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

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. 

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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