handle, Rachel sends all the power of Phoenix into Necrom, causing him to explode. A comatose Rachel then emerges on Otherworld, thanks to Roma, and Merlyn explains to Excalibur how he had carefully manipulated these events. But Meggan, after Roma telepathically suggests the idea, uses the remaining cumulative power of the Captain Britains to blast Merlyn's tower, thus destroying all other towers across the multiverse, including Excalibur's lighthouse, and with it the source of Merlyn's power. Returning to Braddock Manor on their Earth, Excalibur is greeted by their friends & allies, who fled the lighthouse at Roma's prompting. Though Nightcrawler remains suspicious, Captain Britain trusts Roma, and declares theat they're nobody's pawns now.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #8

"Tooth and Claw"
May 1992

In a Nutshell
Bishop meets the Blue Team, and the X-Men meet Gambit's wife.

Plot & Pencils: Jim Lee
Script: Scott Lobdell
Finishes: Lee & Thibert
Letters: Tom Orzechowski
Colors: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

As Wolverine searches fruitlessly for more information about his past, Professor X & Storm introduce Bishop to the Blue team. Upon meeting Gambit, he recognizes him as the Witness from his timeline, and tells the X-Men how they are betrayed and murdered by one of their own in the future. Nonplussed for the time being, Xavier insists on continuing with the X-Men's planned picnic, saying they need some downtime. At the lake, Gambit & Rogue attempt to have a picnic together, but they are interrupted by Bishop, who angrily attacks Gambit. The two fight until Rogue's fury over the destruction of the pie she baked causes them to laughingly stop, at which point all three are blasted from behind by a woman named Bella Donna, whom Gambit says is his wife. Back at the X-Mansion, Gambit & Bella Donna explain how their marriage was meant to maintain a peace between their rival Guilds, until Gambit was forced into exile. Now, that peace has been shattered, and Gambit feels it his duty to return to New Orleans to try to rebuild it. His fellow X-Men agree to join him and depart for the city, at the same time that Ghost Rider arrives there as well.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #48

"The Third Law"
June 1981

In a Nutshell
Princess Leia and Darth Vader attempt to outwit one another on a banking world.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Carmine Infantino & Carlos Garzon
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: James Shooter

Princess Leia arrives on the financial world of Aargau alongside Viscount Tardi, hoping to secure financing for some new X-wings. After being briefed on Aargau's rigorous and specific rules laws, they encounter Darth Vader, claiming to be on the planet as part of diplomatic mission, but Leia easily recognizes the three members of his retinue as assassins. Throughout the course of their stay on Aargau, as they work through the complicated process of getting the loan, Leia proceeds to defeat each of Vader's assassins in turn, all the while operating withing Aargau's strict laws. Finally, Leia goads Vader into breaking the rules and killing Viscount Tardi, who turns out to be a droid imposter. The real Tardi died weeks earlier, and needing him to secure the financing, a carefully programmed droid took his place. But, Leia explains to Vader, she needed Vader to slay "Tardi", as the process of leaving Aargau would have revealed the ruse, thus defrauding the loan. But Vader in turns reveals a ruse of his own: he has no interest in stopping Leia's loan. Instead, he's acquired the Alderaanian jewels she put up as collateral and was thus equally willing to dispatch Tardi so as not to draw attention to the missing jewels if Leia's ruse was discovered. Vader then leaves, advising Leia to keep all this to herself, for fear of how it may affect her credit rating.

Friday, September 16, 2016

X-amining X-Force Annual #1

"The Mirror Liars (Shattershot Part 4)" / "The Crush" / "X-Force Villain's Gallery"

In a Nutshell
A future iteration of X-Force returns to Mojoworld to help set Shatterstar's reign right.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza, Gavin Curtis (2nd Story), Dan Slott (3rd Story)
Penciler: Greg Capullo, Gavin Curtis (2nd Story), Sandu Florea (3rd Story)
Inker: Harry Candelario, Dan Panosian (2nd Story), Brad Vancata (3rd Story)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos, Joe Rosen (2nd Story), Richard Starkings (3rd Story)
Colorist: Mike Thomas, Ed Lazellari (2nd Story), Dana Moreshead (3rd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

On Mojoworld, the Spineless Ones battle bipeds in the arena for sport, overseen by the new Master Programmer, Shatterstar. Meanwhile, Arize and a pair of Spineless allies arrive on Earth, seeking the help of the X-Men to undo what they did when they helped install their former teammate in power. Disturbed to learn that Shatterstar now oversees a regime as bad as the ones run by the various Mojos through the years, Cannonball and his X-Men agree. They arrive in the midst of another arena battle, and the sight of Arize and his former teammates fighting for the Spineless Ones motivates Shatterstar into action against his nefarious Master Scheduler. In the wake of his victory, Shatterstar agrees to build a new world, one governed not by ratings but true democracy, a decision which pleases a watching, aged, Longshot, and which reminds Cannonball that no matter how hard it is, freedom is always worth fighting for.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

X-amining X-Factor Annual #7

"The Historians of Tales Come (Shattershot Part 3)" / "Drowning in Paperwork" / "Cal & Guido"

In a Nutshell
X-Factor tries to stop Spiral from killing Arize

Writer: Fabian Nicieza, Peter David (2nd & 3rd Story)
Penciler: Joe Quesada, Darick Robertson (2nd Story), Joe Madureira (3rd Story)
Inker: Joe Rubinstein, Andrew Pepoy (2nd & 3rd Story)
Letterer: Richard Starkings, Dave Sharpe (2nd & 3rd Story)
Colorist: Kevin Tinsely, Gina Going (2nd Story), Kelly Corverse (3rd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Enraged that the pirate network led by Mojo II is beating him in the ratings, Mojo resolves to convince Spiral to kill Arize for him. On Earth, Val Cooper briefs X-Factor on their latest mission: to bring in Spiral, who has been causing trouble, a mission that means more than most to Val since Spiral was once a member of Freedom Force. They track her to South Dakota, where Spiral has in turn located Arize, and interrupt her efforts to kill him. During the course of their fight, Spiral explains that she was once Ricochet Rita, and she wants to kill Arize because he's destined to transform Rita into Spiral. Arize admits as much, as well as the fact that the sorry state of Mojoworld is his fault. He asks Spiral to bring them both back to Mojoworld, so they can begin to make amends, and Spiral agrees.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

X-amining Uncanny X-Men Annual #16

"The Masters of Inevitability (Shattershot Part 2)" / "Angel of Death" / "The Roots of the Past"

In a Nutshell
The Gold Team battles Mojo II's Death Sponsors

Writers: Fabian Nicieza, Chris Cooper (2nd Story), Skip Dietz (3rd Story)
Pencilers; Jae Lee, Herb Trimpe (3rd Story)
Inkers: Jan Harps & Joe Rubinstein, Jan Harps (2nd Story), Tom Palmer (3rd Story)
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski & Lois Buhalis, Richard Starkings (2nd Story), David Sharpe (3rd Story)
Colorist: Joe Rosas, Steve Buccellato (2nd Story), Kevin Tinsley (3rd Story)
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Mojo II sends his agents, the Death Sponsors, to Earth, in order to capture Arize and boost their pirate ratings by doing what Mojo failed to do. Meanwhile, the X-Men battle Apocalypse in a Danger Room scenario meant to test them in a no-win scenario, a situation which highlights Bishop's unique approach to combat. Later, Jean is attempting to put back together Arize's fractured memories when the Death Sponsors attack. In the course of the battle, Arize's memories are restored, and Bishop is able to disrupt the Death Sponsors attempt to escape, sending them back to Mojoworld without Arize, Now knowing that he's responsible for the terrible state of Mojoworld, Arize goes off on his own, resolving to discover what is right about Earth in order to learn how his world has gone wrong.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Milch Studies - Hill Street Blues, Season Six (Part One)

After working on the show as a writer for three seasons, Milch was named co-executive producer of Hill Street Blues for the sixth season, following the dismissal of Steven Bochco.  (Jeffery Lewis is also credited as an executive producer this year, but Milch is consistently referred to as the showrunner by fans of the series until the end of its run.)

Bochco was allegedly fired for cost overruns, although the thought of David Milch being brought in to bring fiscal responsibility to an operation is at least slightly amusing.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Force in Focus: Star Wars #47

"Droid World!"
May 1981

In a Nutshell
Artoo & Threepio run into trouble on a world populated by droids.

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artists: Carmine Infantino & Gene Day
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Louise Jones
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Chased by a hoard of angry droids, Artoo & Threepio find themselves trapped above a massive furnace, prompting Threepio to recall events that led to their current predicament. After accidentally damaging a captured Imperial war droid while examining it, Threepio and Artoo agree to seek the help of Kligson, a reclusive droid expert residing on a moon that has come to be known as Droid World. Kligson agrees to help repair the war droid so long as he can keep it, a deal Threepio accepts because Artoo can simply record the repair work to gain the knowledge they need. However, when they land on the planet, they find themselves in the midst of an Imperial-backed uprising led by Imperial security droid ZX3, and end up poised above the furnace after ZX3 seemingly kills Kligson. However, Artoo & Threepio are saved by Kligson, who faked his death via a robot duplicate, having used the presence of the Rebel droids to confirm his suspicions about ZX3. Kligson proceeds to use the repaired war droid to put down the uprising, and Artoo leaves with the information the Rebellion needed. As Luke flies them away from Droid World, Threepio expresses concern that the Empire will ultimately find Kligson and ruin the peace & solitude he seeks, only to see Droid World itself flying away to a new location.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) Annual #1

"The Slaves of Destiny (Shattershot Part 1)" / "X-Men Villains Gallery"

In a Nutshell
Arize escapes Mojoworld and is rescued by the X-Men.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza, Dan Slott (2nd Story)
Layouts: Jim Lee
Pencilers: P. Craig Russell, Brian Stelfreeze, Adam Hughes, Stuart Immonen, Dan Panosian, Greg Capullo, Mark Texiera, Karl Altstaetter (2nd Story),
Inkers: P. Craig Russell, Brian Stelfreeze, Joe Rubinstein, Harry Candelario, Dan Panosian, Mark Texiera, Scott Williams & Brad Vancata (2nd Story)
Letterers: Tom Orzechowski, Lois Buhalis
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

As Mojo's forces capture rebel leader Quark, Mojo himself supervises the hunt for Arize, the scientist who first created the spined slave race now in rebellion. But Arize escapes to Earth before being captured, and Mojo vows to bring him home to make more slaves. Meanwhile, the X-Men are training in the Danger Room when Cerebro detects the arrival of Arize, somewhere in Afghanistan, and Professor X dispatches the team to investigate. They find him in the midst of a Muhajedin camp, his memory and mind scrambled by the effects of the travel to Earth. Just then, a team of hunters dispatched by Mojo to capture Arize, including a reprogrammed Quark and cameramen transmitting events back to Mojoworld live, arrive on the planet. As Psylocke telepathically learns that Arize knows Longshot, the hunters attack. The X-Men ultimately force them to retreat back to Mojoworld, but Cyclops stops Wolverine & Rogue from following, despite the potential of finding their lost teammate, saying their mission is to protect Arize. The X-Men then leave for the mansion with Arize in tow, while Mojo refuses to send another team to retrieve him, citing the public failure of the last one, declaring he'll create slaves for sport without his help.