Issue(s): Excalibur #12, Excalibur #13
One thing that feels a bit shoehorned is the other love triangle, between Kitty, Rachel, and WHO operative Alistaire Stuart, who is also along for this adventure. Kitty has a crush on Alistaire, who only has eyes for Rachel. The issues are full of Kitty (jokingly, but with real feeling behind it) thinking about Rachel as a traitor of their friendship for attracting Alistaire. That's fine as a development point for Kitty, but Rachel is a weird foil for her. She's not the perfect sex goddess that Kitty thinks she is. In reality, she is (or ought to be) a psychologically damaged misfit from a dystopian alternate dimension. In my reading, the clothes she wears (her costume and the civilian clothing she wore prior to this storyline) is not just sexily bondage themed for the sake of being sexy, but because she subconsciously still thinks of herself as a mutant hunting slave. So her choice of clothing is not (or shouldn't be) because Claremont likes dressing up his women characters in S&M gear, but because she's still got serious issues to work out because of her traumatic past. Issues #16-17 will (superficially) bring up Rachel's past, but in the context of the Alistaire triangle, she remains the unattainable beauty for him and the unbeatable rival for Kitty.
Anyway, these two issues have the characters teleporting into a world where England is still under a feudal system, although it's modern enough that the princes have Walkmans and more high tech weaponry.
A prince sees Kitty, who has fallen out of the teleporting train, and thinks that the tiny dragon Lockheed is menacing him so he attacks. Kitty is subsequently captured by a flying monster and imprisoned by an ogre named Butch.
Kitty and another imprisoned girl are subsequently rescued by Excalibur...
...and then the prince proposes to Kitty. Kitty of course doesn't want to marry the prince, but she's mind controlled by the queen into changing her mind. Until in the end it turns out that the other girl that was rescued has been attacking the prince because she is secretly in love with him, and so the prince switches his affections to her, which is what the queen planned for all along (although she was willing to take Kitty as a back-up if necessary).
It's a standard sort of story but done with a lot of fun along the way. For a two-parter it would have been a whimsical little tale, but we're going to see this basic thing repeated over the next twelve issues.
It's worth noting that most of these alternate dimensions that we'll encounter have counterparts to actual characters from our universe. So Captain Britain gets a new costume that once belonged to the Captain Marshall of this world before he died (note also the confirmation that Brian and Meggan's recent power loss was due to being away from England)...
...and the Queen of this realm bears a resemblance to Saturnyne. The girl that the prince ultimately marries is an analogue for Kitty. This is all stemming from the Alan Moore Captain Britain stories that introduced the idea of multiple universes each having their own Captain Britain analogue.
Excalibur's train is also repaired and cleared of the Nazi markings that it originally had.
Back on Earth, the mercenary Technet group are given a space in Brighton to operate out of, in return for controlling the weather for the local (dino) tourists.
Nigel Frobisher then contacts Technet per the orders of his boss, who he thinks is Courtney Ross but who we know is really an evil alternate dimension Saturnyne. But instead of just having a conversation with them he winds up getting twisted by all of Technet's body shapers. In a weird revelation, it turns out that he has conflicting desires to be more powerful than his boss but also to actually be her.
When that gets sorted out, Nigel hires Technet to rescue Captain Britain's brother Jamie Braddock from Doctor Crocodile.
Quality Rating: B
Chronological Placement Considerations: My rule for interdimensional teleportation is that it doesn't have to be instantaneous, so i haven't placed this directly after Excalibur's departure from Earth last issue, and that's how i'll be handling all the jumps during the Cross-Time Caper. Although in this case the characters don't jump until the beginning of next issue, but there's a gap where the characters rest for a while before leaving. There's also potentially a gap between issues #12-13 but i've kept the issues together since it's part of the same story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAlistaire Stuart, Bodybag, Captain Britain, China Doll, Gatecrasher, Joyboy, Lockheed, Meggan, Nigel Frobisher, Nightcrawler, Numbers, Rachel Summers, Scatterbrain, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Train Dragon, Waxworks, Widget, Yap
That scan where Joyboy turns Frobisher into a muscle man/sexy lady hybrid, second panel... that exaggerated muscle man looks pretty much exactly like that infamous Rob Liefeld drawing of Captain America!
Posted by: Berend | November 10, 2014 6:29 PM
The idea that Brian and Meggan lose their powers whenever they leave the British Isles doesn't really work- they didn't lose their powers in X-Men Annual 11 or when they went to Africa to rescue Jamie.
Posted by: Michael | November 10, 2014 8:52 PM
This is clearly an alternate universe. Prince William would never marry a woman named Kate!
Posted by: ChrisW | November 11, 2014 6:05 PM
Was that Liefeld Cap drawing around in mid-1989 though?
Posted by: Mark Drummond | November 14, 2014 10:23 PM
I had high hopes for Excalibur which worked for the first year. They even went to Westchester and I hoped they would at least interact with the main team.
But this was such a disappointment. I kept buying these issues, waiting for them to get back home. It seemed like just an exercise to keep Kurt, Kitty and Rachel from meeting up with the main team again.
Posted by: Erik Beck | September 2, 2015 11:45 AM
"The Cross-Time Caper" did actually start off pretty well with this issue, and the next couple were also good, but after that it went seriously off the rails (uh, no pun intended, since Excalibur was on a train and all that). Even if it had been only nine parts it probably would still have been too long. When at long last it did wrap up, um, Alan Davis was gone, and Chris Claremont had one foot out the door.
As I have said before, I am definitely a fan of Claremont. Nevertheless, I think "The Cross-Time Caper" is very clear evidence for why he needs a strong editor to keep him focused on his primary cast of characters and on a manageable number of subplots.
Posted by: Ben Herman | November 28, 2016 1:46 PM
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