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

Friday, October 18, 2019

X-amining Cable #21

"...Our Regularly Scheduled Program..."
July 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Force prepares for their move to the X-Mansion, then Cable receives a warning from Blaquesmith.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Guest Penciler: Arnie Jorgensen
Guest Inker: Mark Pennington
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas & Digital Chameleon
Hostess: Lisa Patrick
Party Crasher: Bob Harras

Plot
Cable and X-Force explore the wreckage of their Murderworld base, salvaging anything of value. With the help of Jean Grey & Caliban, they manage to free their Pacrat ship from the rubble, and use it to ferry the team to the X-Mansion. Once they arrive, Cable receives a telepathic call for help, and quickly sets out in response, bringing alone Domino & Caliban. They arrive at a rusted freighter in Baltimore and, after disabling some booby traps, discover Cable's ally Blaquesmith, who has been working out of the ship. He tells Cable someone attacked him and stole all his date on Cable, triggering Blaquesmith's call for help. Blaquesmith promises Cable he'll continue to search for the identity of the attacker and keep him informed, and Cable asks Blaquesmith to create new uniforms for X-Force. As Cable leaves, Blaquesmith warns him that whomever realized he could get at Cable through Blaquesmith is both smart & deadly. Meanwhile, on Muir Island, Moira tells Rory Campbell that she believes someone on Muir leaked the information about the Legacy Virus, and while that news has already broke, the data pertaining to Cable, in the wrong hands, could mean his life is in danger.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

X-amining Excalibur #87

"Back to Reality"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Excalibur explores the secrets of Genosha.

Story & Dialogue: Warren Ellis
Pencils/Storyteller: Ken Lashley
Inker: Tom Wegrzyn
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Kitty thinks back on Excalibur's crash landing on Genosha, then travels with Black Air agent Pete Wisdom, Meggan & Douglock to investigate the Genegineer's old lab. Along the way, she & Peter discuss the events which occurred shortly after their crash, in which Excalibur was caught in a three-way fight between some Mutate refugees, Magistrates, and Mutate freedom fighters. On Muir Island, Moira & Rory try to figure out how the information about the Legacy Virus was leaked, while back on Genosha, Britanic meets with Governor Ransom, who tells him the special bullets being used by the magistrates were created in part by his father. Later, Excalibur, along with Ransom & Philip Moreau, gather outside the Genegineer's original lab. After Kitty & Douglock disable the lab's defense, the team learns that the Genegineer received the original mutate process from an unnamed third party. At this point, a watching Sugar Man decides they've gotten too close to learning about his involvement, and triggers the lab's booby traps from afar, sending the truth about Genosha - and the bullets - up in smoke, much to Excalibur's dismay. Still, the watching Black Air agents are pleased: Excalibur achieved what they wanted, stirring up Genoshan secrets to Black Air's advantage.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

X-amining Generation X #5

"Don't Touch That Dial"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Jubilee, Synch, Skin & Monet visit the city while Chamber comforts Paige.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Titles: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Electricolor: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Changing Channels: Bob Harras

Plot
Gateway visits Chamber, and urges him to reach out to Paige, who is not reacting well to the news of the Legacy Virus. Meanwhile, Jubilee, Synch, Monet & Skin are in New York City, on their way to meet Emma at Frost Enterprises. Suddenly, Monet enters a fugue state, unable to move or respond to her companions. Back at Xavier's School, Banshee tries to communicate with Penance. In New York, unable to reach Emma by phone, Jubilee convinces Synch & Skin to leave Monet in Rockefeller Plaza as they're driven to Frost Enterprises. But when they enter the garage, they discover the security guards violently slaughtered. Back at the school, Chamber consoles a drunk Paige, agreeing, with a look in the mirror, with her declaration that life is unfair. Back at Frost Enterprises, Jubilee, Synch & Skin discover Hemingway of Gene Nation waiting to ambush them in Emma's office. Working together, they fight him off, then discover Artie hiding in the office; his friend Leech was taken by Gene Nation before they arrived, and Jubilee vows to help find him.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

X-amining X-Nation #5 - Patreon First

"Gimme Shelter"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Nation deals with the loss of the Sisterhood of the Howling Commandments & the Xavier Shelter.

Story: Ben Raab & Terry Kavanagh
Script: Ben Raab
Penciler: Eric Battle
Inker: Ralph Cabrera
Letterer: J. Babcock
Colorist: J. Brown
Enhancements: Malibu
Man of Tomorrow: Mark Powers
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Sifting through the ruins of the Xavier Shelter, X-Nation finds the grievously-wounded Sister Nicholas. Twilight tries to use her power to save her, but she is unable to do so. As she dies, Sister Nicholas urges the kids to make something out of their lives. Later, they mourn the loss of the Sisters and try to figure out what to do next while drinking at the Negative Zone milk bar. Suddenly, Nostromo's powers flair out of control, attracting the attention of the Wild Boys. They attack X-Nation and, stronger than before, they manage to overpower everyone but Metalsmith. As they turn their attention to him, Nostromo manages to escape. He finds Cerebra, who had been searching Halo City for X-Nation, but his powers continue to flair out of control. Just then, Cerebra loses her sense of X-Nation's energy signatures, which she says can only mean they're dead. Outside the milk bar, Exodus stands triumphant over the fallen forms of both the Wild Boys and X-Nation.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #105

"The Party's Over"
May 1986

In a Nutshell

Story: Jo Duffy
Layouts: Cynthia Martin
Finished Art: Steve Leialoha
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Letterer: Ken Steacy
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Overseeing: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke & Pliff continue to be amused captives of the Hiromi, until the Tof burst into the room where they're being held. Meanwhile, Han & Lando bristle at having been captured by the Nagai, who contact Den to report their success. Den tells them to proceed to the rendezvous point, but Den, as well as Leia & Dani, have also been captured by the Tof. When the Tof enter with Leia's captured Zeltron attaches, the foursome fight back, but are ultimately recaptured. To stave off their execution, Leia plays up their importance to the war effort against the Nagai, prompting the Tof to order them taken to their ship for further interrogation. The Tof leader then orders Den to reveal where he's meant to meet the rest of the Nagai, but Den refuses, until the Tof threaten Dani with torture & death. After Den & the Tof leader leave, the Hoojibs run in, pretending to be dumb animals while they drain the Tof weapons of their energy charge. Meanwhile, Luke uses the Force to escape his bonds, rescue the Hiromi, and overpower the Tof, though their fight spills into the chamber where Leia & Dani are being held. Their weapons useless, the Tof are defeated. Leia intends to rescue the rest of her friends, as well as the Nagai, from the remaining Tof, while Luke says he'll rescue her attaches, telling the Hiromi they'll be helping him storm the Tof command ship, much to their dismay.

Friday, October 11, 2019

X-amining Wolverine #91

"Path of Stone, Wood of Thrones"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine and the X-Men try to come to terms with Wolverine's new mental state.

Writer: Larry Hama
Penciler: Duncan Rouleau
Inker: Joe Rubinstein
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Colorist: Marie Javins
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
From the woods surrounding the X-Mansion, Wolverine watches two kids return to their house on the border of the property, having picked some flowers for their sick mother. Meanwhile, Xavier, Beast & Storm discuss Wolverine's mental state, while Psylocke joins Cyclops & Jean Grey for dinner at the boathouse, where Psylocke senses the presence of Wolverine, watching from outside. They worry that he is losing control. Later, Xavier shares data he's assembled suggesting that Wolverine's adamantium skeleton had retarded his mutation; with the metal gone, his increasingly-feral state is the result of his mutation continuing to evolve him. Outside, Wolverine watches the neighbor family as the father begins assaulting the mother. He is interrupted by Xavier, Storm & Beast, but when the domestic fight spills out into the yard, Wolverine intervenes, prepared to attack the father. But he is held back by the other X-Men, and relents when the mother comes to her husbands' defense. As she orders the X-Men off her property, Wolverine tells his friends he's remaining outside. When they insist they want to help him, he says they also wanted to help the abused women, but now she'll likely die at the hands of her husband, and that'll be on their heads for stopping Wolverine just now, just like it'll be on their heads if they don't deal with him before its too late.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

X-amining X-Force #44

"...Already in Progress..."
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Cable announces a new look & focus for the team as Cannonball graduates to the X-Men.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Adam Pollina
Inks: Mark Farmer
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Marie Javins
Color Seps: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
X-Force gathers outside Professor Xavier's office, where Cable and the professor are discussing the fate of the team, until Domino comes in and shoos them out, telling them to find something else to do. Outside, the team tells Sunspot there's no updates, then goes their separate ways, with Rictor leaving to call home, Boomer & Shatterstar heading to the Danger Room, and Warpath contacting Banshee, looking for news on the absent Siryn. When Boomer & Shatterstar get to the Danger Room, they discover it's been turned into a habitat for the now-docile Sabretooth. Meanwhile, Cannonball runs into Cyclops, and discusses his feelings about being back in the mansion after so long away. Just then, Cable telepathically calls the team to Xavier's office, where he announces that X-Force will now operate out of the mansion, with a unified look and a focus on boosting their powers, including an increased use of Cable's telepathy. Xavier then announces that Cannonball is graduating to join the X-Men, while Domino enters with Caliban, who will be joining the team in his place. Unnerved by the prospect of Cable being in his head, Rictor decides to return home for a visit, over Shatterstar's objections, while Boomer & Cannonball vow to maintain their relationship in the face of all the changes. Elsewhere, a bound & gagged Siryn is delivered to the Weisman Institute for the Criminally Insane.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #42

"Heaven Can Wait"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Holocaust wakes up on Avalon.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Paul Smith
Inker: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers/Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Exodus toasts the arrival of the strange figure trapped in ice, believing it to be a sign of good tidings for the Acolytes. Some of the Acolytes have reservations, however, and when Milan stays behind to further analyze the being, he inadvertently comes into contact with it and is killed when it drains his life force. On Earth, Storm notifies Professor X of the nightclub massacre, while Beast tends to the now-comatose Juggernaut. In Florida, Iceman stops Rogue from committing a robbery. Back on Avalon, Rusty & Skids are discussing whether they made the right choice joining the Acolyteswhen Scanner appears and tells Rusty Exodus wants him to check on Milan. When he does, he too is killed, and his energy is enough to cause the figure - Holocaust - to break free of the ice. When Exodus confronts him, Holocaust - recognizing Exodus as one of the X-Men from his world and not realizing he's in a different reality - attacks, and their subsequent fight severely damages Avalon. Voght teleports away, seeking help, and returns with Cyclops & Phoenix, who are greeted by the raging Holocaust/Exodus fight and Colossus, cradling the comatose Magneto, declaring that in a manner of minutes, the station will be destroyed and everyone aboard killed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #34 - Patreon First

"The Drowning City"
July 1996

In a Nutshell
Vulcann makes his move as Halo City floods.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inkers: Rob Hunter & Paul Neary
Letterer: Virtual Calligraphy
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Jaye Garnder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Inside a hidden fortress in the Pacific Northwest, Vulcann ages the captured Joaquim to physical adulthood. Meanwhile, the X-Men assist in the evacuation of the flooding Halo City, after which Book advises them that an alien object in orbit around the planet is causing the seas to rise, while Krystalin worries about the still-missing Meanstreak. At the Unicelo building, Xi'an searches through the rubble, looking for the body of the Foolkiller, before leaving to check on the Sisterhood of the Howling Commandments at the Xavier Shelter. At the Rasputin Housing Complex, Metalhead tries to comfort a distraught Rosa when Vulcann and the grown Joaquim appear. Joaquim telekinetically throws Metalhead from the building, then Vulcann tells Rosa that while Joaquim is meant to lead the next generation of mutants, he needs nurturing Vulcann can't provide, and offers Rosa the opportunity to join them. Elsewhere, Xi'an discovers the ruins of the Xavier Shelter and encounters Cerebra & Nostromo, the only apparent survivors of a confrontation with Exodus. The three try to leave the city, but are caught under some collapsing rubble. Meanwhile, Metalhead returns to his apartment to find Rosa missing, and when Joaquim destroys a building, the X-Men attack him and Vulcann, leading Vulcann to seemingly kill Fitz.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Friday, October 4, 2019

X-amining X-Man #5

"The Man Who Fell to Earth"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Age of Apocalypse refugee Nate lands in Switzerland & takes a last name.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Mike Thomas & Digitial Chameleon
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Nate lands disoriented in the Swiss Alps. Dazed and unsure where he is, he stumbles across a highway and is picked up by a truck driver. But when Nate becomes suspicious, his powers flare out of control, destroying the truck and leading Nate to stumble into the nearby town on Montreux. Meanwhile, Bishop & Professor X are discussing Bishop's strange dreams when Xavier psychically detects Nate's presence, followed immediately by that presence becoming cloaked, something that's never happened to Xavier before. In Montreux, Nate confronts a man he thinks is Forge, but is actually a resident of Montreux named Sven. Seeing that Nate is in need of help, Sven brings him to his home. When asked his name, Nate adopts the surname "Grey", thinking of his mother. He then falls asleep on the couch while Sven goes for food. Nate wakes up later to discover he's not alone: he has been joined by a red-haired woman who says her name is Madelyne Pryor.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

X-amining X-Factor #112

"Wreaking Havok Part One: Unnecessary Evils"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Mystique & Wild Child join X-Factor on the hunt for an out-of-control Havok.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Guest Penciler: Jeff Matsuda
Inker: Al Milgrom
Lettering: Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In Tokyo, a confused Havok emerges from a crashed jet plane. A few hours later, the rest of X-Factor, including Mystique and Wild Child, are attacked by the Cyburai, sent to delay X-Factor as a favor to a mysterious individual. Meanwhile, an assassin arrives in Tokyo, while a dazed Havok encounters Scarlett, whom he realizes kidnapped him. She tells him she was taking him to Genosha for his own good, but he runs away. Elsewhere, Random receives a mysterious phone call, after which he kills Vera, then collapses into a pile of goo. In Tokyo, Tatsu'o, master of the Cyburai, meets with the assassin, Fatale, the person who asked them to delay X-Factor. She intends to take matters into her own hands now. Meanwhile, Polaris & Wild Child manage to track Havok to a nightclub, arriving just after Scarlett. With his power building & growing out of his control, Fatale suddenly appears. Calling herself damage control, she stabs Havok from behind.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #322

"Dark Walk"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Archangel visits the site of a massacre while Juggernaut gets punched across the country by Onslaught.

Story: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Tom Grummett
Inks: Green, Pennington, Ryan & Milgrom
Lettering Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Archangel meets Charlotte Jones outside a nightclub. She takes him inside, where a dance floor packed with humans was slaughtered by a group of mutants. At the X-Mansion, Storm tells Wolverine he still has a place with the X-Men, but he insists that he can feel his humanity slipping away. In New Jersey, Beast & Bishop are leaving a movie when they see an object streak through the sky before crashing to the ground. Investigating, they discover the object was an unconscious Juggernaut. Upstate, Scott & Jean visit Jean's parents, and Jean shares the news of her sister's death. In Jersey, Juggernaut wakes up and promptly freaks out, triggering a fight with the X-Men that ends when Bishop absorbs energy from the city's electric grid and rechannels it back at Juggernaut again and again. Shocked to his senses, a weary Juggernaut tells Beast the last thing he knew, he was in Canada, intent on coming to warn the X-Men about the same person who punched him across the country: Onslaught.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

X-amining X-Nation #4 - Patreon First

"First Blood! "
June 1996

In a Nutshell
Atlantis attacks the Xavier Shelter while X-Nation escapes from Avian.

Story: Terry Kavanagh & Ben Raab
Script: Ben Raab
Pencils: Eric Battle
Inks: John Holdredge
Ink Assist: Thibert & Mendoza
Letters: Jon Babcock
Colors: James Brown
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Atlantean forces attack the Xavier Shelter, prompting the Sisterhood of the Howling Commandments to fight back in defense. Meanwhile, the captive X-Nation is brought before Avian, and when they can't tell him where Willow is, he sends them to processing, where young mutants are tortured in the hopes of discovering the Mutant Messiah. There, they meet the previously-captured Metalsmith. Back in Halo City, Cerebra fights off Exodus, who believes she will make an excellent acolyte in mutantkind's emancipation, while the Sisterhood takes heavy losses as Attuma enters the fray. In Florida, X-Nation & Metalsmith are freed by a disguised Willow, who then poses as Avian in order to use his ship to fly the entire group home. However, just as they arrive back at the shelter, it explodes.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

X-amining X-Men Prime #1


"Racing the Night"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
The existence of the Legacy Virus is made public, leading to the death of a mutant trying to reach the X-Men.

Writers: Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza
Pencilers: Bryan Hitch, Jeff Matsuda, Gary Frank, Mike McKone, Terry Dodson, Ben Herrera, Paul Pelletier
Inkers: Al Milgrom, P. Craig Russell, Cam Smith, Mark Farmer, Mark McKenna, Tom Palmer, Tim Townsend, Hector Collazo
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Coloring: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
On a dark & stormy night, Jean Grey visits Wolverine in the woods outside the X-Mansion. She urges him to come inside, but he refuses so long as Sabretooth is there. Inside, Bishop discusses his recent nightmares involving another world with Xavier. Elsewhere, a young mutant named Dennis, heading to Xavier's school in the hopes of finding the X-Men, stops at a diner. In Wyoming, X-Factor stops Mystique from bombing a dam. At the X-Mansion, Cyclops & Beast are delivering food to Storm, who is watching over a comatose Gambit, when they're attacked by Bishop, who briefly believes them to be servants of Apocalypse. In the Morlock tunnels, a woman named Marrow begins a ceremony to summon the first Morlock. In Florida, Rogue & Iceman are dancing at a bar when a special news report from Trish Tilby begins. In her report, she informs the public of the existence of the Legacy Virus. When his fellow diner patrons begin speaking out against mutants in the wake of the report, Dennis slips out, but his absence is noted.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #33 - Patreon First

"Fools Rush In"
June 1996

In a Nutshell
The Lawless defeat the Foolkiller.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
The remnants of the Lawless converge on the Unicelo factory where Foolkiller is holding Mongrel as bait. Their attack is joined by Krystalin, helping out despite Victor's protestations. Elsewhere, Sham is entertaining Rosa's baby when a pair of demons enter Rosa & Metalhead's apartment. At Unicelo, Krystalin summons the rest of the X-Men as Foolkiller reveals he has a bomb wired to his chest; if he dies, it detonates. At the Archive, Luna presses Book for more information about her family until she leaves in response to Krystalin's alert. As Meanstreak responds to the alert, he encounters the zoomers again, and in trying to outrun them, disappears. Across the city, Sham & Metalhead attack the demons, after which Vulcann the Bloodsmith appears, telling Rosa he wants her child. Back at Unicelo, Luna uses her power to force Foolkiller to re-experience his traumatic childhood, incapacitating him. Determined to prove he's become a better man, Xi'an then approaches Foolkiller, gambling he won't detonate his bomb and offering him a second chance at life. But Foolkiller says that to take it would mean his life as a Foolkiller was a mistake, making him the biggest fool of all, before detonating the bomb.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Monday, September 23, 2019

X-aminations in October 2019 & March 1995 Power Rankings


Reality is back to normal as all the regular X-books resume their previous series titles and numbering this month. And "back to normal" in 1995, of course, means "setting up the next big crossover!", as the line moves right from "Age of Apocalypse" to teasing "Onslaught".

A couple other programming notes: one, I've swapped X-Man and Cable's placement relative to how I had them listed back in June, basically so that I'm not reviewing the two "youngest" series (X-Man & Generation X) in the same week, while maintaining my "one solo series" a week rotation. Two, we're entering into another period of publication time in which a handful of series/issues had late-shipping books, which is why, at the end of the month, you'll see a Wolverine special paired with Adjectiveless X-Men; no regular issues of Wolverine or X-Force were on sale in June of '95.

On Sale May 1995
October 2: Uncanny X-Men #322
October 3: X-Factor #112
October 4:  X-Man #5

October 9: X-Men (vol. 2) #42
October 10: X-Force #44
October 11: Wolverine #91

October 16: Generation X #5
October 17: Excalibur #87
October 18: Cable #21

On Sale June 1995
October 23: Uncanny X-Men #323
October 24: X-Factor #113
October 25: Cable #22 

October 30: X-Men (vol. 2) #43
October 31: Wolverine: Knight of Terra

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #104

"Nagais and Dolls"
March 1986

In a Nutshell
Forces converge on Zeltros as the Alliance seeks to formally enlist the world in their fight against the Nagai.

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Cynthia Martin
Inker: Not the Real Cindy, But An Incredible Simulation
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke, Plif & Lando arrive on Zeltros and reunite with Leia. Shortly thereafter, Han, Chewbacca & Threepio arrive on the planet along with Dani. The group is there to persuade Zeltros to formally join the Alliance against the Nagai, something Dani - bitter as a result of Kiro's death and her torture at the hands of Den Siva - is eager to see. Meanwhile, both the Nagai and the Hiromi began plans for their assault on Zeltros. On the planet, the rulers are mostly concerned with throwing a party, and when Leia says that her recent encounter with Tai on Trenwyth has given her new insight into the Nagai, the ensuing argument with Dani over the best course of action delays the rulers' decision. As Leia privately tries to convince Dani that the Nagai may not be purely evil, Den Siva enters the room, and captures them both. Meanwhile, Luke & Plif encounter the comically-inept Hiromi invasion force, and play along with being captured by them as they "conquer" the planet by claiming the throne room, left empty while the rulers attend the party. That party is instead interrupted by the Nagai invasion, which is observed from outside by Leia's male Zeltron attaches. They rush to get help, but are stopped by an ominous figure. Elsewhere, with Luke still their ostensible captive, a figure of the same species who halted Leia's attaches prepares to attack the Hiromi.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

X-amining X-Men Omega #1


"...Endings"
1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men infiltrate Apocalypse's citadel to rescue Magneto and bring an end to the Age of Apocalypse.

Story: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Mark Waid
Pencils: Roger Cruz
Inks: LaRosa, Townsend, Kesel, Candelario, Hanna, Milgrom
Letters: Richard Starkings w/the Comicscraftsmen
Colors: Steve Buccellato w/the Electric Crayons
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Apocalypse taunts the captive Magneto, while elsewhere, Angel frees Karma and the X-Men teleport into Apocalypse's citadel. Outside, Cyclops & Jean Grey lead the freed prisoners out of Manhattan, even as they're unknowingly followed by Havok, while Angel sacrifices himself to take out the defensive shield around Apocalype's citadel, enabling Nate Grey to get inside. As the Shadow King suddenly announces that the Human High Council has launched their nuclear attack, wiping out the Midwest, Nate bursts into Apocalypse's inner sanctum, freeing Magneto & attacking Holocaust. Below, the X-Men penetrate the chamber holding the crystal as Nate's fight spills out into the same area, allowing Magneto to be reunited with the X-Men. As they hold off Apocalypse's forces, Destiny, Illyana & Bishop go inside the crystal. Outside, Weapon X parachutes into the city as Jean realizes the Human High Council have launched their nuclear weapons against Manhattan, and throws up a telekinetic shield over the island.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

X-amining X-Nation #3 - Patreon First

"Vertigo"
May 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Nation heads to Florida to rescue Willow.

Writers: Tom Peyer & Ben Raab
Penciler: Humberto Ramos/Roberto Flores/Mike Miller
Inkers: Palmiotti/Cabrera/Candelario
Letters: Jonathan Babcock
Colorists: Jim Brown Adam Wallenta
Separators: Malibu
Editors: Joey Cavalieri & Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
The Sisters of the Howling Commandments prepare to head out to rescue Willow from Avian, but are stopped by Halo City administrator Lucius Drayn. Their efforts stymied, the kids return to the Xavier Shelter and plan their own rescue. Twilight is reluctant to join in, but after hearing December tell how she met Willow as a captive of the Million Palms resort, she agrees to join the group. Meanwhile, at the ocean, the Atlantean warlord Attuma rallies his troops. At the shelter, Cerebra continues his search for the mutant messiah, while the kids steal the Sister's battle station wagon for their rescue mission. Later, Cerebra unsuccessfully tries to recruit Xi'an to help give the kids a sense of purpose, then follows a strange psionic presence to a man who calls himself Exodus and claims to be the future of mutantkind. Meanwhile, the kids arrive in the skies above Million Palms, but are quickly spotted by Avian and shot down. Captured, they are fixed with power inhibitors. Nostromo is able to overpower his inhibitor, but when he tries to escape, he is shot in the chest by the guards.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #103

"Tai"
January 1986

In a Nutshell
Leia forms a bond with a Nagai prisoner named Tai.

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Cynthia Martin
Inker: Art Nichols
Colorist: M. Wrightson
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
As Den Siva ruminates over a hologram of Dani, wondering where she is, he's sent for by Knife, who informs him of a lack of communication with a squadron sent to the largely-abandoned Trenwyth system, and his concern that the squadron was taken out by an old enemy. Meanwhile, Princess Leia, accompanied by her four Zeltron attaches, emerges from hyperspace near Trenwyth. On their way to Zeltros, they are forced to land when their ship's stabilizer is hit by a stray blast. Looking for parts to repair the ship, they explore the wreckage of a battle & encounter an injured Nagai pilot, whom they take captive. Leia attempts to interrogate him, but he remains silent; she suspects he is of a lower caste from the other Nagai they've encountered and doesn't know her language. As Leia & the Zeltrons work to repair the ship, they also observe additional troop movements involving forces unknown to them, and Leia decides to ultimately release the captive Nagai, despite his efforts to attack them & escape. This act of compassion from Leia stuns the captive, and for the rest of his time with Leia, he is less a captive than a companion. When the repairs are complete, Leia prepares to leave the prisoner behind, with the necessary equipment to contact his people. He then breaks his silence to tell her his name is Tai. Later, Tai is retrieved by the Nagai, and taken before Knife & Den. A Wing Leader who participated in the battle on Trenwyth, Tai tells them of how Leia sheltered him from their common enemy before ultimately releasing him. Knife views Tai's acceptance of Leia's mercy an act of weakness and hurls a knife at him, killing Tai.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

X-amining X-Man #4

"The Art of War"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Man defeats Sinister, then sets out to fulfill his newfound destiny and defeat Apocalypse.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas & Digital Chameleon
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor in Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
After Shadow King reports to Apocalypse that Domino has failed in her mission to eliminate the rogue telepath, Apocalypse vows to do the job himself, before returning to torturing the captive Magneto. Meanwhile, Nate savagely attacks Sinister, who brushes off his attacks before telling Nate how Sinister created him out of DNA from Cyclops & Jean Grey to be used as a weapon against Apocalypse, then urges him to fulfill his destiny & kill Apocalypse. Nate then turns the full force of his power against Sinister, telling him he'll go after Apocalypse because it's only a matter of time before Apocalypse comes after Nate. As Nate flies off, a surprised Sinister succumbs to his wounds and dies. Nate says goodbye to his friends then head east, towards Apocalypse. When he establishes a psi-link with Magneto, he sees him being tortured by Apocalypse, and is able to track him to Apocalypse's citadel. There, he encounters Cyclops & Jean as they're attempting to liberate the pens. Though Nate feels a connection to them & vows to find them after the fight is over, he continues on to the citadel, declaring he's coming for Apocalypse!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

X-amining Generation Next #4

"Bye"
June 1995

In a Nutshell

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
As Mondo tries to escape the Core with Illyana, Sugar Man confronts Husk & Vincente, still posing as Quietus. Though they've seemingly killed Chamber as Sugar Man ordered, he remains suspicious, and attacks, injuring Vincente and forcing Husk to drop their ruse. Sugar Man orders them killed, but just then, Chamber appears, having used his psionic powers to make it look like he'd been shot, and blasts Sugar Man, seemingly killing him. As a fight breaks out between the guards and Generation Next, Colossus appears & orders Skin & Chamber to help Mondo escape with Illyana. But a still alive Sugar Man overhears him, and kills Mondo, forcing Illyana to emerge from inside him. Colossus proceeds to pummel Sugar Man seemingly to death, but the rest of his students are overrun by guards. Colossus orders Shadowcast to phase him and his sister out of the Core, promising to come back for the kids, but as he races back inside, the facility goes into lockdown, and he's unable to get inside before the doors close, leaving the kids stranded. He returns to the waiting Shadowcat & Illyana, telling them he did everything he could, not realizing that Sugar Man escaped with him.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #33 - Patreon First!

"Old Wounds"
May 1996

In a Nutshell
Foolkiller attacks the Lawless.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Scott Koblish
Letterers: Chris Eliopoulos & Virtual Calligraphy
Colorist: Tom Smith
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Years ago, the Lawless defeat the last of the Foolkillers in New Hope, Texas. Meanwhile, in Halo City, a new Foolkiller kills a young mutant while former Lawless members Auntie Maim & Mongrel arrive in the city to meet with Xi'an & Victor Ten Eagles. Victor tells them of his narrow escape from the Foolkiller, while the Foolkiller meets with a scientist warning of imminent ecological disaster for the city. Meanwhile, Krystalin & Meanstreak are reunited with Metalhead & Bloodhawk, and meet Rosa's son, Joachim, who has also drawn the attention of Bloodsmith. Back at Xi'an's church, the former Lawless formulate a plan to draw out Foolkiller. While Luna confronts Book, hoping to find more information about her relationship to Brimstone Love, the Lawless set their trap, but end up catching a lookalike, after which the real Foolkiller attacks & kills Mongrel, after which Xi'an declares its time for the Lawless to deliver judgement on the Foolkiller once and for all.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!


Monday, September 9, 2019

G. I. JOE #19 - January 1984 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



G.I. Joe against Cobra and Destro
Fighting to save the day
He never gives up
He's always there
Fighting for freedom over land and air!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

X-amining X-Universe #2

"Dying Breath"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Humanity fights back against Mikhail.

Based on a Story By: Scott Lobdell
Script: Terry Kavanagh
Pencilers: Carlos Pacheco & Terry Dodson
Inkers: Cam Smith & Rob Riggs
Lettering: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Kevin Tinsley
Editor: Marie Javins
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras
Separations: Electric Crayon

Plot
As Empath, under the care of Matt Murdock, continues to keep the human populace of London docile, the captive Tony Stark is experimented on aboard Mikhail's ship. While Mikhail is meeting with the Human High Council, transistors in Stark's mechanical heart create a feedback loop, shutting down power to the ship, exactly as the captured agents of the council planned. With Operation: Trojan Horse in action, the agents storm the ship's armory and lead an attack on Mikhail's forces, with Gwen & Stark going to the bridge while Doom & Don Blake go to tell the council of Mikhail's lies. On the bridge, Gwen & Stark are attacked by the Hulk, and when Blake & Doom confront Mikhail in front of the council, he calls in his cybernetic Stryfe-Force troops to eliminate them. Aboard Mikhail's ship, Empath manages to force Murdock to confront all the pain he's caused, ending Empath's control over the crowd, and they rise up, storming the rest of Mikhail's armada. As Blake sacrifices himself to kill Mikhail, Hulk transforms back into Banner when he realizes Apocalypse intends to kill everyone in London, and works to take control of the ship. With the rest of the survivors aboard, the fleet heads for outer space, just as reality around them ends.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

X-amining X-Nation #2 - Patreon First!

"Kicking and Screaming"
April 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Nation is attacked by Avian.

Writer: Tom Peyer
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Jimmy Palmiotti
Letterer: Jon Babcock
Colorist: James Brown
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
With Sister Nicholas furious that the X-Nation kids snuck out of the shelter, Cerebra tells them they are all going to have to work on a construction project as punishment. Meanwhile, at the Million Palms Resort, Avian recaptures Metalsmith, then sends a squad of his forces to attack X-Nation and recapture Willow. Using plans to Halo City given to them by Herod, Avian's forces sneak in and attack attack as the kids are doing their work. December recognizes them, and knows they are after Willow. Together with the Sisters of the Howling Commandments, X-Nation fights off the goons, but in the wake of their victory, they realize Willow is missing.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #102

"School Spirit!"
December 1985

In a Nutshell
The return of Kiro.

Writer: Jo Duffy
Breakdowns: Sal Buscema
Finishes: Sam De La Rosa
Coloring: Petra Scotese
Lettering: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke & Lando return to Iskalon, intending to inform Mone about the death of Kiro. The Nagai are on the planet as well, but one of their detachments is taken out by a mysterious figure. When Mone meets with Luke & Lando and learns they were not responsible for defeating the Nagai forces, Mone tells them it must have been Kiro, whom he insists is still alive and on the planet. Luke & Lando are skeptical, but when a secondary force of Nagai attack, Kiro does indeed appear and help fight them off, but not before Mone and other members of the school are captured. With Kiro having disappeared again, Luke & Lando work together to rescue Mone and destroy the Nagai base. They are soon joined by Kiro, who savagely attacks the Nagai and rescues Mone and the rest of the captive school. Afterwards, he tells Luke how he survived his encounter with Den on Kinooine, then followed the Nagai to Iskalon. He begs Luke to keep his survival a secret, as he must remain on his homeworld to help protect his people from the Nagai. Luke agrees to keep his secret, and realizes that while he'd been mourning Kiro, he's now starting to feel pretty good again.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

X-amining X-Men Chronicles #2

"Shattered Dreams"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine attacks the X-Men as Rogue & Gambit's relationship falls apart.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Ian Churchill
Inks: Hanna/Vey/Moncuse/Wiacek
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Matt Webb
Color Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Upon his successful rescue of Jean Grey from Apocalypse's slave pens, Weapon X, angry that Magneto was unwilling to mount a rescue effort, announces that he and Jean are leaving the X-Men. Meanwhile, Holocaust meets with his agent, Wolverine, and orders him to find Magneto and make him watch as the person closest to him is killed. Days later, the X-Men arrive in the ruins of Denver, rescuing a group of humans from a gang of bandits. Wolverine, watching from the shadows, empowers two of the gang members, and one of them manages to stab Magneto. The concern shown by Rogue & Gambit makes Wolverine realize they are the closest to Magneto, not, as Wolverine suspected, his son Quicksilver. Back at the X-Men's base in New Mexico, Gambit tries to get some time alone with Rogue, but she insists on helping the recovering Magneto plan their next mission. As Wolverine picks up the scent of the X-Men and starts tracking them to their base, Gambit confronts Rogue, looking for a commitment, but Rogue apologizes and runs off. Gambit then goes to Magneto, conducting a training session in the woods outside the base, and talks to him about his feelings for Rogue. As Wolverine draws nearer, Rogue interrupts Magneto & Gambit, saying she needs to talk to Magneto. But when Magneto reveals he's found a way to neutralize her powers - such that only he can touch her - an angry Gambit confronts the pair. Just then, Wolverine attacks the X-Men's base. During the ensuing fight, Magneto's injury is exacerbated, but Gambit comes to both he and Rogue's defense, fighting off Wolverine, after which Gambit announces he too is leaving the team, saying it's time for Gambit to go it alone again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #31 - Patreon First!

"Book of Revelation"
April 1996

In a Nutshell
Book makes his first appearance.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Computer Seps: Malibu
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Executive Editor: Bobbie Chase
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
After receiving highly-specific information regarding a mutant in need of rescue, Fitz, Luna & Meanstreak break into the Quetzalcoatl Corporation headquarters. Inside, a mutant named Book is tortured by the head of the corporation, Javier Belize. In Halo City, Victor Ten Eagles is fitted with a cybernetic arm, and when Krystalin visits him, he warns her off, saying the Foolkiller is targeting members of the Lawless, and he doesn't want her caught in the middle. Back inside Quetzalcoatl Corp, the rest of the X-Men follow the specific information they received to reach Book, who sent them the info in order to get rescued and taken to Halo City. In Neveda, Bloodhawk & Metalhead take out a group of hijackers. At Quetzalcoatl, the X-Men defeat Belize, with Fitz absorbing the electrical energy he generates, then leave with Book.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Monday, August 26, 2019

X-aminations in September 2019 & February 1995 Power Rankings


"Age of Apocalypse" concludes and the prime reality returns this month, in which I'll be traveling a fair amount and prepping for our local October comic convention, hence the lighter-than-normal schedule.

On Sale April 1995
September 4: X-Universe #2

September 11: Generation Next #4
September 12: X-Man #4

September 18: X-Men Omega

On Sale May 1995
September 25: X-Men Prime

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian & Rise of Skywalker D23 Trailers

Disney held their annual "D23" convention this weekend (basically, Comic-Con for Disney), during which they unveiled trailers for both The Mandalorian, the upcoming Disney+ series set between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, and The Rise of Skywalker (though I'm not sure if this footage constitutes an official trailer - whatever that entails - or if it's just supposed to be a bit of D23-specific footage). Here are five things that caught my attention/got me excited from each.

Spoilers below, obviously.

First up, The Mandalorian.

Friday, August 23, 2019

X-amining X-Calibre #4

"On Fire"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
The Shadow King attacks Avalon.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Ken Lashley
Inker: Tom Wegrzyn (with Philip Moy)
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Digial Chameleon
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In Avalon, the newly-formed X-Calibre prepares for the second wave of Apocalypse's assault on the sanctuary, which comes in the form of the Shadow King, who possesses various inhabitants and uses them to attack the team. When Damask is able to use her power to briefly harm Shadow King, Nightcrawler asks how his power work, and she explains that when Shadow King moves from mind to mind, he travels briefly through a sub-dimension. This gives Nightcrawler an idea as to how to defeat him, and when Shadow King possesses Mystique, Nightcrawler puts it into action. Grabbing Damask & Switchback, he teleports the three of them, hoping that the sub-dimension he briefly travels through when teleporting is the same as the one being used by the Shadow King. In the brief moment the trio is in that dimension, Switchback uses her power to keep them there long enough for Damask to locate Shadow King and use her power to drive him out of Avalon. But one of his thralls still tries to kill Destiny, prompting Doug to sacrifice himself to save her. In the wake of Doug's death and the destruction wrought by Apocalypse on her sanctuary, Destiny agrees to return with Nightcrawler to the X-Men and help bring down Apocalypse. 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

X-amining Gambit & the X-Ternals #4

"The Maze"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Upon their return to Earth, Strong Guy betrays his teammates and turns both the M'Kraan Crystal and Magneto's son over to Apocalypse.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Salvador Larroca
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
The Mouse: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the Morlock Tunnels, Dazzler & Exodus discover the remains of Nanny, but no sign of Magneto's son, Charles. Later, Apocalypse interrogates Rictor, who tells him of how he chased Gambit & Lila through the Morlock Tunnels upon their return to Earth, hoping to destroy the X-Ternals in Apocalypse's name. Unknownst to him, however, Gambit was leading Rictor away from Jubilee, who possessed both the M'Kraan crystal shard and Charles. But when she runs into Strong Guy, he reveals that he's working for Apocalypse, and takes both from her. Later, Gambit & Lila run into Strong Guy, and Gambit realizes Strong Guy is running in the wrong direction. Just then, Rictor catches up to them, and reveals that Strong Guy is working for him, During the ensuing fight, the tunnel collapses, and Gambit is forced to choose between saving Lila, and taking Charles & the shard from Strong Guy, who is supporting one of the columns. At Strong Guy's urging, Gambit saves Lila, trusting that Strong Guy will be able protect Charles from the collapsing tunnel. Rictor finishes his story, believing Gambit died in the collapse, and expecting a reward from Apocalypse. Instead, Apocalypse kills him for failing to realize the importance of the shard & Charles, both of which Apocalypse now possesses, thanks to Strong Guy. Back in the tunnels, Dazzler & Exodus discover Gambit & Lila, and proceed to take them back to the X-Mansion as Gambit hopes his choice hasn't come at the cost of the entire universe.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

X-amining Amazing X-Men #4

"On Consecrated Ground"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Quicksilver & Storm rescue Bishop as the rest of the X-Men complete their various missions.

Plot: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Color Art: Richard Somers & Digitial Chameleon
Confessional: Bob Harras

Plot
The Madri prepare to execute Bishop, but are interrupted by Storm, who arrives to rescue him. Meanwhile, Banshee & Quicksilver break into the chamber containing the source of all the Madri, the original Jamie Madrox who, abused & addled, begs them to kill him. Meanwhile, Rogue's team of X-Men arrives back at the mansion to find Colossus & Shadowcat waiting. When they learn Charles fled into the tunnels with Nanny, Rogue leads a group down into them, only to run into Dazzler & Exodus, returning with Gambit, Lila & Jubilee. But no M'Kraan crystal or Charles, prompting Rogue to attack Gambit for abandoning her son. Back at the Madri's tabernacle, Quicksilver & Banshee are debating whether or not to kill Madrox when Abyss attacks them. Banshee sacrifices himself by flying inside Abyss and destroying him from the inside. As Storm & Bishop are about to be overwhelmed by the Madri, Madrox kills himself to shut down the Madri once and for all. Back at the X-Mansion, Nightcrawler teleports in with Destiny. After Quicksilver, Storm & Bishop return, and with Magneto's various plans coming to fruition, Quicksilver declares they're now going to retrieve the piece of the M'Kraan crystal Gambit stole, rescue his father & brother, and ensure that this is the day Apocalypse falls.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

X-amining X-Nation 2099 #1 - Patreon First!


"Sixth or Seventh Genesis"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Nation sneaks out to a milk bar.

Writer: Tom Peyer
Penciler: Humberto Ramos
Inker: Jimm Palmiotti
Letterer: Jon Babcock
Colorist: James Brown
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
Wulff, trying to leave the Wild Boys gang, is rescued by Morphine Somers and brought to the Xavier Shelter for Indigent Children, where he joins X-Nation just as they're preparing to sneak out for a night on the town. Meanwhile, Avian is tasked with assembling the mutant messiah candidates for Herod, including Willow. X-Nation ends up at the Negative Zone milk bar, where Wulff, unimpressed by his new companions, leaves, only to run into the Wild Boys, looking to kill him for abandoning them. Thankfully, X-Nation comes to his rescue, and defeat the Wild Boys. After seeing the gang members arrested, X-Nation decides to head home, where an irate Sister Nicholas is waiting for them.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #101

"Far, Far Away"
November 1985

In a Nutshell
Han is transported across the galaxy and helps save a star-crossed romance.

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Cynthia Martin
Inker: Art Nichols
Coloring: Glynis Oliver
Lettering: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Leia tries to convince Han to fly a mission for the Alliance, something he's reluctant to do, sparking an argument that's broken up by the newly-arrived Fenn Shysa, who is accompanied by Han's childhood friend, Bey. As Fenn & Leia catch up, Bey advises Han that if he cares about Leia, he should tell her. Later, Han, joined by Threepio, Artoo and Plif aboard the Falcon, investigates a series of strange energy bursts appearing in the skies over Endor. One of the bursts hits the Falcon, sending it careening across space to crash land on a strange planet. There, Han helps rescue a young couple from bandits. They are Risa & Gil, the princess & prince of two kingdoms, which each rule one side of the planet. Their upcoming wedding is intended to solidify the truce between the two sides. As Artoo & the Hoojibs work on repairing the Falcon, Han returns with Risa to her father's palace, where he helps expose Marius, Risa's uncle and the court vizier, as the person responsible for the attack on Risa & Gil. With his ship repaired, Han flies back to the Alliance, and to Leia, his feelings for her having inspired him to ensure Risa received a happy ending.

Friday, August 16, 2019

X-amining Weapon X #4

"Into the Maelstrom"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Weapon X defeats Pierce using his stump claws, allowing Gateway to send the Human Council's armada to Apocalypse.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Joe Rosas
Seps: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
With the help of the Human Council, Weapon X convinces Gateway to navigate the nuclear armada across the ocean to attack Apocalypse. Meanwhile, Rex brings word of the armada and its potential threat to Apocalypse, but he is less than concerned. The armada departs from Paris, but as it nears Apocalypse's sea wall defenses, a storm kicks up, prompting Gateway to climb atop the lead airship to better navigate the storm. Just then,  Pierce and another enhanced human use the storm as cover to attack. Pierce sends his ally after Weapon X & Gateway while he radios the Infinites at the nearby defense platform to shoot down the armada. As Weapon X & Gateway realize Pierce's ally is their old friend Carol Danvers, Emma Frost tries to attack Pierce but is stopped by Brian Braddock, who reveals himself to be reluctantly working for Apocalypse. Braddock manages to briefly overcome his programming long enough to knock Pierce out the window, where he proceeds to climb on top of the ship and execute Carol Danvers for failing to kill Weapon X or Gateway. As Pierce turns on Gateway, Weapon X is forced to extend the claws from his missing hand to kill Pierce & save Gateway, who then uses his bullroarer to open a massive portal, allowing the armada to travel directly to Apocalypse.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

X-amining Factor X #4

"Reckonings"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Cyclops & Jean liberate the Pens & battle Havok.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Pencilers: Steve Epting w/Terry Dodson
Inker: Al Milgrom
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Havok gives the order to kill everyone in the Pens, a directive that doesn't sit right with both Beast, who considers their deaths a waste of good genetic material, and the Bedlam Brothers, who feel like the slaughter of the prisoners in cold-blood is beneath their status as alpha mutants. Bu when Havok receives word that his brother is still alive, he tasks the EMF with tracking him down instead. Elsewhere, Cyclops & Jean Grey are preparing to take out the Brain Trust so as to remove its stifling effect on the prisoners. They run into the Bedlam Brothers, who agree to help them hold off the Guthries, then cut the power. Meanwhile, Apocalypse's forces enter Haven to arrest Angel, who abandons his neutrality to fight them off and flee. Back at the Pens, Jean is able to destroy the Brain Trust, while Havok learns the captive Scarlett is pregnant. When the room goes dark, he knows it's his brother's doing. As Cyclops & Jean lead the newly-freed prisoners out of their cells, the animalistic mutants of the Kennel attack Beast, prompting him to flee. Havok tracks down Cyclops and attacks him, but Cyclops manages to knock out his brother. He then addresses the former prisoners, telling them they need to get off the island, promising them that somewhere out there is a better world. Later, Havok wakes up, and vows to find and kill his brother once and for all.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

X-amining Astonishing X-Men #4

"Holocaust"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defeat Holocaust.

Plot/Dialogue: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Joe Madureira
Inks: Townsend/Milgrom
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Enraged, Blink attacks Holocaust, chipping away at his armor with teleportation micro-strikes before dropping him into a vat of chemicals. Meanwhile, Apocalypse taunts a captive Magneto. Back at the Infinite Processing Plant, the X-Men stop the execution of Holocaust's human prisoners just as Holocaust emerges from the vat. Posing as Morph, Rogue is able to absorb a portion of his power, weakening him, before fighting him to a standstill. Holocaust positions himself and Rogue over a teleportation platform, hoping to bring her with him to Apocalypse's citadel, but as he teleports out, Iceman arrives and pulls Rogue away. He tells her he was sent by Quicksilver to bring back her team, and Rogue declares that tonight, one way or another, the age of Apocalypse is over.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #30 - Patreon First!

"Prophecies of Doom"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Cerebra quits the X-Men in order to guide the kids of X-Nation.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Doomsayer: Bobbie Chase
Special Thanks: Tom Peyer & Warren Ellis

Plot
After checking on her comatose father, Cerebra runs into Billy the Kid, who tosses her a coin that teleports her away. Meanwhile, Clarion & Nostromo arrive in Halo City, and are rescued from a mugger by Meanstreak. In the bowels of the city, Cerebra appears before Doom, who tells her that a mutant with the power to change the world is in the city, and needs her guidance. Later, Clarion & Nostromo are rescued from the Wild Boys by Cerebra, who directs them to the Xavier Shelter for Indigent Children, a shelter run by the Sisterhood of the Howling Commandments. She then meets with the X-Men, and tells them she's leaving the Protectorate in order to guide the young mutants in the city. Elsewhere, Doom expresses his disappointment in Morphine, earning Morphine's ire, who declares he's going to find the mutant messiah for himself. Cerebra then arrives at the Xavier Shelter to find the mutants of X-Nation waiting for her.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Force in Focus: The Power of the Force Action Figures

Roll Call
R2-D2 w/Pop-Lightsaber
A-wing Pilot
Han Solo in Carbonite Chamber
Imperial Dignitary
Imperial Gunner
Luke Skywalker (Imperial Stormtrooper Outfit)
Amanaman
Anakin Skywalker
Barada
EV-9D9
Lando Calrissian (General Pilot)
Luke Skywalker in Battle Poncho
Romba
Warok
Yak-Face

Firsts and Other Notables
With Return of the Jedi gone from theaters and no new Star Wars films on the horizon, "The Power of the Force" represents Kenner's attempt to keep their line of Star Wars action figures going in the absence of a specific film tie-in. In practice, this line is mostly composed of Return of the Jedi holdovers; there is no new Princess Leia figure, but Han, Luke & Lando are represented in their remaining Jedi costume changes not already be adapted in action figure form.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

X-amining X-Man #3

"Turning Point"
May 1995

In a Nutshell
Domino & her assassins battle X-Man and his rebel group.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Steve Skroce
Inks: Bud LaRosa & Mike Sellers
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Mike Thomas
Separations: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Forge uses a flash grenade to escape from Domino and her assassins. As Nate & Theresa rush to help out, Mastermind uses his power to make it appear as though Apocalypse has arrived. But Domino sees through the ruse and kills Mastermind. Just then, Nate flies in and angrily flings Domino into the nearby woods, following close behind her. As they fight, Toad & Caliban duel, with Toad emerging victorious only to be killed by Grizzly, who, in turn, is killed by Forge. Elsewhere, Nate uses his telepathy to make Domino relive all of her kills, before killing her himself. He returns to Forge's side and apologizes for not listening to him, telling him that Forge was right and his powers need to be deployed carefully. As Nate, Theresa & Sauron bury the dead, Forge discovers the body of Brute. Essex claims Grizzly killed him, but Forge has had enough, telling Essex that whatever he wants Nate for, Forge will fight him until his dying breath to protect the boy, something Essex is all too happy to oblige. Moments later, Nate feels Forge dying, and rushes to his side. With his last words, Forge tells Nate to find Magneto. After he's gone, Nate turns on Essex, blasting him with his power, but all it does is strip away the facade of Essex to reveal Sinister.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

X-amining Generation Next #3

"It Only Hurts When I Sing"
May 1995

In a Nutshell

Creators: Lobdell & Bachalo
Inks: Buckingham
Letters: Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Edits: Bob Harras

Plot
Inside the Core, Chamber & Skin almost blow their cover when a guard carelessly murders a young girl & Chamber tries to intervene. Elsewhere, Husk & Vincente, posing as Quietus, pore through his office, hoping to find information on Illyana's location. They are visited by Sugar Man, but seemingly manage to maintain their ruse. Outside, Shadowcat & Colossus arrive at the gate to the Core. Shadowcat is doubting their mission, but Colossus remain determined to find his sister. Inside, Mondo locates Illyana and attempts to escape with her, but having used his power for so long, there's a risk he may accidentally digest her. Meanwhile, Husk & Vincente meet with Chamber & Skin, attracting the suspicions of Sugar Man, who demands that "Quietus" kill Chamber & Skin in order to prove he is who he says he is.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #29 - Patreon First!

"Undead Zone - City of the Dead: Conclusion"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Morphine Somers defeats Graverobber an the Undead.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
As Fitz absorbs all of Halo City's power, plunging the city into darkness, Gunnar Heywood contacts the X-Men. When they arrive on the scene, a fight breaks out between the Undead and the X-Men. The X-Men are once again on the verge of defeat when Morphine Somers arrives with a captive Zail Haddad. He agrees to give Zail to Graverobber, but when Graverobber claims his prize, Morphine triggers a neuro-bomb in Zail's restraints, disrupting the bio-electric energy of Graverobber animating the Undead. They all collapse, dead again, including Tina, but Fitz is visited once more by Reiko, who tells him he is not dying, merely transforming, before he regains consciousness. Elsewhere, Victor Ten Eagles arrives in Halo City to warn Xi'an that someone is targeting the Lawless. Later, the X-Men hold another funeral for Tina, while Morphine meets with representatives of Herod. Per their bargain, he hands over Graverobber and the Undead to Herod's agent, and is told the contract on his head has been lifted. Giving the Undead to Herod doesn't sit right with Cerebra, but Morphine doesn't much care. However, as Herod's craft flies away from the city, it's shot down, allowing a returned Doom to claim the Undead for himself. He then turns his attention to Halo City, the city he built whose future, he believes, belongs to him.

What to read the rest before everyone else? Become a patron via Patreon!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #100

"First Strike"
October 1985

In a Nutshell
The Nagai attack the Alliance, triggering the Second Battle of Endor.

Story: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Cynthia Martin
Inks: Art Nichols & Sam De La Rosa
Coloring: Petra Scotese
Letterer: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Admiral Ackbar administers a computer-based piloting exam to a group of pilots, including Han & Fenn Shysa, a test Han takes less than seriously. Later, Mon Mothma announces that a fleet of Nagai ships have been spotted near Endor. In order to spare the Ewoks from getting caught in the middle, she orders the evacuation of the base, with Lando to lead the aerial defense against the Nagai while Leia monitors the evacuation from Endor. Han & Luke, however, are grounded, having failed their exams due to the computer being unable to understand their unorthodox flying styles. Outraged, Han storms off, and learns from Tippet of strange activity the Ewoks have noticed. He & Luke investigate and discover a Nagai force already on the moon, led by Knife. They learn the aerial assault is being coordinate with information on Alliance tactics given to the Nagai by someone inside the Alliance, and race back to warn Leia and the others. However, Han falls behind and is confronted by Bey, who reveals he's the traitor in the Alliance. He gets the better of Han but is unable to kill him. Just then, Knife emerges, and attempts to kill Han himself, but Bey intervenes, seemingly killing Knife. In space, the battle is going poorly until Admiral Ackbar relays Luke's message to Lando. Abandoning all their plans, Lando leads the fleet using Han's piloting techniques, which is enough to force the Nagai ships into retreat. On the ground, Luke declares he and Han's grounding to be over; those were peace time orders. As of now, the Alliance is at war once again.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

X-amining X-Universe #1

"X-Universe: Last Stand"
May 1995

In a Nutshell
Mikhail Rasputin arrives in London at the head of a peace mission.

Story: Scott Lobdell
Script: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Cam Smith
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Color Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor: Marie Javins
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In the ravaged nation of Wakanda, Gwen Stacy fends off an attack by the Marauders, assisted by the timely arrival of Tony Stark & Clint Barton. Stark & Barton are delivering relief aid, but have also been sent by the Human High Council to fetch Dr. Don Blake. In London, pilots Ben Grimm & Susan Storm watch with suspicion the arrival of Mikhail Rasputin at the head of a peace convoy. Just as they return to their base to land, the base explodes, killing every pilot capable of dropping a bomb on Apocalypse. They suspect Mikhail, but as they explore the wreckage, they're attacked by a massive hulking monster. Escaping the creature, they encounter Dr. Bruce Banner amongst the rubble. Meanwhile, with the Human High Council in an emergency session, the ranking security officer, Victor Von Doom, formally greets Mikhail amidst wild cheers from a gathered crowd, just as Blake and his envoy arrive in London. In the interest of transparency, Mikhail invites them aboard his ship to show he has nothing to hide, and they enter, joined by Doom, Ben & Susan. Once inside, Mikhail reveals that he's using the mutant Empath to manipulate the emotions of the crowd outside, and that he's lured the gathered group, those most resistant to Empath's power, to their deaths.