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

Friday, April 28, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #61

"Truth and Consequence"
Late January 1993

In a Nutshell
Phoenix battles Galactus

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

Traveling through space, Phoenix encounters Galactus in the midst of preparing a planet's energy for consumption. Determined to save the planet's life, Phoenix destroys Galactus' apparatus, triggering a fight between them. On Earth, Nightcrawler & Captain Britain are training, but Nightcrawler gets the better of Captain Britain, who admits he's still upset about Sat-yr-9's killing of Courtney Ross. Meanwhile, radio DJ Scott Wright is attacked. He is secretly Micromax, and though he manages to fight back, he's eventually knocked out. At Braddock Manor, Kitty and Feron try to restore the Mastermind computer in the building's basement, but are interrupted by another brief appearance and disappearance of Widget. At the Braddock summer cottage on the coast, Brian proposes to Meggan, unaware they are being targeted from afar. Back in space, their battle still raging, Galactus stuns Phoenix with the knowledge that her energy is derived from the energy of unborn life. Back on Earth, Kitty receives a call from Alistair, who says he's discovered who framed his sister and has infiltrated the RCX headquarters. However, before he can say more, he's knocked out from behind.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

X-amining New Warriors #31

January 1993

In a Nutshell
The Hellions get a send off while Magma and Nova Roma get a retcon.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Darick Robertson
Inker: Larry Mahlstedt
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Rob Tokar
Group Editor: Danny Fingeroth
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Cannonball, Firestar & Warpath journey to Nova Roma, in order to inform Magma & Empath about the recent deaths of the rest of the Hellions. When they arrive, they find Magma acting odd. Suspecting Empath of controlling her, Firestar sets out that night to investigate, only to discover Empath has taken control not only of Magma, but also Cannonball, Warpath and all of Nova Roma. Eventually, Firestar is able to use her powers to break Empath's control, at which point a confused Magma forces Empath to reveal the truth: Nova Roma is a lie, created by Selene, and its people aren't descendants of Roman settlers. In Selene's absence, her control over the people in the city started to fade, and Empath, loving his life there with Magma, took over, enforcing the lie. Now, he reluctantly agrees to help all of Nova Roma reclaim their lives, even though it means giving up a place he loves. Later, Warpath returns to the Massachusetts Academy and, with Firestar & Cannonball, burns the White Queen's secret files on the Hellions, giving the group a funeral of sorts.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

X-amining Stryfe's Strike File #1

January 1993

In a Nutshell
A collection of Stryfe's dossiers on his allies and enemies.

Writers: Fabian Nicieza, Scott Lobdell
Pencilers: Larry Stroman, Andy Kubert, Greg Capullo, Brandon Petersen, Jim Lee, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri.
Inkers: Jimmy Palmiotti, Al Milgrom, Mark Farmer, Andy Kubert, Harry Candelario, Dan Panosian, Mark Pennington, Scott Williams, Art Thibert
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: Kevin Tinsely
Production: Steve Bunche, Dan Carr, K.G. Stockwell, Jon Babcock
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

In the aftermath of Stryfe's assassination attempt, Professor X reads through Stryfe's files. In the end, he declines to share the information he learned with Cyclops & Jean Grey, and destroys the disc.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

X-aminations in May 2017

May kicks off with a handful of "X-Cutioner's Song" epilogues (all three of which are pretty top-notch), a pair of new storylines kicking off, and, thankfully, more Alan Davis Excalibur.

Then, a couple of short weeks on account of the local comic book convention at which I volunteer followed by my birthday and some family stuff, in which we'll look at the next waves of X-Men action figures and the second set of X-Men-specific trading cards.

On Sale December 1992
May 3: Uncanny X-Men #297
May 4: X-Factor #87
May 5: Wolverine #66

May 10: X-Men (vol. 2) #17
May 11: X-Force #19
May 12: Excalibur #62

May 17: Action Figures: X-Men Series III & IV and X-Force Series II

May 24: Unstacking the Deck: X-Men Series II

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Force in Focus: All Fine Here

"Force in Focus" is taking a brief hiatus starting this week, on account of my move and various real life things. Hopefully just a couple week, but if some big Star Wars news breaks between now and then, I may make the time to cobble together a reaction. Otherwise, I'll be back sometime in May with a review of Star Wars Annual #2!

Friday, April 21, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #60

"Braddock of the Jungle"
Early January 1993

In a Nutshell
A hodgepodge assortment of Avengers & Excalibur defeat Icon.

Writer: Lobdell
Pencils: Kolins
Inker: Holdredge
Letterer: Higgins
Colorist: Thomas
Editor: Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: DeFalco

Surrounded by Icon's unwilling minions and refusing to harm them, Black Panther surrenders, while Brian tries to find a way out of the shelter Black Panther put him in. In London, Nightcrawler & Cerise track down Knight Errant. Back in Wakanda, Brian manages to burrow under the shelter through the mud, emerging with his clothes tattered and dirty. He pretends to be a hero named Jungle Man in order to protect his identity, and joins Excalibur and the other Avengers in fighting Icon. In London, Nightcrawler & Cerise attack Knight Errant, only to discover he led them to a nuclear warhead left behind by terrorists. They let him go, much to Inspector Thomas' consternation, and he returns to the senior living home where he resides. In Wakanda, Icon is defeated, and Black Panther's suspicions are confirmed when Icon turns out to be a Wakandan scientist grieving the death of his daughter, who died as a result of the toxic waste Black Panther and Captain Britain were trying to destroy.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

X-amining X-Force #18

"Ghosts in the Machine"
February 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable & Stryfe die as "X-Cutioner's Song" ends.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Greg Capullo
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Chris Eliopolous
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
The Fat Lady: Tom DeFalco

Cable confronts Stryfe on the surface of the moon, while inside Stryfe's base, Psylocke detects that Apocalypse is dying, leading Archangel to search him out. He finds Apocalypse near death, but refuses to give him a quick, dignified end. Outside, Stryfe easily overpowers Cable, but is suddenly blasted by Havok. His attack destroys Stryfe's armor and weakens his hold on Cyclops & Jean Grey, who join the fray. Enraged, Stryfe destroys his tower, filling the area with temporal and electro-magnetic energy. Cable rigs a device to his bionic arm and gives the button to Cyclops, then launches himself at Stryfe. As he does so, he begins the self-destruct sequence on his arm, then urges Cyclops to push the button. As Cable's arm begins to explode, Cyclops reluctantly does so, triggering an explosion that combines with Cable's and the energy swirling from Stryfe's tower, creating a vortex that sucks in both Cable & Stryfe. Cyclops, Jean & Havok are joined by the rest of the X-Men on the moon as Cyclops considers whether he's just sacrificed his son a second time. Meanwhile, Mr. Sinister's associate Gordon opens the canister Sinister received from Stryfe, only to discover it empty. Sinister is hardly surprised, and as he leaves, he tells Gordon to look after his cough...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #16

"Conflicting Cathexes"
January 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men close in on Stryfe.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Any Kubert
Inker: Mark Pennington, Andy Kubert (pp 20-23)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Cable, Bishop & Wolverine engage the Dark Riders, but are nearly overcome before the timely arrival of the X-Men strike team & Apocalypse helps turns the battle into a rout. Stryfe watches the fighting, then gathers up Cyclops & Jean Grey. The X-Men split up, with Apocalypse going off alone while Wolverine & Psylocke manage to track Cyclops & Jean, realizing that Stryfe has taken them out onto the moon. As Havok, Polaris, Cannonball & Cable use Apocalypse's ship to track them down, Apocalypse attacks the Dark Riders. On the surface of the moon, Cable's group discovers that Stryfe has taken Cyclops & Jean to a massive tower surrounded by a force field. They attempt to enter, but only Havok & Cable are able to get through. Inside, they find a waiting Stryfe, who tells Cable it's time they had a chat, about time lost and gained, the future and the past, and of life and death.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Force in Focus - The Last Jedi Teaser Trailer

With the first teaser trailer for Episode VIII, The Last Jedi finally unveiled (at Star Wars Celebration Orlando), here's a look at five cool, notable and/or eyebrow-raising moments from it.

Spoilers, obviously, if you're one of those people who don't want to see or know anything about the movie ahead of time.

Friday, April 14, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #65

"State of Grace"
January 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine deals with the death of Silver Fox.

Script: Larry Hama
Art: Mark Texeira
Art Assist: Steve Biasi
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Over Xavier's objections, Wolverine takes to the Danger Room, using it to recreate the encounter between his past self, Sabretooth & Silver Fox in Wolverine & Silver Fox's cabin as an attempt at catharsis in the wake of Silver Fox's death. When that doesn't work, he heads to a bar in Salem Center, where he hustles some pool to instigate a fight and get beat up. Jean arrives, and tries to help him work through his grief, but Wolverine points out that part of his problem is that when facing the deaths of so many people he cares about, not even his happy memories can comfort him, as he no longer knows which are true and which are fake. The next morning, he goes to Silver Fox's funeral, but learns SHIELD has appropriated her body, and that John Wraith has arranged for her to be buried at the cabin. He takes Wolverine there, and upon seeing the cabin, realizes his good memories of that time are real. He buries Silver Fox nearby, then says goodbye, promising to visit every spring.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #86

"One of These Days...Pow! Zoom!"
January 1993

In a Nutshell
Apocalypse cures Professor X of the techno-organic virus.

Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Jae Lee
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Steve Dutro
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Wolverine explains to the X-Men and X-Factor how Cyclops & Jean Grey are being held by Stryfe on Apocalypse's old base on the moon, while Cyclops & Jean, having escaped the base to the surface of the moon, are rescued by Stryfe. As Cable begins recalibrating his teleportation equipment to send him, Wolverine & Bishop to the moon, Havok & Storm assemble a strike team to join them in the rescue effort, while Apocalypse prepares to cure Xavier of the techno-organic virus. As he begins, Havok receives word from Madrox that he's lost contact with his dupe, suggesting the X-Patriots have fled. As Stryfe continues to taunt Cyclops & Jean, Apocalypse successfully cures Xavier, then offers to accompany the X-Men to the moon, and provide them with a ship to get there. Meanwhile, tired of waiting, Bishop, Wolverine & Cable teleport to the moon, only to find the Dark Riders waiting for them.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #296

January 1993

In a Nutshell

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Brandon Peterson
Inks: Terry Austin
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulis
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Cyclops & Jean Grey battle the Dark Riders as they attempt to escape from Stryfe. Meanwhile, Beast manages to remove the bullet from Xavier's head, but Moira reports that, upon breaking the virus' binary code, it only contained a mocking message from Stryfe. On Graymalkin, Wolverine, Bishop & Cable go over recent events in the hope of deducing Stryfe's location. At Stryfe's base, Cyclops & Jean Grey suddenly encounter an infant bearing an uncanny likeness to Cyclop's son. At the mansion, Archangel vouches for Apocalypse, and Storm agrees to let Apocalypse try to cure Xavier. At Stryfe's base, Stryfe tells Cyclops & Jean Grey that the baby is connected to him; kill it, and they'll kill him. But the pair refuses to do so, and instead, blasts a hole in the wall of the base, through which they're almost immediate yanked. Just then, Wolverine realizes where Stryfe is keeping Cyclops & Jean, and why Jean hasn't been able to telepathically call for help: because they're not on Earth at all.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #66

"The Water Bandits"
December 1982

In a Nutshell
Luke helps protect a moisture farm on a desert world

Writer: David Michelinie
Breakdowns: Walt Simonson
Finished Art: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Wein
Letters: Janice Chiang
Editor: Louise Jones
Vaporator Maintenance: Jim Shooter

Luke, having lost pursuing TIE fighters by landing on the world of Beheboth, heads into the town of Garrotine in search of food & water. He learns that water is in short supply on the planet, and is mistaken for one of the brigands who routinely raid the moisture farms for it, but is vouched for by Darial Anglethorn, one of the more prosperous farmers. When she tells Luke about their plight, he agrees to work for her as a guard. That night, everyone on her farm, including Luke, mysteriously passes out, and when they awaken, all their equipment is wrecked, and both their water supplies and Darial are gone. Luke vows to get her back, and tracks her to the stronghold of the brigands, led by a pirate named Gideon Longspar. Gideon has captured part of the Tirrith, a hive-mind gaseous alien, and is using that part as a hostage to force the rest of the Tirrith to help him steal the water. Luke manages to free Darial and release the captive Tirrith, after which the reunited being helps Luke & Darial escape. Later, in thanks, they seed Beheboth's clouds with electricity, triggering massive storms which deliver much-needed rainfall, and Luke sets off to return to the Rebellion.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #59

"Enter...the Panther"
Late December 1992

In a Nutshell
Captain Britain, Meggan & Shadowcat team-up with Black Panther, Iron Man & Captain America in Wakanda.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Scott Kolins
Inkers: Holdredge/Kryssing
Letterer: Ul Higgins
Colorists: Moreshead/Thomas
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

With Brian & Meggan visiting Wakanda on business, Kitty stows away to soak up some tropical sun. At Black Panther's palace, Brian & Meggan are introduced to Captain America & Iron Man, who will be partnering with Black Panther & Braddock Enterprises on the proposed project. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler & Cerise leave for a night at the opera. In Wakanda, the heroes gather for dinner to discuss Braddock Enterprises' self-devouring waste containment process, but the group is attacked by Icon, a Wakandan who wants to return the country to its more isolationist roots. At the opera, Nightcrawler & Cerise are witness to an attack on an arms dealer by the vigilante Knight Errant. In Wakanda, not knowing Brian & Meggan's superhero identities, Black Panther gets them out of the fight, but he, Captain America & Iron Man are surrounded by Icon's brainwashed followers, and Icon declares that Black Panther can abdicate the throne to Icon, or stand by as his people die. However, Kitty is alerted to the attack, and helps Brian & Meggan slip away so they can join the fight against Icon.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Marvel Comics Presents #117-122: Claws & Webs

Dream a Little Dream… of Me” / “Dream are Made of This?” / “Dreams Can’t Kill You… But They Can Sure Try!” / “Dreaming with the Enemy” / “Dreams Scars” / “Nightmare’s End”December 1992 - February 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Venom team-up against Nightmare.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Artist: Sam Keith
Inker: Dwayne Turner (#120-121)
Letterer: Janice Chiang, Albers/Babcock (#119), Steve Dutro (#120-121), Babcokc/Sharpe (#122)
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Suffering from recurring nightmares and suspecting Nightmare as the culprit, Wolverine enlists the aid of Professor X, who puts Wolverine's consciousness onto the Astral Plane, where he comes face to face with Venom. The pair fight, with Venom insisting he's the hero of his dream, which means Wolverine must be the villain, but eventually, they put aside their differences to attack Nightmare together. But upon reaching him, Nightmare laughs, saying that Wolverine has been a pawn all along, that Nightmare wanted Wolverine to turn to Professor X for help so Nightmare could access Xavier's mind through Wolverine's, thus escaping the astral plane. However, Xavier suspected as much, so as Wolverine & Venom attack Nightmare on the astral plane, Xavier does so telepathically as well, and when Wolverine stabs Nightmare in the head with his claws, the villain disappears, and both Wolverine & Venom are returned to their bodies.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Force in Focus: Star Wars #65

"Golrath Never Forgets!"
November 1982

In a Nutshell
The Rebels race back to Golrath to prevent the base giving up their secrets to the Empire.

Plot/Script: David Michelinie
Plot/Storyteller: Walt Simonson
Pencils & Inks: Tom Palmer
Colors: Glynis Oliver
Letters: Joe Rosen
Editor: Louise Jones
Clone Ranger: Jim Shooter

On Arbra, Princess Leia participates in Luke's trial, with Leia and the other two judges ultimately exonerating him of all charges. Shortly thereafter, the Rebels receive word that their former base on Golrath runs the risk of pointing the Empire to their current base, prompting Luke & Leia to lead an emergency mission back to the planet. But the Empire, led by Lieutenant Giel, is already on Golrath, and when Giel learns the base's secret, he sends word to Darth Vader. Shortly thereafter, the Rebels arrive, and Leia uses the ensuing skirmish between the TIEs and the Rebel fighters to sneak onto the Imperial base, intending to blow it up. But Giel anticpated her move, and corners her in the base's reactor. He intends to let her blow up the base, but to keep her captive while it happens, reasoning her death would be a bigger blow to the Rebellion. But Leia manages to escape and get off-planet before the base explodes. However, Luke's X-wing is damaged rescuing Leia. When the rest of the Rebels jump into hyperspace, he is unable to join them, and is left facing a squad of TIE fighters alone.