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

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #24 - Patreon First!

"Twitch & Writhe"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
Rosa goes into labor, Meanstreak, Krystalin & Bloodhawk head off to help their friends, and Xi'an reveals his plan to Cerebra.

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario & Jimmy Palmiotti
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
As Quiver & Sham attempt to escape the Slaughterhouse, Brimstone Love defeats Junkpile. Below, Luna & Fitz are captured by the Norns, and Fitz is tossed into a garbage pit where he is confronted by a monstrous figure emerging from the garbage. In Oklahoma, Glitterspike escapes from the Shadow Dancer and confronts Metalhead & Rosa, who goes into labor, while in the Sierras, Meanstreak, Krystalin & Bloodhawk reunite before making for the Slaughterhouse to help Fitz, Luna, and Cerebra. Inside the Slaughterhouse, Controller X reveals his plan to a captive Cerebra: to harness the power of the comatose Zhao to create a sympathy of suffering that will devastate the minds of thousands.

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


Monday, June 17, 2019

Dark Phoenix and the Fate of X-Men Film Franchise


**Minor spoilers for Dark Phoenix below; if you care, don't say you weren't warned**

Dark Phoenix, a film which, judging by the box office returns, very few of you have actually seen, is the final film in Fox's X-Men franchise (not counting that New Mutants film which may or may not be a collective fever dream and whose hopes for an actual theatrical release if it does exist are dimming by the day). It's not very good, and though not the worst of the various X-Men films (it's more coherent than the Wolverine origin movie and, really, X-Men: Apocalypse; it also sidesteps some of the problems that bedevil Last Stand even as it repeats some others), in adapting the "Dark Phoenix Saga" for a second time, it continues to display a fundamental ignorance of what makes that story so great on the part of Dark Phoenix writer/director/producer (and Last Stand co-writer) Simon Kinberg (hot tip, things "The Dark Phoenix Saga" isn't about: Jean's childhood trauma, Professor Xavier's hubris, Magneto). But while many of the films' flaws are clearly Kinberg's doing (notably the sequences which are, inexplicably, almost beat-for-beat recreations of similar sequences in Last Stand), many of the flaws are inherited, and not entirely the fault of the film, as they are endemic of the franchise as a whole. Which is to say, the X-Men movies just aren't very fun and exciting. Or, at least, just aren't very fun and exciting in the context of modern superhero movies.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #93

"Catspaw"
March 1985

In a Nutshell
The Star Warriors help reunite rival factions of the cat-like Cantrosians!

Script/Plot: Jo Duffy
Pencils: Sal Buscema
Inks: Tom Palmer
Coloring: Petra Scotese
Lettering: Rick Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
When an X-wing appears in the skies above the Rebel base on Saijo, the visiting Han, Luke & Leia leap into action, shooting down the pursuing ships and bringing the crashed pilot in for medical treatment. The pilot, Minka, tells them that the Rebel forces on her home planet of Cantros 7 are under attack by Imperial forces, prompting the trio to accompany her home. Once there, they meet Minka's friends Sami & Durne. Puzzled by the reports of Imperial activity, given the relative decline of the Empire, Han, Luke & Leia travel to the far side of the planet, accompanied by Minka & Sami. Shot down en route, Han, Luke & Sami are captured, while Leia & Minka escape. The captives are taken before a group of Cantrosians who claim to be part of the Rebel Alliance, believing their captives to be Imperial agents. As they argue over what to do with the captives, Durne appears, and it becomes clear he's been playing both sides against each other. Just then, Leia & Minka arrive, helping free the captives, and in the ensuing shootout, Luke blocks a kill shot fired by Durne at the leader of the other faction. This confirms for the rival faction that Luke and his friends aren't Imperial agents, and they take Durne captive, with the two sides reconciling. Leia is pleased with their victory, but Luke remains troubled, pondering who Durne was working for, the latest in a string of odd incidents that have left him wondering what is going on in the galaxy.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

X-amining X-Man #1

"Breaking Away"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
Nate Grey yearns to use his power for good, even as he draws the attention of Apocalypse.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inks: Sellers, Smith, LaRosa, Conrad
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Nate Grey dreams of his escape from Apocalypse's pens, then finds himself at a strange mansion, witnessing a conversation between Magneto & Bishop. Suddenly, Forge appears in the dream, and Nate wakes up to find that, while dreaming, he destroyed much of the landscape around him. Later, the rebel group posing as a traveling actor troupe of which Nate & Forge are a part put on a show. When they're hassled by the local prelates, Nate uses his telepathic powers to alter their minds, much to Forge's dismay, who worries Nate using his powers will attract unwanted attention. Sure enough, the Shadow King has detected Nate, and Apocalypse charges Domino with assembling a team of hunters to either collect or kill him. In Kansas, a young woman named Theresa is rescued from Apocalypse's forces by Forge's band, and when Nate is threatened, Theresa manifests an unknown sonic power to save him. Nate insists on bringing her along as the troupe moves on, and Forge reluctantly agrees. Later, the band comes across a fellow traveler named Essex, who says he may be of some help to them.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

X-amining Generation Next #1

"From the Top"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
Magneto arrives with a mission for Colossus, Shadowcat and their students.

Creators: Bachalo & Lobdell
Inker: Mark Buckingham
Letterer:Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato/Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Following a training session with their students, Colossus & Shadowcat are visited at their Colorado school by Magneto. He has a mission for them and their students: with Gambit & Nightcrawler working to substantiate Bishop's claim of being from an alternate, better, reality, he needs them to find the mutant that will enable him travel back in time to restore it. Shadowcat says that Apocalypse has eliminated all mutants with time manipulating powers, but Magneto counters he's only eliminated the known ones. Know It All suggests their hope may lie with a mutant whose power has not yet manifested, and she begins searching for one who fits their need. After discarding a few candidates, she finds one, currently a "resident" of the Core prison facility in Portland, Colossus' thought-death sister, Illyana.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #23 - Patreon First!

"Junkpile: Agent of SHIELD"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men infiltrate the Theater of Pain as Junkpile is sent to destroy it.

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

Plot
Morphine Somers revives Junkpile, and President Doom appoints him an Agent of SHIELD, answerable only to the pair of them. Meanwhile, Fitz, Luna & Cerebra attempt to infiltrate the Theater of Pain through Floodgate, the facility used to process the dregs of society coming to the theater in search of a new life. However, Controller X quickly spots them. Elsewhere, a mutant named Sham learns her friend Quiver is still alive somewhere inside the facility, and sets off in search of him. As Luna & Fitz are captured by Floodgate guards, Junkpile suddenly crashes into the facility, allowing Cerebra to evade capture. She encounters Sham just after Sham has freed Quiver from being tortured by the Theater, but Cerebra declines Sham's offer to escape together. Instead, she heads deeper into the facility, only to encounter Controller X, whom she immediately recognizes as Xi'an. A few levels up, Junkpile continues to tear into Floodgate, acting on orders from President Doom to shut the place down, only to come face-to-face with Brimstone Love.

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

Saturday, June 8, 2019

X-amining What If? #27 - Patreon First!

"What If Phoenix Had Not Died?"
July 1981

In a Nutshell
The Phoenix Force resurfaces in Jean, leading to the destruction of all existence.

Writer: Mary Jo Duffy
Penciler: Jerry Bingham
Inker: John Stuart
Letters: Simek & Chaing
Colorist: Carl Garford
Editors: DeFalco & Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
After Jean and Cyclops are overwhelmed by the Imperial Guard, the Shi'ar perform a psychic lobotomy on Jean, removing her mutant powers. Life goes on for Jean and the rest the X-Men, including the arrival of their newest member, Kitty Pryde. Some time later, Lilandra calls for the X-Men's help in repelling Galactus from a planet within the Shi'ar empire. A still-powerless Jean joins the team as they travel to the planet, but when Terrax, herald of Galactus, threatens the lives of the team, including Cyclops, the Phoenix Force manifests in Jean once more. She proceeds to strip Terrax of his cosmic powers, then chases Galactus away from the planet. With a reborn Phoenix on their side, the X-Men make short work of their enemies in the following months, but Jean's hunger for power continues to grow, and she takes to consuming stars to feed it. Returning from one such trip, flush with power, she is confronted by Kitty, who tells her she needs to stop. Jean's joy & exhilaration quickly turning to anger & hatred, she incinerates Kitty in front of the horrified X-Men. Xavier once again tries to contain the Phoenix Force within Jean, but this time, Jean refuses to help him, instead turning him into a vegetable. She then kills the X-Men one by one, but when she kills Cyclops, her grief allows the Phoenix Force to engulf her. From there, it grows larger, consuming the city, then the planet, spreading across the universe, destroying everything in its path.

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

Friday, June 7, 2019

X-amining X-Calibre #1

"The Infernal Gallop"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
Nightcrawler heads to Antarctica to meet with his mother.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciller: Ken Lashley
Inkers: Wegrzyn, Moy and LaRosa
Letterer: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Nearing the end of the "infernal gallop", a mutant named Switchback is delivered to a massive monk named Cain. He proceeds to lead her through the freezing Antarctic to the tropical haven of Avalon. Meanwhile, in Manhattan, Nightcrawler meets with Angel, looking for travel arrangements to Antarctica in order to meet his mother, on Magneto's orders. Angel reluctantly directs him to a nearby warehouse and a man named Proudstar. Meanwhile, Magneto contacts Mystique, and asks her to help Nightcrawler enter Avalon & find Destiny, over Mystique's objections. Back in the city, Nightcrawler meets with Proudstar, who is none too pleased with the way Mystique extracts payment from the refugees he sends her way, but Nightcrawler defends his mother, then demands Proudstar get him to the antarctic. Unbeknownst to them, they are being watched by Danielle Moonstar, an agent of Apocalypse. Upon hearing her report, he sends her and the rest of the Pale Riders to follow Nightcrawler to Avalon. Later, as Nightcrawler leaves the city aboard a submarine, Switchback meets Destiny in Avalon, but when Destiny reads Switchback's future, all she sees is the apocalypse.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

X-amining Gambit and the X-Ternals #1

"Some of Us Looking to the Stars!"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
Magneto sends Gambit and the X-Ternals into space to retrieve the M'Kraan Crystal.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: Kevin Conrad
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Marie Javins
Kahuna: Bob Harras

Plot
Jubilee, Guido & Sunspot of the X-Ternals steal medical supplies, delivering them to a human safehouse where Lila Cheney is waiting. Joining Lila, they head into the former Morlock Tunnels to join Gambit, who is waiting with Magneto, who has a mission for the X-Ternals: steal the M'Kraan crystal. Meanwhile, Commandant Richter receives a report from the squadron which engaged the X-Ternals. In the tunnels, Magneto leads the X-Ternals to a doorway leading to Apocalypse's Science Chamber. Fully expecting a trap, they enter, and are attacked by the Madri. As they fight them off, Sunspot discover Peter Corbeau, the human tasked with overseeing the chamber, whose life Magneto once saved. Accessing Apocalypse's star maps, he locates the Shi'ar galaxy, then he & Magneto help Lila access her latent teleportation powers in order to transport the group to the alien world. Just then, Richter & his forces attack. Magneto holds them off as the X-Ternals pass through Lila's portal, but Richter manages to follow behind them just before the portal closes. Magneto thanks Corbeau for his help, but Corbeau knows Apocalypse will learn of his betrayal and execute him for it. However, he at least he sets the chamber to explode, while Magneto worries that if the X-Ternals fail, an entire universe will die.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

X-amining Amazing X-Men #1

"The Crossing Guards"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men arrive in Maine to assist in the Sentinel-led evacuation of human refugees.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Matt Ryan
Letterer: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Separation: Digital Chameleon
En Sabah Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
In Maine, a mutant named Vanessa mingles with a group of humans heading north, then reports back to the Madri, confirming their suspicions that an evacuation is imminent. Meanwhile, on the grounds of the X-Mansion, Bishop watches the remaining X-Men training to assist in the evacuation. Magneto then gives the team a disc encoded with their mutagenic signatures; inserting it into one of the Sentinels will thereby mask from the robots' sensors. He then guides Exodus, the newest X-Man, in how to use his powers to teleport the team to Maine. Later, as the X-Men ingratiate themselves into the humans gathered at the coast, Storm takes out one of the stations in Apocalypse's seawall, paving the way for the arrival of the Sentinels. The X-Men succeed in reprogramming the Sentinels, but once the program takes effect, they continue to target the X-Men. Just then, Apocalypse's Brotherhood emerges from the woods, explaining they've scrambled the programming to mark themselves as non-threats instead of the X-Men, and Quicksilver realizes Apocalypse's forces have been on to them the whole time.

Game of Thrones 8x06: The Iron Throne


Opening Credits Map
Last Hearth -> Winterfell -> King's Landing

We did it! We've reached the final episode of the series. It's kind of bittersweet...well...these last few episodes are more just bitter but, overall, it's bittersweet. Let's dive into it.

King's Landing
We start with Jon Snow, Davos and Tyrion walking through the burnt out husk that was King's Landing. The three are stunned by the destruction. They come across Grey Worm hungrily executing captured soldiers. Jon Snow objects to these executions but Grey Worm says it's the Queen's command. Jon Snow and company decide there's nothing more they can do and move on as Grey Worm continues his murders.

Tyrion goes into the Red Keep where he finds some rubble with, conveniently, a metal hand sticking out. He removes approximately two pieces of debris to reveal the corpses of Cersei and Jaime holding each other. Tyrion weeps for his garbage siblings. Status of my heartstrings: Still Untugged.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #22 - Patreon First!

"Gauntlet of Pain!"
July 1995

In a Nutshell
Xi'an is initiated into the Theater of Pain.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterers: Ken Lopez & Janice Chiang
Colorist: Tom Smith
Stage Manager: Joey Cavalieri
Executive Producer: Bobbie Chase
Computer Color: The Wolf Pack with Salvador Mancha

Plot
Ahead of his initiation into the Theater of Pain, Brimstone Love introduces Xi'an to Charon, the Prime Controller, and Felicity, commander of the Norns. He then blasts Xi'an with his hellfire, seemingly teleporting him to his childhood home of Aspen. There, Xi'an encounters an old foe named Chainlink, before Brimstone Love orders Charon to move on to the next scene. Suddenly, Xi'an finds himself with the Lawless in Nogales, battling the cyborg Gearbox, who severely injures Haiku before Xi'an escapes. Meanwhile, Cerebra, Fitz & Luna visit Haiku, looking for info on the location of the Theater of Pain. Elsewhere, Xi'an finds himself facing the assassin Quickdeath in Saigon, then Noah Synge at Nuevo Sol. Xi'an collapses, and Felicity emerges from the shadows, impressed with how long he lasted. Brimstone Love then declares it's time to remake Xi'an in their image. Inside his mind, Xi'an refuses the help of his heroic self, after which he is formally initiated into the Theater of Pain. Meanwhile, Morphine Somers meets with President Doom in Arizona, reporting that the X-Men have scattered to the winds, but that he was able to find Junkpiles pieces, whom he assures Doom will serve their needs.

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


Monday, June 3, 2019

To Better Know a Hero 2.0: The X-Men


This week sees the release of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, the final X-Men film from Fox (unless that New Mutants movie whose creation may or may not be a collective pop culture fever dream ever gets released). With the X-Men, however briefly, back in the zeitgeist for the moment, I figured it was a good excuse to give the X-Men a Phoenix-focused "To Better Know a Hero 2.0" treatment.

Top 5 Phoenix Hosts

Friday, May 31, 2019

X-amining Weapon X #1

"Unforgiven Trespasses"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
Weapon X & Jean Grey battle Havok in advance of the Great Evacuation.

Script: Larry Hama
Breakdowns: Adam Kubert
Finishes: Karl Kesel, Dan Green, Chris Warner
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Mike Thomas
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
On a mission for the Human High Council, Weapon X & Jean Grey ride a Sentinel to one of the stations that make up Apocalypse's Atlantic Seawall. Responding to their attack, Havok is teleported to the base, but Jean Grey is able to hold him off while Weapon X disables the station's defenses, creating a gap in the defensive network that allows the council's massive fleet of Sentinels & transport ships to fly through, with the intent of evacuating the remaining humans in North America from the continent. Returning to London, Weapon X stops an attack on the council by Magma, but her assassination attempt galvanizes support for Brian Braddock's plan: to follow up the evacuation with a nuclear strike on Apocalypse. Weapon X is all for it, but Jean worries it is the beginning of a descent into madness.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

X-amining Factor X #1

"Sinister Neglect"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
In the wake of Sinister's disappearance, Cyclops takes charge of the Breeding Pens, much to Havok's dismay.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Steve Epting
Inker: Al Milgrom
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In the shadow of Apocalypse's Manhattan citadel, Sinister's Elite guard, led by Cyclops, hunt down a group of escaped prisoners. Meanwhile, Sinister prepares to disappear & enact his plan to oppose Apocalypse. Later, Cyclops returns the recaptured prisoners to the Pens, while Havok meets with Beast, sussing out his loyalties as he plots against his brother. Cyclops then tries to meet with Sinister, encountering the Bedlam brothers and turning down an invite to join them at Heaven along the way, but is stunned to learn Sinister has disappeared. That night, Havok joins the Bedlam brothers at Angel's Heaven nightclub. As they foil an attack by a human terrorist, Havok has a rendezvous with Angel's star performer, a human woman named Scarlet. When they return to the pens, Cyclops enlists the Bedlam brothers' aid in breaking into Sinister's lab, which they're shocked to find destroyed. With Sinister clearly gone for good, the Bedlam brothers suggest Cyclops is now in charge, though Havok has plans of his own in that regard.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

X-amining Astonishing X-Men #1

"Once More, With Feeling"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
A group of X-Men depart to stop Holocaust from culling Chicago.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Dan Green & Tim Townsend
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Hot Seat: Bob Harras
Separations: Digital Chameleon

Plot
Magneto is preparing the X-Men for their next mission when they're suddenly interrupted by the arrival of Blink & Sunfire. After Blink closes her teleportation portal on the prelate who followed through after her, killing him, Sunfire announces that he & Blink have discovered Apocalypse is still carrying out cullings, despite the Kelly Pact, and that Holocaust is personally carrying them out. At Apocalypse's citadel in Manhattan, Rex confirms to Apocalypse that he was able to track Blink's teleportation enough that, soon, he'll be able to pinpoint the X-Men's base. At the X-Mansion, Gambit says goodbye to Rogue before departing for the mission Magneto gave him, then Rogue begins preparations to lead a group of X-Men in an attempt to stop Holocaust. She promises Quicksilver they'll be back, then the group departs, leaving Bishop to wonder why they're willing to throw their lives away in so futile a fight. Quicksilver responds that this is their world, and they will fight for it, no matter what. And while Bishop doesn't remember much, he's certain the professor wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

X-aminations in June 2019 & Reality-Ending Cliffhanger Rankings!


June is a pretty straighforward month, as we plunge deeper into the Age of Apocalypse, finishing up the first round of #1s and heading into the series' second issues.

On Sale January 1995
June 5: Amazing X-Men #1
June 6: Gambit and the X-Ternals #1
June 7: X-Calibre #1

June 12: Generation Next #1
June 13: X-Man #1

On Sale February 1995
June 19: Astonishing X-Men #2
June 20: Factor X #2
June 21: Weapon X #2

June 26: Amazing X-Men #2
June 27: Gambit and the X-Ternals #2
June 28: X-Calibre #2

Monday, May 27, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #21 - Patreon First!

"Unreality Bites"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
President Doom battles Halloween Jack for the fate of Las Vegas.

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

Plot
Lamenting Doom's sudden rise to power, Halloween Jack dresses down singer Celstia Amberlyn, star of the Synge Casino corporation, for creating a propaganda piece for the new president. But she refuses to back down and Jack, impressed, proceeds to show her his plan for bringing the physics-altering "virtual unreality" to Vegas, before activating the projector, over Meanstreak's objections. Meanwhile, Krystalin, responding to a call for help from Meanstreak, nears the city, while Lytton Synge abandons his sister in the desert, intent on getting revenge on Halloween Jack. With the virtual unreality tearing up the city, Meanstreak decides he's had enough, and races off, eventually finding Krystalin and telling her they need to stop Jack. But when they confront Jack, they're interrupted by the arrival of President Doom, who orders Jack to shut down the projector. Just then, Lytton attacks, but Doom casually blasts him away, and Jack agrees to shut down Virtual Unreality. But when he's unable to do so, Doom is forced to quarantine the city and leave Jack in charge, warning him that Doom will have him killed should he try to extend the virtual unreality to anywhere else in the country. As Doom leaves, Meanstreak tells Jack he's leaving, too, then departs with Krystalin, leaving Halloween Jack to rant that he doesn't need anyone, anyway.

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

X-amining X-Men Chronicles #1

"Origins"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
Magneto's X-Men battle Apocalypse's Horsemen at Cape Citadel

Writer: Howard Mackie
Pencils: Terry Dodson
Inks: Klaus Janson
Letterer: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Matt Webb
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Magneto oversees the training of his X-Men at their base on Wundagore Mountain, then introduces them to his newest recruit: Weapon X. Meanwhile, Apocalypse's ship appears above New York, and Candra declares that the time for the strong has come. Back at Wundagore, Mystique brings a young mutant named Rogue to Magneto, hoping to spare her from Apocalypse. Later, Apocalypse's Horsemen attack the Cape Citadel military base, targeting its nuclear weapons. Hearing of the attack, Magneto sends the X-Men into action, leaving Scarlet Witch behind with Rogue to watch over the base and the younger students, not knowing that the villainous Nemesis is watching from outside. After the X-Men leave, Nemesis attacks. At Cape Citadel, Sabretooth is unnerved when he learns the Horsemen intend to not just control the nuclear weapons, but use them. Just then, the X-Men arrive, and engage the Horsemen. They ultimately prevail, but  when the X-Men return home, they discover their base badly damaged by Nemesis and Scarlet Witch having died fighting him off and saving the school. Though devastated, Magneto vows the dream of humans & mutants peacefully co-existing will live on.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #20 - Patreon First!

"Rust Never Sleeps"
May 1995

In a Nutshell
Bloodhawk battles a monstrobot as Krystalin defeats the Free Radicals.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Tom Smith
Squeaky Wheel: Joey Cavalieri
Head Mechanic: Bobbie Chase

Plot
Bloodhawk tracks a giant robot through the desert to the Acme Pit Stop, but his efforts to stop the robot's progress prove futile. In California, Krystalin has been captured by the Free Radicals despite following through on her side of their deal and freeing Billy the Kid from her brother's Panthers. Billy is planning on launching a satellite that will trigger an EMP across the state. In the desert, Bloodhawk meets a woman named Jade whose father helped build the "monstrobot". They work together to stop its rampage, after which lawyers from the Stark-Fujikawa company arrive, claiming ownership over the robot. Jade happily signs it over to them, then triggers its self-destruct mechanism, which sends the robot blasting into space to safely explode. In California, Krystalin is able to use her powers to escape her bonds, and then free her brother. As he activates his homing beacon to alert the Panthers to their location, Krystalin destroys Billy's EMP weapon, causing the Free Radicals to flee. Just then, a message appears on the holomonitor from Doom, who declares that he is claiming the presidency of the United States as his own.

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

Monday, May 20, 2019

Game of Thrones 8x05: The Bells


Opening Credits Map

Last Hearth -> Winterfell -> King's Landing

Who is the tyrant? The tyrant or the tyrant who opposes the tyrant? Beware of those who seek to overthrow oppressors for they just want to be oppressors themselves. Nobody wants to balance the scales they only want to tip the scales in their favor. Do not aid those who fight against injustice and inequality because you don't know what kind of injustice and inequality they will create.

You, on the right side of the scales. Do not help those on the wrong side of the scales for they will simply turn on you the first opportunity they get. And you, on the wrong side of the scales. Be happy. Be happy with your tyrant for they are known and the unknown is much scarier.

Also, bitches be crazy, yo! Amiright?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

X-amining Age of Apocalypse Ashcan & Year of the Mutants: Collector's Edition

December 1994

Firsts and Other Notables 
The Year of the Mutants Collectors Preview, is a magazine-style look at "Age of Apocalypse", mixing creator interviews, previews, and in-universe information. The articles include one on the AoA costume designs, excerpts from AoA Magneto’s journal, a Scott Lobdell interview, an update on the X-Men animated series, a look at the world of AoA in terms of its geography, a Fabian Nicieza article, "Blast From the Past", a look at the stories which inspired "Legion Quest" and "Age of Apocalypse" (like Uncanny #161), an interview with John Francis Moore, and the "X Files": excerpts from Professor Xavier's journal in which he analyzes various characters.

The ashcan issue is a more overtly promotional item, which presents the cover of the first issue of each of the X-titles along with a bit of text that segues into the name of the title replacing it, then lists all the "Age of Apocalypse" titles at the end.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #19 - Patreon First!


"Co-Dependent Behavior"
April 1995

In a Nutshell
Desdemona retaliates against Halloween Jack as Krystalin frees Billy the Kid.

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

Plot
In New Mexico, Cerebra regains consciousness moments before the bomb Xi'an left is set to detonate, and she manages to get Fitz & Luna out before the base explodes. In Las Vegas, Desdemona reveals she's transformed her brother Lytton into a hulking brute whose actions she can control via a neural spike. She sends Lytton out to trash one of Halloween Jack's casino, drawing him into a confrontation. During the ensuing fight, Meanstreak realizes Lytton is being controlled, and tracks down Desdemona, breaking her connection. As punishment, Halloween Jack declares he's going to leave the siblings along together in the high desert. Meanwhile, Krystalin breaks Billy the Kid out of a holding facility, though she has to go through one of her brother's lieutenants to do so. Elsewhere, the unearthed giant robot begins its grim march.

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


Monday, May 13, 2019

G. I. JOE # 18 - December 1983 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)


Destro's got a plan
He's an evil man
The terrifying enemy of G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe a real American hero
Fighting Cobra and Destro

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Game of Thrones 8x04: The Last of the Starks


Opening Credits Map

Last Hearth -> Winterfell -> King's Landing

Winterfell
The battle against the Night King and his army of the undead is over. Winterfell still stands, barely. Daenerys still has two dragons and an army (diminished but still strong) behind her. All she needs to do is march down to King's Landing and take out Cersei. Should be smooth sailing, right? Well...if you think that then you haven't been watching Game of Thrones very long.

We start at a mass funeral pyre. We see rows of bodies waiting to be burned. I believe they're sectioned off by army. Jon Snow makes a pretty good speech about the sacrifice they made and the gratitude the entire world owes them. Then the fires are lit.

At first I thought the respective leaders of each army/family was doing the lighting. Like, Daenerys lit Jorah and, I believe, the Dothraki. Tormund lit the wildlings. Sansa burned Theon and presumably Winterfell. Jon Snow was burning the Mormonts but since that line is over it kind of made sense he did it. But then Sam and Arya are out there and I know they had personal connections to Edd and Beric respectively but I'm not sure who they're burning with those people and if they're the best ones to do it.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

X-amining X-Men: Alpha #1

"Beginnings..."
March 1995

In a Nutshell
The Age of Apocalypse begins.

Story: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Mark Waid
Pencils: Roger Cruz w/Steve Epting
Inks: Tim Townsend w/Dan Panosian
Letters: Starkings w/the Comicraftsmen
Colors: Steve Buccellato w/the Electric Crayons
Editor: Bob Harras
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In the wake of a culling in Seattle, a hooded figure is attacked by Prelate Unus and a squad of Infinites, soldiers of Apocalypse. The man is rescued by the timely arrival of Magneto and his X-Men. When the hooded figure, who turns out to be Bishop, recognizes Magneto, he attacks, telling Magneto the world is twisted and it's all his fault. Meanwhile, in Apocalypse's pens, Prelate Summers, called Havok, puts down one of Beast's experiments gone mad, after which Cyclops admonishes Beast for continuing his experiments despite the terms of the Kelly Pact. Just then, the Summer brothers' father, Mr. Sinister, appears, and pulls Cyclops aside. He tells Cyclops that he'll soon be leaving, and that Cyclops will have to face what's coming alone. Nearby, nightclub owner Angel meets with Gambit, who is looking for the location of the X-Men's base. At the X-Mansion, Rogue & Magneto visit with their son Charles before continuing the questioning of Bishop. Elsewhere, Apocalypse convenes a meeting of his Horsemen, while in London, Weapon X & Jean Grey meet with the Human High Council, delivering information given to them by Sinister. At the X-Mansion, Rogue & Magneto use their powers in tandem on Bishop, enabling them to see his memories of a reality like hers, but different. Just then, Gambit, having snuck inside, breaks the connection, believing Rogue to be in danger. In the wake of viewing Bishop's memories, Magneto dispatches Nightcrawler to find his mother, Mystique, while telling Gambit he has a mission for him as well. Meanwhile, Apocalypse discovers Mr. Sinister has fled, but Holocaust assures him operatives have already been dispatched to bring him back. At the X-Mansion, Magneto tells Rogue they have much to do, unaware that a new force is slowly but inexorably making its way toward Earth.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #18 - Patreon First!

"Free Radical Chic"
March 1995

In a Nutshell
Krystalin meets the Free Radicals as Halloween Jack strengthens his hold on Las Vegas.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Ink Assists: Hector Collazo
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
60s Causality: Joey Cavalieri
90s Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
In search of her brother, Krystalin breaks into the Free Radicals' base, but is captured by one of them, Instant Karma. At Zhao's facility, the shadowy figures teleport away the frozen would-be X-Men, at which point Cerebra wakes up, sensing their presence. She attacks one of them who is trying to abscond with the comatose Zhao, but is knocked out, after which her assailant removes his mask to reveal it is Xi'an, who then teleports away, leaving behind a bomb. Back in Berkeley, Krystalin is brought before the assembled Free Radicals, whose leader, Trance, tells Krystalin she will break Billy the Kid out of the Panther's custody, or else Trance will use her power to force Krystalin's brother to kill himself. In Las Vegas, Halloween Jack takes control of the casino syndicate's finances, then releases Desdemona Synge, telling Meanstreak he's going to bring a new dimension to Las Vegas. Later, Desdemona visits her drug-addled brother Lytton, giving him an injection, telling him it'll give him the means to grind Halloween Jack into dust.

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

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #92

"The Dream"
February 1985

In a Nutshell
The Star Warriors help free a planet being subjugated by an apprentice of Darth Vader.

Plot & Script: Jo Duffy
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Tom Mandrake
Colors: G. Wein
Letters: R. Parker
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Luke awakens from a recurring dream in which he's haunted by Darth Vader in order to attend a meeting of the Alliance high command, where Admiral Ackbar discusses the disturbing reports of recent Imperial activity. Shortly thereafter, a lone starfighter lands on Endor, piloted by Denin, who says he is the sole survivor of the royal house on the planet Naldar. His world under Imperial occupation, he requests that Luke train him in the ways of the Force. Luke, unsure he can teach anyone, refuses, but Ackbar approves sending a recon mission with Denin, consisting of Luke, Leia, Han, Lando, Chewbacca, the droids and Barney, a young Alliance cadet from Belderone hoping to find his childhood friend Flint on the nearby Naldar. On the way to the planet, Luke experiences a vision in which Yoda, Obi-Wan & Anakin Skywalker explain that his dreams of Vader represent the rising of a new dark power.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Flair Annual '95

Fleer 1995

Vital Statistics
150 card (including the checklist card) plus a 12 card Chromium card chase set, a three card foil-enhanced Duo Card chase set (featuring cards with mirrored art on both sides of the card, ie Spider-Man & Scarlet Spider), a 10 card Flair Print chase set, a 12 card HoloBlast chase set in which each card features a battle (ie Wolverine vs. Cyber) in which one of the two combatants is holographic, and a 24 card Power Blast chase set.

Card layout and approach is the same as the initial Flair Annual set, and like that set, these cards are printed on thicker card stock, with foil-enhanced writing on the fronts, featuring re-used artwork culled from covers and interior pages of comics both within the covered year and without, with computer-enhanced backgrounds augmenting the sampled artwork.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #17 - Patreon First!

"Strange Daze"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Halloween Jack makes his move in Las Vegas while Krystalin gets caught up in family drama.

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Lead Singer: Bobbie Chase

Plot
Meanstreak & Halloween Jack arrive in Las Vegas, and confront Desdemona Synge, but she calls for help in the form of the Rat Pack. In Oakland, Krystalin's brother Zak urges her to leave the X-Men and join his Soldiers of the Panther, but they are interrupted by Daze, an agent of the Free Radicals, who kidnaps Zak and demands the release of a prisoner named Billy the Kid. In Vegas, Meanstreak & Halloween Jack defeat the Rat Pack, then Halloween Jack touches Desdemona in order to replicate her physical form, at which point he uses her palm print to transfer her casino resources to him. Elsewhere, Bloodhawk returns from the Savage Land and reunites with Liebowitz, then leaves to return to his desert home. In Oakland, the Panthers ask Krystalin to let them handle Zak's kidnapping themselves, but she decides to investigate anyway. With the help of an old family friend named Havana, she tracks down the location of the Free Radicals' base. Meanwhile, Cerebra tells Fitz that she's managed to stop the cellular degeneration of Zhao's X-Men. After she leaves the room, three shadowy figures teleport inside, on orders to bring the frozen X-Men to the Director.

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

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

X-aminations in May 2019 & December 1994 Power Rankings


Reality has been wiped clean; now it's time for the Age of Apocalypse!

After another trading card set and some additional promotional material, of course.

May 1: Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Flair Annual '95

On Sale January 1995
May 8: X-Men Alpha #1

May 15: X-Men - Year of the Mutants Collectors Preview

May 22:  X-Men Chronicles #1

May 29: Astonishing X-Men #1
May 30: Factor X #1
May 31: Weapon X #1

Monday, April 29, 2019

G. I. JOE # 16 - October 1983 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)


Major Bludd is a dangerous foe
Trained by Destro,
the enemy of G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe a real American hero
Fighting Cobra and Destro

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Game of Thrones 8x02: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms



Opening Credits Map

Last Hearth -> Winterfell -> King's Landing

Winterfell
Well, I hope you like Winterfell because we're going to be staying here for a while. I also hope you like dialogue because there's not going to be any action. And I hope you like character reunions because there's plenty of those. I also hope you like discussions on who characters were, how they've changed, and the long road it took for them to get where they are because if you do, this is the episode for you!

Let's get started. We first start with Jaime standing trial in front Daenerys, Sansa, and Jon Snow. Daenerys is pissed at him for killing her father (even though he was insane) and Sansa is pissed that he attacked Ned Stark. They're both pissed he didn't bring a Lannister army with him.

Bran is there too. However, he doesn't spill what he knows. Jaime says he regrets nothing and would do it all over again. Way to have introspection and improve yourself Jaime.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

To Better Know a Hero 2.0: The Avengers


There's a little film called Avengers: Endgame coming out this week (maybe you've heard of it?); I wrote a To Better Know A Team post for the Avengers ahead of the first movie, all the way back in 2012, so I figured they were due for an update. But I'm going to try a different approach by highlighting some specific areas of history/lore. If people seem to like this, I may do something similar for other characters/teams in the future.

Top 5 Avengers Characters Without Their Own Solo Series

(For the purposes of this exercise, I'm excluding Hawkeye from consideration on the basis of his run in Solo Avengers and his recent solo series, but if you think that shouldn't make him ineligible, then consider him #1 on this list).

Friday, April 26, 2019

X-amining Cable #20

"An Hour of Last Things"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
As the crystallization wave approaches, the X-Men confront the impending end of reality.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Guest Artist: Ian Churchill
Guest Inkers: Bud LaRosa with Barta & Carani
Lettering: Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Cable returns from the past, uncertain what happened. Xavier uses his telepathy to confirm that Cable made contact with the X-Men in the past and warned them about Legion, but there's little left for the X-Men to do in the present but wait. Lilandra contacts Xavier, telling him about galaxies being obliterated by the M'Kraan Crystal, and warning him that the crystallization wave will hit Earth in about an hour. With their apparent end near, Cyclops & Phoenix decide to tell Cable they were Redd & Slym, the couple who raised him, something Cable admits to having figured out already. He then goes to Domino, and they declare their feelings for one another before kissing. As the crystallization wave approaches, Xavier gathers the X-Men around him, telling him he will miss them all terribly. With that, reality crystallizes, then shatters, and Xavier's dream of peaceful co-existence between humans and mutants dies with it.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

X-amining Avengers #47-49 - Patreon First!

"Magneto Walks the Earth!" / "The Black Knight Lives Again!" / "Mine is the Power!"
Dec 1967 - Feb 1968

In a Nutshell
Magneto returns to Earth and sets about reuniting his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

Writer: Roy Thomas
Pencils: John Buscema, George Tuska (issue #48)
Inks: George Tuska
Letterer: L.P. Gregory (issue #47), Artie Simek
Editor: Stan Lee

Plot
Issue #47: Magneto & Toad return to Earth thanks to the inadvertent efforts of scientist Dane Whitman, nephew of the criminal Black Knight. Magneto quickly overpowers Dane and his lab assistant, taking Dane's castle for himself, then sends a coded message to Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch, determined to reunite his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. When Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch learn Magneto has returned, they attack him, but Magneto easily overpowers & captures both. Issue #48:  Donning his uncle's old gear and winged horse, Dane escapes from Magneto, intent on warning the Avengers about his return. But the Avengers, thinking Dane is his uncle, attack him. Eventually, he convinces the Avengers he's not his uncle, and takes them to his castle, only to discover that Magneto has abandoned it. Issue #49: Magneto brings Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch to an island he's raised in the Atlantic, telling them he intends to petition the UN to make the place a sanctuary for mutants. Wary of Magneto but intrigued by the idea, Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch agree to go with him to the UN. There, his petition is denied, and when the UN attempts to throw him out, he attacks. The Avengers arrive and join the fight, during which Scarlet Witch is grazed in the head by a bullet fired by one of the UN guards. Unbeknowst to Quicksilver, Magneto directed the path of the bullet, as this was his plan all along: trigger a confrontation that would ensure Quicksilver & Scarlet Witch's loyalty. Enraged that humans tried to murder his sister, Quicksilver renounces the Avengers, and retreats with her alongside Magneto, who tells him he is once more Quicksilver's true friend.  tells him he is once more Quicksilver's true friend.

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

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

X-amining Generation X #4

"Between the Cracks"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Banshee and the kids battle the Orphan Maker

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inks: Mark Buckingham
Letterer: Starkings & his Craftsmen
Hues: The Bucce and his Crayons
Head Reindeer: Bob Harras
Santa's Favorite Helper: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Attempting to take a field trip, Banshee, M, Skin, Synch & Jubilee are waylaid by a police roadblock. Nearby, a disfigured boy named Eliot has taken a teacher and some students hostage at a local school which refused to allow him to attend on account of being a mutant, prompting the police standoff which closed the roads. At Xavier's School, Chamber attempts to make friends with Penance, while Paige studies the Grotto's schematics. Meanwhile, the rest of Generation X arrive outside the hostage situation. As M and Skin keep an eye on the cops, Jubilee works her way into the crowd and decides to sneak into the school, while Synch attempts to lock onto Eliot with his power. Instead, he draws out the Orphan Maker, waiting nearby to kill Eliot's parents. As the rest of the group battles Orphan Maker, Jubilee gets inside the school, just as Eliot lets all the kids free, the teacher having died, his heart giving out from the excitement. Jubilee realizes he's just a scared kid, and Synch confirms he's not even a mutant. Orphan Maker, disgusted by Eliot's parents failing to fight for him, breaks off the fight, deciding Eliot is already functionally an orphan. Skin notes the irony of Eliot being treated like a mutant without having any of the benefits, as Banshee insists Eliot was one of them, albeit one who fell between the cracks, just as reality crystallizes around them.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #16 - Patreon First!

"Scary Monsters"
January 1995

In a Nutshell
Loki transforms into Halloween Jack, and reunites with Meanstreak.

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Las Vegas, on orders from Desdemona Synge, the Rat Pack targets the suspected leader of a gang of thieves that has been robbing casinos, who turns out to be the would-be Asgardian god, Loki. Meanwhile, Krystalin arrives in Oakland for her father's funeral. Back in Vegas, Desdemona interrogates Loki with a bio-electric device that interferes with his genetic modifications, triggering a painful transformation that allows him to break free and escape. At Zhao's complex, Fitz & Cerebra train together as they discuss plans to confront the Theater of Pain. Outside, Luna attempts to make peace with Meanstreak, but she's attacked from behind and knocked out. Meanstreak battles her shapeshifting assailant, who turns out to be Loki, Meanstreak's old friend Jordan Boone, having taken a new form as Halloween Jack. He tells Meanstreak he's hoping Meanstreak will join him for a little fun, and help him take over Las Vegas.

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

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Game of Thrones 8x01: Winterfell



Opening Credits Map

Last Hearth -> Winterfell -> King's Landing

Winterfell
Daenerys had once says that she wants to break the wheel. If that’s the case the she’ll have to break Game of Thrones because this show is coming full circle!

Force in Focus: Star Wars #91

"Wookiee World"
January 1985

In a Nutshell
Han, Lando & Chewbacca return to Chewbacca's homeworld of Kashyyyk!

Script & Plot: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Tony Salmons
Finisher: Tom Palmer
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Han, Lando & Chewbacca arrive on Kashyyyk, the Wookiee homeworld. As they make their way to Chewbacca's home, they're confronted by a pale figure who says the Wookiees have dubbed him "Knife", and has made friends with Chewbacca's brother-in-law, Vargi. Knife & Vargi accompany the group to Chewbacca's home for drinks, only to find it empty. Chewbacca is worried, but Han & Lando suggest his family is merely out shopping, since Chewbacca had wanted to surprise them and thus they had no way of knowing he'd be home. However, when Chewbacca's son Lumpy comes home accompanied by three Wookiee thugs, Knife reveals he's holding Chewbacca's family hostage, and that he hopes to restart the slave trade on Kashyyyk. Leaving the captive Han & Lando behind, Knife parades Chewbacca down to the spaceport, hoping to break the spirit of those resistant to his slave trade. However, Han & Lando escape, and Han is able to release Chewbacca, only to be savagely beaten by Vargi. Chewbacca intervenes, but holds back, fearing for his family, until Lando arrives, having released Chewbacca's family. Unrestrained, Chewbacca defeats Vargi, inspiring an uprising against Knife's collaborators. Knife, however, manages to escape, but Han vows to track him down for a rematch as soon as possible.

Friday, April 19, 2019

X-amining Excalibur #86

"Back to Life"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Pete Wisdom debuts as Excalibur heads to Genosha.

Writer; Warren Ellis
Pencil Artist: Ken Lashley
Ink Artist: Tom Wegrzyn
Letterer: J. Babcock
Colorist: J. Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In Thailand, in the wake of a disastrous mission, British Intelligence operative Pete Wisdom decides to quit. Later, on Muir Island, Brian Braddock finishes work upgrading Moira's hovercraft to serve as Excalibur's chief mode of transport, which he dubs the Midnight Runner. Just then, agents of British Intelligence's Black Air organization arrive, along with Pete Wisdom, and enlist Excalibur's help in going to Genosha alongside Wisdom to help settle the war still raging between the humans and mutates. Despite feeling like they're being played, Excalibur agrees to go. As they arrive in Genoshan airspace, Kitty questions Wisdom, and he reveals that conditions in Genosha are far worse than they believed, with both sides of the conflict suffering massive starvation. Just then, rockets pepper the Midnight Runner, sending it crashing to the ground as all of reality crystallizes, then shatters.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

X-amining X-Force #43

"Teapot in a Tempest"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Reignfire is revealed to be Sunspot as reality ends.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Tony Daniel
Inker: Kevin Conrad
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
With Cable occupied in Israel, Cannonball decides to combine Cerebro with Cable's time displacement core in an attempt to locate the missing Sunspot. Much to his surprise, it works, pinpointing Sunspot on an island in the North Atlantic. Meanwhile, in Greenwich Village, Rictor & Shatterstar go clubbing, while Boomer tries to help a troubled teenage girl get off the streets. Back at X-Force's base, Cannonball contacts Cable, but he's unable to return with X-Force's vehicle. Just then, Locus appears, having been abandoned by Sunspot and shocked to learn she's been gone six months. When she learns that X-Force has located Sunspot on Earth, she agrees to take them to him. They stop along the way to pickup Boomer, Shatterstar & Rictor, then arrive at the Mutant Liberation Front's base in the North Atlantic, in the middle of a pitched battle, just after Reignfire has attacked Moonstar. Cannonball demands to know where Sunspot is, and Reignfire responds by removing his mask and declaring that he is and has always been Sunspot. Just then, reality begins to crystallize, and Cannonball realizes it is what Cable & and the X-Men were trying to stop, as everything turns to crystal, then shatters.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #41

"Dreams Die!"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Legion accidentally kills Xavier in the past, ending reality.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencilers: Andy Kubert & Matt Ryan
Inker/Finishes: Matt Ryan
Letterers: Oakley & NJQ
Colorists: Kevin Somers/Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Legion attacks Magneto twenty years in the past, the X-Men who followed him to that time attempt to stop him. In the present, Lilandra contacts Professor X, telling him a crystallization wave launched by the M'Kraan crystal is destroying worlds, and it's heading towards Earth. In the past, the battle between Legion, Magneto and the X-Men draws the attention of Apocalypse, who decides it's time for the order of ascension to begin, in which only the fittest will survive. In Haifa, Iceman uses his power to freeze all the water in Legion's body, seemingly stopping his attack. But Legion restores himself and, having overpowered Magneto, prepares to strike a killing blow. Just then, Xavier throws himself between Legion & Magneto, taking the strike intended for Magneto, killing himself in the process. Having slain his own father, Legion blinks out of existence, and the X-Men disappear as well, save for Bishop, who is left behind, his mind damaged by the energy that ripped away Legion & the X-Men. In the present, the crystallization wave reaches Earth, and as it approaches the X-Men, Rogue reaches out and kisses Gambit, just as all of reality transforms into crystal, then shatters.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #15 - Patreon First!

"Shadows and Light"
December 1994

In a Nutshell
Glitterspike & Rosa face the Shadow Dancer

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
As Metalhead regains consciousness, Glitterspike flies over the desert with Rosa, who manages to damage his anti-grav unit, sending them both crashing to the ground and knocking them out. Metalhead, Mama Hurricane & Louise Wingfoot race into the desert in search of Rosa. Meanwhile, Rosa & Glitterspike wake up in a cave, brought there by the Shadow Dancer. As Glitterspike picks a fight with the creature, Rosa sneaks away. At Zhao's compound, Fitz convinces Cerebra to stay with the team under his leadership, while Krystalin learns that her father has died. In the desert, Metalhead, Mama Hurricane & Louise find Rosa inside the cave, and the group discovers a crashed space ship, realizing the Shadow Dancer is a stranded alien. Just then, the Shadow Dancer appears, but rightly senses the group means it no harm. Glitterspike, however, comes out of the shadows and attacks the Shadow Dancer again, but Metalhead intervenes, forcing Glitterspike to drain his reserves of light energy, then knocking him out. Later, the group emerges from the cave, with Louise declaring that Rosa's baby will be fine, while a powerless Glitterspike wakes up inside the cave to find himself face to face with the Shadow Dancer.

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

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Force in Focus - The Rise of Skywalker Teaser


After what seemed like a really long time to go without either a teaser or a title for Episode IX, both were finally revealed this last Friday at Star Wars Celebration. Here then are a few of the things from that teaser trailer which caught my eye/sparked my interest.

Phantom Menace Parallels 


Billed as the last chapter in a nine part saga, and with this trailer released just a few weeks ahead of the twentieth anniversary of the release of the first chapter in that saga, I love the way the early moments of the trailer echo the early moments of the Phantom Menace trailer, from the "every generation has a legend" title card, to the cut of a vehicle racing across a desert landscape, to the way the vehicle is moving left to right in Phantom but right to left in this one, thereby completing the loop.

Friday, April 12, 2019

X-amining Wolverine #90


"The Dying Game"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Returned to the X-Mansion, Wolverine fights Sabretooth.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Mark Farmer & Dan Green
Lettering: Pat Brosseau
Coloring: Marie Javins
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Back at the X-Mansion, Wolverine confronts the captive Sabretooth, who attempts to push through the force field entrance to his cell to attack him. But the pain of the field forces him back. Wolverine proceeds to do his best to go about his business, ignoring Sabretooth, but something doesn't sit right with him. Hearing news reports about serial killer Linus Dorfmann, Wolverine realizes that Sabretooth is slowly building up his pain tolerance in order to breach the field. He rushes to Sabretooth's cell and arrives just as Creed forces himself through the force field. A vicious brawl ensues between the two, but Wolverine holds back, not using his claws, until Sabretooth threatens to hunt down and kill every woman Wolverine has ever loved, starting with Jean Grey and ending with Jubilee. With that, Wolverine loses control, pinning Sabretooth down with one claw on either side of his head. As Sabretooth taunts him further, Wolverine pops his third claw into Sabretooth's head, just as reality crystallizes around them.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

X-amining X-Factor #111

"Explosive Performance"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Strong Guy suffers a heart attack as reality crystallizes, then shatters.

Plot: John Francis Moore
Script: Todd DeZago
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inks: Al Milgrom
Letters: Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Glynis Wein
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The K'Lanti appear before Lila & X-Factor, demanding she return the Harmonium they entrusted to her for safekeeping. Lila agrees to return it to them, and they give her "about an hour" to do so, leaving a series of diamond-shaped bombs in the skies above Madripoor for motivation. Lila teleports herself, Strong Guy & Polaris to Cygnus Prime, a junk world where Jordik likely sold the Harmonium after he stole it from Lila. In Washington DC, Val Cooper is trying to track down X-Factor when she spots Madrox on the street, but he disappears into a crowd. On Cygnus Prime, Strong Guy fights a creature guarding the junk while Lila & Polaris search for the Harmonium. In the process, he absorbs a dangerous amount of kinetic energy. On Earth, Forge, Havok & Wolfsbane work to defuse the K'Lanti's bombs. Just then, Lila, Strong Guy & Polaris return with the Harmonium, but as the K'Lanti depart, they leave Lila with one of the bombs. When it explodes, Strong Guy takes the brunt of the blast, absorbing the energy, which proves to be too much for his heart. He collapses, and as Lila tries desperately to revive him, all of reality crystallizes, then shatters.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #321

"Auld Lang Syne"
February 1995

In a Nutshell
Cable attempts to contact the time-lost X-Men as Legion puts his plan into action.

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Mark Waid
Penciler: Ron Garney
Inkers: Townsend, Green & Rubinstein
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
Twenty years ago in Haifa, Xavier & Magneto fight side-by-side in a bar brawl, in defense of a disabled veteran being harassed by the patrons. In the present, Xavier, Cable & Phoenix work together, assisted by Shi'ar technology, to send Cable's mind into the past, in order to contact the X-Men stranded there and warn them of Legion's intentions to alter the future and the threat that poses to reality. In the past, those X-Men continue to struggle with not knowing their reason for being in the past, hoping it will become clear soon. Elsewhere, Legion visits his mother Gaby, appearing before her as Xavier, an act that Xavier telepathically senses, realizing Gaby is in danger. As he and Magneto rush to her, Cable arrives in the past, and manages to restore the X-Men's memories. Meanwhile, Xavier & Magneto arrive at the hospital to find a distraught Gaby, at which point Legion emerges, declaring that, in his time, Magneto will become the greatest villain the world will ever know, and for that, he must now die.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #14 - Patreon First!

"All That Glitters"
November 1994

In a Nutshell
As the Freakshow settles in to a new town, they're attacked by Glitterspike.

Writer: John Moore
Penciler: Ron Lim
Inker: Harry Candelario
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Joey Cavalieri
Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
In California, a woman is killed by an assassin with light-based powers named Alexi. Meanwhile, Fitz and Luna reunite with the remaining X-Men. Meanstreak is less than pleased to see Luna, but Fitz says they have bigger things to worry about, revealing Xi'an's defection to the Theater of Pain and his intentions to take the group down. Elsewhere, the Freakshow arrives at the home of the Keewazi Nation, where they are welcomed by Louise Wingfoot, an old friend of Mama Hurricane's. Later, Rosa receives a check-up, learning she'll be having a boy, while the assassin - code-named Glitterspike - is given the location of a woman he's trying to track down as payment for his last job. Back in the Keewazi Nation, Dominic runs into the Shadow Dancer, a quasi-legendary creature that lives in the hills surrounding the town, whom Louise says is only supposed to be appear when trouble is near. Just then, Glitterspike flies into town, revealing himself to be Rosa's abusive ex-husband. Metalhead attacks him, but is bested, at which point Glitterspike declares that as he's the father of Rosa's baby, from now on he'll be taking care of both of them.

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