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

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

X-aminations in November 2017

November brings us to "Fatal Attractions" big moment in X-Men #25, after which I've shuffled things around a bit as Thanksgiving and the December holidays loom, with reviews going (mostly) one per week for the rest of the year, as much to help me get back on a regular schedule as for the holidays (though the holidays certainly don't help in that regard either).

On Sale August 1993
November 1:  Uncanny X-Men #305
November 2: X-Factor #95
November 3: Wolverine #74

November 8: X-Men (vol. 2) #25
November 9: X-Force #27
November 10: Excalibur #70

November 15: X-Men Annual #2

November 22: X-Force Annual #2

On Sale September 1993
November 29: Uncanny X-Men #306
November 30:  X-Factor #96
December 1: Wolverine #75

Monday, October 30, 2017

An Unoffical Guide to NYPD Blue

Have you been enjoying G. Kendall's The Milch Studies? Or are you a fan of his comic book and cartoon writing, either at Not Blog X or Comic Book Resources, and would like to pay him back for all the entertainment you've gotten from his writing? Well, you're in luck, because he just released An Unofficial Guide to NYPD Blue through Amazon. For a cool ninety-nine cents, you'll get a Kindle version of his NYPD Blue Milch Studies posts, plus a whole host of extras and new material! Order a copy here! And be sure to come back here for his next installment in The Milch Studies.

Friday, October 27, 2017

X-amining Excalibur #69

"Exile Book Two: Blight and Fog"
 September 1993

In a Nutshell
Excalibur fights to clear Cerise's name.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: Evan Skolnick
Pencils: Steve Buccellato
Inks: Don Hudson
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Edits: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Edits: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

On the verge of being transported to a prison planet, Cerise tells a fellow inmate about the crimes of which she's been convicted, when she served as part of a Shi'ar mission to recruit new worlds into the empire. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler & Micromax teleport onto the Starjammer. Back on Earth, Feron overhears Kitty trying to help Meggan, and concludes that Meggan simply needs to speak with Captain Britain. Back on the prison planet, Kylun & Phoenix attempt to rescue Cerise, but the sight of Phoenix riles up the inmates and guards, while back on the Starjammer, Corsair argues on Cerise's behalf with Lilandra. When the Empress refuses to intervene, Corsair decides to help Nightcrawler find out the truth. They arrive on the planet as Phoenix & Kylun end their fight, and learn that Cerise left a recording admitting her guilt shortly before destroying the ship on which she served. Elsewhere on the planet, Cerise is being hunted by a new Fang.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

X-amining X-Force #26

"Shadows on the Rock"
September 1993

In a Nutshell
Reignfire debuts as Cable deals with the changes in X-Force since he left.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Matt Broome
Inkers: Larosa (pp 1-12, 19-22), Hanna (pp 13-18)
Alphabets Through Thick and Thin: Chris Eliopolous
Colors in the Deadline Storm: George Roussos
Shadow on the Asylum: Bob Harras
Big Shadow Period: Tom DeFalco

X-Force holds vigil as Cable fights for his life in the wake of his fight with Magneto. Three days after he regain consciousness, Cannonball & Sunspot leave for Madripoor, much to Boomer's dismay. Later, a drunk Siryn hits on Shatterstar and Cable before passing out and being put to bed by Warpath. Later still, Shatterstar's TV watching habits irritate Rictor, who still doesn't like Cable. In the wake of his various observations of the team, Cable wonders if he can be a soldier, teacher, father and friend to the team, though he's decides to at least try. Meanwhile, Reignfire breaks former Mutant Liberation Front members Wildside, Forearm, Reaper and Tempo out of a Federal prison, and asks them to join a new iteration of the team, led by him. Their first mission: to capture and kill the head of Project: Wideawake, Henry Peter Gyrich.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #24

"Digging Deeper Between Hope and Sorrow"
September 1993

In a Nutshell
Rogue & Gambit go on a date.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Andy Kubert and company
Letterer: Bill Oakley
Colorist: Paul Becton
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Looking for a brief respite from the gloom hanging over the X-Men in the wake of Illyana's death, Rogue & Gambit are on a date at a fancy restaurant. Meanwhile, Banshee returns to the mansion and is reunited with Moira, and Beast discusses the Legacy Virus with Professor X. At the airport, Jean reunites with Scott, returning from Alaska. At the mansion, Psylocke & Revanche spar, while Kitty tries to comfort Jubilee. In the city, Rogue & Gambit take a carriage ride through Central Park. Back at the mansion, Scott shares his encounter with Mr. Sinister with Xavier, Beast & Moira, and they worry that the Legacy Virus could be spreading into a full-on plague. Outside, Wolverine also tries to comfort Jubilee, while Psylocke & Revanche attempt to make peace with each other. As Scott & Jean go to bed, they vow to remain together in the face of all obstacles, despite everything else feeling like it's falling apart.

Friday, October 20, 2017

X-amining Wolverine #73

"The Formicary Mound"
September 1993

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Jubilee fight the self-aware Sentinel.

Script: Larry Hama
Breakdowns: Dwayne Turner
Finishes: Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Paul Becton
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

The rogue Sentinel leaps into the vortex created by Gateway's bullroarer with Jubilee in tow. Wolverine follows, and they emerge outside the Ant Hill, an old Sentinel base. Wolverine manages to free Jubilee, but the Sentinel blasts them both before entering the Ant Hill, seeking the beam projector weapon with which the earlier Sentinels had attempted to eradicate life via solar flare. Outside, Wolverine & Jubilee wake up, but Wolverine needs time to heal. Jubilee drags him up to the top of the Ant Hill, and he recovers soon enough to fight off a pack of dingoes. They spot the Sentinel as it aims the beam projector at the spot where the sun will rise, and it attacks them again. Wolverine manages to cut off its head, but as it tumbles back into the Ant Hill, it activates the remaining older Sentinels inside the base, who immediately target Wolverine & Jubilee.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

X-amining X-Factor #94

"Evening Where: The Longest Day Part II"
September 1993

In a Nutshell
Havok & Polaris go on a date while Wolfsbane arrives on Muir Island.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Script: J.M. DeMatteis
Penciler: Paul Ryan
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Lorna and a distracted Alex are on a dinner date, but their presence offends a nearby diner. Meanwhile, Guido accompanies Rahne to Muir Island, and Rahne tells Guido she knows he's more sensitive than he lets on. At X-Factor headquarters, a sculpting Quicksilver is interrupted by one of Madrox' dupes, hoping to escape Madrox' morose mood. Back at the restaurant, Lorna confronts the bigoted customer, much to the pleasure of a figure watching from the shadows, leading to a brawl in the restaurant among the customers. On Muir Island, Rahne fully reverts to her human form, becoming a mindless mutate, and is carried away by the scientists there. At the Pentagon, Forge deals with the situation caused by Lorna, then returns to his briefing with Val. Across town, Lorna is released from jail, and gives a brief statement condemning bigotry and declaring that mutants are a part of the world, and everyone had better get used to it. She is watched once again from the shadows by Random, who laments having to kill her.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #304

"...For What I Have Done"
September 1993

In a Nutshell
Magneto officially returns, and Colossus joins his Acolytes.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencilers: John Romita Jr., Jae Lee, Chris Sprouse, Brandon Peterson, Paul Smith
Inks: Dan Green, Dan Panosian, Terry Austin, Tom Palmer, Keith Williams
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Exodus visits the Acolytes, revealing to them how Cortez betrayed and murdered Magneto, before turning his power on Cortez. Meanwhile, Xavier prepares for Illyana's funeral, while Magneto thinks back on his past before declaring that mutants need to be awoken from Xavier's dream before more innocents die. At the X-Mansion, Kitty & Storm are shocked to see a stone-faced Colossus burning his paintings, and in the wake of Illyana's funeral, he angrily lays into Xavier for failing him. Just then, Magneto and his Acolytes arrive. Magnetically holding the X-Men in check, he executes Senyaka for acting without his explicit permission, then offers everyone assembled sanctuary aboard Avalon, declaring that from this point forward, anyone who isn't with him will be considered an enemy. He then calls Avalon down from orbit, and the Acolytes board it. Just then, Bishop, who had been absorbing Magneto's energy, is able to break free and blast him, loosening his control. Rogue tries to take Magneto out, and when she fails, Bishop, charged up by his fellow teammates, attacks again. But Colossus strikes Bishop from behind, and agrees to join Magneto aboard Avalon. Devastated, Xavier telepathically takes control of Magneto's power, and though he can't bring himself to kill Magneto, he does hurl him and Avalon back into space, knowing full well it's only a matter of time before Magneto will return and threaten the world once again.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Force in Focus: The Last Jedi Trailer

The first full Last Jedi trailer hit this week amid a bit of fanfare, after which tickets went on sale (I got mine!). Here's five things that especially caught my eye from the longest look at the movie yet

Kylo Ren in Observation

The opening shot of the trailer shows Kylo Ren from behind, looking over a busy First Order hanger bay, and it struck me for its resemblance to one of my favorite shots from the Prequels, in Attack of the Clones when Anakin is on the veranda as the sun rises on Naboo, just before he leaves for Tatooine.

Friday, October 13, 2017

X-amining Excalibur Annual #1

"Black Magic" / "Honey is Money"

In a Nutshell
Excalibur meets the extradimensional Khaos.

Writers: Evan Skolnick, Joey Cavalieri
Pencilers: Chris Marrinan & Audwynn Newman, David Boller
Inker: Mark Mckenna, Danny Bulanadi & Keith Williams, Kevin Conrad
Letterers: Janice Chiang, Richard Starkings
Colorists: Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas, Glynis Oliver
Editors: Suzanne Gaffney & Terry Kavanaugh
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Cerise wakes up from a recurring dream in which she is hunted by a dark elf. Kitty believes elements of the dream reflect Excalibur,  but Cerise insists it is real, and leads Excalibur to the source of the dream, a castle containing a wizard named Ghath, who says he has been stranded on Earth from his alternate world home of Irth. Excalibur and Ghath are shortly thereafter attacked by Khaos, the figure from Cerise's dream. Excalibur captures Khaos and brings him back to Braddock Manner, where Cerise interrogates him and learns he is actually a freedom fighter on his world, opposing Ghath. Investigating his claims, Cerise returns to the castle and is captured by Ghath as he prepares to return to Irth. But Khaos, and shortly thereafter, Excalibur, arrive after her, and they follow Ghath back to Irth and help Khaos and his allies end Ghath's threat. But in his final revenge, Ghath once more strands Khaos back on Earth. Cerise offers him a place with Excalibur, but he declines, flying off instead in search of a way home.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

X-amining Deadpool: The Circle Chase #1-4

"Ducks in a Row" / "Rabbit Season, Duck Season" / "...And Quacks Like a Duck..." / "Duck Soup"
August - November 1993

In a Nutshell
Deadpool is embroiled in the hunt for Tolliver's Will, and the "ultimate weapon" prize it promises.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Mark Farmer, Harry Candelario (issues #3 & #4)
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Bob Harras
Duck L'Orange: Tom DeFalco

Issue #1: In Sarajevo, Deadpool meets with Weasel, looking for information on Vanessa, who is being targeted for her perceived knowledge regarding Tolliver's will, but they're interrupted by Kane. Deadpool & Kane fight until Weasel points out they're both after the same thing, Vanessa, thiugh neither knows where she is. Meanwhile, Nyko, brother of Tolliver's assistant Pico, contacts Courier to put a hit on Deadpool for his involvement in his brother's death, while Slayback breaks into Department K looking for info on Deadpool & Kane and Juggernaut breaks Black Tom out of the genetic research facility to which Tolliver sent him.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #2

"Point Blank"

In a Nutshell

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inkers: Dan Panosian, Keith Williams, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Kellu Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

A former East German solider named Adrian Eiskalt recounts to his psychiatrist an encounter with Magneto in which Magneto killed Adrian's brother. In New York, Gabrielle Haller leads a symposium on Magneto, later meeting with Adrian to discuss their respective governments' desire to eliminate the threat he poses. Adrian insists he has no desire to kill Magneto, and Haller agrees to share information, but she can see the desire for vengeance in Adrian's eyes. Meanwhile, Exodus offers Phantazia a place on Avalon, but she reluctantly turns him down when he reveals her fellow Brotherhood of Evil Mutant teammates are not invited. As Adrian studies the information on Magneto provided by Haller, Haller compares notes with Moira MacTaggert. This leads to the creation of a suit which will mask Adrian's bio-electric signature, and a taser gun made of plastic. Later, Henry Gyrich briefs the Commission on Super-Human Affairs on Magneto's return, and while the group approves of sending Adrian to engage him, they're uncertain how to draw him out. Adrian has an idea, however, and lays in wait at the site of Magneto's wife Magda's grave, the same spot where Magneto killed his brother years ago. But when Magneto arrives and Adrian has him in his sights, he finds himself unable to act, having gained a better understanding of the man from his research, and realizing that when he killed Adrian's brother, he did so only in self-defense, after Adrian's brother attacked him. As Magneto leaves, Adrian is left alone, realizing all he's ever really had was his hate.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

X-amining Cable #4

"A Leader Among Men"
August 1993

In a Nutshell
Cable reunites with the Six Pack.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Art Thibert; Reddington, Whylie (p16), Koblish (pg 18)
Art Assist: Rob Liefeld
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letter Man: Chris Eliopolous
Colors: Javins/Thomas
Editor: Bob Harras
Bigger Editor: Tom DeFalco

Kane makes a cup of coffee while Bridge & Cable fight, before the pair agree to a truce: Bridge will tell Cable everything he knows about X-Force's whereabouts, in exchange for Cable helping Hammer walk again. Meanwhile, Vanessa bring Domino, Grizzly & Hammer to X-Force's old base in the Adirondacks, promising she can locate X-Force's current location from inside. In the South Pacific, Sinsear is monitoring transmissions, stopping when he catches a reference to Cable. Later, Vanessa brings Domino, Hammer & Grizzly to X-Force's Camp Verde base, just as Cable, Kane & Bridge arrive. Hammer attacks Cable on sight, but Kane gets Hammer to stand down by insisting Cable can help him walk. However, Hammer refuses to become like Cable, more machine than man. Realizing Vanessa has slipped away, Domino insists on tracking her down, and the rest of the Six Pack, including Kane, agree to go with her, but Cable says he needs to stay behind to wait for X-Force, and Kane tells him to do for them what Cable tried to do for Kane, to do right by them.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Milch Studies - DEADWOOD Season Two

Deadwood was never a media darling in the same vein as The Sopranos, but its debut season did have respectable ratings, and with HBO eager to maintain its reputation as the place for literate, adult dramas, the series was able to enjoy a boost in its budget for the second season.  The money is clearly put on the screen, as the sets grow more elaborate, the thoroughfare becomes increasingly crowded with extras, and the number of featured players multiplies.