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

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.

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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.

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