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

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

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

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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Monday, September 23, 2019

X-aminations in October 2019 & March 1995 Power Rankings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #104

"Nagais and Dolls"
March 1986

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

X-amining X-Men Omega #1


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

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

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

X-amining X-Nation #3 - Patreon First

May 1996

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

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

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

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Force in Focus: Star Wars #103

January 1986

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

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

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

Thursday, September 12, 2019

X-amining X-Man #4

"The Art of War"
July 1995

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

X-amining Generation Next #4

June 1995

In a Nutshell

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

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

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

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

"Old Wounds"
May 1996

In a Nutshell
Foolkiller attacks the Lawless.

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

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

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Monday, September 9, 2019

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

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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

X-amining X-Universe #2

"Dying Breath"
June 1995

In a Nutshell
Humanity fights back against Mikhail.

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

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

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

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

"Kicking and Screaming"
April 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Nation is attacked by Avian.

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

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

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