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

Thursday, April 2, 2020

X-amining Excalibur #91

"Baby, I Love You"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
Excalibur goes out for a night of drinking

Writer: Warren Ellis
Pencilers: David Williams, Mike Wieringo, Jeff Moy & Mike Miller
Inkers: Mike Miller, M. Christian & Philip Moy
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Ariane Lenshock
Separations: Malibu Hues
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Kitty & Pete Wisdom round up their teammates for a night on the town, and Moira brings them to a nearby pub that was once owned by her father. As the drinks begin to flow, much is made of the blossoming relationship between Kitty & Wisdom, and Kurt ultimately agrees to let Wisdom remain with the team. Eventually, Moira, Amanda, Meggan & Rahne end up dancing a chorus line atop one of the tables, and the various couples end up making out. Later, a deeply-intoxicated Moira admits that she drank to forget her problems, and the team stumbles home. After they arrive, Kitty & Wisdom stop & embrace in the moonlight, unaware that Colossus has just arrived on Muir Island.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

X-amining Generation X #9

"Someplace Other Than Here"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
Skin fights a dragon while the rest of Generation X works to restore the Glamour Machine.

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

Plot
As Skin & Penance keep the dragon outside the gates surrounding the Glamour Machine busy, Jubilee & Husk work to repair the device. Meanwhile, Synch & Chamber burst into Cassidy Keep and are reunited with Banshee & Emma. They all make their way to the Glamour Machine, where the still-catatonic M manages to get it working. It needs a power source, however, and Chamber volunteers, drawing on his vast psionic power to recharge it. Just then, Skin & Penance return, announcing the defeat of the dragon, but everyone is too busy celebrating to notice. M returns to her senses, and as the group awaits Cassidy Keep's return to their world, Emma offers a sympathetic ear, but M demurs, saying she doesn't want anyone feeling sorry for her.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

X-amination in April 2020 & July 1995 Power Rankings



After wrapping up the September '95 books, Uncanny's 1995 annual, a look at the fourth Marvel Masterpieces card set, and then back to the main books as we sort of meet Joseph, X-Force gears up for its 50th issue, and X-Man continues X-Man-ing.

On Sale September 1995
April 1: Generation X #9
April 2: Excalibur #91
April 3: Cable #25

April 8: Uncanny X-Men '95

April 15: Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Masterpieces Series IV

On Sale October 1995
April 22: Uncanny X-Men #327
April 23: X-Factor #117
April 24: X-Man #10

April 29: X-Men (vol. 2) #47
April 30: X-Force #49
May 1: Wolverine #96

X-amining Champions #9 - Patreon First

"The Battle of Los Angeles!"
December 1976

In a Nutshell
The newly-unveiled Champions are attacked by Crimson Dynamo and his allies in a battle that rages across LA!

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Bob Hall
Inker: Bob Layton
Letterer: Karen Mantlo
Colorist: Don Warfield
Editor: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Titanium Man & Griffin, led by Crimson Dynamo, attack the Champions inauguration ceremony, though only Angel & Hercules are on hand. However, Ghost Rider arrives in the midst of the battle, having dropped Rampage at the hospital, but the three are eventually overpowered by their opponents. Meanwhile, Ivan & Iceman trace Commissar Bruskin's black pearl to an abandoned warehouse. Iceman creates an ice tunnel to allow them to enter, but they are attacked by the returning villains, carrying the rest of the Champions as captives. As Iceman fights back, Ivan gets inside the warehouse. Black Widow attacks her jailer, Darkstar, but is unable to defeat her until Ivan bursts in, distracting her long enough for Black Widow to knock her out. Just then, the Crimson Dynamo enters and declares he will kill the fallen Champions if Ivan doesn't surrender. He then removes his helmet to reveal himself as Yuri Petrovich, Ivan's thought-dead son!

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

Monday, March 30, 2020

G. I. JOE #30 - December 1984 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



They can destroy and leave no traces
Dreadnoks!
The evil is written all over their faces
Dreadnoks!
A horrifying new foe of G.I. Joe
G.I. Joe, a real American hero
Fighting evil Cobra!


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7 Episode 06

"Deal No Deal"

The Moral of the Story
Mistakes are valuable lessons often learned too late.

Plot
As Trace shows off her ship, Silver Angel, to Ahsoka, Rafa arrives at the hanger, needing Trace's help: she lined up a delivery job, but her contact for the pilot & ship has dropped out, and she needs the Silver Angel & Trace to do the job instead. Ahsoka volunteers to come along, something which doesn't sit well with Rafa. Soon, the three depart, and it quickly becomes clear that Trace has never flown a starship before, as she nearly avoids a confrontation with the Republic military on the way off planet. Rafa directs them to Kessel, explaining that they've been hired to pick up a shipment of unrefined spice. They meet Kinash Lock, the majordomo of Kessel's King Yaruba, and are directed to a nearby mining pit where they pick up the shipment. After leaving Kessel, Rafa announces they're delivering the spice to the Pyke Syndicate. Ahsoka & Rafa argue over what to do with the spice, which prompts Trace to simply dump it in Hyperspace, something both her sister and Ahsoka agree just made their situation worse. Ahsoka comes up with a plan, however, and when they arrive on Oba Diah, Ahsoka uses a Jedi mind trick on Krim to make him process the exchange without any questions. But one of his associates remains suspicious, and discovers the empty cargo containers just as Trace prepares to depart. With the Pykes now aware of the missing spice, the Silver Angel is caught in a tractor beam as patrol ships quickly surround it.

Friday, March 27, 2020

X-amining Wolverine #95

"Manhattan Rhapsody"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine battles Dirt Nap as his wild side continues to take control

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Dan Green & Matt Ryan
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu's Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
In Egypt, Cyber battles a robotic Wolverine as the Dark Riders monitor him, pleased with the results. In New York, Wolverine is walking the streets, monitored from afar by James & Heather Hudson. He oversees a strange man named Dirt Nap try to sell a kid some stolen computers & intervenes, drawing Dirt Nap's ire, but James gets involved before Wolverine can attack, thinking he's lost control, which allows Dirt Nap to escape. He & James almost come to blows, but Heather breaks them up, and Wolverine says he needs a cup of coffee. Meanwhile, at the offices of Senator Kelly, Kelly's aide Noah receives a call from Zoe Culloden, telling him they've released "the napper" too soon, but the plan is still afoot to rendezvous in the Canadian Rockies. Back in Manhattan, Wolverine spots Dirt Na outside the diner, having taken control of another host. He runs out to attack him, but is possessed himself. However, Wolverine's healing factor expels Dirt Nap, forcing him into the body of a nearby rat, which quickly scurries away, saying his boss still has big plans for Wolverine. In the wake of the attack, James apologize for doubting Wolverine, and tells him to come home to Canada with them so they can reverse his regression. But Wolverine says, after all these years of fearing it, he's starting to like his wild side now that it's taking over.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

X-amining X-Force #48

"Intervention"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Force holds an intervention for Boomer.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inkers: Pennington & Rubinstein
Letterer: Comicraft
Colorists: Marie Javins & Derek Bellman
Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras
Technical Advisor: Christine G.

Plot
Boomer goes downstairs in the middle of the night to find the rest of X-Force - as well as Cannonball - waiting for her. They tell her they're concerned about the time she's spending with Sabretooth, and are intervening in order to convince her to stop. They remind her of Sabretooth's participation in the slaughter of Caliban's people, but Boomer throws back Caliban's own villainous past, as well as Sunspot's time as Reignfire, in their faces. Warpath insists Sabretooth is pure evil, but Boomer argues that no one is beyond redemption. Shatterstar is unconcerned: if Boomer thinks she can handle Sabretooth, then it's none of their concern. Meanwhile, Holocaust is busy slaughtering everyone on a small South Seas island when Sebastian Shaw shows up, offering him a part in a plan against Shaw's son. Back at the X-Mansion, X-Force tries to convince Boomer she's going to get killed, and gives her an ultimatum: stop seeing Sabretooth, or leave the team. Xavier then enters, and when Siryn reminds him of the second chance he gave Magneto, he admits he was wrong to do so. Boomer collapses, finally accepting that she has to give up Sabretooth, just like she gave up on her father. Later, she goes to the Danger Room one last time. She calls out to Sabretooth, asking him to tell her all the time they spent together wasn't for nothing. But he gives no response, and merely smiles in the darkness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #46

"They're Baaack..."
November 1995

In a Nutshell
The X-Babies, running for their lives, seek out the help of the X-Men.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Cam Smith
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Sosers & Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
At Storm's urging, Gambit takes Bishop out for a night-on-the-town to clear their heads, bringing him to an underground strip club casino. Meanwhile, Jean Grey is at a Manhattan bookstore looking for a gift for her niece & nephew, accompanied by Iceman. The pair are unknowingly watched by someone in the shadows. Elsewhere, Senator Kelly leads a group of heavily-armed soldiers into an secret Sentinel factory, the inhabitants of which have all vanished. When they turn on the power, all the computer screens repeat the same word: Onslaught. Back in New York, Bishop & Gambit discuss Bishop's distrust of Gambit over his actions in Bishop's time. They are being watched by a group of X-Babies, whose emergence triggers a brawl. At the bookstore, Iceman asks Jean to read his mind for any traces of Emma Frost, and they discuss his recent struggles with his powers. Just then, X-Baby versions of Storm & Iceman tumble out of the stacks onto them, arguing with one another. Elsewhere, a woman picking tomatoes in a field comes across a man with flowing gray hair and a beard; he can remember falling from the stars, but the man once known as Magento cannot remember why he is there. Back at the club, the X-Babies are impressed with how quickly Gambit & Bishop quelled the fight. They tell the X-Men they are the run. Just then, the hunters Gog and Magog enter the club, saying they are there to cancel the X-Babies.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

X-amining Champions #8 - Patreon First

"Divide & Conquer"
October 1976

In a Nutshell
The Champions hold a public unveiling even as the Russian agents escalate their attacks.

Writer: Bill Mantlo
Penciler: Bob Hall
Inker: B. Patterson
Letterer: K. Mantlo
Colorist: D. Warfield
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
Rampage arrives at the Champions headquarters bearing pictures of a captive Black Widow, announcing she's been captured by someone called the Outcast. His message delivered, Rampage's suit suddenly explodes. As Iceman puts out the ensuing flames, the Champions discover Rampage is still alive, prompting Ghost Rider to rush him to the hospital. Richard Fenster urges the remaining Champions to prepare for the team's public unveiling in a few hours. Ivan & Iceman decide to work on finding Black Widow, leaving Hercules & Angel to clean-up. Meanwhile, Black Widow awakens in abandoned warehouse alongside Bruskin to find herself a captive of Darkstar & Titanium Man. The two villains then leave and meet with Griffin and the leader of the group, the Outcast, wearing the Crimson Dynamo armor. Back at Champions headquarters, Ivan unveils the tracking device he's built to home in on the frequency of the black pearl carried by Bruskin, and the pair set out to follow the signal. Below, Angel, Hercules and Fenster greet the crowd gathered outside the building and Angel formally announces the formation of the Champions, but before the celebration can begin, the gathering is attacked by Titanium Man, Griffin, and Crimson Dynamo!

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

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7 Episode 05

"Gone With a Trace"

The Moral of the Story
If there is no path before you, create your own.

Plot
Traveling across Coruscant, Ahsoka's speeder bike malfunctions, sending her plummeting into the city's lower levels. She crashes near a repair shop, whose mechanic, Trace, offers to repair the bike - for a price. When Ahsoka admits she doesn't have much in the way of credits, Trace agrees to lend Ahsoka the tools needed to fix it herself. Trace shows Ahsoka the starship she is repairing, with the hope that she and her sister Rafa will be able to leave the planet & escape the war. Just then, Pintu and two thugs arrive, looking to collect on Rafa's debt. Ahsoka fights them off. Later, they meet with Rafa, who has a job lined up to earn the credits to pay back Pintu. The job involves building Binary Load Lifter droids; Ahsoka agrees to help Trace with the work, even though she knows that model of droid to be unstable. Sure enough, one of the droids goes wild upon activation, leading Ahsoka & Trace on a chase through the underworld before they bring it to heel. Back at the garage, Rafa promises her sister she'll do the right thing with the droids, but in the end, she hands them over to her client, and uses the money to pay off Pintu. Disappointed, Ahsoka heads off to work on her bike, but Trace follows after, offering to help.

Friday, March 20, 2020

X-amining X-Man #9

"A Question of Power" / "Teeth of the Storm"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
Nate battles Dark Beast

Story: Jeph Loeb (1st Story)
Writer: John Ostrander
Pencilers: Skroce & Haynes, Lee Weeks (2nd Story)
Inkers: LaRosa, Carani, Lowe, Hanna & Pennington, Bill Sienkiewicz (2nd Story)
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft, The Usual Suspects (2nd Story)
Colorist: Mike Thomas, Paul Becton (2nd Story)
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Having killed Rex, Dark Beast confronts Nate, impressed with the work Sinister did in creating him. He suggests he knows more about Nate's nature, and tries to persuade him to help rule this world. But Nate knows Dark Beast's reputation from their home reality, and a fight ensues. Nate is more powerful, but Dark Beast fiercer when in close range, and he wounds Nate, taunting him that Sinister created him to be a weapon, but the weapon doesn't need to remain powerful after it completes its task, explaining Nate's random drops in power. He says he can help Nate and offers him a place at his side again, but Nate is adamant and knocks out Dark Beast. Recalling there were people once before who could help him, Nate instead decides to seek out this world's X-Men, and heads off. Watching this unfold, Blaquesmith realizes he must warn Professor X of Nate's imminent arrival.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

X-amining X-Factor #116

"Home Comings"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
Wild Child faces his past in Aurora & Alpha Flight!

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

Plot
At Department H headquarters in Canada, Northstar & Puck discover Aurora, their former Alpha Flight teammate & Northstar's sister, is missing. Northstar suspects she's gone after her former lover, Wild Child. Later, Wild Child is dirt biking outside of X-Factor's Falls Edge base when he's attacked by Aurora, who is angry at him for leaving her. Meanwhile, Val & Mystique are meeting with Forge, but they are interrupted by a hologram of Bishop's sister, Shard, whose projector Forge is repairing as a favor. Just then, they are alerted to the Wild Child/Aurora fight, and join Havok & Polaris outside, along with the newly-arrived Puck & Northstar. Elsewhere, Dark Beast monitors Random's progress as he drives towards Falls Edge, on a mission to carry out Dark Beast's plan against Havok. At Fall's Edge, Wild Child explains to a furious Aurora how, once his mutation evolved further and made him more unattractive, he didn't think he was good enough for her. Aurora declares that if she can't have him, no one can, and tries to kill him. Meanwhile, Random arrives at Fall's Edge, torn between his feelings for Polaris and his desire for Dark Beast to make him whole again. Elsewhere, Mystique tries to distract Aurora by shifting into Wild Child's former, handsome, form, but Wild Child objects to this tactic & exposes the ruse, saying simply that he and Aurora need to move on with their lives. Aurora then passes out, having overextended her powers. Puck & Northstar gather her up and Northstar warns Wild Child to stay away from his sister.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #326

"The Nature of Evil"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
Gambit confronts Sabretooth as Beast & Xavier debate the threat of the Legacy Virus.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Tim Townsend
Letters: Richard Stakings & Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Gambit, sitting alone on the roof of the mansion, ruminating on his recent reunion with Rogue in Seattle, is joined by Storm, and they discuss whether a person can truly change who they are. Meanwhile, Beast & Professor Xavier appear at WHO conference in San Francisco to debate the Legacy Virus, in an attempt to play down the virus' threat and calm the public's fear & anger toward mutants. Genoshan Rene Majcomb is in the audience & argues on behalf of the mutates killed by the virus, but Val Cooper delivers the government's official position that at present, there is little evidence proving the threat of the virus to the population at large. At the X-Mansion, Boomer has growing doubts regarding the sincerity of the seemingly-docile Sabretooth, but Gambit does not. He bursts into the Danger Room and confronts Sabretooth with holographic recreations of his past kills, arguing that no one can forget or move past those heinous acts, until Storm comes in and makes him stop. Back in San Francisco, Beast finds Xavier ruminating on his recent failures, notably with Sabretooth. Beast says that it may very well be in Sabretooth's nature to kill, and while they may have failed to change him, they shouldn't let Sabretooth change them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

X-amining Champions #7 - Patreon First

"The Man Who Created Black Widow"
August 1976

In a Nutshell
Darkstar debuts as Black Widow's past resurfaces!

Writer: Tony Isabella
Penciler: George Tuska
Inker: Vince Colletta
Letterer: K. Mantlo
Colorist: Phil Rache
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
At the Champions' temporary headquarters, Iceman & Hercules are suddenly hit by a rocket. They are able to disable it, after which Ivan & Black Widow take it away for examination, while a shadowy figure watches from afar, hoping Ivan will deduce its origins. Meanwhile, at the hospital, Angel's lawyer is dismayed that the injured Rampage won't accept the Champions' financial aid. Just then, Griffin & Darkstar burst into the hospital and abduct Rampage. Angel & Ghost Rider pursue them, but the villains manage to fight them off & escape. Back at the Champions' base, Hercules & Iceman check for additional traps, with business manager Richard Fenster eager to ensure the upcoming ceremony goes well. The villainous Outcast, scouting the facility, uses the sudden arrival of a child looking for help to escape unnoticed. Elsewhere, Ivan & Black Widow find evidence in the missile that it was sent by their old mentor & ally Commissar Bruskin, who contacts them via a radio in the missile. Black Widow immediately tracks him down on a nearby rooftop, but before they can talk, Bruskin is blasted from behind by the Titanium Man!

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




Saturday, March 14, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7 Episode 04

"Unfinished Business"

The Moral of the Story
Trust placed in another is trust earned.

Plot
Plotting the retaking of Anaxes, Echo proposes a daring plan: sneak aboard the Separatist flagship using his knowledge & use their reliance on his algorithm to feed them false information. He assures the Jedi that Wat Tambor will have kept the loss of Echo to himself, out of fear for his profit margins, and Mace Windu reluctantly agrees to the plan. As Mace & Obi-Wan begin the assault of the Separatist ground forces, Echo, Anakin, Rex and the Bad Batch sneak aboard General Trench's ship. As Mace & Obi-Wan's forces breach the massive Separatist assembly plant, Trench puts in a call to Skago Minor for Echo's algorithm to direct his moves. Masking his location, Echo sends an order to send all droid forces to that area, intending to disable them all at once with a massive feedback pulse. After Echo does so, Trench learns Echo's orders came from aboard the ship, so he triggers a massive bomb beneath the assembly plant surface to wipe out the Republic forces. As Mace Windu works to defuse the bomb, Anakin confronts Trench for the disarming sequence, cutting off several of Trench's arms to get it. When Trench moves to attack Anakin, he kills him. Anakin then grabs the ship's self-destruct trigger, and as Mace disarms the bomb on the planet's surface, Anakin and the clones fight their way back to their ship, at which point Anakin lets Wrecker blow up Trench's flagship. In the aftermath of the battle, Echo decides his place is with the Bad Batch, and Rex salutes the group as they prepare to depart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

X-amining Generation X '95


"Of Leather and Lace" / "The Very Personal and Very Private Journal of Monet St Croix"
1995

In a Nutshell
Generation X rescues Mondo from the mysterious Barrington

Story: Scott Lobdell & Jeph Loeb, Scott Lobdell (2nd Story)
Breakdowns: Wood and McManus
Pencils: Jeff Matsuda (2nd Story)
Finishes: Lightle, McManus, Sienkiewicz, Panosian, V.Russel & Chaloner
Inkers: Vince Russel and Rurik Taylor (2nd Story)
Letters: Rich and Dave at Comicraft,  J.T Babcock  (2nd Story)
Colors: Moreshead and Kalisz, Dana Moreshead (2nd Story)
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Cordelia Frost brings Mondo to Shinobi Shaw, hoping her control over the powerful mutant will lead Shaw to grant her the title of White Queen within the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle. He declines, however, and the pair are then attacked by agents of Barrington, who kidnap Mondo. With her leverage gone, Cordelia reluctantly turns to her sister, Emma Frost, for help retrieving him. Unable to determine Cordelia's true intentions, Emma agrees to help her, and leads Generation X to battle Barrington's men and rescue Mondo. Meanwhile, Penance suffers a seizure, and Banshee turns to Moira for help, leading the pair to finally discuss Moira's infection with the Legacy Virus. Later, after returning to the school, Mondo decides to stay with Generation X and enroll, much to Cordelia's dismay. She vows to one day get even with her sister.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

X-amining Champions #6 - Patreon First

"Mad Dogs & Businessmen"
June 1976

In a Nutshell
The Champions name a team leader as they continue their fight with Rampage!

Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: George Tuska & Vince Colletta
Letterer: Irv Watanabe
Colorist: Petra Goldberg
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
With Rampage threatening Angel, the Champions feign retreat, but loop back around and turn the tide, driving Rampage off. Hiding on a rooftop, Rampage changes into normal clothes, then slips past the Champions amongst other escaping bystanders. As the wounded Ivan is put in an ambulance, Angel declares that the team needs a leader, and nominates Black Widow; the group then heads to the hospital with Ivan. Later, seeing news footage of Rampage's attack on TV, his former lawyer recognizes him, and calls the police. At his company office building, Rampage decides to dismantle his suit before he's caught, but just then, the police arrive, prompting him to blast out of the building using an experimental jet pack. Hearing reports of the ensuing battle between Rampage and the police on the radio, Iceman informs the Champions and they leave to resume their fight with him. When they arrive, Rampage realizes he is over-matched and triggers an explosion with his jet pack. But Rampage is caught in and badly injured by the ensuing debris, while his lawyer realizes he can now sell the company to pay off Rampage's creditors and still turn a tidy profit.

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

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7 Episode 03

"On the Wings of Keeradaks"

The Moral of the Story
Survival is one step on the path to living.

Plot
Anakin & the Bad Batch hold off the Techno Union forces as Tech & Rex work to free Echo. As Wat Tambor closes in, Echo is freed and directs the group to an exhaust pipe above them. Thanks to Wrecker's strength and Anakin's Jedi abilities, the group escapes, with Wrecker leaving behind a handful of detonators to destroy Tambor's "science experiments". As Anakin and the clones try to escape the citadel, they're surrounded while perched on a narrow pipe high above the ground. Tech, using recordings he made of their cries, calls a flock of keeradaks to them, which they mount & fly away. The keeradaks deliver the Republic soldiers back to the village of the Poletecs, and Rex gives an impassioned speech urging them to take up arms against the Separatists. They agree, and fight side-by-side with Anakin and the clones when the Techno Union attacks. Together, they drive back the droid forces, much to Wat Tambor's dismay, who is determined to recoup the lost profit as a result of Echo's escape. As the Republic troops prepare to leave the planet, Rex apologizes for not finding Echo sooner, and promises him everything will soon be like it was, though Echo seems less sure of that sentiment.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) '95


"A Sinister Heart" / "Words"
November 1995

In a Nutshell
Genesis targets Mr. Sinister through his relationship with a former actress.

Writers: J.M. DeMatteis & Ralph Macchio, Scott Lobdell with Matt Idelson (2nd Story)
Pencils: Terry Dodson & John Paul Leon, Ramon Bernardo (2nd Story)
Inks: Jon Holdredge & Shawn Martinborough,  P. Craig Russell (2nd Story)
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Mike Thomas, Mike Rockwitz (2nd Story)
Editor: Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Beast & Jean Grey are at Beast's cabin in the Catskills, awaiting the arrival of Cyclops & Archangel for a weekend of relaxation, when they're attacked by the Dark Riders. Jean is captured, but manages to leave a faint telepathic trail for Beast to follow. Jean is taken to a Hollywood mansion, where Genesis, master of the Dark Riders, has captured an old woman named Faye Livingstone, drawing the attention of Mr. Sinister. Genesis wants Jean to read Faye's mind in order to learn why Mr. Sinister secretly visits her every year. Sinister, held at bay with Faye captured, recalls his romantic relationship with her in Depression Era Hollywood, how she ultimately found his secret lab and he was forced to hold her captive in order to conduct genetic experiments on her. Beast arrives and fights his way inside the mansion, where he convinces Jean to do as Genesis is asking and connect Sinister and Faye's minds. Once she does so, the pair share a final dance, and Faye tells Sinister she knows that, despite his cruelty, he truly did love her. Faye then dies, and Genesis leaves, having found no weakness in Sinister to exploit. Mr. Sinister then allows Beast & Jean to leave as well. They return to the cabin, ruminating that it is not their powers, but their capacity for love - which Sinister rejected - that gives them their strength.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

X-amining Champions #5 - Patreon First

"The Economy is So Bad That..."
April 1976

In a Nutshell
The Champions battle Rampage, villain of the recession.

Writer: Tony Isabella
Artists: Don Heck & John Tartag
Inker: Mike Esposito
Letterer: John Costanza
Colorist: Janice Cohen
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
Angel learns that he has inherited his recently-deceased parents' fortune, while at the same time, industrialist Stuart Clarke learns he is bankrupt, the result of competition from Stark Industries and the recent recession. Bitter, he knows just how to revive his fortunes. Later, Ivan worries that it might be too soon for Black Widow to join up with the new team Angel is forming, but she thinks working with a larger group might work out this time. At UCLA, Richard Fenster is fired, but Angel offers him a job as the business manager of the Champions, his new superhero team. Meanwhile, Stuart Clarke dons a suit of sophisticated armor he's created, and decides to rob a bank. Passing by, Iceman intervenes, but Clarke's exoskeleton overpowers him. The rest of the Champions arrive, but Clarke's strength rivals even Hercules', and when Angel is knocked out, Clarke grabs him and threatens to kill him if the rest of the Champions don't back off!

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

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7 Episode 02

"A Distant Echo"

The Moral of the Story
The search for truth begins with belief.

Plot
Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker joins Rex and the Bad Batch on a mission to Skago Minor, following the signal Rex believes to have come from Echo. Shortly after arriving on the planet, they are attacked by the native Poletec, but with translation help from Tech, they learn the Poletec merely want to avoid becoming embroiled in the war, and agree to help the Republic forces oust the Separatists, guiding them to the city of Purkoll. Their approach is noticed by Techno-Union foreman Wat Tambor, who decides to set a trap. Anakin and the clones attack his citadel, but Wrecker quickly ignores Anakin's orders to take a more stealthy approach. Fighting their way inside instead, Rex and Tech follow the signal to a locked chamber. Inside, they find Echo, alive but attached to a stasis pod, unsure of where he is. Rex promises him that he's going home.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

X-amining X-Men Unlimited #8

"First Contact"
 October 1995

In a Nutshell
Chris Bradley learns he's a mutant, meets the X-Men, and is diagnosed with the Legacy Virus.

Writer: Howard Mackie
Pencilers: Dan Lawlis & Tom Grummet
Inker: Iam Akin
Letterer: Matt Webb
Colorist: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Cover: Adam Pollina & Ian Akin
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
High school freshman Chris Bradley is excited to get to school and ask out his crush, Donna, but when his mutant ability to control electricity manifests, he's has to stay home as his parents try to figure out what's happening to him. Later, when he returns to school, he gets up the nerve to ask out Donna, but when his power again manifests, he runs out of the school and into Jean Grey & Gambit, who have been watching him. They meet with Chris' parents and offer him a place at the Xavier Institute, but Chris turns them down, until his friend Jeff rejects him for being a mutant. At the X-Mansion, Chris meets the X-Men and learns about the Danger Room. He begins learning to control his powers under the mentor-ship of Iceman. However, a routine blood test reveals that Chris has also contracted the Legacy Virus. He is overwhelmed by the news, but after a heart-to-heart with Iceman, comes to accept his fate. His powers under control, he decides to return home and live the best life he can. He attempts to reunite with Jeff, but Jeff still wants nothing to do with him. Donna, however, does, even after Chris tells her about his terminal illness, and Chris rushes home to call Iceman and tell him all about it.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

X-amining Champions #4 - Patreon First

"Murder at Malibu"
March 1976

In a Nutshell
The Champions battle a scientist trying to recreate the Super Soldier serum.

Guest Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: George Tuska
Inker: Vince Colleta
Letterer: I Watanabee
Colorist: P. Rache
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
Black Widow & Hercules are attacked on the beach by an old man with surprisingly-superhuman strength and agility. They overpower him, but are then attacked by armed mercenaries, who take all three into custody. They are taken to San Marino mental hospital and brought before Dr. Lansing, who explains the old man was the first successful test of his efforts to recreate the Super Soldier serum which created Captain America. He then brainwashes Black Widow & Hercules and sets them, along with a group of mutates he's created, against Angel, Iceman, Ghost Rider and Ivan. During the course of the ensuing battle, Black Widow manages to regain her senses enough to shatter Lansing's control box, freeing herself and Hercules. Lansing attempts to escape, but without the control box, the mutates turn on him, killing him. By dawn, the police arrive, and Angel reminds everyone that world needs people like them: Champions.

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

Monday, February 24, 2020

X-amination in March 2020 & June 1995 Power Rankings


A pair of annuals (including Generation X's first) lead off the month, followed by more developments in the Sabretooth plotline, an Age of Apocalypse reunion, and the beginning of Adjectiveless' post-Nicieza life!

On Sale August 1995
March 4: X-Men (vol. 2) '95

March 11: Generation X '95

On Sale September 1995
March 18: Uncanny X-Men #326
March 19: X-Factor #116
March 20: X-Man #9

March 25: X-Men (vol. 2) #46
March 26: X-Force #48
March 27: Wolverine #95

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Force in Focus: The Clones Wars Season 7x01

"The Bad Batch"

The Moral of the Story
"Embrace others for their differences, for that makes you whole."

Plot
Facing mounting losses in their defense of the Republic shipyards on Anaxes, Clone commanders Rex & Cody approach generals Mace Windu & Anakin Skywalker with a theory: using analytics, the Separatist droid army has learned to counter Rex's various strategies. They propose a mission behind enemy lines to steal any info on the process from the Separatist Cyber Center. Privately, Rex confesses to Cody that he believes Echo may still be alive, as he and Rex devised many of the strategies currently being blunted. Shortly thereafter, Clone Force 99, the four-man "bad batch" of troopers, arrives on Anaxes for the mission. Alongside Rex & Cody, they travel behind enemy lines, but are shot down. Traveling on foot, the force comes across a Separatist outpost en route to the Cyber Center. Though it possess little strategic value, the clones capture it, hoping to keep the Separatists off guard. They then proceed to the Cyber Center, where they intercept a signal being broadcast from Skagos Minor by someone who identifies himself as CT-1409. In the wake of a mounting Separatist counter-attack, the clones escape from the center. Rex, brooding in the wake of the mission, is more certain than ever that Echo is alive: CT-1409 was his identification number.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

X-amining Wolverine #94

"The Lurker in the Machine"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine visits Generation X

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Chris Alexander
Inks: Mike Sellers & Al Milgrom
Lettering: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Coloring: Joe Rosas
Separations: Violent Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
The Dark Riders arrive in the devastated city of Akkaba, and proceed from there with Cyber to their master's citadel. Meanwhile, Wolverine arrives at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters at Jubilee's request, and Emma declares him the school's first guest lecturer. He gathers the students inside the biosphere for a lesson in hand-to-hand combat, but during the session, he senses something and orders everyone out. The next day, Jubilee & Skin tell their classmates about waking up in the middle of night and witnessing Wolverine enter the biosphere. As they watched, Wolverine confronted some sort of malevolent spirit, one which forced him into a berserker rage and radiated anger in visible waves. Wolverine managed to drive it out, before leaving the school himself. Banshee says he believes Wolverine encountered a Token, a spirit of the dead which can't abide its own kind, which is how Wolverine forced it to leave. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

X-amining X-Force #47

"Breakout"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Deadpool breaks Siryn out of the Weisman Institute.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inker: Mark Pennington
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Deadpool breaks into the Weisman Institute and frees Siryn from her power inhibiting collar. However, the pair are unknowingly watched by young Jeremy Stevens. Meanwhile, working together, X-Force manages to fly the damaged PACRAT back to the mansion. At the Weisman Institute, Siryn & Deadpool fight their way to Dr. Weisman, who insists she's done nothing wrong before a brief moment of seeming clarity. Just then, Siryn & Deadpool are telepathically knocked out by Jeremy. Back at the X-Mansion, the boys check in on Shatterstar in the med bay, while Boomer calls her father. Later, Siryn suddenly returns to the mansion, much to Warpath's delight, but Siryn simply tells him she needs to speak to Cable, to whom she declares that everything is fine at the Weisman Institute. Outside, Sunspot laments endangering the team in Siberia, but Cable telepathically assures him everyone makes mistakes. Sunspot thanks him in the language of Askani, shocking them both. Inside, Boomer visits Sabretooth, and is dismayed to learn he can talk. He asks for the Danger Room setting be changed to the forest outside, but gets scared when a holographic Wolverine is included in the simulation. Meanwhile, back at the institute, Dr. Weisman interrogates Deadpool under the direction of Jeremy, who is pleased to have another player in his game.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

X-amining Champions #3 - Patreon First

"Assault on Olympus"
February 1976

In a Nutshell
Black Widow, Angel, Iceman & Ghost Rider storm Olympus to rescue Hercules & Venus!

Plot: Tony Isabella
Script: Bill Mantlo
Pencils: George Tuska
Inks: Vince Colleta
Letters: Karen Mantlo
Colors: George Roussos
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
As Angel, Black Widow and Iceman lament their inability to stop Hercules & Venus from being taken to Olympus, Ghost Rider returns, having found a way for the group to reach the mythical realm: the mountain of ice created by Iceman to block one of the portals Pluto used to come to Earth remains, meaning the portal itself still exist behind the ice. On Olympus, Zeus bemoans his inability to change Hercules' fate. Just then, the Huntsman, passing near the clogged portal, sees the wall of ice explode, revealing the four heroes charging through behind it. They attack Pluto's forces, with Angel knocking out the Huntsman, prompting Hercules & Venus to join the fray. Pluto himself enters the battle, but Ghost Rider convinces Zeus of Pluto's lies & machinations, prompting him to banish Pluto from his sight, ending Pluto's plans. Zeus apologizes to his son, and offers him his choice of punishment for the offenders, but Venus urges forgiveness, with which the rest of the heroes agree. The group, joined by Hercules, then departs for Earth, with Angel wondering what will happen next.

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



Friday, February 14, 2020

X-amining Cable #24

"Lost Souls"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Cable learns he has to go back to the future while Domino battles Grizzly.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Sal Larroca
Inks: Bud LaRosa, Al Milgrom & Bob McCloud
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Mike Thomas
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Grizzly attacks Domino, and their fight spills out of Grizzly's cabin and into the woods. Meanwhile, Cable brings the unconscious Jenskot to Blaquesmith. When she wakes up, she tells them she was sent to the past to bring Cable to the future in order to save the life of her beloved, Nathan Dayspring. In the Rockies, Domino & Grizzly's fight escalates, and Domino is forced to kill him in self-defense. Before he dies, he tells her Tyler, Cable's son, made him savage as an act of revenge. Back on Blaquesmith's ship, Jenskot realizes that Cable is an older version of Nathan, and reveals that she needs him to go back to the night of an important battle for the Clan Chosen, when Nathan has grown mysteriously ill. He agrees, and Blaquesmith sends them to the future, after which Mother Askani appears, reminding him his work isn't done. In the Rockies, Domino buries Grizzly, then disappears as Blaquesmith also sends her into the future, while Grizzly's cabin burns.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

X-amining Excalibur #90

"Dream Nails Part 3: Blood Eagle"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Kitty & Pete Wisdom take down the Dream Nails base.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artists: Ken Lashley, David Williams, Carlos Pacheco & Larry Stroman
Inkers: Tom Wegrzyn, Mike Miller, Cam Smith & Larry Stroman
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Joe Rosas, Ariane Lenshoek & Malibu
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
A captive Wisdom awakens to find himself being tortured by Shrine, a telepath who intends to trigger painful memories of Wisdom's past which will stress him out, thereby activating the Blood Eagle virus Black Air has created which causes physical pain tuned to stressful reactions. Elsewhere, Kitty searches Dream Nails for Wisdom. Meanwhile, Wolfsbane arrives on Muir Isle. Back at Dream Nails, Kitty discovers specimens of alien species encountered by Black Air, and runs into the escaped Uncreated, the aliens whom Black Air weaponized to create Blood Eagle. At Muir Island, Rory assures Amanda Sefton he has no intention of letting anything happen to put him on the path to becoming Ahab, but when he resumes his treatment of Spoor, Spoor reveals he knows that Rory has run out of the mood stabilizers which make him immune to Spoor's powers. At Dream Nails, Kitty phases past the Uncreated while Wisdom turns the tables on Shrine, overwhelming him with the horror of Wisdom's memories, allowing him to escape. At the same time, Spoor goads Rory into attacking him, which triggers the defensive laser grid, slicing off Rory's leg. At Dream Nails, Wisdom & Kitty reunite, then trigger an explosion which destroys the base. Flying back to Muir, they set the Midnight Runner on autopilot as they succumb to their romantic feelings for one another.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

X-amining Generation X #8

"What Happened to Cassidy Keep?!"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Generation X investigates the disappearance of Cassidy Keep.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Roger Cruz
Inkers: Mark Buckingham and Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Standing on the edge of a vast canyon, Banshee, alongside Emma and the rest of Generation X, wonders where the heck his ancestral home, Cassidy Keep, has gone, something which interests Black Air agent Scicluna as well. As the adults discuss the situation, Synch discovers he can use his powers to connect to the dimension into which the castle disappeared, which pulls him and the nearby Chamber into that realm. The rest of the group follow them by jumping into a plume of purple mist, and end up scattered in the realm of faerie. Elsewhere, Mondo's friend Cordelia dives into the ocean, and when she fails to emerge, Mondo goes in after her. Back in the faerie land, Chamber & Synch are battling a group of armored knights, while Banshee & Emma wake up in a dungeon alongside Eamon O'Donnell, the leprechaun keeper of Cassidy Keep. The rest of the students are confronted by Grand Dame, a fairy queen, who needs their help to repair the glamour machine, the source of the realm's magical power. Approaching the machine, M once more goes catatonic, then begins working, even as an angry dragon beats down the door, wondering who is messing with the glamour machine.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

X-amining Champions #2 - Patreon First

"Whom the Gods Would Join..."
January 1976

In a Nutshell
Pluto steps up his plan as the Champions battle the Huntsman.

Writer: Tony Isabella
Penciler: Don Heck
Inker: John Tartag
Letterer: Irv Watanabe
Colorist: Phil Rache
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
Hercules, Angel, Iceman, Black Widow, Venus & Ghost Rider fight Pluto, Hippolyta & Ares, forcing the gods back to Olympus through a portal, which Iceman then seals with ice. On Olympus, Pluto reveals how he's formed a mutual defense pact with other underworld lords, which he uses as leverage to force Zeus into enforcing Pluto's arranged marriages. Back on Earth, Ghost Rider completes a sweep of the UCLA campus and reports all their previous mythological foes have vanished, but just then, the Huntsman, sent by Zeus, attacks Hercules and his allies. The Huntsman in turn summons the massive Menoetius to battle the heroes. Under Black Widow's leadership, the group fights back, but the Huntsman manages to trick Ghost Rider into turning his hellfire on his allies, knocking them out. Huntsman then escapes to Olympus with Hercules & Venus, leaving Black Widow, Angel, Iceman & Ghost Rider despairing over how four mortals can possibly track somebody to Olympus.

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

Monday, February 10, 2020

Black Hat Blues -- Now on Audible!


Gene Kendall here, promoting the audio release of my book Black Hat Blues as if I were born with no shame. This is my first excursion into the world of audio, and to be honest, it’s an avenue I never thought I’d explore.
But, I received an email out of the blue, raising the possibility of creating an audiobook through Audible’s ACX site. Investigating, I became intrigued at the prospect, but a little nervous about how this would play out.

Friday, February 7, 2020

X-amining Wolverine #93

"Tavern in the Town"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine, Cannonball & Juggeranut walk into a bar.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Dan Green & Matt Ryan
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas & Digital Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
In Scotland, the Dark Riders break Cyber out of prison and take him to their leader. At the X-Mansion, Cannonball & Wolverine are racing each other through the woods around the mansion when Juggernaut suddenly regains consciousness. Still worried about Onslaught, he quickly busts his way out of the mansion. Later, Wolverine & Cannonball are having beers at a local bar when Juggernaut comes in. Cannonball drunkenly picks a fight but is no match for the Juggernaut. Wolverine then confronts him and urges him to leave, which Juggernaut agrees to do; he knows what's coming, and has no desire to stick around. As Juggernaut leaves out the back, he's teleported away by Zoe Culloden and her associate, who say he'll no longer be a problem. When Wolverine follows behind him and finds Juggernaut gone, he's once again struck with the feeling of being watched.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

X-amining X-Force #46

"Behind Closed Doors"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
X-Force battles Mimic

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Adam Pollina
Inker: Mark Pennington
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Separations: Electric Crayon
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
At the Weisman Institute, the institutionalized Siryn is caught by Dr. Wesiman searching computer files. Siryn tries to tell Weisman that she's an associate of Professor Xavier's, but Weisman has Siryn knocked out & carried away. Meanwhile, X-Force is attacked by Mimic, who destroys the PACRAT after copying Warpath's powers and being overwhelmed by his heretofore unknown enhanced senses. Back at the X-Mansion, Boomer continues to visit Sabretooth. In Siberia, Mimic turns on Cable, and Sunspot defies orders to engage him, which causes their powers to enter an energy loop, triggering an explosion. At the X-Mansion, Wolverine wakes Boomer up in the middle of the night to warn her away from Sabretooth. In Siberia, X-Force regains consciousness to discover Mimic missing and a massive crater being left in his wake. At the Weisman Institute, Siryn, unknowingly watched by the young Jeremy Stevens, debates her options. With Cable failing to respond to her calls for help and her unwillingness to involve Xavier directly, she makes a call to the only person left who can help her: Deadpool.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #45


"The Enemy of My Enemy..."
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Gambit confronts Rogue over the memories she absorbed from him.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Pencils: Andy Kubert
Inks: Cam Smith
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Kevin Somers & Malibu Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
As they make their way towards Seattle, Iceman continues to push Rogue to discuss the memories she absorbed from Gambit, but she relents. Meanwhile, Gambit arrives in Seattle himself, hoping to find Rogue and settle things between them. He tracks down Iceman at a local college bar, shortly after Rogue flew off, exposing her and Iceman as mutants. In New York, Graydon Creed watches a news report on Gene Nation's attack, and toys with the idea of running for President. In Seattle, Gambit & Iceman track Rogue to an rundown theater, a place she was led by Gambit's memories. Gambit tries to convince Rogue to return with him to the X-Men, but she refuses, saying she needs to find out for herself what the memories she took from Gambit are and why they cause him so much pain. When she presses Gambit to tell her about the memories, he won't do it, fearing it would destroy everything he's attained for himself. But he does offer himself to Rogue completely, extending a hand to allow her to touch him once again. Rogue, however, turns away. They both declare their love for one another, but Rogue says she needs more time away to settle her feelings, and flies off. Gambit tells Iceman to return to the mansion, but remains in Seattle himself for a few more days to clear his head. During his wanderings, Mr. Sinister appears, telling him that nothing is settled, and he'll need to reckon with their past together eventually.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

X-amining Champions #1 - Patreon First

"The World Still Needs Champions!"
October 1975

In a Nutshell
Angel, Iceman, Black Widow, Hercules & Ghost Rider come together against the forces of Pluto!

Writer: Tony Isabella
Penciler: Don Heck
Inker: Mike Esposito
Letterer: Dave Hunt
Colorist: Petra G.
Editor: Marv Wolfman

Plot
Former X-Men Angel & Iceman are wandering the campus of UCLA, lamenting the lack of superhero adventure in their lives now that they're no longer X-Men. Just then, a group of monstrous green Harpies appear and start attacking students. Elsewhere on campus, Black Widow and her associate Ivan, at the school for a job interview, are attacked by a group of Amazons seeking Venus, who is working at the university under the name Dr. Victoria Starr. Black Widow helps Venus fight off the Amazons, and the two escape onto the school's grounds. Also on campus is Hercules, who is attacked by a group of mutates. Driving nearby, the demonic Ghost Rider is confronted by the massive Cerberus, the guardian of Hades. Fearing its power, Ghost Rider retreats, and runs into Hercules. Together, the pair come across Black Widow, Iceman & Angel battling the Amazons and the Harpies. Working together, along with Venus, the five heroes defeat their respective foes, at which point Pluto, God of the Underworld appears, flanked by Ares and the Amazon's leader Hippolyta. He declares that Venus must wed Ares, and Hercules must wed Hippolyta, before the day is done or else the universe will die!

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

Friday, January 31, 2020

X-amining X-Man #8

"Hitting Bottom"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Nate battles Rex on a yacht.

Story: Jeph Loeb
Guest Script: John Rozum
Pencils: Steve Skroce & Scott McDaniel
Inks: LaRosa, Miller, Russell, Pennington & Ryan
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas & Malibu’s Hues
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Still mourning the absent Madelyne, Nate has taken a job as a deckhand on a small yacht. His powers fluctuating, he acts churlish towards the rest of the staff and passengers. In Maryland, Blaquesmith detects his energy output and recognizes it as being similar to Cable's. Meanwhile, Rex arrives on the yacht and begins slaughtering the crew. Sensing something amiss, Nate goes up on deck and finds Rex, who he blasts with a massive burst of telekinetic energy. Detecting this surge, Blaquesmith decides such power can't go unchecked, and heads out to find Nate. Back on the boat, Nate & Rex fight, but Nate's fluctuating powers leave him vulnerable. Rex gains the upper hand and is about to kill Nate when he suddenly collapses. Standing behind him is Dark Beast, who offers Nate some long overdue answers.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

X-amining X-Factor #115

"Reaching Out to Yesterday"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Mystique & Forge and Cyclops & Havok have heart-to-heart talks.

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
Still struggling to control his powers, Havok has returned to Alaska, and is thinking back on the plane crash that separated him and his brother from their parents when Cyclops finds him, telling him they're going to get through this together. Meanwhile, in X-Factor's new base, Mystique tries to hack into Forge's files but is stopped by her inhibitor. Observed by Wild Child, the pair agree to keep each other's secrets for now. Elsewhere, Forge is visited by a vision of his deceased mentor Naze, who tells him he must return to the ways of the shaman, but his meditation is interrupted by Mystique. She tries to get Forge to open up, and he does, activating his holographic files to show her a collage of important moments in his life. One that catches her attention is Destiny telling Forge he's destined to be with Mystique. He is still pondering what she meant, while Mystique insists Destiny just wanted them to be happy together, something Forge won't accept. In Alaska, Cyclops & Havok go to a bar, and eventually get into a bar fight with some ignorant locals to blow off steam. After the fight, Cyclops insists that, no matter what, they'll always be there for each other. Elsewhere, Dark Beast reforms Random, telling him to infiltrate X-Factor, and bring him the head of Havok. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #325


"Generation of Evil"
October 1995

In a Nutshell
Gene Nation launches their attack on the anniversary of the Morlock Massacre.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Joe Madureira
Inkers: Townsend & Ryan
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colors: Steve Buccellato & Electric Crayon
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
The X-Men & the visiting Generation X are enjoying a spirited game of baseball when Colossus suddenly teleports onto the mansion grounds, holding an injured Callisto. When she regains consciousness, she informs the X-Men that Gene Nation, comprised of renegade Morlocks, is planning to kill one human for every mutant who died during the Morlock Massacre, on the anniversary of the massacre, which is today. Meanwhile, a recovering Gambit receives a phone call from Rogue, and learns she & Iceman are heading towards Seattle. Later, the X-Men arrive in Manhattan, their movements watched by Mr. Sinister & Threnody, who also note Gambit's departure, heading towards Seattle. Storm, Colossus & Wolverine enter the Morlock tunnels alongside Callisto. After skirmishing with Gene Nation, Storm confronts their leader, Marrow, who reveals she has attached a series of bombs to a group of captured commuters, and rigged a device to her heart that will soon detonate the bombs, unless Storm kills her first. As payback for Storm's failures as leader of the Morlocks, Marrow challenges Storm to a duel, forcing her to either let the humans die, or sacrifice her morals to kill Marrow. Storm draws first blood, and eventually triumphs, ripping out Marrow's heart, disarming the bombs but killing the young woman. In the aftermath, Wolverine tells her she did the right thing, and Storm agrees, troubled by how relatively easy the decision was for her.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

X-amination in February & May 1995 Power Rankings


The anniversary of the All New, All Different X-Men continues, "Dream Nails" concludes, and X-Force & Wolverine catch-up!

On Sale August 1995

February 5: X-Men (vol. 2) #45
February 6: X-Force #46
February 7: Wolverine #93

February 12: Generation X #8
February 13: Excalibur #90
February 14: Cable #24

February 19: X-Force #47
February 20: Wolverine #94

February 26: X-Men Unlimited #8

Monday, January 27, 2020

Coming Soon: Champions & Hellions!

Couple of announcements regarding new review series to start off the week!

First, as patrons may have seen earlier today, next week will mark the beginning of my next "Patreon First" review series, as I take a look at the oft-derided mid-70s Champions book, a series which earns its X-adjacent status thanks to the presence of Angel & Iceman on a roster that is delightfully hodgepodge (also, John Byrne gets involved later in the run). Become a patron now in order to gain access to X-aminations of Champions before everyone else, and read along as I tackle such topics as Angel's trippy new costume, being a superhero in LA, and sentient Nazi bees.


Friday, January 24, 2020

X-amining Cable #23

"Family Secrets"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
Cable searches for Tyler as Domino tracks down Grizzly.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: Ian Churchill (pgs 1-5, 8-9, 12-15, 21-22)
Inkers: Scott Hanna & Mark Buckingham
Art: Tim Sale (pgs. 6-7, 10-11, 17-20)
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Mike Thomas & Digital Chameleon
Editor: Lisa Patrick
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Cable is meditating on the lawn of the X-Mansion when he is interrupted by Storm. He shows her a postcard he received recently, addressed to "Nathan Dayspring", a name not many know him by. She suggests he speak to Professor X about it. Meanwhile, Domino tracks Grizzly in the Rockies. At the X-Mansion, Cable & Xavier discuss Tyler. Cable decides to seek help to find his villainous son. In the Rockies, Domino comes across a cabin belonging to Grizzly. Meanwhile, Cable meets with Blaquesmith, who points him to Tyler's previous sanctuary, where Blaquesmith has recently detected computer activity. After Cable leaves, Blaquesmith contacts Mother Askani, who tells him the Askani'son's trials are only beginning. In the Rockies, Domino discovers multiple bodies in the attic of Grizzly's cabin, along with a near-feral Grizzly. He blames someone for turning him into a monster, and says that only one of them will get out of the situation alive. Elsewhere, Cable searches Tyler's abandoned sanctuary and discovers the unconscious form of Jenskot, his deceased wife.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

X-amining Excalibur #89

"Dream Nails Part 2: Easy Tiger"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
Shadowcat & Wisdom infiltrate the Dream Nails airbase.

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: David Williams
Inkers: Mike Miller, Mike Christian & Phil Moy
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Joe Rosas & Digital Chameleon
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
After surviving an attempted assassination by Black Air, Kitty & Pete Wisdom return to the neutral ground of the Crown pub. There, Jardin, an old friend of Wisdom's, passes along info that reveals Dream Nails involves aliens. Meanwhile, Amanda Sefton returns to Muir Island, where Rory is in the midst of psycho-analyzing Spoor. In London, after searching his deceased friend's Cully's flat, Wisdom decides the only way to shake things loose is to break into the Dream Nail's base. On Muir Island, Moira discusses the Legacy Virus with Meggan & Douglock. At Dream Nail's, Kitty helps Wisdom infiltrate the base, but their presence eventually triggers an alarm that calls out Black Air troops. They manage to capture Wisdom, and he seemingly convinces Kitty to save herself and escape before they knock him out.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

X-amining Generation X #7

"Nights and Bolts"
September 1995

In a Nutshell
The school deals with the loss of the girls' dorm, while Banshee receives a mysterious call from Ireland.

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

Plot
Banshee, having dreams about an old case from his Interpol days, accidentally draws Emma into his dreams, now that the two are sharing Banshee's cottage in the wake of the girls' dormitory being destroyed. The next morning, Chamber laments having lost control and destroying the dorm. Paige thanks him for not telling anyone that she tried to kiss him, and though he thinks this is because she would be embarrassed if anyone knew she was attracted to a monster like him, she does have feelings for him, something which isn't lost on a watching Jubilee. Meanwhile, Synch & Skin build Artie & Leech a treehouse inside the school's biosphere. In Ireland, a woman named O'Brien rushes into a pub, desperate to get ahold of Banshee. Back at the school, Monet confronts Gateway, asking why they need to stay at the school before ultimately agreeing to the necessity. As Banshee watches them, Emma approaches and confesses to having kicked Leech when being held captive by Gene Nation, something she feels terrible about, offering to leave the school. Banshee says he's not about to send her away just as she's becoming a better person, but they are interrupted by Jubilee, alerting Banshee to the call from Mrs. O'Brien. Banshee takes the call and is stunned to learn that Cassidy Keep, his family castle, has disappeared.

Friday, January 17, 2020

X-amining Wolverine #92

"A Northern Exposure"
August 1995

In a Nutshell
Wolverine's recent changes are tested by the Hudsons.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Adam Kubert
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Pat Brosseau
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Digitial Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
With James and Heather Hudson on hand, Wolverine & Sabretooth are run through a battery of tests. Wolverine is sure that Sabretooth is faking being harmless, but no one believes him. Once the tests are done, Wolverine is taken to the Danger Room for further analysis. There, he is faced with a simulation of the first time he met the Hudsons. Overwhelmed by the memories of his near-attack on them, he flees the mansion, desperate for fresh air and solitude. Outside, he observes a motorcycle and a car on a collision course. Instinctively, he intervenes, getting run over by the car, which is driven by the abusive neighbor Wolverine almost killed recently. Almost instantly, his body heals itself, to the bewilderment of his watching friends, and he acts to save the driver, despite his earlier animosity towards him, making his friends believe Wolverine will be okay after all. As he heads back to the mansion, he feels for a moment like he's being watched, before shrugging it off. However, the cloaked Zoe Culloden and her associate were indeed watching him, having been sent to observe his actions.