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

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #8 - Patreon First

"The Quiet Earth"
April 1997

In a Nutshell
Humanity's survivors begin to rebuild in the wake of the Phalanx' defeat.

Writers: Ben Raab & Joe Kelly
Pencilers: David Brewer & Jason Armstrong
Inkers: Allen Martinez & Hack Shack Studios
Letterer: Ul Higgins
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Editor: James Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
At the Last Refuge, Xi'an & Victor Ten Eagles reflect on the remarkable unity between humans & mutants in the wake of the Phalanx attack, as both groups work together to rebuild their home. Morphine Somers is less thrilled, however, and when he notices Luna struggling with her urges to feed on psychic pain, plots to turn her to his side. Elsewhere, Metalhead is reunited with Rosa & Joachim, while Cerebra decides to revive the Sisterhood of Howling Commandments. In Latveria, the survivors of the Phalanx attack receive a posthumous message from Dr. Doom, who labels Xina an official ally of the state, gives Spider-Man information regarding the location of his missing brother, and, apologizing for using him, names Nostromo his heir and ruler of Latveria. Out at sea, Uproar & Wulff are adrift. Wulff, marveling at his new animalistic senses, decides to swim out on his own to find himself, but alerts Uproar to the presence of a nearby ship before leaving. Elsewhere, a diver discovers the Ghost Rider, excited that he will finally belong to D/Monix.

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Monday, December 30, 2019

G. I. JOE #25 - July 1984 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)


Evil master of disguise
(Zartan)
Changes color before your eyes
(Zartan)
Zartan has an evil plan just for G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe, a real American hero
Fighting fiendish new foes

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian Episode 06

"The Prisoner"

Plot
The Mandalorian reunites with an old crew run by a man named Ran, which includes an old flame named Xi'an. One of the crew's members has been captured, and they need the Mandalorian's help - specifically his ship, the Razor Crest - to break him out of the prison ship on which he's being transported. After a risky maneuver executed by the droid Zero piloting the Crest, the Mandalorian joins the crew, led by Mayfield, as they board the prison ship. The Mandalorian & Mayfeld butt heads over whether or not the kill the lone New Republic officer aboard the ship, and in the ensuing scuffle a beacon is activated that will call a New Republic kill team to the ship within twenty minutes. The crew quickly locates their associate, Xi'an brother Qin, and double-crosses the Mandalorian, locking him in Qin's cell before heading to the Razor Crest. But the Mandalorian escapes and hunts down Mayfeld, Xi'an & Burg before reaching his ship just as Qin is boarding. Qin offers to give the Mandalorian the rest of the crew's cut to let Qin leave with him. The Mandalorian & Qin then return to Ran's station and, after receiving his payment, the Mandalorian quickly departs. As Ran orders his station to fire on the Mandalorian, three New Republic X-wings drop out of hyperspace, and Qin realizes the Mandalorian stashed the emergency beacon on him. As the Mandalorian flies away, the New Republic opens fire on Ran's station, while the rest of the crew awaken inside a cell on the prison ship.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

X-amining X-Men Action Figures: Mutant Genesis & Invasion / X-Force Series VI

Year of Release
1995

Roll Call
X-Men: Mutant Genesis


Sunfire, Cameron Hodge, Senyaka, Wolverine (Fang costume), Maverick, X-Cutioner

X-Men: Invasion


Archangel II, Sabretooth Captive, Iceman II, Wolverine (Battle Ravaged), Eric the Red, Havok, Spiral

X-Force Series VI


Cable (Cyborg), Caliban, Deadpool, Domino, Genesis, Nimrod, The Blob

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #7 - Patreon First

"Blitzkrieg"
March 1997

In a Nutshell
The Phalanx are defeated!

Writers: Ben Raab & Joe Kelly
Pencilers: David Brewer & Jason Armstrong
Inkers: Art Thibert & Hack Shack Studios
Letterer: Ul Higgins
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Editor: James Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
With the help of Metalsmith & Twilight, the Takers' ship crashes into the Phalanx ship, and the Takers launch an assault. In Latveria, Xina battles the Phalanx as a distraction while Spider-Man prepares to kill Nostromo, hoping his death will end the invasion. But he is relieved to be stopped by Doom, who tells the Phalanx he has the best of them, and in return for re-establishing Latveria's borders, will allow the Phalanx to leave the planet. Magus of course refuses, and Doom reveals that Winn is in fact Doom's agent, and he slays Magus, after which Doom triggers a Trojan horse in the Phalanx code, removing the Scout program from Nostromo, thereby rendering their invasion inert. Doom then seemingly sacrifices himself, detonating his castle and wiping out the Phalanx. Meanwhile, in the Last Refuge, Victor Ten Eagles leads the human residents in battle against the Phalanx alongside the X-Men. When Doom's efforts bring the attack to a halt, Franklin connects to the Phalanx in orbit. Determining them to be evil, he destroys their ship. Metalsmith & Twilight die with it, but the threat of the Phalanx is over, and the future is bright with possibilities.

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

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Force in Focus: The Rise of Skywalker

**Spoilers, of course; if you haven't seen the movie yet, skip this. If you haven't seen the movie but read this anyways, don't yell at me.**



Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Unstacking the Deck: Fleer Ultra X-Men Chromium

Fleer 1995

Vital Statistics 
100 cards (including the checklist card) plus a twenty card "Alternate X" chase set, a nine card "Lethal Weapons" chase set, and a gold signature parallel set.

Categorically Speaking
Teams/Superheroes/Supervillains, Wolverine Timeline, Haunted Mansion

Firsts and Other Notables
The cards in this set are all "chromium", which as far as I can tell, means they have a slicker finish and a more embossed, nearly-3D look to the art (it's the same gimmick that was applied to the covers of Generation X #1, X-Men: Alpha and X-Men: Omega). All of the card art is fully painted and from either Andy Kubert (the regular X-Men artist), his brother Adam (the artist on Wolverine) or their father Joe (a classic artist of the Silver Age who founded a school for comic book art).

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #6 - Patreon First

"Final Decision"
February 1997

In a Nutshell
The Phalanx press their attack in multiple locales.

Writers: Joe Kelly & Ben Raab
Pencilers: Jason Armstrong & David Brewer
Inkers: Alan Martinez with Hack Shack Studios, Rob Hunter & Al Milgrom
Letterer: Ul Higgins
Colorist: Brian Buccellatto
Editor: James Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
The Phalanx launch simultaneous attacks in both Latveria & the Savage Land. In Latveria, Doom sacrifices himself to allow Spider-Man & Xina to escape, and Xina comes to the conclusion that the only way to stop the Phalanx is to kill their source on Earth: Nostromo. Meanwhile, the X-Men and their allies work to repel the Phalanx attack on the Savage Land, even as tensions between the humans and mutants in the Last Refuge continue to flare. Elsewhere, Wulff & Uproar manage to escape from the Wild Boys, but have to find a way back to shore - and civilization - on their own. On Mars, Dr. Isaac discovers the clones taken by the Takers, including that of her son. Meanwhile, December & Metalsmith desperately try to convince Twilight that the Takers are up to no good, but Twilight is determined to help them. Metalsmith decides to stick with the girl he leaves, and joins her as they blast off Mars, leaving December behind.

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

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian Episode 05

"The Gunslinger"

Plot
Following an outer space dogfight with another bounty hunter, the Mandalorian lands on Tatooine. Looking for work to cover the repairs to his ship, the Mandalorian sets out on the streets of Mos Eisley, leaving the Child in the care of mechanic Peli Motto. Inside a cantina, he meets a young bounty hunter named Toro Calican. Toro is hunting notorious assassin Fennec Shand; needing the bounty get into the Guild, he agrees to give the Mandalorian all of the monetary bounty for his help. The two set out over the Jundland Wastes in pursuit of Fennec. Working together, they overpower her, but when the Mandalorian leaves Toro alone with Fennec, she tries to convince him to betray the Mandalorian. Instead, Toro blasts Fennec, intent on capturing the Mandalorian and the child and becoming a legend in the process. When the Mandalorian returns to Mos Eisley, he finds Toro holding Peli & the child hostage, but manages to distract & kill Toro. Giving Toro's credits to Peli as payment, the Mandalorian and the child board the repaired Razor's Crest and blast off into space once more.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

X-amining Wolverine '95

"Lair of the N’Garai" / "What the Cat Dragged In"
1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles a resurgent N'Garai.

Script: Larry Hama, Chris Golden (2nd Story)
Pencils: J.H. Williams II, Ben Herrera (2nd Story)
Inkers: Mark McKenna with Gray & Palmiotti, Vince Russell (2nd Story)
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colors: Kevin Somers, Ian Laughlin (2nd Story)
Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
On the grounds of the mansion, Wolverine comes across the Cairn, the interdimensional portal used by the N'Garai to enter the world from their dimension. Spotting one of the demons, Wolverine attacks, and ends up following the demon into the Cairn. When the mansion's motion detectors sense the fight, Nightcrawler, visiting the X-Men to check in on Wolverine, teleports into the woods and follows Wolverine through the Cairn. In the N'Garai home dimension, he sees Wolverine fighting a large number of the demons. Shocked by Wolverine's ferocity, he nevertheless comes to his friend's aid. Their fight draws the attention of the N'Garai leader, Kierrok, but Wolverine is able to match whatever Kierrok dishes out. When Kierrok dispatches a wave of demons to attack the mansion, Wolverine & Nightcrawler escape through the Cairn and fight them back. Wolverine then wants to return and finish the job, but Nightcrawler stops him, and Kierrok reveals he intentionally led the mutants out of the dimension; Wolverine's savagery made it clear he'd kill every N'Garai if possible, something Kierrok won't allow, so he closes the portal. As Wolverine returns to the woods, the rest of the X-Men arrive on the scene, and Nightcrawler expresses his concern over Wolverine's mental state, even as Wolverine himself realizes it's only a matter of time before he loses control, and that no longer scares him.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

X-amining 2099: World of Tomorrow #5 - Patreon First

"Finders Keepers"
January 1997

In a Nutshell
The origin of the Takers is revealed as the Phalanx press their attack.

Writers: Joe Kelly & Ben Raab
Pencilers: David Brewer & Jason Armstrong
Inkers: Rob Hunter, Jamie Mendoza & Alan Martinez with Hack Shack Studios
Letterer: Al Higgins
Colorist: Brian Buccellatto
Editor: James Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Betraying his former allies, Winn teleports away with Nostromo. In the Fatherland, Doom emerges from the procedure to purge his armor, reinvigorated and technology free. He, Spider-Man & Xina prepare to fight Magus. On Mars, December, Metalsmith & Dr. Isaacs are reunited with Twilight, who explains the Takers' origins and tells her friends the Phalanx are targeting Earth. Meanwhile, Garokk toys with the defeated Dr. Strange, making her relive her worst memories. Elsewhere, Wulff & Uproar battle Vulture and the Wild Boyz, and Wulff is seemingly killed. Back in Fatherland, Winn arrives with Nostromo, and Magus convinces him to give in to his Phalanx nature. Just then, Doom, Spider-Man & Xina attack, but are no match for the Phalanx, with Nostromo absorbing Xina. With Doom defeated, the Phalanx are now poised to consume the entire planet!

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

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!