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

Thursday, September 16, 2021

X-amining Excalibur #103

"Bend Sinister Reprise"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
Shadowcat, Colossus, and Nightcrawler are confronted with manifestations of their darker selves by Belasco

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Inkers: Scott Koblish & Bob Wiacek 
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Ariane Lenshoek
Editor: Matt Idelson
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Kitty, Nightcrawler and Colossus wake up in a village populated by no one except alternate versions of themselves. Exploring the village, Kitty realizes they are all darker alternate selves, representing the sides of themselves they try to repress. As the three teammates make their way through the town, they come to realize they are trapped in Limbo, and only emerge once they've affirmed the attributes which have enabled them to survive all the darkness they've faced recently. They begin to fade away, much to Belasco's delight, who had been watching alongside a captive Margali, the three heroes having endured the test he administered to them ahead of a likely confrontation. Back on Muir Island, the rest of Excalibur is relieved to have their missing teammates home, and Wisdom declares his love for Kitty. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

X-amining Pryde and Wisdom #1-3

"Mystery School" / "Mystery Walk" / "Mystery Train"
September - November 1996

In a Nutshell
Kitty Pryde and Pete Wisdom investigate a serial killer mutant who fossilizes his victims. 

Writer; Warren Ellis
Artists: Terry Dodson & Karl Story (issue #1), Dodson & Aaron Lopresti (issues #2-3)
Inkers: Lopresti, Pinnco, Simmons, Martin
Letterer: RS & Comicraft
Colorist: Ariane Lenshoek 
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Matt Idelson
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: On their way to meet with Jardin, an old associate of Pete Wisdom's, Kitty Pryde and Wisdom are attacked. After foiling the attempted assassination, they meet with Jardin, who asks them to find his daughter Amanda, a journalist who has gone undercover trying to find a mutant serial killer who fossilizes his victims. They proceed to meet with the Mystery School, a subset of the police department tasked with investigating occult cases, passing one of their members, Gideon, on the way in. Examining the body of one of the victims, Pryde & Wisdom discover a series of strange symbols carved into the bones; reluctantly, Wisdom tells Kitty his family might be able to help them. On their way, they are attacked again, this time directly by the killer, but escape once more, their actions observed by a shadowy woman who declares they must die. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

X-amining Marvel Super-Heroes (vol. 2) #10 - Patreon First!

"Sabretooth Stalks the Subway"
July 1992

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Sabretooth!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Mike Vosburg
Inker: Mike Vosburg
Letters: Jim Novak
Colors: Heidi Goodhue
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
At Avengers Mansion, new member Ms. Marvel participates in a training session overseen by Iron Man. Meanwhile, Sabretooth is being transferred by SHIELD to the Canadian government, who hope to use him to track down Wolverine. After the training session, Carol tries to contact Michael Barnett, unaware that he has been murdered. She proceeds to have lunch with her agent and accountant, married couple John and Nancy, but their meal is interrupted by a crashing SHIELD transport, the one carrying Sabretooth. When she realizes Sabretooth has escaped, Carol transforms into Ms. Marvel and follows the villain into the subway. They engage in a savage fight, with Sabretooth's recuperative abilities keeping him standing against Ms. Marvel's raw power. Eventually, she manages to knock him out and turn him over to SHIELD custody, at which point her seventh sense activates, giving her a foreboding image of Mystique. 

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

Friday, September 3, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #23 - Patreon First!

"The Woman Who Fell to Earth"
April 1979

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel teams up with Vance Astro to battle the Faceless One!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Mike Vosburg
Inker: Bruce D. Patterson
Letters: Diana Albers
Colors: George Roussos 
Editors: Roger Stern
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
After returning from a date with Sam Adams, Carol Danvers is stunned when her old friend Salia Petrie shows up at her door, having believed Salia to have died during a space mission. Carol is even more surprised when Salia attacks her, knocking her out. Carol wakes up aboard the Guardians of the Galaxy's space station Drydock, a prisoner of the Faceless One, who saved Salia's life in order to use her to bring Carol to the Faceless One so he can control her power. Managing to escape the environmental test chamber the Faceless One used to brainwash Salia, Carol transforms into Ms. Marvel and meets the Guardians' leader, Vance Astro, the only Guardian present. They team up to take down the Faceless One. When Ms. Marvel manages to destroy the Faceless One's android body with liquid coolant, he flees, but Vance prevents him from leaving with Salia. Vance then uses his mental powers to restore Salia's mind, after which Ms. Marvel reveals her secret identity to her friend, promising to take her home. 

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

Thursday, September 2, 2021

X-amining X-Force #60

"I Know YOU Are But What Am I?"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Force tries to rescue Cable & Shatterstar from Mojo.

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Anthony Castrillo 
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
On Mojoworld, Mojo attempts to brainwash the captive Shatterstar & Cable. Meanwhile, Longshot brings X-Force to Doctor Strange to get his help traveling to Mojoworld. In Miami, Risque, eager to find Warpath, is confronted by Blob, Mimic, and their mysterious leader. In Mojoworld, Longshot X-Force meets up with Dazzler and her fellow rebels, then helps them storm Mojo's castle. But they find it curiously empty, save for a single television playing the "Cable and Shatterstar Show". Longshot explains that they've been digitized, and won't survive in that form for long. What's worse, humans watching the show on Earth become entranced, much to the delight of Mojo, who wants to make the entire world his captive audience.   

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

X-amining Generation X #21

"To Live and Die and Molt in LA"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
Skin visits his own grave while his classmates take a test.

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciler: Chris Bachalo
Inker: Joe Pimentel
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
At Xavier's school, Beast administers a mid-term exam in Xenobiology; Penance sneaks into the classroom and tries to take the test as well, while Beast insists that Monet remain in class despite having already completed the test. In Los Angeles, Howard the Duck and Chamber start a bar fight to draw the attention of gang leader Tores. At the school, Monet enters another fugue state, drawing Beast's attention, while Sean and Emma discuss his teaching methods. In LA, Skin's mother arrives at the cemetery where he is supposed to be buried; she is comforted in her grief by an old man. Back at the school, Monet awakens; when Beast asks her if she has these spells often, she says no, but her classmates disagree. In LA, Tores arrives at Skin's grave, cursing him for dying. The old man watches her leave, then Chamber and Howard emerge as the old man removes his disguise. Skin goes to his own grave, and Chamber asks if he's going to tell them what's going on and why he asked them to keep Tores busy; Skin says no. Back at the school, Beast meets with Emma and Sean, and tells them he thinks Monet is autistic. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

X-aminations in September 2021 & July 1996 Power Rankings


A relatively straightforward month, as most series continue to deal with the fallout from "Onslaught"/lead-up to "Operation: Zero Tolerance" and/or continue the stories they began last month as they moved out of the crossover's shadow. 

September 1: Generation X #21
September 2: X-Force #60

September 8: Pryde & Wisdom #1-3
September 9: Excalibur #103

On Sale October 1996
September 15: Uncanny X-Men #339
September 16: X-Man #22

September 22: X-Men (vol. 2) #59
September 23: Wolverine #108

September 29: X-Factor #129
September 30: Cable #38

Monday, August 30, 2021

G. I. JOE #54 - December 1986 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)

 


Cobra's got the right materials

Cobra's got the perfect home

Cobra Terror Drome (Cobra Terror Drome)

Cobra's got a threat more evil

than G.I. Joe has ever known

Cobra Terror Drome  (Cobra Terror Drome)

G.I. Joe - A Real American Hero

Thursday, August 26, 2021

X-amining Cable #37

"True Lies"

November 1996


In a Nutshell

Cable & Domino reunite with Kane & Vanessa as they're targeted by Psycho Man


Writer: Jeph Loeb

Penciler: Ian Churchill

Inker: Scott Hanna 

Letterer: RS/Comicraft/AD

Colorist: Mike Thomas

Separations: Graphic Color Works

Editor: Bob Harras


Plot

G.W. Bridge leads a SHIELD contingent into the Weapon X facility in Canada, which has been abandoned and its files ransacked, which Bridge worries may mean someone is targeting former Weapon X subjects, including his former colleague Kane. Meanwhile, Cable and Domino arrive in San Francisco and head to an old theater where they find Kane and Vanessa. Kane explains how the pair tried to live a normal life, but someone found out they were mutants and targeted them, burning the theater. Now, Kane wants Cable to use his telepathic abilities to find whomever did it. However, all four begin acting strangely towards one another: Domino & Vanessa begin to feel intense rage towards each other, while Kane becomes wracked with doubt and Cable with fear. Just then, the cause of their heightened emotions emerges: the villain Psycho Man, who is seeking Kane's bionic parts in the hopes that the future technology will help him conquer a universe. He then disappears with Kane, and shortly thereafter, a massive ship suddenly appears in the theater announcing it's programmed to find Kane. As Cable & Domino debate boarding it, Kane appears, revealing the "Kane" with whom Psycho Man absconded was Vanessa in disguise. Vowing not to abandon her, he enters the ship, followed by Cable & Domino. 

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

X-amining X-Factor #128

"Night of the Hounds"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
Jamie Madrox returns as Forge finds himself questioning X-Factor's purpose. 

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Jeff Matsuda
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's KF
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In Georgia, a group of locals are hunting some masked mutant fugitives through the wood until X-Factor arrives and takes over the chase, citing jurisdiction over the matter. Though Forge is dismayed to have X-Factor tasked with hunting down their own people, he oversees the team as they split up to track down the fugitives. Meanwhile, in New York, Graydon Creed receives a warning from Bastion's aide Harper to not deviate from their plans for him, as he did recently when he had the Friends of Humanity target Mystique. Back in Georgia, Shard and Mystique each capture one of the fugitives. A third is spotted by Polaris, and he's relieved, because he believes she will listen to him. However, Polaris simply knocks him out from afar, not in the mood to talk. Elsewhere, Wild Child and Sabretooth corner the fourth fugitive. Forge catches up to them, and the fugitive taunts him about what he and X-Factor have become. He then hits his hands together, and three more of him appear. He removes his mask, and Forge is stunned to realize X-Factor has been hunting Jamie Madrox. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #22 - Patreon First!

"Second Chance!"
February 1979

In a Nutshell
Carol Danvers is fired as Deathbird returns! 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Mike Vosburg
Inker: Mike Zeck
Letters: Jim Novak
Colors: Bob Sharen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
After being fired as editor of Woman magazine, Carol Danvers transforms into Ms. Marvel to fly home, only to be attacked by Deathbird. They briefly fight before Deathbird flies off. Arriving at her apartment, Caeol discovers her friends and former co-workers have gathered for a surprise party to boost her morale. Michael Barnett is there as well, determined to make Carol his wife, but an intense flash of her seventh sense forces her to leave the party. She follows the sense to a warehouse where Deathbird is leading a group of hired goons in the theft of some Stark Enterprises computer systems. During their ensuing fight, a father and his daughter in a passing car are hit by debris, becoming trapped in their burning car. Deathbird, who says she has no interest in seeing innocents harmed, helps Ms. Marvel free the bystanders. Once they're safe, she drops some rubble on Ms. Marvel and escapes. When Ms. Marvel emerges from the rubble, the father and daughter thank her for saving them, but Ms. Marvel remains furious that Deathbird got away, and certain that whatever Deathbird was after, she'll try again. 

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

Thursday, August 19, 2021

X-amining Wolverine #107

"Once Upon a Time in Little Tokyo"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine returns to Japan and is targeted for revenge. 

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Anthony Winn
Inks: Dan Green
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Gloria Vasquez 
Separations: D. Chameleon
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Wolverine returns to Japan, intending to visit Amiko and Yukio. But when he arrives at their apartment, he finds it filled with Hand ninjas. He fights them off, only to discover the building has been surrounded by members of the military, forcing him to flee on a stolen motorcycle. Elsewhere, actor Akatora, who has kidnapped Yukio & Amiko, receives a report on Wolverine's whereabouts from his informant, a noodle vendor. Wolverine arrives at a Yakuza gambling hall and claims sanctuary, citing his ties to Clan Yashida. A woman named Pale Flower, oyabun of the Double Jade clan, grants it. Meanwhile, Akatora taunts Yukio, while his associates continue to pamper Amiko, subtlety brainwashing her. He orders the noodle vendor to alert the military to Wolverine's location. Back at the gambling hall, Pale Flower tries to poison Wolverine, telling him she is the daughter of Dai-Kumo, a crime lord he once killed. His healing factor easily handles the toxin, but just then, the military arrives outside the club. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

X-amining X-Men (vol. 2) #58

"Testament"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Gambit & Joseph comes to blows on the anniversary of the Morlock Massacre. 

Story: Scott Lobdell & Ralph Macchio
Pencils: Bernard Chang
Inks: John Holdredge
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Enhancements: Graphic Colorworks
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
On the anniversary of the Morlock Massacre, Storm journeys into the former Morlock tunnels to pay her respects, and is stunned to find Gambit there, doing the same. Meanwhile, Trish Tilby conducts an interview with Graydon Creed, who is assisted by an undercover Iceman. During Tilby's debate with Creed, one of the members of the studio audience loudly calls out Creed's anti-mutant rhetoric, and Iceman is stunned to discover it's his father. At the X-Mansion, Joseph wakes a sleeping Rogue, telling her he may have found a way to allow her to make physical contact with someone. He waits outside while she gets dressed, where Bishop and Wolverine are discussing Bishop's future now that he knows who betrayed the X-Men. Just then, Gambit returns home and, spotting Joseph hovering outside Rogue's window, attacks him. Joseph fights back, but Rogue eventually breaks up their tussle, telling them she's not terribly impressed by either of them. Elsewhere, J. Jonah Jameson continues his investigation into Graydon Creed even as he is unknowingly watched by Havok, who says to himself that if Jameson learns too much, he'll end up dead. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

X-amining Marvel Team-Up #76-77 - Patreon First!

"If Not For Love" / "If I'm to Live...My Love Must Die!"
January 1978 - February 1979

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel teams up with Spider-Man and Doctor Strange to battle Silver Dagger

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Howard Chaykin
Inker: Jeff Aclin and Juan Ortiz
Letters: Joe Rosen
Colors: Carl Gafford, Mario Sen
Editor: Bob Hall, Al Milgrom
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Plot
Issue #76: After receiving a deck of tarot cards in the mail, Doctor Strange lays them out for a reading, which causes a demon to emerge from the Orb of Agamotto and attack both Strange and his apprentice and lover Clea. Happening to be nearby, both Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel respond to the commotion, arriving to find Strange and Clea unconscious. Strange shortly thereafter wakes up and rejuvenates himself via a spell, but he cannot do the same for Clea, whose soul is now trapped inside the Orb. His only clue the tarot deck, Strange traces it back to New Orleans and brings Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel with him. There, they encounter Marie LaVeau, the witch queen of New Orleans, who tells them she sent the deck as a warning that Silver Dagger, who is trapped inside the Eye, is targeting him, and now has Clea captive. 

Issue #77: On the astral plane, LaVeau betrays Strange, trapping him in Agamotto's realm while freeing Silver Dagger. As Strange battles free Clea, Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel to their best to protect Strange's physical form. During the fight, Spider-Man approaches the Orb of Agamotto and is pulled inside himself. However, his arrival destabilizes the realm, causing his reality to intrude on it, which gives Strange an opening to rescue Clea. At the same time, on Earth, Silver Dagger casts a spell to increase his size and strength in order to defeat Ms. Marvel, but is stabbed in the back by Marie LaVeau, who has regained her senses. Emerging from the Orb, Doctor Strange teleports everyone back to his Sanctum, where the wounded Silver Dagger is returned back to the Orb, keeping him alive but imprisoned once more. Marie explains that she was able to bend Silver Dagger's enchantments enough to send Strange a warning via the tarot, and urges him to heed the cards before disappearing. As Strange thanks Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man for their assistance, he lays out the cards once more, and worries that in saving Clea, he may have lost his own soul forever.  

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

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Masterpiece Series V

Fleer/Skybox 1996

Vital Statistics 
100 base card set (including a checklist card, plus a six card "Gallery", six card "Double Impact", and nine card "Painting Redemption" chase card subsets. 

Card fronts feature full bleed artwork with holofoil character and subset names, as well as the Marvel Masterpiece logos. 

Card backs feature a portion of the card front image overlaid with the character's name, a fact about them, their first appearance, and the names of their creators. 

Firsts and Other Notables
The final "Marvel Masterpieces" set of the initial 90s run (Upper Deck would relaunch the series in 2007, with sporadic releases over the next few years, most recently w/a set in 2020), these cards are amongst some of the most rare and sought-after cards of this vintage (and that was even before the recent boom in the trading card market) due to the small print run of the series, published as it was while the trading card market was in the midst of collapsing. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #21 - Patreon First!

"The Devil in the Dark!"
December 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles the Lizard People!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum 
Inker: Al Milgrom
Letters: Denise Wohl
Colors: Bob Sharen 
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Thrown into a cell, Ms. Marvel discovers more captives of the Lizard People, including a detachment of US soldiers and missing Woman reporter Sharon Cole. She promises to help them escape. When Ms. Marvel is brought before the leader of the Lizard People, Aracht'yr, she tries to reason with him that she isn't a threat, but one of his guards goads her into losing her temper. She strikes back, causing portions of the stadium where her audience was held to collapse; she escapes amidst the ensuing damage. Later, she confronts Aracht'yr in his home. He tells her the origin of the Lizard People and insists that secrecy is the only way they'll survive and thus, he can't let her and the rest of the humans leave. Ms. Marvel returns to her cell, freeing the other captors, and leading them out of the city by force. She is attacked by the Guardian, a massive cobra-like snake, and manages to defeat it, though not without injury to herself. Bluffing, she tells Aracht'yr that if he doesn't let her go, she'll level the city, something no one could stop now that she's killed their strongest warrior in the Guardian. However, she offers him a deal: release the captives and promise never to take any more, and she'll keep the existence of the Lizard People a secret. After one of the telepathic Lizard People scrambles the memories of the rest of the captives, everyone is allowed to leave. When Carol Danvers returns home, she finds a pet iguana waiting, along with a note from Aracht'yr, reminding her she holds the fate of the Lizard people in her hands. 

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

Thursday, August 5, 2021

X-amining X-Man #21

"Open Case"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
Nate & Threnody explore New York City

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Roger Cruz 
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings and Comicraft AD
Colorist: Mike Thomas
Enhancements: GCW
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Nate Grey and Threnody wander through Washington Square Park, coming across various street hustlers and con artists. When Nate's powers help him expose their acts, the pair draws the attention of the passersby, prompting Nate & Threnody to fly off. Unbeknownst to him, Madelyne Pryor sees him leave, making her feel conflicted. Elsewhere, Fitzroy arrives on Sebastian Shaw's yacht, and is soon joined by Selene; the pair propose joining with Shaw and reforming the Hellfire Club's Inner Circle as a check against Bastion's growing anti-mutant operations. Back in the city, Nate and Threnody arrive at the Rainbow Room, where Nate uses his telepathy to make everyone see them as celebrities. However, when they later dance and Nate uses his powers to lift them into the air, the crowd takes them for mutants and begins to panic, prompting Nate to wipe their memories of the incident before leaving. The pair land atop the Statute of Liberty, and Nate offers to try and remove Mister Sinister's psi-bafflers from Threnody, but she turns him down, and the pair share a romantic kiss. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

X-amining Uncanny X-Men #338

"A Hope Reborn, A Past Reclaimed"
November 1996

In a Nutshell
Archangel's feather wings return

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencilers: Joe Madureira & Salvador Larocca
Inkers: Tim Townsend & Vince Russell 
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Steve Buccellato
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras
Separations: Digital Chameleon

Plot
Wracked with pain, Archangel is visited by Ozymandias, who tells him his transformation into Archangel was only the beginning, shortly before his metal wings shatter to reveal feathered wings again in their place. Meanwhile, at the X-Mansion, Jean Grey leads Joseph through a series of tests to determine the extent of his past knowledge of Magneto's actions. Just then, Psylocke appears from the shadows, to the surprise of her teammates, announcing that Archangel has gone missing. In San Diego, J. Jonah Jameson attends a Graydon Creed rally, while Cannonball and Iceman settle in to their undercover roles within his campaign. Back in New York, the X-Men use Cerebro to track Archangel to a church in Brooklyn, but he's not alone: Pyro, dying of the Legacy Virus, is there as well. His powers raging, he attacks the X-Men, but the sight of Joseph  the one-time founder of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants - seems to calm him down. As he's about to tell them about a pending assassination attempt, Avalanche arrives and carries off his old teammate. The X-Men return home with Archangel, who is left wondering if his latest transformation is all part of Apocalypse's plan, or if he's finally his own self again. 

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #20 - Patreon First!

The All New Ms. Marvel"
October 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel gets a new costume, then battles some Lizard People. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Dave Cockrum 
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letters: Anette Kawecki 
Colors: Mary Ellen Beveridge
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Shortly after trying on her new costume for the first time, Carol Danvers is visited by Frank Gianelli, who tells her that Woman magazine reporter Sharon Cole has gone missing while investigating a story in New Mexico, and a recording of Sharon's call for help suggests she was abducted by something. Soon after, Carol arrives in New Mexico, and while the military is not interested in helping her find Sharon, a local police officer takes her out to the site of Sharon's disappearance. There, Carol discovers the wrecks of several military vehicles as well as Sharon's car. When the police officer disappears, Carol transforms into Ms. Marvel, and is soon attacked by human-sized, intelligent lizard people. After a short battle in which Ms. Marvel holds her own but is unable to overpower her opponent, the leader of the lizard people reveals himself. Declaring Ms. Marvel to be unique amongst the humans they've encountered, he orders her to be captured, and she is knocked out by a telepathic blast from one of the lizards. Unconsciousness, she is then taken to the home of the lizard people, a vast civilization hidden in the mountains of New Mexico.

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

Monday, August 2, 2021

X-aminations in 2021 Part 2

 

One might assume, coming out of "Onslaught" and with the comics industry crashing down around it (Marvel will itself declare bankruptcy in December of 1996), that the, ahem, onslaught of X-titles might ebb a bit. But just the opposite is true, as the second half of 1996 and into 1997 is absolutely flush with extra one-shots, inter-company crossover, and limited series, as everyone does everything they can to wring every possible dollar out of the still-lucrative X-Men franchise (similar efforts were being made over in the Spider-Man office, with the long-running "Clone Saga" coming to a close around this time). As such, there's one or more "extra" things to review in every publication month for the next several months. So I'm going to change up my approach a bit: instead of doing three regular reviews a week, broken up by standalone reviews of a miniseries or annual or something, I am going to publish two reviews a week (barring the occasional "one review" week for holidays & vacations & whatnot), putting the "extra" stuff right alongside the regular ongoing series. 

I actually did the math, and it works out to roughly the same number of reviews in the same time period, but hopefully this will also help me keep my pace more regularly, instead of feeling like I'm constantly grinding out three reviews a week just to get a one-review "breather". 

So what's ahead? Well, seemingly everyone gets a miniseries, and that burning mystery of why Black Knight recognized Exodus in "Bloodties" finally gets answered. While in the main books, most series do their now-usual "recover from the last crossover, gear up for the next one" routine. Honestly? After the churn of "Onslaught", that sounds kind of nice. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

X-amining Wolverine #106

"Openings and Closures"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine and Elektra visit Silver Fox's grave and Elektra's childhood home.

Script: Larry Hama
Pencils: Val Semeiks
Inks: Chad Hunt & Al Milgrom
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft's Kolja Fuchs 
Colors: Derek Bellman & Malibu's Hues
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Traveling through the Canadian Rockies, Wolverine & Elektra are surrounded by wolves, but Wolverine wins them to their side by sharing their food stores. Later, the pair arrives at the cabin Wolverine once shared with Silver Fox, and visits her grave. Later, Wolverine accompanies Elektra home to Greece. There, he meets Stavros, who recalls having served with a Canadian corporal during World War II. Stavros and the rest of the staff tell Elektra they have located Sawyer, the last of the men involved in the murder of her father, but Elektra insists it is time to move past vengeance. That evening, Stavros and his associates free the captive Sawyer in response to Elektra's wishes. As he rushes away to alert the police, a waiting Wolverine confronts him and scares him into staying quiet. Wolverine then covers for Stavros with Elektra, having been the Canadian corporal who fought with Stavros during the war. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

X-amining Generation X #20

"Bodies in Motion"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Banshee throws a barbecue to help the kids deal with recent events. 

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

Plot
Bastion watches footage of Generation X's encounter with Emplate at Logan airport, ordering his assistant Daria to find everything she can on Chamber. Meanwhile, Banshee throws a barbecue in the Danger Grotto to lift everyone's spirits. During the party, Emma is visited by Nightmare and Banshee receives a call from Chamber and Skin, still on their way to California. Later, Penance joins the group and Emma helps Monet deal with the recent revelation of her relationship to Emplate. Just then, Nathanial Richards arrives with this grandson Franklin. In Boston, would-be handyman Chevy is urged to go back to Xavier's School, while in California, Chamber & Skin find a willing driver. At Xavier's School, Nathanial agrees to leave Franklin at the school, where he can learn how to handle his powers in light of his parent's recent death. Franklin quickly joins Artie & Leech in play, and the trio encounter a mysterious figure near their treehouse. Elsewhere, Bastion learns Chamber flew to Boston on a ticket purchased by Frost Enterprises, and orders an investigation into the company. In California, Chamber & Skin learn they've been picked up by known other than Howard the Duck. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #19 - Patreon First!

"Mirror, Mirror!"
August 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel & Captain Marvel team-up to battle Ronan the Accuser! 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Carmine Infantino 
Inker: Bob McLeod
Letters: Joe Rosen
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editors: Roger Stern & Jim Salicrup

Plot
In Texas, Ronan the Accuser targets a pair of Kree who are trying to lead new lives on Earth. He then proceeds to New York, where he attacks Carol Danvers. She transforms into Ms. Marvel, but is overpowered by Ronan. Just then, Captain Marvel arrives, having sensed Ronan's arrival on Earth. They fight, but Captain Marvel's surprise at finding Carol Danvers in a uniform similar to his allows Ronan to gain the upper hand, knocking them both out. Aboard his ship and under the supervision of the Kree Supreme Intelligence, Ronan probes Carol's mind, learning about her past and the events which led to her creation as Ms. Marvel. Though the Supreme Intelligence wants to use Carol's unique fusion of human & Kree DNA to his own ends, she manages to break free & release Captain Marvel. Together, the pair escape from Ronan's ship and later, reconcile, agreeing to remain friends before parting. 

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Monday, July 26, 2021

Blind Cerulean: Brisk, Brutal, & Coming Soon


Gene Kendall here, appropriating a blog post like some hog and announcing the release of my new novel, Blind Cerulean. In recent years, I’ve written about a fictional ’90s post-Nirvana alt-rock band, a politically incorrect cartoonist who accidently brings a supervillain into reality, and a paranormal investigator/crappy husband who finds himself trapped in a corner of the afterlife with a coven of horny ghosts. It’s only natural that my next novel would feature a teenage vigilante determined to bring down a corpulent drug kingpin. Clearly, there’s a logical progression here.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

X-amining X-Man #20

"The Mourning After"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Nate battles the Abomination to rescue Threnody

Writer: Terry Kavanagh
Penciler: Steve Skroce
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Dana Morehead
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
Telepathically searching New York City for Threnody, Nate Grey discovers her a captive of the Abomination, leader of the Forgotten, a group of sewer-dwelling people no longer welcomed by society, to which she formerly belonged. Nate intervenes, getting into a fight with the hulking Abomination. Reading the Abomination's mind, he realizes that he and the Abomination view Threnody differently, and proceeds to create a telepathic illusion in Abomination's mind of successfully beating Nate rather than fight him. As Abomination walks off, Nate explains to Threnody what he did, saying he's learning not to fight the fights he doesn't have to. Meanwhile, Selene is flying back to Manhattan, accompanied by Trevor Fitzroy & Madelyne Pryor, with her sights set on Sebastian Shaw. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

X-amining X-Force #59

"Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been?"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Force launches an investigation into Shatterstar's origins

Writer: Jeph Loeb
Penciler: Anthony Casrtrillo
Inker: Bud LaRosa
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Marie Javins
Confused by it all: Bob Harras

Plot
With Shatterstar growing increasingly more unsure of his true identity - Mojoworld warrior bred or comatose mental patient Benjamin Russell - Cable interrogates him hard, psychologically & telepathically, to find the truth, much to the dismay of the rest of the team. As Rictor returns in Shatterstar's hour of need, the team sets out to find clues to his identity. Cable meets with Detective Charlotte Jones, only to learn that Benjamin Russell's file - as well as all the files on X-Force - have gone missing. Similarly, when the team investigates the Weissman Institute, they find it seemingly long-abandoned. Just then, the group is attacked by bounty hunters from Mojoworld, Gog and Magog, who teleport away with Shatterstar. But Cable manages to leap into their teleportation field and follow them, leaving the rest of the team behind on their crashing ship. Luckily, they land safely, thanks to the presence in the pilot's seat of none of other than Longshot! 

X-amining Ms. Marvel #18 - Patreon First!

"The St. Valentine's Day/Avengers Massacre"
June 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel teams up with the Avengers to battle Cenurion!

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Ricardo Villamonte 
Letters: Denise Wohl 
Colors: Phil Rache
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Hit by Centurion's blast, Ms. Marvel crashes into a building, attracting the attention of Wasp & Scarlet Witch. They intervene, preventing Centurion from killing Ms. Marvel. When he fights them off, they call the rest of the Avengers for backup. Centurion holds his own against the Avengers, but their attack gives Ms. Marvel time to transform into Carol Danvers, at which point Centurion seems to lose track of her. Meanwhile, Raven Darkholme is contacted by her superior and told to end her assault on Ms. Marvel, as it's attracting too much attention. Meanwhile, on Kree-lar, Bun-dall and Phae-Dor discuss whether or not the Supreme Intelligence has returned. Back on Earth, Ms. Marvel, wearing a new costume to disable Centurion's tracking abilities, rejoins the Avengers' attack on Centurion. She leads him to a power plant where she creates a giant electromagnet which disables Centurion's computer, making him vulnerable & allowing Ms. Marvel to knock him out. She and the Avengers unmask him to reveal Ballard; knowing he's been stalking her & Carol Danvers for months, Ms. Marvel worries that despite her victory, a nasty war has just begun. 

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Thursday, July 15, 2021

X-amining X-Factor #127

"Darker Destiny"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
X-Factor is interrogated while Mystique tracks down the attackers of a young mutant. 

Writer: Howard Mackie
Penciler: Jeff Matsuda
Inker: Al Williamson
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
In Washington DC, young Trevor Chase, a friend of Raven Darkholme, is chased & severely beaten by members of the Friends of Humanity. Later, X-Factor is brought to a secret government facility to be interrogated, though Mystique, having learned of the attack on Trevor, escapes. Bastion questions the rest of X-Factor individually; each is asked about Shard, but everyone denies knowing anything about her. Meanwhile, Mystique visits Trevor in the hospital, disguised as a doctor, then gets the files on Trevor's case from the police while disguised as an assistant. She proceeds to run down the members of the Friends of Humanity, and scares them into confessing who ordered them to attack Trevor. As Forge is being interrogated, Val comes to get him, telling him Mystique is loose. He tracks her implant to Trevor's hospital bed, where she agrees to quietly return with him to X-Factor, but as she leaves, she sees Graydon Creed on TV, and promises that she's coming for him. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

X-amining Excalibur #102

"After the Bomb"
October 1996

In a Nutshell
Excalibur deals with the fallout of Onslaught

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Casey Jones & Rob Haynes
Inkers: Scott Koblish, Jason Martin
Letterer: Comicraft 
Colorist: Ariane Lenshoek 
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Amidst news reports of the deaths of the Avengers and Fantastic Four in New York, Nightcrawler & Moira mourn their passing, Meanwhile, Kitty & Pete Wisdom have breakfast on the mainland, discussing the situation in the states and how the British Prime Minister is looking more favorably on Excalibur than the view of mutants held by the Americans. Meanwhile, Brian reminiscences about fighting alongside Captain America. Outside, Moira, Nightcrawler & Douglock oversee the transfer of Muir Island's prisoners to the new British intelligence agency. In Germany, Amanda Sefton, Colossus, and Wolfsbane return to Amanda's childhood home in search of her mother, Margali, but depart when their search comes up empty. As Kitty and Wisdom finish their breakfast, they are accosted by US government agents, sent to warn Kitty that she and her American teammates in Excalibur are no longer welcome in the US. Wisdom & Kitty respond by thoroughly beating them up, then including their bound-and-gagged leader in the prisoner transfer, sending along instructions to mail him back to America. Later, Excalibur receives word that Professor X is to be arrested by X-Factor, though Wisdom notes at least that means he's alive, then proceeds to lead the group out to the local pub. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #17 - Patreon First

"Shadow of the Gun"
May 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel struggles with repeated visions of her impending death. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Tony DeZuniga 
Letters: John Costanza 
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
After experiencing a series of vivid premonitions of her death brought on by her seventh sense, Carol has grown increasing distraught and stressed out. Combined with a heavier than normal workload at Woman magazine, her co-workers are starting to notice, and Frank Gianelli comes up with a plan to break her out of her funk. Meanwhile, Ballard and a woman named Raven, who has assumed the form of SHIELD director Nicky Fury, infiltrate the Helicarrier to retrieve a weapon Raven believes capable of destroying Ms. Marvel. Later, as Carol approaches the offices of Woman magazine, she is hit by snowballs thrown by Frank Gianelli, the beginning an office-wide snowball fight he's organized to lift her spirits. He succeeds, and they pair end up embracing, before Carol pushes him away, saying she needs a change of clothes. Transforming into Ms. Marvel, she flies off towards her apartment, at which point, she is blasted out of the sky by someone wielding the weapon which killed her in her visions. 

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Wednesday, July 7, 2021

X-amining X-Men: Clandestine #1-2


"Dreams of Darkest Destiny" / "The Destine's Darkest Dreams
October - November 1996

In a Nutshell
The X-Men meet ClanDestine

Writer/Penciler: Alan Davis
Inkers: Mark Farmer
Letters: Pat Prentice
Colors: Rosas & Laughlin
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: Xavier has a dream which he realizes is a memory, of helping two mysterious women repel an invasion by a demon named Synraith. As the original X-Men head into town, leaving Xavier to ponder this newfound memory, one of the women, Gracie Gamble, learns of Synraith's imminent return. She casts a spell to try and stop it, but instead, the spell splits and causes unforeseen happenings in two locations: the Xavier Institute, and Ravenscroft, home of Gracie's superpowered family, the clan Destine. There, Adam Destine and Kay, the other woman from Xavier's memory, are pulled into a portal, which the rest of ClanDestine traces to the X-Mansion. Meanwhile, when the Danger Room starts to act funny during a training session between Wolverine, Storm & Cannonball, Forge & Colossus are called in to help investigate. Just then, another rift opens, pulling in Xavier & Colossus. The X-Men debate going through the portal after them, but pull up short as it appears something else is coming through. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #16 - Patreon First

"The Deep Deadly Silence!"
April 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel fights Tiger Shark in the ocean depths. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Frank Springer
Letters: Gaspar Saladino & Rick Parker 
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Ms. Marvel breaks into Avengers Mansion, desperate to find the necessary scientific resources to give her the ability to fight Tiger Shark underwater. She briefly tussles with Beast and Scarlet Witch, but once she explains her situation, they give her access to the equipment she needs. After devising a method to both track Tiger Shark and breathe underwater, Ms. Marvel flies off. As she heads out over the bay, she is watched from afar by a sinister figure. Diving underwater, she tracks Tiger Shark to an sunken battleship, where he is holding the captive Namorita. Tiger Shark's raw strength overpowers Ms. Marvel, and when he hurls the battleship's missiles at her, she swims off to regroup. Drawing the attention of a giant squid, she fights it off, then is attacked by Tiger Shark. Taking advantage of his poor fighting skills, she gets close enough to knock him unconscious just as her ability breathe underwater wears off. She passes out, only to wake up aboard an Atlantean ship. Namorita explains that as Ms. Marvel fought Tiger Shark, Namorita was able to escape and summon help. Ms. Marvel is grateful, as the Atlanteans take Tiger Shark into their custody. 

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Wednesday, June 30, 2021

X-amining X-Men: Brood #1-2


"Day of Wrath"
September - October 1996

In a Nutshell
The X-Men defend Hannah Connover from assassins sent by the Brood Empress!

Writer: John Ostrander 
Penciler: Bryan Hitch, Bryan Hitch & Sal Velluto (issue #2)
Inker: Paul Neary, Neary, Anyd Lanning & Harry Candelario (issue #2)
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Joe Rosas
Separations: Malibu
Editor: Jaye Gardner
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Plot
Issue #1: Hannah Connover, wife of Reverend William Connover, suffers from nightmares in which the Brood Empress tells her to submit to the Brood Queen inside her, or be killed by the Empress' assassins. Hannah's mental anguish is sensed by Jean Grey, vacationing nearby. As she and Cyclops try to track down Hannah, Professor X assembles a group of X-Men to assist them. Meanwhile, Hannah grapples with her past actions, infecting various followers of her husband's mission with Brood eggs before her humanity re-asserted itself. As the Brood Empress' Firstborn assassins arrive on Earth and are greeted by Josey Thomas, the Brood who infected Hannah, Hannah heads into town with two of the followers she infected. Tracking her, the Firstborn and the X-Men collide, with the Firstborn killing Josey and Hannah's Brood. The X-Men manage to fight off the Firstborn and escape into the desert with Hannah, where she is joined by more of her followers. Though Wolverine insists Hannah needs to die to kill the Brood Queen inside her, the rest of the X-Men vow to defend her. Hannah, however, begs them to kill her. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #15 - Patreon First

"The Shark Is a Very Deadly Beast"
March 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel battles Tiger Shark 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Tony DeZuniga
Letters: Bruce Patterson
Colors: Phil Rachelson
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Returning from Boston, Ms. Marvel has a brief date with Michael Barnett, before returning to the office of Woman magazine. Meanwhile, Tiger Shark breaks free of his cell on Hydrobase. At Woman magazine, Carol learns about the break-in to her office when Jean DeWolff interviews Frank Gianelli. After DeWolff leaves, Carol calls Frank on the dodgy answers he provided; Frank admits that he knows the culprit - Ballard - to be a CIA operative, and wants to investigate further on his own. Carol gives him the go ahead. Elsewhere, Tiger Shark comes ashore, seeking out Namor's cousin, Namorita. A few blocks away, Carol checks out her new apartment, but is interrupted when the super-powered Wundarr crashes into her. She transforms into Ms. Marvel and attacks, but Wundarr turns out to be a friend of Namorita, who tried to stop Tiger Shark from abducting her. Desperate to save a helpless woman from Tiger Shark, Ms. Marvel chases after him and gains the upper hand, until he targets a pair of young bystanders, escaping while she saves their lives. Ms. Marvel then spots Tiger Shark entering the water with Namorita, and prepares to fight him on his ground, swearing that if he harms Namorita, she'll make him wish he'd never been born!

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Monday, June 28, 2021

G. I. JOE #51 - September 1986 (The Commercial, Not the Comic)



Swampfire changes color in bright sunlight

The Joes attack and Swampfire takes flight

Dreadnok Thunder Machine

Meanest machine you've ever seen!

Dreadnoks' Thunder Machine

is Joe's evil new foe

G.I. Joe a real American hero!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

X-amining X-Force and Cable '96


"Transmission"/"Denouement (Tribute, Part 4)"

1996


In a Nutshell

X-Force battles Pulse, a cybernetic Kree refugee, before helping him evade the Shi'ar. 


Writer: John Francis Moore, Terry Kavanagh & Ben Raab (2nd Story)

Penciler: Luke Ross, Ed Benes (2nd Story)

Inkers: Rob Hunter & Matt Ryan, Joe Pimentel & Matt Ryan (2nd Story)

Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft

Colorist: Shannon Blanchard & Malibu Color, Mike Thomas (2nd Story)

Editor: Jaye Gardner

Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras


Plot

Pulse, a cybernetic being composed of Shi'ar technology created by a rebellious faction of the Kree, flees the Shi'ar, ending up near Earth, where he covers his escape by destroying his ship. Meanwhile, Cable & Domino are overseeing a training session of X-Force in the Danger Room when the room suddenly goes haywire. Manifestations of Ultron, Deathlok and Warlock appear, each doing battle with X-Force. As Cable & Domino try to figure out what's wrong with the room, Deathbird contacts them, ordering them to help apprehend Pulse. Eventually, X-Force manages to break free of the room, at which point "Warlock" escapes. Upon seeing a surfboard near the boathouse, Warlock transforms into Pulse, his memory restored. He explains that he was drawn to the Shi'ar technology in the Danger Room, where he combed through the databanks for similarly-cybernetic beings as he tried to remember who he was. Just then, the Shi'ar forces arrive and demand Pulse. While Cable and the rest of the team stall, Siryn & Warpath help Pulse escape by beaming his mind off the planet, then feigning ignorance while turning over his robotic shell to the Shi'ar. Later, Pulse, reconstitutes a physical form aboard a passing ship, and continues his quest to find the Silver Surfer. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

X-amining Defenders #57 - Patreon First

"And Along Came...Ms. Marvel"
March 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel teams up with the Defenders to rescue Michael Barnett from AIM! 

Plot: Gerry Conway
Plot: Gerry Conway
Guest Writer: Chris Claremont
Plot: Gerry Conway
Penciler: George Tuska & Dave Cockrum
Inker: Dan Gree
Letters: Gaspar Saladino & Peter Iro
Colors: Francoise Mouly
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
In the past, Doctor Strange's Orb of Agamotto suddenly projects an image of Ms. Marvel, which sends Hulk into a rage, prompting Strange and Valkyrie to work in order to calm him down. The pair suggest the Defenders investigate the sudden appearance of Ms. Marvel, but they are soon drawn into other matters. In the present, Michael Barnett is captured by a hypnotist named Shaman. Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel, acting on a premonition from her seventh sense, seeks out the Defenders at Nightwing's apartment, where she meets him & Hellcat. Michael is taken by Shaman to agents of AIM, who seek to plumb his mind for information about Carol Danvers. Learning she fears an attack by the Hulk, AIM sets out to capture him using an advanced Warbot, attacking Hulk, Valkyrie, & Clea at Doctor Strange's home. Hulk is captured, but Nighthawk manages to get a tracer on the robot, and he alerts Ms. Marvel & Hellcat. The Defenders and Ms. Marvel track Hulk to AIM's base, where Ms. Marvel destroys the Warbot and the Defenders defeat the AIM agents, before Michael is freed from his hypnosis by Clea. 

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

X-amining Wolverine '96


"The Last Ronin"
1996

In a Nutshell
Wolverine & Sunfire battle Red Ronin

Plot: Jeph Loeb (1st Story)
Script: Ralph Macchio, Joseph Kelly (2nd Story) 
Pencils: Ed McGuiness, Tommy Lee Edwards (2nd Story)
Inks: Nathan Massengill with Norman Lee, Rich Case (2nd Story)
Letters: RS & Comicraft, John Workman (2nd Story) 
Colors: Gloria Vasquez, Paul Becton (2nd Story)
Enhancements: Malibu
Editor: Bob Harras

Plot
In Japan, Wolverine visits Mariko's grave. He is approached by Silver Samurai, who wants his help freeing Sunfire from government custody. Meanwhile, Bastion meets with Japanese officials, trying to get their support for his anti-mutant Zero Tolerance operation. General Hirito tells him Japan as its own anti-mutant weapon already: Red Ronin. As Hirito executes the seizure of Red Ronin from the Fujikawa Corporation, he is watched by Yukio. Later, Wolverine frees Sunfire, who is struggling to control his powers, and Silver Samurai tells the pair the Hand is plotting to take control of Red Ronin for themselves. Working together, they stop the Hand, but Hirito orders Red Ronin's controller to activate the robot. As Red Ronin charges into action, Sunfire manages to create an opening to allow Wolverine inside, where he damages enough critical systems to stop the robot. Sunfire, however, almost loses control of his powers, prompting Wolverine to take him to Canada, in the hopes that James & Heather Hudson can help him regain control. Meanwhile, Red Ronin's controller is executed by Hirito, on orders from his mysterious benefactor, the government still intent on using Red Ronin to take control of the mutant problem. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #14 - Patreon First

"Fear Stalks Floor 40"
February 1978

In a Nutshell
Ms. Marvel fights to protect her father and win his respect

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Carmine Infantino 
Inker: Steve Leialoha
Letters: John Costanza
Colors: Janice Cohen
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Checking on her father Joe at his construction site, Ms. Marvel manages to save him when he's trapped in a cascade of falling girders. Once he's safely on the ground, she transforms into Carol and overhears Joe angrily accusing the site's owner, Maxwell Plumm, of skirting codes & using substandard material. Carol offers to help investigate & gather evidence on Plumm, but her father refuses, saying it's man's work. Meanwhile, at Woman magazine, Frank Gianelli chases out someone trying to burgle Carol's office. Back in Boston, Carol suddenly feels as though she's being followed, and transforms into Ms. Marvel before flying off, not realizing she barely missed an encounter with Dracula. Just then, she gets a flash of her seventh sense, showing her father being threatened by a villain named Steeplejack. The strength of the flash makes her realize the events are happening in the present, and she races to the construction site, where she once again saves her father and defeats Steeplejack, who turns out to be Maxwell Plumm. Joe remains cold to the idea of a female superhero, despite having his life saved by one twice. Carol's mother, however, who immediately recognizes Ms. Marvel as Carol, insists that Joe loves her, while Carol comes to accept that her father will likely never change, and she no longer really cares if he does.

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Monday, June 14, 2021

X-amining Onslaught

I have long been frustrated with the way Blogger presents older posts and limits page results (frankly, I've long been frustrated with a lot when it comes to Blogger, but who has the time or mental bandwidth to change to something else now?). In an effort to somewhat combat that, this is the first in what I hope will be numerous posts collecting links to all the reviews of a relevant storyline/run in one handy place, in order. I will then post a link to this post on the site's X-aminations page (where I currently have links to assorted runs and storylines, but which are presented in Blogger's stupid "newest first and then only some" model). 

First up, of course, is "Onslaught". I'll update this with the link to Onslaught: Epilogue, once I review it (it wasn't published until December of 1996, roughly three months after the story to which it is meant to serve as an epilogue ended, a testament to its role as more of an "Operation: Zero Tolerance" prelude than an "Onslaught" epilogue), but for now, here's a handy guide to reviews of every issue of the crossover for your reading pleasure (?). 



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Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Unstacking the Deck: Marvel Ultra Onslaught

Fleer Skybox 1996

Vital Statistics
100 cards, plus a three card promo set (featuring Heroes Reborn Captain America, Mr. Fantastic and Iron Man), a four card Autographs chase set, a three card "Mirage" chase set featuring lenticular cards, and four exclusive Overpower hero cards and nine exclusive Overpower mission cards. 

Categorically Speaking
The majority of these cards are standard hero/villain portraits, with the standard 100th card checklist, plus twelve cards smack in the middle of the set that summarize the plot of "Onslaught" (these basically functions as an additional category but are not labeled as such). 

Firsts and Other Notables
"Marvel Ultra Onslaught" functions, essentially, as a trading card set featuring the major players in the "Onslaught" crossover. Each card front image is full bleed (no borders) and enhanced with CGI coloring/effects. Card backs list the character's real name, team affiliation and power, with brief biographical information about the character written either from the perspective of Professor X or Onslaught, along with information about the artists who worked on the card. 

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

X-amining Ms. Marvel #13 - Patreon First

"Homecoming!"
January 1978

In a Nutshell
Carol Danvers visits her parents and battles Golden Blade & Sapper. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Jim Mooney
Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letters: Gaspar Saladino & Peter Iro
Colors: Francise Mouly
Editor-in-Chief: Archie Goodwin

Plot
Carol Danvers, along with Michael Barnett, visit her parents in Boston. In the wake of her recent encounter with Hecate and the Silver Scarab, Carol is now in full control of her transformations into Ms. Marvel, able to shift between the identities at will, and feeling more like herself than ever. Later, Carol & Michael attend a ball held on the deck of the USS Constitution, anchored at the Portsmouth Naval shipyard, in honor of a visit by the nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Halsey. When two alien robots - Sapper and Golden Blade - attack the Halsey, trying to absorb the radiation from its nuclear reactor, Carol springs into action as Ms. Marvel. Sapper tries to absorb Ms. Marvel's energy, but when she manages to damage Golden Blade, he orders a retreat. The two robots flee, but Carol suspects she hasn't seen the last of them. 

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