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

Monday, September 21, 2020

X-aminations in October 2020 & December 1995 Power Rankings


Wolverine's big centennial issue was delayed, so that gets delayed to the end of October, but otherwise, this is a pretty straight-forward month, with no goofy one-shots or limited series. Aside from Wolverine #100, we've got the bulk of the Cable/X-Man "Identity Crisis" crossover (with the order of review swapped around to allow for better crossover reading), the arrival of Mark Waid on X-Men, and the climax of the Adversary story (and, sadly, Steve Epting's run as regular artist) in X-Factor!

On Sale February 1996
September 30: Uncanny X-Men #331
October 1: X-Factor #121
October 2: Cable #30

October 7: X-Men (vol. 2) #51
October 8: X-Force #53

October 14: Generation X  #14
October 15: Excalibur #96
October 16: X-Man #14

On Sale March 1996
October 21: Uncanny X-Men #332
October 22: X-Factor #122
October 23: X-Man #15 

October 28: X-Men (vol. 2) #52
October 29: X-Force #54
October 31: Wolverine #100

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Force in Focus: The Mandalorian Season 2 Trailer


Disney finally released a trailer for the second season of The Mandalorian (a season which, reportedly, completed filming before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, preventing it from being impacted in any way by that, so whatever we're getting, it's being presented as intended), which is set to debut on Disney+ on October 30th. Here are five things of note which caught my eye from the trailer. 

(And, quick note on future Force in Focus posts - my plan is to run a series of posts closing out the original Marvel Star Wars comic in the next few weeks, leading up the release of Mandalorian Season 2. Then I'll review each episode of the season as with the first, and after that...maybe something a little different, at least in terms of my approach).

Friday, September 18, 2020

X-amining Cable #29

 "Man in the Mirror"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
After learning about his tremendous power, Cable sets out in search of Nate Grey. 

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Ian Churchill
Inker: Scott Hanna 
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft 
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Separations: Graphic Color Works
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Cable greets Blaquesmith, who has come to the X-Mansion for a summit to discuss Nate Grey along with Professor X, Cyclops, Phoenix, and Moira MacTaggart. Moira shares information on Nate culled from their recent encounter, and theorizes that his power levels may rival or exceed that of Dark Phoenix. This sparks a series of discussions, but given the dearth of information about Nate's origins. they quickly reach an impasse. This prompts Blaquesmith to freeze the discussion, wiping all memory of it from everyone's minds except for Cable and him. Cable is upset, but Blaquesmith insists it's better that fewer people know of his existence. Cable resolves to go after Nate alone, but makes Blaquesmith promise that if he doesn't return, Blaquesmith will unlock everyone's memories of the day. Blaquesmith wishes Cable a good journey, then Cable departs for a confrontation with X-Man! 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

X-amining Excalibur #95

"Amplified Heart"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Nate Grey gets yelled at by Moira.

Writer; Warren Ellis
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Following an explosion, Excalibur converges on Muir Island's communications room, where Nate Grey is accusing Moira MacTaggart of running a shady operation to experiment on mutants. But Moira stands up for herself, and admonishes Nate for consistently reacting to half-truths from untrustworthy sources. She opens her mind to him, and he sees the truth: that his own powers - not Moira or Xavier or anyone else - will kill him before he turns 21. Excalibur then tries to calm him down further, allowing him to read all their minds to show him their commitment to helping mutants and improving the world. Convinced he was in the wrong and that neither Moira nor Excalibur is out to get him, he flies off, leaving Moira to wonder if he'll live long enough to ever return.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

X-amining Generation X #13

"It's All Relative"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Monet stands alone against Emplate and his allies

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

Plot
Though shocked to find her classmates captives of her brother, Monet is able to escape from Emplate as he turns his attention to Chamber. Though Gayle objects, saying Chamber belongs to her, Emplate has them both buried up to their necks in the ground. Meanwhile, Monet is able to get a call for help out before she's attacked by one of Emplate's minions, Bulwark. As Jubilee does her best to distract Emplate and keep him from feeding on Banshee, Monet & Bulwark's fight takes into the biosphere, where Leech is able to suppress Bulwark's power, allowing Monet to knock him out. She tells Leech & Artie to stay put, then flies off, but is attacked by Vincente. As she falls to the ground choking Bishop suddenly appears, telling Monet that she called for him, and he came.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 7 - Patreon First!

"Slave Island"

Original Airdate
February 13, 1993

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writer: Mark Edward Edens 

Plot
Storm, Jubilee, & Gambit are press-ganged into joining Genosha's mutant slave labor pool, using their powers to help build a massive dam & hydroelectric plant. When the power-dampening collars they all wear are deactivated for the work day, Storm immediately rebels; she is captured by a Sentinel and placed in "the Box". Meanwhile, the rest of the X-Men head off to Genosha to check-in on their overdue teammates. In Genosha, Jubilee tries to lead a slave revolt of her own, but the guards are wise to her, and she ends up in the Box as well. Elsewhere, Genoshan officials meet with Bolivar Trask & Henry Peter Gyrich, who are supplying the Sentinels via the massive Master Mold. Trask reveals Gambit turned in Jubilee; Gambit also promises to take the Genoshans to the X-Mansion. But on his way back to the prison, Gambit is able to escape, with a little help from a mercenary named Cable, who gives him a key to release the dampening collars. Gambit proceeds to free Storm & Jubilee & release the rest of the prisoners who, free of their collars, quickly overpower the guards. As Trask & Gyrich flee, Storm destroys the dam & Master Mold with it, just as the rest of the X-Men arrive. The team heads for home, but they arrive to find the professor missing and the mansion destroyed!  

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Friday, September 11, 2020

X-amining Wolverine #99

"Of Mythic Metal Forged"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine is captured by the Dark Riders, who intended to rebond his bones with adamantium!

Script: Larry Hama
Guest Penciler: Val Semeiks
Guest Inkers: Dan Green, Dan Panosian, Chad Hunt
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu's Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Wolverine & Zoe Culloden emerge from the Madripoor warp chamber in Akkaba, birthplace of Apocalypse. Spotting Chimera's trail, she tells Wolverine she'll meet him at Apocalypse's former citadel, then departs. Just then, the young mutant Jamil appears, offering to guide Wolverine to the citadel. Meanwhile, in Madripoor, Cannonball, on the trail of Wolverine, is accosted by a group of thugs amidst the wreckage of the Princess Bar, but they are chased off by Tyger Tiger. In Egypt, the citadel emerges from the sand as Wolverine & Jamil draw closer, and Wolverine, sensing Jamil is leading him into a trap, breaks off, entering the place his own way. Back in Madripoor, Tyger Tiger brings Cannonball to the Landau, Luckman & Lake warp chamber door, and sends him through to Egypt. In the citadel, Wolverine observes the Dark Riders herding prisoners into the citadel, as Cannonball takes off, following Wolverine & Jamil's footsteps towards the citadel. Inside, Wolverine is spotted by Dirt Nap, who brings him before Genesis. After Wolverine is captured, Genesis reveals he intends to brainwash him into serving as the captain of the Dark Riders, once they've completed bonding the adamantium taken from the deceased Cyber to Wolverine's bones!

Thursday, September 10, 2020

X-amining X-Force #52

"Bad Girls"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Domino, Siryn & Meltdown fight Blob

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Color Enhancement: Electric Crayon
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Domino, Siryn & Meltdown have returned to Camp Hayden, site of the aborted Nimrod project, to ensure the project has indeed been shutdown. But they find the entire facility empty, with the word "Onslaught" scrawled on one of the walls. Just then, an enormous Blob - displaying a finer control of his mutant abilities - drops into the facility, attacking them. Meanwhile, Warpath & Shatterstar spar in the Danger Room, with Shatterstar worrying that as he grows more human, he is losing his fighting edge. Back at Camp Hayden, Blob, claiming to serve Onslaught, quickly gains the upper hand, until Meltdown's new attitude and control over her powers forces him to stand down. The ladies of X-Force ponder what to do with him, just as Mimic - his powers also surprising stable - flies in and carries out Blob. In New York, Caliban & Sunspot arrive outside Gideon's building, responding to a call for help he made to Sunspot. Just then, Gideon flies out an upper story window and crashes to the ground in front of them, dead.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #50


"Full Court Press"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Cyclops, Storm, Iceman & Wolverine are captured by Post, herald of Onslaught!

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inker: Cam Smith
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Waking up in a strange location with no memory of how they got there, Cyclops, Storm, Iceman & Wolverine are shocked by the apparent damage they've sustained: Cyclops is missing his visor, while Iceman is missing a sizeable chunk of his chest. Back at the X-Mansion, Xavier awakens to find Gateway on the verge of teleporting him away. Quick action from Bishop & Phoenix knock out Gateway. Meanwhile, Wolverine senses the presence of a cloaked figure, and is able to force a mutant named Post to reveal himself. He briefly battles the X-Men, stating that Onslaught is impressed, before re-cloaking himself. At the X-Mansion, Xavier & Jean attempt to telepathically interrogate a revived Gateway, but are unable to do so, and the assembled X-Men are probed by a violent psionic entity. As the missing X-Men continue their fight with Post, Beast reasons they were captured specifically because their powers are not psionic in nature. Just then, Cyclops & Wolverine are able to pierce Post's armor, completing Onslaught's test and sending the four captive X-Men back home.After they arrive, the psionic entity addresses Gateway, telling him that while he thought these beings would serve as the last line of defense against the coming danger, he was wrong. Their victory today was minimal at best: Post was the weakest of Onslaught's emissaries, and his coming will be the X-Men's devastation!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 6 - Patreon First!

"Cold Vengeance"

Original Airdate
Feburary 6 1993

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writers: Michael Edens

Plot
Seeking comfort in the solitude of the Canadian arctic, Wolverine is attacked by Sabretooth. Their fight ends when Wolverine tumbles into the ocean. Sabretooth believes the cold will kill even him, but is outraged when he spots Wolverine being rescued by a group of indigenous fisherman. Back at the X-Mansion, Professor X breaks up an argument between Cyclops & Gambit, giving Gambit leave to investigate the rumors that the island nation of Genosha is welcoming mutants. Cyclops dispatches Storm & Jubilee to join him. Back in the Arctic, Wolverine makes himself useful - and popular - within the Inuit village, much to the dismay of the young Kiyoek. Storming off on his own, Kiyoek is approached by Sabretooth. In Genosha, Storm, Gambit & Jubilee arrive and are immediately identified as mutants, despite their intent to keep that information to themselves. In the Arctic, Kiyoek lures Wolverine away from the village, allowing Sabretooth to kidnap the villagers. Enraged that Sabretooth attacked his people, Kiyoek helps free the villagers as Wolverine battles Sabretooth, ultimately sending him falling into a massive ravine. In Genosha, the local authorities attempt to capture Storm, Gambit & Jubilee; the X-Men fight back, but are ultimately apprehended when a Sentinel joins the fight.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2020

X-amining Storm #1-4

"Sunburst & Snowblind" / "The Ghost Has No Home" / "The Tinderbox of a Heart" / "She Will Destroy You
February - May 1996

In a Nutshell
Storm is transported to the Hill, where she encounters Mikhail Rasputin and a new Gene Nation.

Story/Dialogue: Warren Ellis
Artist/Storyteller: Terry Dodson
Inkers: Karl Story
Letters: Ricjard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Rosas/Lenshoek, Ariane Lenshoek (issues #2 & 4), Lenshoek & Hoston (issue #3)
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: Struggling with her recent murder of Marrow, Storm asks Cable to show her the Ceremony of Light, so she might apologize to the dead Morlocks for failing them. As the she performs the ceremony, a dimensional portal opens, pulling her through. When Cable returns to the site of the ceremony, he finds a disfigured corpse and no psychic trace of Storm; he informs the X-Men she has died. However, Storm awakens in another world, and realizes the energy effect which took her there was similar to Mikhail Rasputin's.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 5 - Patreon First!

"Captive Hearts"

Original Airdate
January 30th, 1993

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writers: Robert N. Skir & Marty Isenberg

Plot
After Storm's claustrophobia proves problematic during a Danger Room session, she is left questioning her effectiveness as a leader. Meanwhile, Cyclops & Jean are on a date when they come across a young mutant child being chased by an angry mob. They follow the mob into the subway, hoping to protect the mutant, but when they reach the station, they find a group of mutants attacking the mob. Cyclops & Jean fight the mutants, but one of them uses her power to lull them to sleep on the orders of their leader, watching from the shadows. Later, Cyclops wakes up to find his powers turned off. He is brought before the mutant gang's leader, Callisto, who declares her followers to be Morlocks. Jean wakes up long enough to send a telepathic distress call to Professor X, who sends the rest of the X-Men into the tunnels under New York to rescue their teammates. As Storm struggles with her claustrophobia, the rest of the X-Men battle the Morlocks. Eventually, Storm manages to pull herself together well enough to challenge Callisto to a duel for leadership of the Morlocks. The two women fight, with Storm eventually winning. The Morlocks reject Storm's offer to join the X-Men in the X-Mansion, and she leaves Callisto in charge again before leaving with her teammates, including Cyclops & Jean. Later, Cyclops & Jean go to Wolverine's room to thank him for his help, only to find him gone without explanation.

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Saturday, August 29, 2020

To Better Know a Team: The New Mutants


After a laughable number of starts, stops, and reschedules, the New Mutants movie is finally in theaters (at least whichever ones are open). And while I in no way advocate going to see it (for various reasons, including the fact that I doubt any movie is worth risking your life to see, but am certain that if there is one, it's not New Mutants), that doesn't mean we can't take the opportunity to spend some time talking about Marvel's first comic book X-Men spinoff.

I wrote a retrospective on the series back when my reviews of it ended (upon the book's cancellation & relaunching as X-Force), which can be found here; in that article, I hit some of the obvious points (like my favorite covers and favorite New Mutants), most of which remain true today. So here are some different/deeper dives into the world of New Mutants. The movie might suck, but we'll always have the comics.

Friday, August 28, 2020

X-amining X-Man #13

"The Hunted Below"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Nate meets Threnody

Writer: John Ostrander
Guest Penciler: Luke Ross
Guest Inker: Rob Hunter
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Separations: Graphic Color Works
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Threnody is hunted through the sewers of Paris by the Marauders. After spotting an explosion triggered by their fight, Nate hears her telepathic distress and flies into the sewers, helping her escape. Meanwhile, not far away, Madelyne Pryor notices the effects of Nate's fight with the Marauders, but her curiosity about it is blunted by Selene. Back in the sewers, Threnody introduces herself to Nate, and in the process, Nate learns that Mister Sinister is alive in this world. Nate then proceeds to ambush the pursuing Marauders, leaving only Riptide alive, his mind altered to make Sinister believe Threnody perished with the rest of the Marauders. Nate & Threnody leave the sewers, but they are unknowingly still being pursued: by Cable, who is close to catching up to Nate, and won't stop until he does.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

X-amining X-Factor #120

"Meeting the Maker"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Factor battles the Adversary, and loses.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Guest Penciler: Mark D. Bright
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
With the Adversary's attack imminent, Forge hands out new weapons to X-Factor, designed to counter the Adversary's magical abilities, despite Roma insisting that technology cannot defeat the Adversary. Watching from afar, the Adversary decides to hide himself within Mystique. Meanwhile, Val Cooper receives a demonstration of the new shock collar designed to help control Sabretooth, and is shocked to learn that once the device is calibrated, Sabretooth is going to join X-Factor. Back at Falls Edge, Naze suddenly appears before Forge, but he realizes it is just a shapeshifted Mystique. She proceeds to taunt Forge - transforming into one of his old army peers and Storm - before the Adversary steps out of her body. X-Factor attacks him, but the Adversary is unaffected by their weapons. He captures Roma, and reduces X-Factor to ashes, save for Forge, whose cybernetic hand and leg he destroys before departing with the captive Roma. Just then, the real Naze appears, and offers the defeated Forge the chance to destroy the Adversary, but only by reclaiming his birthright. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #330

"Warriors of the Ebon Night Conclusion: Quest for the Crimson Dawn"
March 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine, Archangel & Dr. Strang retrieve the Crimson Dawn to save Psylocke

Writer: Scott Lobdell & Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inker: Tim Townsend
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Team Bucce
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
As Wolverine, Archangel, & Gomurr the Ancient enter the Netherplace in search of the Crimson Dawn, they are joined by Dr. Strange's astral form. Just then, they are attacked by a group of Undercloaks, whom Wolverine's enhanced senses detect. Back at the mansion, Gambit visits the wounded Psylocke, musing that if she dies, she would take whatever secrets she pulled out of his head with her. Just then, she begins to convulse, and Gambit calls for Xavier & Beast. In the Netherplace, the heroes escape the Undercloaks and confront Tar, protector of the Crimson Dawn. As Wolverine battles Tar's minions and Beast & Xavier work to save Psylocke's life, Strange & Archangel use Wolverine's fight as a distraction, approaching the mystical vein where the Crimson Dawn resides. Dr. Strange removes from Archangel the piece of Psylocke's soul she entrusted to him via their love and places it into the Crimson Dawn. At the mansion, Psylocke suddenly starts to recover, though she now carries a strange mark over her eye. In the Netherplace, Tar sends everyone back to Earth, and though the X-Men are happy they succeeded in helping Psylocke, Strange worries that the battle for the soul of Psylocke has only begun.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 4 - Patreon First!

"Deadly Reunion"

Original Airdate
January 23, 1993

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writer: Don Glutt  

Plot
Professor X attempts to telepathically cure Sabretooth of his animalistic rages, much to the continued dismay of Wolverine, but his efforts are cut short when Magneto attacks a chemical plant, endangering the humans there deliberately to draw out Xavier and the X-Men. The X-Men attack, and Magneto manages to overpower them, but is fought off by Xavier himself, who enters the fray and telepathically causes Magneto to relive his worst memories. Meanwhile, Senator Kelly announces his bid for the presidency, while at the mansion, Sabretooth tricks Jubilee into releasing him. He's about to kill her when Wolverine intervenes, and the two fight. The returning X-Men are aghast, believing Wolverine to have attacked the helpless Sabretooth, but Jubilee explains what happened. After Sabretooth manages to injure Wolverine, Jubilee hits him with her fireworks, blasting him out of the mansion, after which he runs away. As the X-Men bring the injured Wolverine to the infirmary, Magneto looks out over the city, firm in his belief that mutants will flock to him by the thousands, and they will destroy Xavier. 

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

Monday, August 24, 2020

X-aminations in September 2020 & November 1995 Power Rankings


Reviews of the first month of 1996 conclude, with Adjectiveless' big 50th issue, representing the line's biggest Onslaught tease since Uncanny #322, the Beast/Dark Beast switcheroo in X-Men Unlimited, and Storm's first miniseries!

On Sale January 1996
September 2: Storm #1-4

September 9: X-Men (vol. 2) #50
September 10: X-Force #52
September 11: Wolverine #99

September 16: Generation X #13
September 17: Excalibur #95
September 18: Cable #29

September 23: X-Men Unlimited  #10

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

X-amining X-Men: Books of Askani

March 1996

In a Nutshell
A Marvel Handbook-style guide to the world of the Askani, featuring painted art. 

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Painters: Doug Alexander, Trace Drury, Bill Sienkiewicz, John Bolton, Larry Stroman
Pencilers: Jeff Lafferty, Nghia Lam, Gene Ha, Ian Churchill, William DeMott, 
Letterer: Jon Babcock
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Firsts and Other Notables
Similar to Stryfe's Strike Files or Age of Apocalypse: The Chosen, this is a one-shot dedicated to the Askani and the world of Cable's future as depicted (chiefly) in the Adventures of Cyclops & Phoenix & Askani'son limited series. It profiles 18 different characters/groups, including Apocalypse, Rachel Summers, Cable (as "Askani'son") and Ch'vayre, pairing one page with a few paragraphs of text and a penciled image with a fully painted image of the character/group on another.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 3 - Patreon First!

"Enter Magneto"

Original Airdate
November 27, 1992

Producer: Larry Houston
Story: Steven Melching
Storyboard Artist: Larry Houston
Story Editor Developer: Eric Lewald
Writers: Jim Carlson & Terrence McDonnell

Plot
Magneto breaks into the prison where Beast is being held, intent on releasing him, but Beast resists, intending to stand trial to prove the worthiness of his cause. Later, Professor X watches news footage of Magneto's attack, and tells Jubilee about their shared past together. The next morning, Beast is in court. After the judge orders Beast to be held without bail, the courtroom is attacked by a mutant Wolverine recognizes: Sabretooth. When the guards overwhelm him, Cyclops intervenes, bringing the unconscious Sabretooth back to the X-Mansion, much to Wolverine's dismay. At the X-Mansion, Wolverine argues vociferously that Sabretooth is a killer and doesn't deserve to live, but the argument is cut short by an attack by Magneto at a missile base. Cyclops, Storm, and Wolverine respond, and though they manage to fight off Magneto, they can't stop him from launching the base's missiles. Storm flies into the air and, with Xavier's guidance, is able to direct the missiles out to sea, where they crash safely. As the X-Men return home, Magneto watches from a distance, impressed by Xavier's training but curious why he has turned against his own kind.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

X-amining Askani'son #1-4


"The Shadow Lengthens" / "A Tiny Spark" / "An Ember Glows" / "A Bright and Shining Light"
February -May 1996

In a Nutshell
Young Nathan Dayspring embraces his destiny as the prophesied Askani'son,.

Story: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Gene Ha
Inkers: Andrew Pepoy
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Kevin Somers
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: In the wake of Apocalypse's defeat, the New Canaanites have risen to power, oppressing the people. When the now-teenaged Nathan Dayspring and his friend Tetherblood's rabble-rousing draws the attention of Caananite 'Strator Umbridge, they are arrested. Later, Umbridge meets with her superior, Tribune Haight, who tells her he's located the last remaining Askani sect, operating in Eurasia. With the Askani the last thing standing in the way of the Caananite ascension, he tasks her with destroying it. She comes to suspect Nathan is the prophesied messiah of the Askani, but Nathan & Tetherblood escape with the help of Blaquesmith, who extracts a glowing orb from Nathan whom Nathan dubs "Professor", before seemingly dying during Nathan & Tetherblood's escape. Nathan announces that Blaquesmith left him a telepathic suggestion, urging him to seek out the Askani. Meanwhile, in Eurasia, Madame Sanctity, the last remaining member of the Askani, trains her novitiate, Aliya, while in New Orleans, Ch'vayre continues to watch over Stryfe, who has crafted a synthetic being known as Zero to help him resurrect Apocalypse.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 2 - Patreon First

"Night of the Sentinels Part 2"


Original Airdate

November 7, 1992


Written by 

Mark Edward Edens


Plot

Inside the Mutant Control Agency, Wolverine's senses prevent the X-Men from falling into the agency's trap, and while Cyclops leads an attack on the guards gathered outside, Storm leads her group deeper into the agency to destroy their mutant files. Elsewhere, Henry Peter Gyrich & Bolivar Trask interrogate the captive Jubilee before receiving a call about the trouble at the agency; he orders all the mutants there to be terminated. As the X-Men reunite outside the agency, Cyclops orders a retreat. Just then, the Sentinels appear, and Morph pushes Wolverine out of the way of one of their blasts. At the X-Mansion, Jean Grey & Professor X sense Morph's death. Shortly thereafter, the dejected X-Men return home, without Morph or Beast. Angry, Wolverine heads off on his own, driving away as he thinks back to Morph's death & Beast's capture by the agency, upset that Cyclops prevented them from going back for their teammates. Wolverine vows to avenge them. Later, Wolverine is playing pool at a dive bar when Cyclops enters, asking him if he wants to find the Sentinels base. After the President orders Gyrich to cease the Mutant Control Agency's activities, he receives a call from Jubilee's foster father, seemingly turning in the visiting Cyclops. But Cyclops instead attacks the arriving Sentinel, damaging it and thereby allowing the X-Men to follow it to its base, where Jubilee is being held. There, the X-Men rescue Jubilee & destroy the Sentinels, though Gyrich & Trask escape. Later, Jubilee says goodbye to her foster parents before arriving at her new home with the X-Men.


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Friday, August 7, 2020

X-amining Cable #28

"Tick… Tick… Tick!"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
The secret history of Genosha is revealed

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Wilfred
Inkers: Scott Hanna & Rachael Hawkey
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist: Adam Walenta
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
His secret lab discovered, Sugar Man decides to cut his losses and triggers a nuclear self-destruct, one which will decimate the entire island. On his way out, he's confronted by Cable, who attempts to read his mind but is disoriented when doing so. Meanwhile, Dark Beast works to take advantage of Sugar Man's distraction and tries to steal some of his files, but Sugar Man's computers shut down before he gets them all. Back in Genosha, Sugar Man is confronted by Phillip Moreau, who demands to know Sugar Man's history with Moreau's father. Sugar Man admits he gave Phillip's father the information to create the Mutate bonding process, then decides to kidnap Phillip, teleporting them both away. Cable orders Pipeline to evacuate along with Jenny Ransom, and when they arrive at the Press Gang base, Pipeline dejectedly tells his teammates it's time they reevaluate everything they believe about the war, given what he's learned about the mutant Sugar Man's involvement in their country. Back at the lab, Cable and Domino work to decipher the password that will stop the self-destruct sequence; remembering his brief glimpse into Sugar Man's mind, Cable types"sugar", stopping the detonation. Just then, Mr. Sinister appears, revealing he orchestrated Cable's arrival in order to flush out Sugar Man, and points him in the direction of Nate Grey, before sending Cable & Domino home. He then contacts Threnody as he discovers one of Sugar Man's crude drawings of Nate, whom he finds very reminiscent of Cable.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

X-amining Excalibur #94

"Days of Future Tense"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Captainb Britain experiences a grim vision of Excalibur's future.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Casey Jones
Inker: Tom Simmons
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Adriane Lenshock with Malibu's Hues
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In the year 2013, Britain is ruled by Black Air, operating as agents of the Sentinels who have taken over North America and decimated the mutant population. The remaining members of Excalibur, including Wolfsbane, Betsy Braddock, Tangerine, Karma, Captain Britain & Meggan, are given a mission by their leader, Pete Wisdom: their missing teammate Douglock has been traced to Blackwall, Black Air's London base, which Excalibur is going to infiltrate in order to rescue their friend. Later, they fight their way into the base, only to discover Douglock isn't just a captive of Black Air, he has been thoroughly dissected and transformed into the operating system of Blackwall, fueling the rise of Black Air. Just then, Black Air agents surround the team, signaling the end of Excalibur, and England, just as Brian Braddock wakes up in the present day, shocked by the events he dreamt, which he now realizes were visions of the near-future he witnessed while lost in the timestream. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

X-amining Generation X #12

"The Return of Emplate"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Emplate returns

Plotter: Scott Lobdell
Scripter: Todd Dezago
Penciler: Tom Grummett
Inker: Buckingham, Sellers, Morales, Milgrom & Rubinstein
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Banshee brings the kids into Boston for a day of relaxation. While most everyone breaks off to do some shopping, Skin brings Chamber to a fancy restaurant where he's arranged to meet Gayle Edgerton, his ex-girlfriend. As Skin drops him off, he experiences a massive headache, then is grabbed from behind by an unseen foe. Meanwhile, Banshee confronts Monet about her catatonic spells, but she runs off, and Banshee is captured before he can follow. At the school, Emma probes Penance's mind, determined to learn her secrets, but the effort leaves her open to attack by Emplate. Back in the city, Jubilee, Husk, Mondo and Synch are having lunch when a purple gas rises out of a pot and knocks them all out before assuming a humanoid form. Elsewhere, Gayle arrives late to her lunch with Chamber and when Chamber apologizes for how he left her, she insists it's water under the bridge. But when he helps her move from her wheelchair to the table, she attacks him, draining him of his psionic energy. That night, Monet flies back to the school, but she finds her classmates and teachers all captives of Emplate and his associates, including Gayle. With Penance at his side, he greets Monet, welcoming his sister to the party!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1 Episode 1 - Patreon First

"Night of the Sentinels Part 1"

Original Airdate
October 31 1992

Written by
Mark Edward Edens

Plot
After young mutant Jubilee's foster father reports her to the Mutant Control Agency, a Sentinel attacks her house, intent on capturing her. Jubilee has, however, snuck out to the local mall. The Sentinel tracks her there, drawing the attention of fellow mutants Storm, Rogue, Gambit & Cyclops, who destroy the Sentinel and take the unconscious Jubilee back to their mansion home. There, she encounters Beast, Morph, Wolverine, Jean Grey & Professor Xavier, and learns the group is called the X-Men a team dedicated to mastering their powers and achieving peaceful coexistence with the humans who often fear & hate mutants. Learning the Sentinels are the product of the Mutant Control Agency, the X-Men infiltrate their headquarters in order to destroy their files on mutants, but the agency's security forces are, unknownst to the X-Men, lying in wait for them.

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Monday, August 3, 2020

X-aminations in August 2020 & October 1995 Power Rankings


The On Sale month that never ends, December 1995, continues, with a pair of stories/issues featuring Askani/Cable's future rounding out the year-end releases, before finally allowing us to move on to another month's issues.

On Sale December 1995
August 5: Generation X #12
August 6: Excalibur #94
August 7: Cable #28

August 12: Askani'son #1-4

August 19: Book of Askani

On Sale January 1996
August 26: Uncanny X-Men #330
August 27: X-Factor #120
August 28: X-Man #13

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

X-amining Logan: Path of the Warlord #1

"Path of the Warlord"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Years in the past, Wolverine helps Chang of Landau, Luckman, & Lake stop the invasion of Earth by an extra-dimensional warlord.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: John Paul Leon
Inker: Shawn Martinborough
Lettering & Design: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Gregory Wright
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Years in the past, Logan is working for Landau, Luckman & Lake. He is tasked by Chang with rescuing Dr. Carling from a warlord named Kimora. Ultimately, Kimora bests Wolverine in a fight, but is beheaded by Carling. A few years later, Logan is learning the way of the samurai as a means to control his more bestial side when Chang tracks him down. Chang reveals that Kimora is alive and has re-captured Carling, prompting Logan to join Chang in rescuing him again. Chang informs Logan that Kimora is from another dimension, and hopes to use Carling's research to send his armies to conquer Earth. Together, they travel to Kimora's dimension, and meet up with Rose, Carling's now-adult daughter. The trio make their way to Kimora's castle, fighting his shadow assassins along the way. Inside Kimora's castle, they confront the warlord, who kills Carling, triggering the animal inside Wolverine. He fights his way to Kimora, but Rose helps him regain control before killing him. Instead, they use Carling's device to trap Kimora in a dimensional rift. Logan, Chang & Rose return to Earth, and Chang offers Logan a role as Rose's partner working with Landau, Luckman & Lake once more. Logan says he'll consider it, affirming that he needs to start changing the way he looks at the world.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Patreon First - X-Men: The Animated Series Season 1


For our next "Patreon First" review series, I will begin reviewing every episode of one of the franchise's seminal pieces of multi-media expansion, the original Fox Kids animated series! Airing from 1992 to 1997, the series was hugely popular and no doubt responsible for creating a massive influx of X-Men readers, helping keep the line at the top of the sales charts even while the industry as a whole cratered around them.

Monday, July 27, 2020

G. I. JOE #40 - October 1985 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



Cobra Hydrofoil
Shooting across the water
It's an evil new foe
Cobra Hydrofoil's gonna get
G. I. Joe
G. I. Joe A Real American Hero

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

X-amining Archangel #1


"Phantom Wings"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Archangel meets a guilt-ridden, bird-attracting, telepathic ghost woman. 

Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Leonard Manco
Letters: Jonathan Babcock
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Archangel flies off alone after an argument with Psylocke. Flying over New York City, he is psychically attacked & wakes up in a fortress-like building, the captive of woman named Tuesday Bird, who is deathly afraid of birds. She helps heal his damaged wings, while Psylocke & Jean search for him. Eventually, Archangel learns how Tuesday killed her abusive husband by causing their private plane to crash, which also killed a flock of birds. He realizes that her psychic powers are causing her guilt over the death of her husband to subconsciously call the attacking birds to her. He helps her escape the birds, and she lets him go, just as Jean & Psylocke discover that Tuesday died in the crash with her husband. In the wake of his encounter with Tuesday, Archangel finds himself more at peace with himself and his metal wings, though Psylocke is unsure how she feels about another woman - a ghost - being able to reach him when she couldn't.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Top Fives: The Champions - Patreon First


Concluding our coverage of The Champions, here's a trio of Top Five lists highlighting some of the highs and lows of the series. Check back next week for an announcement on the next Patreon review series!

Top Five Champions 

5. Iceman


While Iceman was a reliable source of ice slides, walls, and projectiles in fight scenes, outside of that, he did mostly one of two things throughout the series: moon after Darkstar, or think about how he was going to be quitting the team soon (any day now, for reals, totally...).


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Monday, July 20, 2020

G. I. JOE #37 - July 1985 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



Until now Joe's had it easy,
But now it's gonna get real hard
Cobra's hired evil twin brothers
Leaders of the Crimson Guard
They're double twins so much the same
If one's in trouble the other feels pain
The Crimson Guard is the most dangerous foe
of G.I. Joe A Real American Hero

Friday, July 17, 2020

X-amining Wolverine #98

"Fade to Black"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine is framed for several deaths at the Princess Bar

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Ramon Bernado
Inkers: Napolitano, Milgrom, & Morales
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Wolverine awakens in the Princess Bar in Madripoor, surrounded by the bodies of his friends Archie Corrigan, O'Donnell, & Rose Wu, with no memory of how he got there or what happened to them. His last memory is of receiving a package from Zoe Culloden containing a key and a note he can't read in his memory. Stumbling out of the bar, Wolverine is confronted by Police Cheif Tai, who arrests him. Wolverine offers no resistance. Chained up in jail, Wolverine is visited by Dirt Nap, who taunts him with the fact that he's being setup by everyone. Shortly thereafter, Tyger Tiger strolls by the window of Wolverine's cell, and passes through a hacksaw and one of his yellow-and-blue uniforms. Later, Prince Baran & General Coy lead a group of thugs inside the prison to kill Wolverine, but when he learns a pair of the thugs are responsible for killing his friends and framing him, he snaps, breaking free of his restraint and slaughtering the thugs before turning towards Baran & Coy. Attempting to save himself, Coy kills Baran, but is killed in turn by a returning Tyger Tiger, who proceeds to accompany Wolverine to the damaged Landau, Luckman & Lake Madripoor office, where he uses the key Zoe gave him to open the office's warp chamber. Inside, he finds Zoe waiting, who promises to show him his fate.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

X-amining X-Force #51

"Reflections in the Night"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
In the wake of Sabretooth's escape, Boomer adopts a new look and codename.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Luciano Lima
Inkers: Hunt, Jones, Quijana & Russell
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Tom Vincent
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Cable & Bishop investigate the scene of Sabretooth's escape, and though Bishop believes the evidence shows Boomer played a role in his escape despite her statement to the contrary, Cable angrily backs up his teammate, forcing Storm to quell the tension between them. Up in her room, Boomer begins destroying some of her keepsakes. Meanwhile, Beast runs a series of tests on Shatterstar, puzzled by the presence of DNA matching Longshot's. Up on the roof, a brooding Gambit is disturbed when a sleeping Siryn subconsciously activates her power, destroying part of the mansion. Siryn tells him she was dreaming of being held against her will, alongside Deadpool. Elsewhere, Warpath continues to stretch his powers, racing on foot from the mansion into New York City for a meeting with a mysterious contact. Back at the mansion, Cannonball begs Boomer to let him inside her room, but she tells him to leave, sending a small timebomb through the keyhole to underscore her point. Downstairs, Sunspot discusses his recent experiences with the Askani language with Caliban, while in New York, Warpath meets a woman named Risque, who just gives him a quick kiss before running off, telling him not to forget her. The next morning, Cable & Cannonball gather outside Boomer's room, insisting she let them in. She finally opens the door, revealing a new uniform and shorter hair, telling them she's not Boomer anymore, she's Meltdown.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #49

"Eyes of a New York Woman"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Bishop battles Fatale as Dark Beast discovers the existence of regular Beast

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Mark Waid
Pencils: Jeff Matsuda
Inks: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
At Harry's Hideaway, Bishop attacks Pamela, the waitress, believing her to be spying on him. Beast intervenes, but Bishop hurls him across the room, calling him a pet of Apocalypse. Responding to the disturbance, a police officer enters & Bishop's disarms him, but Pamela, not wanting to make things worse for Bishop, offers to take him back to her apartment to clear his head. Meanwhile, Gateway abducts Chamber from Xavier's School in Massachusetts; the only word Monet was able to get out of Gateway's mind before he disappeared was "Onslaught". Back in New York, Beast searches for Bishop, who is being watched by Dark Beast through Pamela's eyes. When Bishop wakes up, Pamela reveals herself as Fatale and attacks him. Their fight spills out into the street, drawing Beast's attention, but Dark Beast calls it off when he spots his doppelganger for the first time, as he is inspired to start a new, more sinister, plan.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Ranking The Champions #1-17 - Patreon First


The internet loves to rank things, so with the entirety of Champions reviewed, and that entirety standing at just seventeen issues (not counting guest appearances), I thought it would be fun to rank rank every issue of the series (against each other, relatively speaking) before moving on to the next review series.

The Bad

17. Champions #4


Guest Writer Chris Claremont does little to punch up a standard tale about super-soldier programs that is really more of a Black Widow/Hercules team-up than a Champions story.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

X-amining X-Man #12

"Trust"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Nate arrives on Muir Island to find Excalibur waiting for him

Writer: John Ostrander
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings/Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas/Graphic colorworks
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Following Rogue's advice, Nate arrives on Muir Island, and is immediately attacked by a suspicious Excalibur. Moira calls them off, however, and proceeds to run a series of tests on Nate. Elsewhere, Mr. Sinister contacts Threnody and asks if they have any data on Nate Grey; she feigns ignorance, but actually believes that Nate will be her ticket to escaping Sinister. On Muir Island, Moira confirms Nate does not have the Legacy Virus, but finds some odd readings she wants to examine further. In the meantime, Nate spends some time with Wolfsbane. Later, Moira discusses her findings with Xavier: Nate's immense power is burning out his body, killing him. Meanwhile, Nate is drawn to the cell where Spoor is being held, and while he is able to tell Spoor is not being entirely truthful about his claims that Muir Island is place of mutant experimentation, he nevertheless grows suspicious. He proceeds to confront Moira in her lab, and when he reads her mind, is alarmed by the news of his impending death and the fact that she was reporting on him to Xavier. Outside, Colossus & Nightcrawler are stunned when Moira's lab suddenly explodes.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

X-amining X-Factor #119

"The Best Offense"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Wild Child & Shard hit up a rave as the rest of the team prepares for the arrival of the Adversary

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

Plot
Wild Child wakes up in the morning, determined to make a fresh start and put his relationship with Aurora behind him, when he's suddenly greeted by Shard's hologram. Meanwhile, the rest of X-Factor is busy preparing security defenses against the Adversary, though a weakened Roma insists Forge's technology won't be able to stop him. Shard wants to have some fun, so she and Wild Child race out of the base on his motorcycle, attracting his teammates' attention. Out in the desert, the Adversary gloats over Naze's final resting spot, little realizing the shaman may still live. Back in Virginia, Polaris follows after Wild Child & Shard but when she tries to get them to come back, Wild Child snaps at her about Havok before racing away. Elsewhere, Val Cooper receives an update on the captive - and alive - Sabretooth, who briefly breaks free of his restraints before being tranquilized again. Later, Wild Child & Shard arrive at a rave and run afoul of some members of the Friends of Humanity, ultimately fight them off. Shard announces she likes Wild Child, but fritzs out just before they kiss. Wild Child returns to Falls Edge and, feeling bad, find Polaris and apologizes for snapping at her. Polaris declares that while she still loves Havok, she's done feeling pain over his absence. He'll be back when he's back, she declares; both she & Wild Child need to get on with their lives.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #329

"Warriors of the Ebon Night: Part 1"
February 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Archangel set out to find the Crimson Dawn in order to save Psylocke

Writers: Scott Lobdell & Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inker: Tim Townsend
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Observing events in his scrying pool, Dr. Strange realizes Wolverine & Archangel may soon need his help, whether they realize it or not, and sets out in his astral form to assist them. Meanwhile, Wolverine brings Archangel to a tea house in Little Asia, insisting they will find the help Psylocke needs inside. Their entrance is noticed & reported to a shadowy figure who says he was prepared for their arrival. Shortly after they sit down, they are attacked by the Steam Ninja. The ninja's weakness towards metal gives Archangel the edge in the ensuing fight, but it takes Wolverine seemingly killing an old woman in the back of the shop to dissipate the ninja. Archangel is outraged at Wolverine seemingly taking a life, but Wolverine reveals the old woman was actually a man named Gomurr the Ancient, who was controlling the ninja, and is alive and well. Wolverine convinces Gomurr to aid their quest to find the Crimson Dawn, the one substance Wolverine believes will save Psylocke's life. Just then, Dr. Strange arrives, and joins them on their quest as well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

X-amining Spectacular Spider-Man #18 - Patreon First

"My Friend, My Foe!"
May 1978

In a Nutshell
Spider-Man helps free Iceman from Rampage's control!

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: David Hunt
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Mary Ellen Beveridge
Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Though Stuart Clarke - Rampage - lies unconscious, Iceman continues to go on a rampage, attacking Spider-Man and Angel. Their fight spills out of Champions' headquarters and into the streets, though Angel is held up by the arrival of lawyers representing the contractors who built the building. As Spider-Man battles Iceman across the city, he manages to drag him into a carwash, where the sudden intense hint thaws his icy form and snaps him free of Clarke's lingering control. They return to Champions' headquarters to discover Angel has forced the contractors to repair their shoddy work for free, making the building easier to unload. Later, Spider-Man returns to New York as Angel returns Rampage to the hospital and Iceman decides to head out on his own.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

X-amining X-Men Creators Choice #1-2 (Pizza Hut Exclusive)


This review comes courtesy of Patreon supporter Scott Church. After supporting the site at the "Extraordinary" level for twelve months, he chose these issues for review. To get the chance to pick your own issue for review, and support the site, become a Patron here

"One Good Mutant Part One & Two"
December 1993

In a Nutshell
The X-Men battle Mr. Sinister over control of a new mutant

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Alex Saviuk (issue #1), Ron Lim (issue #2)
Inker: Greg Adams (issue #1), Bill Anderson (issue #2)
Letters: Rick Parker
Colors: Paul Beacon (issue #1), George Roussos (issue #2)
Editor: Glenn Herdling
Editor-in-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Plot
The X-Men arrive at a football stadium in Dallas, Texas, where a young player named Derrick Beacon's mutant power is manifesting for the first time. The X-Men try to help him control his power, but this leaves them open to attack by Mr. Sinister, who manages to knock out all the X-Men, save Jubilee. With the X-Men captive, Mr. Sinister tries to convince Beacon to join his efforts at bringing about mutant supremacy, but while Iceman taunts Sinister, Jubilee convinces Beacon to help free the X-Men, after which Mr. Sinister teleports away, defeated. The X-Men proceed to offer Beacon a place at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, but he declines, opting instead to finish high school & go to college.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

X-amining Peter Parker the Spectacular Spider-Man #17 - Patreon First

"Whatever Happened to the Iceman?"
April 1978

In a Nutshell
Spider-Man learns the fate of the Champions as Rampage returns!

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Sal Buscema
Inker: David Hunt
Letterer: Bruce D. Patterson
Colorist: Janice Cohen
Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Peter Parker is sent to Los Angeles to cover the disbandment of the Champions for the Daily Bugle. Arriving outside their now-abandoned headquarters, he is almost killed by a pair of falling panes of glass, but is saved by Angel's quick response and his own (well-disguised) Spider-Man abilities. Meeting with Angel, Peter learns of how the Champions split up following their battle with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. However, Angel acts evasively when Peter asks after Iceman, arousing his suspicions. He returns later that night to the building as Spider-Man, where he discovers Angel arguing with a bandaged and wheelchair-bound Stuart Clarke, the former Rampage, as well as someone wearing Rampage's armor. When they discover Spider-Man, Clarke sets Rampage to attack Spider-Man but Angel, much to Spider-Man's shock, intervenes to prevent Spider-Man from harming Rampage. Forced to knock out Angel, Spider-Man is in turn grabbed by Rampage. Regaining consciousness, Angel manages to disable a set of controls on Clarke's wheelchair, causing Rampage to release Spider-Man as his armor begins to fall apart, revealing Iceman underneath!

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Monday, June 29, 2020

X-aminations in July 2020...and Beyond!


The second half of the year puts us on the cusp of "Onslaught", as Marvel continues to crank out X-product left and right even as the industry on the whole is in the midst of collapsing in on itself (in large part due to Marvel's switch to Heroes World for distribution earlier in 1995). Highlights from this run of titles include Storm's first solo miniseries (featuring a questionable return to the Gene Nation characters), the next big "Onslaught" tease (that ultimately makes little sense in the context of the larger story, making it especially prescient in an unintended way) in X-Men #50, and Wolverine almost getting his adamantium back as the story his book has been building towards since the return from "Age of Apocalypse" reaches its climax! Also: more Gene Ha futuristic Cable stuff, and Marvel vs. DC!

As always, if anything seems missing, let me know!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

X-amining Sabretooth Special #1


"In the Red Zone"
January 1996

In a Nutshell
The X-Men hunt the escaped Sabretooth.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Penciler: Gary Frank
Inkers: Joe Holdredge with Mark McKenna
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Dana Moreshead
Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Having escaped from the X-Mansion, Sabretooth is being hunted by the X-Men. He is found by Caliban in the Morlock Tunnels, but manages to knock out Caliban, eliminating the X-Men's best chance of tracking him, as Jean finds it difficult to locate Sabretooth telepathically. A series of confrontations between Sabretooth and the original five X-Men ensue as they hunt him across New York City, with Sabretooth always managing to escape. Analyzing Sabretooth's movements in one consistent direction, Jean realizes he is heading to Massachusetts in order to target Xavier's School and the next generation of mutants in Generation X. The X-Men converge on Sabretooth once more, and hold him in place long enough for a government strike team led by Val Cooper to arrive on the scene. The X-Men ultimately overpower Sabretooth, but when he moves to attack one of the soldiers, they open fire at close range, killing him. Val orders the body taken away and congratulates the X-Men on limiting the causalities to Sabretooth. The problem, Cyclops tells her, is that Sabretooth is the one they were trying to save.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

X-amining Champions #17 - Patreon First

"The Sentinels Hunt Again"
January 1978

In a Nutshell
In the final issue of the series, the Champions battle Sentinels sent by the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: George Tuska
Embellisher: John Byrne
Letterer: John Constanza
Colorist: Phil Rachelson
Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Black Widow & Hercules are enjoying a quiet evening at Champions headquarters when the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants - Blob, Unus, & Lorelei - burst in, followed closely behind by a group of Sentinels. Offering the mutants sanctuary, Hercules attacks the robots while Black Widow signals the rest of the team for help, unaware that her call for help fits the plans of a mysterious figure watching from the shadows. Outside, Angel is flying above the city when he spots Black Widow's signal, and quickly gathers the rest of his teammates. The combined Champions defeat the Sentinels, at which point the Vanisher emerges from the shadows, revealing that he and the Brotherhood are working together, using the reprogrammed Sentinels to stage an attack in order to lure out the X-Men after killing Angel & Iceman. But Darkstar intervenes, re-animating one of the Sentinels to attack the Brotherhood. When Vanisher attempts to teleport away, she uses her Darkforce power to trap him mid-teleport, with half his body elsewhere. Frightened by what she's done, she seeks comfort from Iceman, while the rest of the Champions wonder what they can do now.

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Friday, June 19, 2020

X-amining Cable #27

"Rebels"
January 1996

In a Nutshell
Cable leads an investigation into the secrets of Genosha

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Ian Churchill
Inker: Scott Hana with help from Ben Herrera & Al Milgrom
Letterer: Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Editor: Patrick & Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In the midst of the battle between the Genoshan rebels & the Magistrates, Cable recognizes Pipeline & Hawkshaw from their encounter at JFK airport. As the rebels begin to overwhelm the Magistrates, Pipeline teleports them all out, but Cable, prepared for the move, manages to knock him out before he gets away. In the aftermath of the fight, Phillip Moreau tells Cable about the rebels' recent assistance from the mysterious Essex, and they discuss the growing likelihood that Phillip's father didn't create the mutate bonding process himself. Deciding to investigate, Cable urges Pipeline to help the rebels and end the destructive madness in Genosha, but when he refuses, Cable telepathically takes over his mind in order to teleport himself, Cable, Domino, Phillip and Jenny Ransome to Genosha's Ridgeback Mountains, the site of bizarre energy readings. Following the readings, they discover a cave obscuring the entrance to a high tech lab, confirming Phillip's suspicions about his father's work. However, the group is being unknowingly watched by both Mr. Sinister and Sugar Man, the latter of which prepares to defend his work from those who seek to take it all away from him.