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

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

X-amining XSE #1-4

"Time Lost" / "Future Intense" / "Future Betrayed" / "Conflagration
November 1996 - February 1997

In a Nutshell
Bishop and Shard's pasts revealed! 

Writer: John Ostrander
Penciler: Chris Gardner, 
Inkers: Terry Austin & Tom Palmer
Art: Deodator Studios / Mozart Cuto (issues #2-4)
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colors: Derek Bellman, Shannon Blanchard (issues #3-4)
Enhancements: Graphic Color Works, Malibu (issue #3)
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Having accepted the holographic Shard as his sister, Bishop invites her to the X-Mansion in an effort to convince her to join X-Men. Shard is reluctant, not wanting to be seen only as Bishop's little sister. Bishop uses the Danger Room's holographic capabilities to explore the siblings' past. They revisit their harsh childhood and eventual recruitment into the XSE, where they are attacked by a group of Emplates during a training mission. Bishop's actions during that attack lead to him becoming a full XSE officer; a year later, Shard graduates as well. Years later, Bishop is made a squad commander and makes the unconventional choice to appoint Malcolm and Randall - two underpowered mutants who don't really like each other - to his squad. Ultimately, the team bonds during an attack on Harmony Base, a colony in which humans and mutants live together. Meanwhile, the ambitious Shard rises through the XSE ranks, becoming Bishop's superior officer while helping develop new holographic technology. When Bishop participates in a field test of the new technology and proves it doesn't work, he tries to mend things with Shard by giving her a tip he received from the captive Fitzroy about the location of the anti-human Exhumes' base. However, all Shard finds at the base is a pack of Emplates, and her squad is overwhelmed, with Shard herself infected. When Bishop arrived on the scene, Shard begs him to kill her before she becomes an Emplate. Instead, he takes her to the Witness where, in exchange for a year of Bishop's service, Shard's memories are downloaded into a holographic projector to preserve her existence. Back at the X-Mansion, Shard is touched to realize how much Bishop sacrificed for her, and agrees to stay with him among the X-Men, but in the course of their reminiscences, Bishop has come to realize she needs to build her own life with X-Factor. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series 3x10 - Patreon First!


Original Airdate
September 24, 1994

Adam Gilad 

Using his immense wealth, Archangel has funded an extensive archaeological investigation into Apocalypse, desperate to find a weakness in order to kill him. One researcher shows Archangel evidence of a weak spot behind Apocalypse's neck. Just then, Archangel learns that Apocalypse is attacking the Statute of Liberty. The X-Men, who are using Shi'ar technology to monitor a hidden spaceship, are alerted to the attack, and join Archangel. But when Apocalypse escapes, the group reconvenes at the mansion. Archangel is determined to go after Apocalypse and flies off; Rogue and Gambit follow him, while the rest of the X-Men proceed to the spaceship. Inside, Beast discovers the ship is controlled by a sentient intelligence dubbed "Ship", and works with Ship to come up with a way to capture Apocalypse. However, the X-Men are instead captured by a trap set by Apocalypse, who controls Ship. When Archangel, Gambit and Rogue catch up to Apocalypse, he taunts them before flying off to the ship. When he arrives, however, he discovers the X-Men have escaped his trap. They, in turn, capture him inside a force field. However, this isn't good enough for Archangel who, upon arrival, frees Apocalypse in order to kill him. Apocalypse reveals his apparent "weakness" was just a ruse to draw out Archangel, and during their ensuing fight, Ship is damaged. On the verge of destruction, Ship blasts Apocalypse into space as Archangel and the X-Men fly away. Beast says that while Apocalypse will be back, they're out of danger for now. Archangel is still mad though, and flies off, while Beast bids a tearful goodbye to Ship as it crashes into the ocean. 

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

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

X-amining Logan: Shadow Society

"Shadow Society"
December 1996

In a Nutshell
Secret agents Logan and Carol Danvers are drawn into a conspiracy involving the Canadian defense ministry and the Hellfire Club! 

Plot: Howard Mackie
Script: Mark Jason
Penciler: Tomm Coker
Inkers: Keith Aiken with Octavio Cariello
Letters: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
Colors: Christie Scheele
Separations: D. Chameleon
Editors: Marc Bernardo & Mark Powers
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Neil Langram, partner of Canadian secret agent Logan, is mysteriously killed. Meanwhile, when CIA agent Carol Danver's attempt to capture an arms dealer fails when her cover is blown, she is rescued by Logan. After learning of Neil's death and knowing he was in the middle of an investigation, Carol and Logan try to hack into the Canadian defense ministry's computers to learn what Neil was investigating. They fail, but after assassins sent by the defense ministry fail to kill them, they break into Department H of the ministry. There they discover a file named "the Mutant Agenda", which references a doctor named Perry Edwards who has written a book about a secret society of "mutants" living amongst humanity. Carol and Logan travel to Manhattan to find Edwards, saving him from more assassins. Edwards tells them there are mutants inside the upper class Hellfire Club; Logan breaks into the club, and learns of a secret Canadian installation involving the club. As he and Carol set out to find the installation, Sebastian Shaw assigns Sabretooth to kill Logan. Upon arriving at the secret installation, Logan and Carol find everyone inside dead - including several defense ministry officials and Perry Edwards. Just then Sabretooth attacks and explains how the Hellfire Club and Department H are competing to recruit mutants, and tells Logan he killed Langram, who was secretly a mutant, for refusing to join the Hellfire Club. Logan savagely attacks Sabretooth, but Sabretooth manages to set off a bomb, destroying the facility. Later, Logan and Carol are left wondering who they can trust.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

X-amining Classic X-Men #10 - Patreon First!

"Tag, Sucker!"
June 1987

In a Nutshell
Wolverine is hunted through New York City by Sabretooth

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Bolton, John Romita Sr. (added pages)
Inker: Sam Grainger (added pages)
Letters: Tom Orzechowski, Gaspar Saladino (added pages)
Colors: Glynis Oliver, Michele Wrightson (added pages)
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

Wolverine explores New York City, finding himself uncomfortable in the urban environment. Suddenly, he realizes he is being hunted by an unseen figure. He decides to make the stalker chase him, and he runs through the city, stopping briefly in a bar. A patron there flirts with him, but Wolverine's stalker kills her. Wolverine runs again, ending at Battery Park, where he dons his X-Men uniform and turns to face his opponent. But the stalker attacks him from behind, ripping out his throat and tossing him in the ocean. But the stalker underestimated Wolverine's healing abilities, and he climbs out of the water, knowing he should have died. Realizing it was Sabretooth who hunted and attacked him, Wolverine affirms that in order to survive, he'll have to do better next time. 

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

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

X-amining Marvel Fanfare (vol. 2) #4-5

"Cause and Effect" / "Life Lessons"
December 1996 - January 1997

In a Nutshell
Longshot and Dazzler lead the fight against the now-despotic Mojo II (the Sequel). 

Writer: Jaimie Campos
Penciler: Steven Jones
Inker: Mike Witherby
Letters: Jon Babcock, Caroline Wells and Jeff Powell; Sue Crespi and Caroline Wells (issue #5)
Colors: Brian Buccellato
Editor: James Felder
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Issue #4: On Mojoworld, Longshot, Dazzler and Quark lead their rebels forces against the oppressive regime of Mojo II, stopping another of his public executions. Meanwhile, Mojo II schemes with his aide Pet and decides to goose his ratings by executing a member of the previous Mojo's regime, the captive Major Domo. Learning of this, Longshot's rebels decide to rescue Major Domo, leading Quark to battle Mojo II's executioner, Spiral. He defeats her, but when he spares her life, she disappears. Meanwhile, Longshot and Dazzler rescue Major Domo, who throws in with the rebels out of gratitude. Issue #5: Some time later, Mojo II's forces attack the rebel base. As Longshot leads the fight against them, Dazzler discovers a traitor in the rebels' midst, who knocks out and captures Dazzler and Quark. Major Domo then switches sides again, after which Mojo II buries Longshot in his base. After he regains consciousness, Spiral teleports into the base and offers to help Longshot escape. She delivers him to the site of Dazzler and Quark's pending executions. Once the rebels are reunited, Major Domo switches sides again, and helps turn the tide against Mojo II. Spiral takes Mojo II for punishment, while Major Domo is ultimately accepted by the rebels. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

X-amining X-Men: The Animated Series 3x09 - Patreon First!

 "Savage Land, Strange Hearts Part 2"

Original Airdate
September 17, 1994

Robert Skir and Marty Isenberg 

With Storm raging out of control, the non-corporeal Garokk grows stronger, feeding on her energy. To stop her, the X-Men have Karl Lykos absorb Storm's power for himself, triggering his transformation into Sauron but stopping Storm's rampage. Sauron meets with Zaladane, telling her he'll no longer be a pawn of Garokk, but Garokk overpowers him. Garokk explains how he once had a corporeal form until a battle with an outlander transformed him into inanimate stone. But when the X-Men recently arrived in the Savage Land, Garokk found himself reinvigorated by Storm's elemental power, and he arranged for Sauron to bring her to the Savage Land. When the X-Men attack Garokk, he draws on Storm's powers once more and forms a new, massive body for himself. Sauron, bitter towards having been used by Garokk, absorbs Garokk's energy, gaining a new massive form for himself. The two giant beings fight one another over the volcanoes which keep the Savage Land warm, their battle ending with a massive explosion of their energy which reverts Garokk to his inert form and transforms Sauron back to Karl Lykos. As the X-Men prepare to return home, Lykos decides to remain in the Savage Land with Ka-Zar, away from any mutants who could cause Sauron to be reborn. 

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

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

X-amining Maverick #1

"The Sword Song On a Barren Heath"
January 1997

In a Nutshell
Maverick takes a break from dying to battle Omega Red!

Writer: Larry Hama
Artist: Wildred Santiago
Inkers: Tim Townsend
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos
Colors: Marie Javins
Editor: Kelly Corvese
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

Maverick, dying from the Legacy Virus, is visited by Elena Ivanova, a psychic who wants his help finding Sabretooth. Realizing he is being hunted by Omega Red, Maverick agrees to help Elena if she helps him with Omega Red. The pair head to a Canadian air force research base, followed by Omega Red. At the base, Canadian forces capture Omega Red but Maverick and Elena escape with the help of John Wraith, Maverick's old Team X compatriot. Omega Red manages to escape, however, by killing all the soldiers around him with his mutant death factor. Maverick, Elena and Wraith proceed to the old Weapon X facility, where Maverick has hidden the carbonadium synthesizer that Omega Red needs. With the help of Elena's telepathy, they lure Omega Red to the base and trap him in a containment chamber, then escape just as the Canadian air force bombs the facility. Maverick honors his promise to Elena and gives her a lead of Sabretooth, but she decides to stay with Maverick in order to be with him through his final days. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

X-amining Classic X-Men #9 - Patreon First!

"The Gift"
May 1987

In a Nutshell
As he waits for news on Jean Grey, Nightcrawler befriends a young boy at the hospital. 

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: John Bolton, Tom Morgan (added pages)
Letters: Bill Oakley
Colors: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

With the X-Men gathered at the hospital, awaiting news on Jean's condition, Nightcrawler meets a young boy in the hospital's garden late at night. Concerned about the boy being out so late alone, Nightcrawler befriends him, learning his name is Daniel and that he is waiting for someone. Unsure if the boy himself is sick or is visiting a sick family member, Nightcrawler proceeds to do his best to cheer him up, culminating in a juggling act he learned at the circus. Nightcrawler then shares his true appearance with the boy, who isn't at all shocked, and after Nightcrawler brings him home, they agree to meet up later at the hospital. But when Nightcrawler returns to the hospital, he learned that Daniel died of cancer that evening, and realizes his encounter with the ghost of Daniel has led him to a greater appreciation for the joys of life.

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