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

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian Episode 04

"Sanctuary"

Plot
Seeking a place to lay low with the Child, the Mandalorian arrives on the planet of Sorgan. There, he meets Cara Dune, a former solider with the Rebellion. When he encounters a pair of villagers from a remote area of the planet looking to buy help repelling a band of raiders, the Mandalorian convinces Cara to help him lead the villagers in defense of their homes. When they discover the raiders are in possession of an Imperial Scout Walker, the Mandalorian & Cara try to convince the villagers to leave, but they insist on fighting back. Working together, the Mandalorian, Cara, and the villagers succeed in destroying the walker and repelling the raiders. In the wake of their victory, Cara suggests the Mandalorian could settle down in the village; instead, he plans on leaving the Child there for safe-keeping. However, when bounty hunters track down the Child, the Mandalorian realizes the Child will only be safe with him, and the pair depart the planet together.

Friday, December 6, 2019

X-amining X-Man #7

"Whispers in the Night"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
Selene lures Madelyne away from Nate.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Steve Skroce & Phil Hester
Inkers: Bud LaRosa with Matt Ryan & Keith Williams
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas & Digital Chameleon
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Nate & Madelyne arrive in Paris, their presence noted by Selene, who is intrigued by Madelyne's power. Meanwhile, Sugar Man rages about the lack of updates from Rex. In Paris, Nate & Madelyne take in the town, unknowingly watched by Rex, until Selene lures Madelyne to her side, promising her power and telling her Nate will be safer on his own. As Madelyne agrees to join Selene, Rex decides to make his move, but Selene has other plans, and kills Rex as Sugar Man watches on a monitor. Just as Nate reaches the women, they disappear in a swirl of mist, and Nate is once more left alone, mourning the loss of someone special to him.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

X-amining X-Factor #114

"That Certain Mystique"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Factor grapples with the recent changes on their team as Mystique officially joins.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Steve Epting
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Forge & Val Cooper test the limits of Mystique's new power inhibitor; satisfied it will keep her under control, she is told she will work for X-Factor, or go to jail. Elsewhere, Fatale checks in with her mysterious boss, while Havok & Polaris pack up X-Factor's brownstone headquarters. Forge checks in, and Havok, upset over the loss of control of his powers, lashes out at Forge for bringing Mystique & Wild Child onto the team without consulting him, then storms out. He visits Strong Guy, who is recuperating in a medically-induced coma. Later, Wild Child tries to talk to Val Cooper about Alpha Flight, but she blows him off, while Mystique meets with Forge, interrupting a holographic trip down memory lane involving his Vietname experiences. She says she can tell something more than X-Factor is bothering him; he denies it. But Mystique is not deterred, and insists she'll find out what the's hiding sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #324

"Deadly Messengers"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle Sack & Vessel.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Roger Cruz
Inkers: Townsend, Russell, Milgrom
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Psylocke probes Gambit's mind, searching for the source of the darkness she sensed in him when he woke from his coma, but he senses her presence and forces her out. Meanwhile, in New York, the fight between the X-Men and Gene Nation members Sack & Vessel spills out into the streets. Graydon Creed is caught in the middle of it, but is rescued from some falling debris by Beast, arriving on the scene following his confrontation with Trish Tilby. As Cannonball defeats Sack, Wolverine realizes that the energy of the deceased which Vessel harnesses can be released, weakening him. Storm blasts Vessel with lightning, releasing the souls he'd harvested, but the arrival of the police force the X-Men to retreat rather than pursue Sack & Vessel into the Morlock Tunnels. Elsewhere, Rogue & Iceman arrive at a bar in Arizona, seemingly at random. But Rogue realizes Gambit's memories of the place led her there, while Iceman, who has begun having visions of Emma Frost, tries to call Xavier's School, but Emma refuses to answer.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #4 - Patreon First

"De-Evolution"
December 1996

In a Nutshell
Garokk defeats strange as Winn stands revealed as Phalanx!

Writer: Joe Kelly & Ben Raab
Penciler: Jason Armstrong, Karl Moline & Yancy Labat
Inker: Jaimie Mendoza with the Hack Shack Studios, John Lowe & P-Scum
Letterer: Michael Higgins, Jon Babcock & Sue Crespi
Colorist: Brian Buccelato
Editor: James Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Beneath the Savage Land, Dr. Strange battles Garokk. When he touches her, she transforms to stone, and Garokk becomes Sorcerer Supreme. At the Last Refuge, Maddy finds Metalhead, who summons Xi'an to help Cerebra, mentally damaged following her encounter with Franklin the Robot. He believes he will have to rebuild her entire nervous system. Later, Xi'an & Victor settle tensions amongst a segment of the human population who believe the mutants are conspiring against them. On Mars, December, Metalsmith and Dr. Isaacs meet the Takers, and learn they are trying to terraform Mars. In Doomworld, Magus attacks. As Spider-Man battles him, Doom & Xina teleport away. Doom needs Xina's help to infect him with the techno-organic virus to ensure he doesn't come under the control of Magus. She does, and though the process is extremely painful, Doom emerges triumphant. Meanwhile, Fiona leads Uproar & Wulff in an attack on the Wild Boys new leader, who turns out to be Vulture, but then Fiona reveals she was really leading them into a trap. In the Savage Land, Jade retrieves the cocooned Nostromo, after which the group is attacked by agents sent by Doom to retrieve Nostromo. Just then, Winn reveals himself as Phalanx and claims Nostromo, saying the boy belongs to the Phalanx now, body and soul!

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

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian Episode 03


"The Sin"

Plot
The Mandalorian hands over the Child to his eager client in exchange for his payment of Beskar. He then gives the Beskar to the Armorer, who crafts a new set of armor for him. As she works, the Mandalorian is hassled by his fellow Mandalorians for taking the Beskar as payment, considering the Empire stole it from Mandalore in the first place. Later, clad in his new armor, the Mandalorian meets with Greef Carga, eager for a new job. But unable to shake his concern for the Child, he instead breaks into the client's facility, taking out his Stormtroopers and escaping with the Child. The Mandalorian heads for his ship, but finds his way blocked by Greef and every bounty hunter in town. A fight breaks out, and just when the Mandalorian is almost overwhelmed, his fellow Mandalorians intervene, helping the Mandalorian reach his ship and blast off-world with the Child.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

X-amining Wolverine & Gambit: Victims #1-4

"In Harm's Way" / "In Deep" / "No Way Out" / "A Woman Scorned"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
Gambit & Wolverine get embroiled in a series of London murders reminiscent of the Jack the Ripper killings. 

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Gregory Wright & Digital Chameleon
Separations: Malibu (issue #3-4)
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Gambit, looking to put some distance between himself and his complicated relationship with Rogue, Gambit heads to London to look up an old flame. Upon his arrival, he discovers the city in the grip of a murder spree reminiscent of the Jack the Ripper killings; one of the victims is the woman he intended to look up, with evidence suggesting Wolverine may be the culprit. After coming to blows and being tormented by realistic illusions inspired by their memories, Gambit & Wolverine discover the killings have been orchestrated by Arcade and a woman named Martinique Jason, the daughter of Mastermind. Arcade claims he is framing Wolverine to pay him back for killing Miss Locke, his longtime associate, but when Martinique learns Arcade actually killed Locke, she turns against him, helping clear Wolverine's name & turning Arcade over to the authorities.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #3 - Patreon First!

"Revelations"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
Mysteries deepen as Magus & Garokk reveal themselves!

Writers: Joe Kelly & Ben Raab
Pencilers: Karl Moline & David Brewer
Inkers: John Lowe, Jaime Mendoza & The Hack Shack Studios
Letterer: Michael Higgins & The Chaise Lounge
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Editor: James Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Inside the alien ship beneath the Savage Land, Willow is consumed by the alien form she's adopted & attacks Winn. At the Last Refuge, an angry mob confronts the X-Men in the wake of the Fantastic Four's disappearance. It is quelled by the timely arrival of Victor Ten Eagles, who vouches for the X-Men. Inside Reed Richard's old lab, Cerebra discovers a young girl named Maddie, and Franklin, the child-like robot Richards was working on before he left. At Fatherland, Spider-Man is brought before Doom, who explains he is aiding the Phalanx only long enough to turn their techno-organic code against them, and enlists Spider-Man's help. On Mars, Metalsmith & December enlist the colonist's to help them find Twilight, but are rebuffed. Below the Savage Land, Dr. Strange fights off a group of Mole Men, before going deeper in search of the source of the attacks. Outside the Last Refuge, Morphine Somers tries to enlist Victor Ten Eagles in his bid for power, and though he refuses, a human observer believes that Victor & the mutants are conspiring against humans, and runs off to warn everyone.

On the Wild Boys' ship, Uproar is forced to fight Wulff, who has transformed into a massive dog-like creature. He manages to get through to Wulff, and together, they trash the arena, until a woman named Fiona arrives to help them escape. Back in the alien ship, Nostromo forces Willow to transform back to her original form, but the effort leaves him suspended in a techno-organic cocoon. In the Fatherland, Doom & Spider-Man are confronted by the Phalanx' emissary, who turns out to be Magus. On Mars, Dr. Isaacs helps Metalsmith & December leave the colonists' compound, but they are attacked by unseen assailants. Inside the Last Refuge, Cerebra detects a mental presence inside Franklin, but when she probes his mind, she is knocked out. Below, Dr. Strange finally reaches the source of the attacks: Garokk the Petrified Man!

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

Monday, November 25, 2019

X-aminations in December 2019 & Age of Apocalypse Power Rankings


A quiet month as we bid adieu to the year (and decade!) and I try to keep my head above water in light of some major real-life job deadlines. I'll be traveling aboard the first part of the month, so things may be a bit later than usual, but I should be back to normal by mid-month, when we take a look at the next batch of X-Men trading cards and action figures!

On Sale July 1995
December 4: Uncanny X-Men #324
December 5: X-Factor #114
December 6: X-Man #7

December 11: Wolverine '95

December 18: Unstacking the Deck: Fleer Ultra X-Men '96

December 25: X-amining X-Men Action Figures: X-Men Mutant Genesis & Invasion and X-Force Series VI

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian Episode 02

"The Child"

Plot
Returning to his ship with the child in tow, the Mandalorian is attacked by a group of Trandoshans. He defeats them, but when he returns to his ship, he discovers it being scavenged by Jawas. He pursues the scavengers, reaching the top of their sandcrawler before being blasted off it. The Mandalorian returns to Kuiil, who agrees to help him bargain with the Jawas. After some haggling, they agree to return his ship's parts in exchange for "the egg". This leads to the Mandalorian disturbing the nest of a massive horned creature, which brushes off most of his attacks & damages his armor. Just as the creature moves in for the kill, however, the child uses the Force to suspend the creature in midair, allowing the Mandalorian to get close enough to kill it. Retrieving the creature's egg, the Mandalorian gets his parts back and with Kuiil's help, restores his ship. After offering Kuiil a job crewing his ship (which Kuiil turns down), the Mandalorian blasts off into space, at which point the exhausted child awakens.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

X-amining What If? #77

"One Dream"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
Legion kills Magneto in the past, leading to a world where Xavier dies battling Apocalypse & mutants become more feared & hated than ever.

Story: Benny Powell
Dialogue: Warren Ellis
Penciler: Hector Gomez
Inkers: John Livesay & Mike Halblieb
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Sam Parsons
Editor: Marcus McLaurin
Chief: Carl Potts

Plot
Legion goes back in time and kills Magneto as a young man, just after he escapes from Auschwitz. In the future, mutants are beloved celebrities, the X-Men, under the auspices of Forge, the most famous mutants of all and lacking purpose; they are currently preparing for a public appearance involving a mock battle with the old Hellfire Club. Meanwhile, at the New York headquarters of the Hellfire Club International, the wealthiest & most ambitious mutants are attacked by mutants loyal to Apocalypse, in the name of Apocalypse's "survival of the fittest" code. In the wake of the attack, a distraught Xavier visits a retired Scott & Jean in Alaska, asking them to return for a mission, but they refuse. Later, as the X-Men are about to begin their performance in Washington DC, Apocalypse attacks. Seeing the fight on TV, Scott & Jean go back into action, with Jean using her Phoenix powers to teleport them to DC. After Apocalypse kills Xavier, in the face of his unrelenting attack, Jean uses the Phoenix Force to destroy him and his followers along with hundreds of thousands of bystanders. In the wake of Apocalypse's attacks, mutants have become hated & feared, creating an ominous feeling as Scott & Jean re-open Xavier's school to further his dream of co-existence and Apocalypse's forces regroup to continue his mission.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #2 - Patreon First

"Homecoming"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
The Fantastic Four return home while Twilight is captured on Mars.

Writer: Ben Raab & Joe Kelly
Penciler: Jason Armstrong
Inker: Thibert & Mendoza
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Colorist: Brian Bucellato
Editor: Professor Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Spider-Man awakens in a strange place, and is welcomed to "Fatherland' by a former acquaintance named Xina. Meanwhile, the X-Men assist Mr. Fantastic in building a device to research all remaining data in the world. When its discovered that the Negative Zone portal in New York is still active, Invisible Woman & Human Torch suggest they could all go home. Nearby, the jungle expedition team explores the crashed alien ship, triggering an alarm which traps them inside it, while deep underground Strange battles a creature named Umi. On Mars, Father Jennifer, December, Twilight & Metalsmith are taken into the Mars colony, and learn about the Takers. Back on Earth, the captive Uprorar & Wulff are forced to fight in the Wild Boyz arena. At the Fatherland, Xina explains how she is researching the techno-organic virus. When Spider-Man asks about Uproar & Wulff and learns they are captives in the contaminated zone, he breaks the rules to go after them. In the crashed alien ship, Willow takes the form of one of the deceased aliens, releasing them, but then reveals she can't change back. Back in Last Refuge, Human Torch & Invisible Woman decide to leave Mr. Fantastic behind and head to New York, while on Mars, Willow is captured by the Takers. Back on Earth, Mr. Fantastic comes to his senses and joins his family in New York, where they enter the Negative Zone portal hoping to return to their time.

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

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian Episode 01

"Chapter One"

Plot
After successfully completing a round of bounty hunts, an unnamed Mandalorian accepts his next, higher-paying, job from Greef Carga. Meeting with the client, the Mandalorian receives a tracking fob to locate his quarry and a block of beskar steel as down payment. He brings the beskar to a Mandalorian armorer, who fashions it into a pauldron for the hunter adds to his armor. Later, the Mandalorian lands on a desolate planet. He encounters the diminutive Kuiil, who agrees to help him reach his destination. But first, the Mandalorian must tame a blurrg mount. After doing so, he ends up overlooking a fortified camp where his target is being guarded. Another hunter, the droid IG-11, is after the same target, and the two hunters agree to team-up. Together, they fight their way into the camp and reach their bounty, a small green infant with long ears. IG-11 is prepared the kill the child, but the Mandalorian blasts the droid to take it for himself.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

X-amining Knight of Terra


"Knight of Terra"
1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Wolfsbane return to the land of Geshem to fight a great Beast threatening the kingdom.

Plot: Ian Edington
Script: John Ostrander
Pencils: Jan Duursema
Inker: Rick Magyar
Letters: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Colors: Tom Vincent
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In the land of Geshem, Wolverine battles the Beast, but is eventually overwhelmed. Inside Queen Rain's castle, Shaman, responsible for bringing Wolverine to this world, casts a spell to swap his Rain with Wolfsbane. Shaman explains how the Mage's machinations that first brought Rahne to Geshem have led to Princess Rain's metaphorical struggle with a mystical beast inside her becoming literal: she is becoming more savage, and her kingdom is being attacked by an external Beast. As Shaman leads the Queen's Guard in backup of Wolverine and put down the Beast, he needs Wolfsbane to act as Rain, to reassure the populace that everything is fine. As Wolfsbane familiarizes herself with court, the Beast continues to stalk the land, and is stalked in turn by Wolverine, who meets a woman named Lillian which provides him with a horse. Back on Earth, Professor X attempts to help Rain reconcile the beast inside her, while on Geshem, Wolfsbane holds court. Just then, the Beast reaches the castle, and easily defeats the Queen's Guard, fighting his way inside to confront Wolfsbane. She transforms into her werewolf form just as Xavier manages to make Rain come to terms with her animalistic side, thereby sending her back to Geshem. She arrives just as Wolfsbane & Wolverine defeat the Beast, killing its human host. Queen Rain knights Wolverine for his assistance, then Shaman sends Wolfsbane & Wolverine back to their world.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #1 - Patreon First


"The World of Tomorrow"
September 1996

In a Nutshell
The survivors of the planet wide flooding begin building new lives in the Savage Land.

Writer: Ben Raab & Joseph Kelly
Penciler: Pascual Ferry
Inkers: Thibert, Mendoza, Milgrom, Ferry, Reinhold
Letterer: Michael Higgins
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Editor: Professor Felder & Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
The Thing, having led a team to the Ares colony on Mars in search of resources, crash lands on the planet, and is taken from the crashed ship by a mysterious figure. Meanwhile, on Earth, some of the surviving Wild Boys have formed a boat colony, in which they participate in arena-style combat, while the rest of the survivors of the massive flood have gathered in the Last Refuge, in the Savage Land. As Morphine Somers, Cerebra, & Invisible Woman attempt to form a government, another team, including Bloodhawk, Willow & Nostromo, explore the surrounding jungle, hoping to make it more habitable. Back at the Last Refuge, Mademoiselle Strange uses her mystical powers to dig a hole in order to reach ground water. Back on Mars, the rest of Thing's crew, including Metalsmith, December, & Twilight, regain consciousness, and head towards the Ares colony. In the Savage Land, Wulff & Uproar discover a castaway washed up on shore, infected with the techno-organic virus. Before dying, he mentions a city in the mists, and Spider-Man sets out to investigate. Meanwhile, Mademoiselle Strange's spell summons an evil presence, which pulls her down into the water & triggers an earthquake, while the jungle team discovers a crashed alien space ship that causes Nostromo's powers to flare out of control. On Mars, the crash survivors are attacked when they reach the Ares colony, while Spider-Man discovers Uproar & Wulff have stowed away, hoping to settle scores with the Wild Boys. But as their ship nears their destination, the Wild Boys fire an ionic cannon, destroying it.

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

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Force in Focus: The Future

Having finished reviewing every issue of the original Marvel Star Wars comic, the question becomes: what next? Star Wars is a huge part of my pop culture life, and I want to keep that reflected in my writing. Fortunately, the short-term answer is fairly straightforward; after that, it becomes more murky.


Beginning next week, I will be reviewing every episode of The Mandalorian, the hot new Star Wars show from Disney+. Not only will this maintain a steady flow of Star Wars content here for the next few months, it will also get me back into TV reviewing, something long-time readers may remember was once a far more regular part of this site's output than it is these days. My plan is to review one episode a week, which will put me behind the release of the show a tad (word is Disney is releasing the first three episodes upon the launch of Disney+ next week, then releasing subsequent episodes once a week after that) but not too far behind (Mandalorian coverage will probably also get extended a bit thanks to at least one or two Rise of Skywalker posts around the time of that film's release interrupting the regular reviews).

Based on the episode count, that should bring us well into the first of the year. After season one of The Mandalorian concludes, I've got a few additional posts wrapping up the comic book series in mind (including a straight-up review of the 2019-dated issue #108). All of that should carry us over to when Disney+ releases the final "season" of The Clone Wars animated season which, at this time, I am also planning on reviewing on an episode-by-episode basis.


After that, things get a little murky. There will undoubtedly be subsequent seasons of The Mandalorian to review, as well as, eventually, whatever the pre-Rogue One Cassian Andor series is called (and even more eventually, the Obi-Wan show). But in and around those shows, I'd still like to review something on a regular basis. So I turn to you, for suggestions and guidance: what would you like to see me review next(ish)? The Star Wars newspaper strips? The UK comics? Should I plunge forward and tackle the Dark Horse comics (and if so, would you prefer the usual issue-by-issue stories, or should I take a story-by-story approach)? Or jump even further ahead and do contemporaneous reviews of the current comic book output? Or is there something else entirely I'm not even thinking of you think I should cover? Sound off in the comments and let me know!

And in the meantime, check back next week for a review of the first episode of The Mandalorian


Friday, November 8, 2019

X-amining Cable #22

"Sanctuary"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
Ian Churchill comes aboard as Cable fights some Genoshans at the airport.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Ian Churchill
Inker: Scott Hanna
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Colors: Digital Chameleon
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Aboard an inbound flight to New York, former Genoshan Magistrate Renee Majcomb prepares to illegally enter the country. Meanwhile, Cable & Domino meet the departing Rictor at the airport. As Renee deplanes, she is observed by Hawkshaw & Pipeline, former members of the Press Gang. Rictor & Shatterstar arrive at the airport and enter amidst anti-mutant and anti-Genoshan protesters, then find Cable waiting at Rictor's gate. He tells him that there will always be a place in X-Force for him, and the pair part amicably. As Cable, Domino & Shatterstar leave, the protests grow violent, and Cable spots Pipeline & Hawkshaw abducting Renee. The three spring into action, and though Shatterstar's zeal causes him to be injured, they successfully rescue Renee & get Pipeline & Hawkshaw into custody. As Renee stays behind to work with the local authorities, she asks Cable to tells Charles she'll contact him soon. Later, Domino is watching the news and sees a story about a massive creature slaughtering people in the Rockies; upon seeing one of its footprints, Domino is shaken to realize it came from a man, not a creature, and one she considers a friend.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

X-amining Excalibur #88

"Dream Nails"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
The "Dream Nails Trilogy" begins as Pete Wisdom & Kitty investigate the death of  a friend & colleague of Wisdom's. 

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: Larry Stroman with Darrick Gross, Ken Lashley & Jeff Moy
Inker: Cam Smith with Darrick Gross, Tom Wegrzyn, Phil Moy, Don Hudson & Jimmy Palmiotti
Letterer: Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Color Seps: Digital Chamelon
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
After Wisdom receives a message from an old friend & Black Air colleague named Culley begging for help, he asks Brian to use the Midnight Runner to go to London. Brian is reluctant, but agrees when Kitty offers to fly Wisdom there. Later, Moira discusses the hacking of her files with Professor X, while Kitty & Wisdom arrive in London. They go to Culley's bolthole and find the place ransacked. On Muir Island, Brian completes work on a new facility involving lasers for Rory, who intends to use the room to help treat the captive Spoor. In London, Kitty & Wisdom visit the favorite pub of the British Intelligence community, and learn that Culley had recently been stationed at the Dreams Nail air base, and also that he is dead. On Muir Island, Moira continues her research into the Legacy Virus, while in London, Wisdom & Kitty examine Culley's body, which has been ravaged by a strange disease. Leaving the morgue, they're attacked by a hit squad, and after working together to take out the shooters, Kitty & Wisdom discover the would-be assassins are agents of Black Air.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

X-amining Generation X #6

"Notes from the Underground"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
Generation X helps rescue Emma Frost from Gene Nation.

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

Plot
In the tunnels beneath Manhattan, Marrow & Hemingway taunt a captive Emma, her powers held in check by an unwilling Leech, while Synch, Jubilee, & Skin try to locate their missing teacher. Back at the Xavier School, Chamber takes a drunk Paige back to her room, while in the tunnels, Synch manages to locate Emma. But before he and his friends can act, Emma distracts Marrow & Hemingway enough to kick Leech away, reactivating her powers, at which point she telepathically disables both of them. As her students rush into the chamber and Skin stops her from killing her captors, Dark Beast, monitoring from afar, triggers an explosion. Emma senses it moments before it occurs, enabling her to get most of the kids to safety, and Monet, come out of her catatonic stupor, arrives in time to save Jubilee & Leech from falling rubble. Later, Emma brings the kids to the X-Mansion in order to brief Xavier on Gene Nation. While they talk, Jubilee ventures onto the grounds and is reunited with Wolverine. Back the Xavier School, Banshee is walking with Penance when the girls' dormitory suddenly explodes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 Oasis - Patreon First

"Oasis"
August 1996

In a Nutshell
The X-Men discover a new mutant haven built by an old flame of Cerebra's.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Painted Art: Greg & Tim Hildebrandt
Letterer: Ken Lopez
Editors: Joey Cavalieri & Bobbie Chase

Plot
In 2090, Cerebra is on the run from her father, and is rescued from a bounty hunter by Ryu Kobolt, who offers her safe haven. Nine years later, Bloodhawk is attacked in the New Mexico desert by two mutants, Pandora & Memphis. Later, Cerebra, Fitz & Luna discovers a fantastic domed city, inside of which they discover Bloodhawk. He tells them the city is called Oasis, and after being captured by Memphis & Pandora, he came to realize the place was a refuge for mutants, and that he belonged there. The X-Men are then introduced to the Oasis' architect, who turns out to be Ryu. He explains that he intends for Oasis to be a safe haven for members of all species to gather. The X-Men remain suspicious, but he allows them to explore Oasis on their own. As Fitz & Luna do so, Cerebra confronts Ryu, angry over him abandoning her all those years ago despite their feelings for one another. Ryu explains how he had contracted a deadly disease and left to spare her, wandering the country before finding new purpose. He then reveals that he intends to kill everyone who hasn't come to Oasis, in order to allow the Earth to heal itself. Cerebra is horrified, but Ryu places her in suspended animation while his agents attack Fitz & Luna. But Memphis has come to see the error of his ways, and sacrifices himself to stop the missiles Ryu intended to launch to wipe out the remaining life on the planet, killing Ryu and destroying Oasis in the process. The X-Men, including Bloodhawk, manage to survive, still hoping their dream of peaceful coexistence will someday come to pass.

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

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #107

"All Together Now"
September 1986

In a Nutshell

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Cynthia Martin
Inker: Whilce Portacio
Colorist: Elaine Lee
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
On the planet Saijo, Luke leads his friends, as well as an alliance of Zeltrons, Nagai, former Imperials, and Fenn Shysa's Mandalorians, in an attempt to capture the Tof prince Sereno, whom they learned, via a deeply-entrenched double agent, is stationed on the planet. Amidst the simmering tensions between the disparate groups, they put their plan in motion, with the men posing as captives while Leia & Dani don veiled Tof dresses to disguise themselves as they infiltrate the prince's court. When the captives are brought before the prince, they learn that the Dark Lady Lumiya is in attendance as well. As a fight between the Tof, Lumiya and the Alliance breaks out, Prince Sereno orders an airstrike. But as the Tof ship in orbit attempts to respond, it is attacked by the waiting Gold squadron, led by Lando & Wedge. They force the ship to surrender, while on the ground, Lumiya targets Leia. However, Lumiya is suddenly shot by one of the Tof, who reveals himself to be the Alliance's entrenched agent: Bey. Luke then captures the prince, effectively bringing the war to an end. As Han, Bey, & Knife reunite, Luke expresses hope that in the wake of their victory over the Tof, the various allied factions will finally have a chance to make peace.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #43

"Falling From Grace"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
Cyclops & Phoenix attempt to survive the destruction of Avalon.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Guest Penciler: Paul Smith
Inkers: Matt Ryan & Cam Smith
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers/Digital Chameleon
Grace Catcher: Bob Harras

Plot
Professor X telepathically tries to contact Cyclops & Phoenix, who have been teleported to Avalon in the midst of Exodus' battle with Holocaust. On Avalon, Cyclops & Jean try to find Skids, and learn Rusty was killed by Holocaust. Elsewhere, Colossus debates abandoning Cyclops & Jean to escape with Magneto. At the X-Mansion, Voght tells Xavier he'll never break through Exodus' psionic shields, but he continues to try. On Avalon, Cyclops rallies the remaining Acolytes to escape, while Phoenix sets out in search of Skids. After Xavier breaks through and makes contact with Jean, he tells Colossus to use an escape pod to escape with the comatose Magneto. As Jean uses her power to leave the station and recover Skids, Cyclops leads the Acolytes to the escape pods, only to discover they're all missing or destroyed. As Exodus & Holocaust's battle causes the station to fully break apart, Cyclops orders Unuscione to use her exoskeleton to protect the hunk of wreckage to which he and the rest of the Acolytes are clinging, but as the pieces of the station begin crashing to Earth, Jean senses Unuscione's shields starting to falter.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

X-amining X-Nation #6 - Patreon First

"Exodus"
August 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Nation battles Exodus as Halo City floods around them.

Story/Script: Benn Raab
Story: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Eric Battle
More Pencils: Edward McGuiness
Inks, Inks: John Holdredge
And More Inks: Ralph Cabrera
Letterer: J. Ul Baggins
Colorist: James Brown
Man of Tomorrow: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
Standing triumphant over X-Nation, Exodus turns his attention to the Wild Boys. After defeating them, Exodus promises to take X-Nation out of Halo City and to a better world, then teleports away with the group. Shortly thereafter, the Ancient One and his disciple Strange arrive in the city, and Strange sets out after Exodus. Meanwhile, in the ruins of the Xavier Shelter, Xi'an tries to use his healing power on Nostromo, which triggers his Phalanx infestation to take over. Elsewhere, Reed Richards does his best to aid the evacuation of the city, while Exodus deposits himself and X-Nation across the city from where they started, his energy reserves depleted. Already growing suspicious of the man, when Exodus starts preaching anti-human rhetoric, X-Nation turns on him. Back at the shelter, Cerebra helps Nostromo free himself of the Phalanx, though he stills feels their pull. Elsewhere, Exodus incapacitates X-Nation, but the arrival of Strange creates an opening that allows X-Nation to free themselves. Twilight turns her power on Exodus, but he is able to overcome her sphere of influence, at which point Clarion sacrifices himself to save Twilight and drive Exodus away, who leaves with a warning to X-Nation not to cross him. With Exodus gone and the city flooded, Strange teleports the group out of Halo City.

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Monday, October 28, 2019

X-aminations in November 2019 & April 1995 Power Rankings


I'm calling a bit of an audible on the rest of the reviews for the year. My bill-paying day job is exceptionally crazy right now (which is why posts have been so late), and I've got some longer-than-usual work-related travel scheduled in both November & December. Thankfully, I'd already set a relatively lighter load of reviews for those months on account of the holidays, so now I'm mostly just moving some stuff around (and dropping in one new review - the Age of Apocalypse-centric What If?If, to add a little wiggle room), but the plan is a little different now relative to the schedule I wrote up back in June.

Anyway, the end result is that X-Men #43 will be the lone regular X-aminations review this week, as I punt Knight of Terra into November. Otherwise, we wrap up June '95, take a look at that aforementioned What If?, and spend Thanksgiving with the moody Jack the Ripper-inspired Wolverine/Gambit miniseries.

On Sale June 1995
November 6: Generation X #6
November 7: Excalibur #88
November 8: Cable #22

November 13: Wolverine: Knight of Terra

On Sale July 1995
November 20: What If? (vol. 2) #77

November 27: Wolverine/Gambit: Victims #1-4

April 1995 Power Rankings

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Force in Focus: The Rise of Skywalker Final Trailer


The final Rise of Skywalker was released earlier this week, and while it is still pretty light on plot (in terms of revealing anything concrete about what is happening in the movie), it is packed with tons of great images and intriguing moments. Here are five such that caught my eye and piqued my interest.

Friday, October 25, 2019

X-amining X-Man #6

"Earthly Delights"
August 1995

In a Nutshell

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

Plot
In Genosha, Sugar Man tasks his agent Rex to capture Nate Grey on his behalf. Hours later, in Switzerland, Nate & Madelyne try to get to know one another, a task made difficult by Nate not knowing where he is and Madelyne not knowing who she is. In town, Sven, owner of the house where Nate is staying, is getting drunk and is approached by Rex. Elsewhere, Blaquesmith tries to track Nate's psionic signature. Back in Switzerland, Nate offers to read Madelyne's mind, and when he does so, a massive, monstrous image of Havok appears; the strain knocks out Nate. In town, Rex detects the surge of energy and, no longer needing him, kills Sven on his way to find the source. He arrives at the chalet and attempts to capture a barely-conscious Nate, but Nate uses the last vestiges of his mental power to blast Rex out of the house, knocking him out and allowing Nate & Madelyne to escape. Later, Rex wakes up and contacts Sugar Man, promising him everything is under control.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

X-amining X-Factor #113

"Impulsive Behavior"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles Fatale for Havok.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Guest Penciler: Jerry Bingham
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Uncle from On High: Bob Harras

Plot
At a Tokyo nightclub, a three-way fight breaks out between Fatale, Scarlett, and X-Factor over Havok, a fight which draws the attention of Yukio. After Fatale starts a fire and uses it as cover to escape, she takes Havok to the hold of an Italian frigate which she plans to use to smuggle him out of Japan. She leaves him there restrained in metallic coils designed to nullify his powers, at which point Yukio, having tracked Fatale to the ship, enters. As Mystique & Polaris interrogate Tatsu'o for information about Fatale, Wild Child & Forge track Havok to the docks. Inside the ship, Yukio frees Havok just as Fatale arrives, and his ensuing burst of energy disrupts their fight and destroys the ship. X-Factor finds him amidst the wreckage, and though Yukio also emerges unscathed, Fatale is nowhere to be found. The immediate threat over, Havok despondently dons his energy-containing body suit, while at the airport, Scarlett meets with her mysterious boss and promises him she'll deliver Havok to him. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #323

"A Nation Rising"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Men are attacked by Gene Nation while investigating the nightclub massacre.

Story: Scott Lobdell
Guest Penciler: Bryan Hitch
Guest Inker: Cam Smith
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Edits: Bob Harras

Plot
While Rogue & Iceman deal with a flat tire while on their road trip, Psylocke & Archangel train in the Danger Room before being interrupted by Gambit, who regains consciousness, staggers into the room, and asks after Rogue before passing out. Outside, Cannonball takes Sabretooth for a walk, and the pair run into Wolverine, who threatens to kill Sabretooth if he turns out to be faking his docility. He is interrupted by Storm, who asks Wolverine to accompany her and Cannonball into the city in order to investigate the recent nightclub massacre. In the city, Beast confronts Tish Tilby about her decision to go public with news of the Legacy Virus, while outside city hall, Graydon Creed uses the nightclub massacre to whip an anti-mutant crowd into a frenzy. Around the corner, Charlotte Jones emerges and leads the X-Men inside to the morgue. In the desert, Iceman presses Rogue on what she saw in Gambit's mind, after which he is taunted by a vision of Emma Frost. Back at the city morgue, the X-Men meet with the coroner, but Wolverine senses something off with him, and attacks, causing the mutant Sack to emerge from the coroner's now-dead body. Sack is soon joined by his companion Vessel, who says that while Gene Nation is dedicated to the destruction of human society, they will gladly kill the X-Men in order to do so.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

X-amining X-Men 2099 #35 - Patreon First

"Lifeboat"
August 1996

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defeat Vulcann and depart for the Savage Land as the series concludes.

Writer: John Francis Moore
Penciler: Jan Duursema
Inker: Jeff Albrecht
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos & Virtual Calligraphy
Colorist: Tom Smith
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bobbie Chase

Plot
Darkson & Vulcann deliver the unconscious Luna to the X-Men, triggering a fight. Meanwhile, Cerebra, Xi'an & Nostromo attempt to escape the flooding city via the service tunnels. Outside, Darkson telekinetically traps the X-Men aboard one of the boats fleeing the city, part of a mutant flotilla that Vulcann plans to direct Darkson to lead in a conquest of the world. Beneath the city, Cerebrea leads her companions to the secret chamber Doom showed her, in order to access its teleportation technology to send them to the X-Men. Elsewhere, after being seemingly killed by Vulcann, Fitz learns his mutation has transformed him into a being of pure energy. Outside the city, Cerebra, Xi'an and Nostromo are reunited with the rest of the X-Men, when an Atlantean warship suddenly surfaces and attacks the flotilla. The captive X-Men are knocked into the water. Xi'an frees them and they attack Vulcann & Darkson. Working together, Bloodhawk & Metalhead are able to kill Vulcann, at which point Fitz arrives and is able to knock out Darkson. The X-Men all climb aboard one of the surviving ships, where Cerebra & Xi'an announce they'll be leading the rest of Halo City's mutants to the Savage Land!

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #106

"My Hiromi"
July 1986

In a Nutshell
Luke leads the Hiromi on a rescue mission aboard the Tof flagship.

Writer: Jo Duffy
Layouts: Cynthia Martin
Finishes: Ken Steacy
Colorist: Dana Graziunus
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
The Hiromi's celebration of their victory over the Tof on Zeltron is cut short when Luke tells them he's going to lead them in an assault on the Tof flagship to rescue Leia's Zeltron attaches. Meanwhile, the attaches attempt to escape from their Tof cell, but their captors fail to fall for their ruse. Back on Zeltron, Leia & Dani follow the captive Den, hoping to locate their missing companions, while the Hiromi manage to extract intelligence & security codes from a captive Tof. When the rest of the Tof faction seemingly frees the Zeltrons & Alliance representatives from the Nagai, Han greets them warmly, only to be turned on by the Tof, who attack the collective group. But the timely intervention of Leia & Dani gives them an opening, and working with the Nagai, Han, Lando, and the rest of the Alliance forces manage to overpower their would-be captors. In the wake of their victory, Den proposes a new alliance to Leia. In space, Luke, the Hoojibs and the Hiromi board the Tof ship. As Luke attacks the Tof, the Hoojibs take out all the ship's systems except life support and the Hiromi free the Zeltrons. Luke then joins them, having set explosive charges to destroy the ship, and the Hiromi celebrate their victory.

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.

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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.

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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.

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