Issue(s): Excalibur #40, Excalibur #41
He has an out of body experience and floats up to a spaceship holding more of his kind, including a female that he was betrothed to.
Note that based on this sequence, his species is called the Flock, but i don't know how seriously to take anything that we learn here. And the dialogue is all in rhyme, which means i couldn't bring myself to read it. But the gist is that Lockheed is on trial for breaking with the nature of his species, which is normally communal. Leaving the Flock to live alone is very strange. But Lockheed explains that he has a new family, and describes Excalibur to them. By the time he gets to the repeated encounters with alternate Nazis, his audience falls asleep, just like we did during those stories.
In the end Lockheed wins his trial and returns to his body. But before the surgery is officially completed, Rachel detects a psychic presence and Excalibur head to the roof to find the X-Men (and Jean).
A "reunion", as issue #41 pretends to promise, is definitely needed, and this issue actually shows that a reunion issue could have been quite good (don't worry about Jean's costume changing colors; it was probably a mistake but as you'll see it turns out to not be important regardless).
A lot of good moments.
Obviously since the teams have been separated for so long, and there are details like Rachel Summers actually having seen Jean Grey during Inferno, there are A LOT MORE things we'd like to see the groups discuss, but what we have here is actually a reasonable subset of those things and i think they're done well.
But as you can see from Storm's sinister grin, all is not what it seems. But there's another threat as well. A prisoner has bought a magic rock from his "gypsy cell mate" and uses it to absorb the souls of some of his fellow murderers while they are being transferred, with the idea that they'll get new bodies. But instead he accidentally drops the rock out of the prison truck window, and the murderers' souls wind up possessing some garbage.
At this point Excalibur should be thankful that the X-Men aren't real. "Is this the sort of nonsense you guys deal with?" "Yeah..." "Are you SURE you don't want to come back to the X-Men?"
But the X-Men turn out to really be the Warwolves.
They try to capture Rachel, merging to form a dimensional portal.
But Nightcrawler is able to re-collect the murderers' souls into the gem and then release it so that they possess the Warwolves, distracting them at a critical moment and causing them all to go through the portal, leaving Rachel and Excalibur safely on Earth.
"One week" later, Lockheed is doing fine. Meggan suggests to Captain Britain that instead of waiting around for the X-Men to contact them, they do the reaching out. So they do.
I'd like to think that right after this, an actual meeting with the X-Men occurs that goes similar to what we saw here, since i thought those scenes were pretty good. But Excalibur #57-58 is the first time that the teams will actually meet in person. As it is, it's kind of a cheat, and probably felt like a BIG cheat to people who bought issue #40 in real time and got excited about the final page.
But these issues are cute (allowing for my strong objection to rhyming dream sequences) with probably the best art we've seen on the title since Alan Davis left.
Speaking of Alan Davis, he's back next issue.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: I'm allowing a little time to pass since the end of last arc, with Excalibur maybe not realizing the extent of Lockheed's injuries at first or trying other things before deciding to bring him to human surgeons. At the end of issue #41, Excalibur call the X-Mansion and get Cable. Assuming this takes place after New Mutants #100, it may be that he returned to the X-Mansion to pick up some stuff after deciding to leave it in that issue, or he had calls routed to another location which is where he's answering the call (a location isn't specified, but of course it's supposed to be the X-Mansion). On the screens around Cable, we see images of four teams. That includes a shot of the New Mutants that includes Thunderbird and Feral, meaning that it does take place after New Mutants #100 (a footnote does say it takes place before X-Force #1). We also see the X-Factor team that take over with X-Factor #71. And two shots of the X-Men and former X-Factor characters, with the former X-Factor characters mixed in with the X-Men and the groups looking like their Blue and Gold teams, and Cyclops in what looks like his new costume. It's possible to simply rule out all four panels as conceptual, and i think the fact that the X-Men and X-Factor characters are integrated doesn't necessarily mean much, and Cyclops' costume is easy to ignore (plus i don't think it formally debuts anywhere, so it wouldn't be wrong to have it appear here). But i will try to honor the X-Factor image and place their first appearance prior to this. Alternatively, "one week" passes before the last few pages of issue #41, allowing for the majority of this story to take place soon after Lockheed is injured and the rest to occur after all the pieces fall into place for the other X-teams.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAlistaire Stuart, Cable (Adult), Captain Britain, Dai Thomas, Lockheed, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde)
Note that Jean is referred to as Marvel Girl in this story. This is perhaps the last time that happens- after this, she's referred to just as Jean Grey for the next few years.
Posted by: Michael | October 3, 2015 12:48 PM
Insofar as Cable himself appears in the New Mutants/X-Force image, I really think it makes more sense to treat these images as conceptual and place this arc earlier. Just my two cents.
Posted by: Matt | October 3, 2015 2:48 PM
Thanks Matt. Let me get through the next few issues X-Factor and the Kings of Pain annuals and see how it goes. For me, treating this as conceptual would be a last resort but i'll do it if i have to.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 3, 2015 3:35 PM
Oh God, the Lockheed issue! What sins are we being punished for with this comic?
That said, you're right that the following issue wasn't as bad as every other non-Claremont/Davis issue of "Excalibur." The reunions ring true, Davis specifically insisted that the Warwolves be cleared up before he took the reins and this serves that purpose, and it finally clears up the last problems with the X-Men pretending to be dead, now that Kitty, Kurt and Brian can't pretend either.
The plotlines are never going to go anywhere [exceptions duly noted] but this cleans out the last bit of dust from the post-"Inferno" era of Rachel confronting Maddie, setting the stage for the all-new, all-different X-titles.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 3, 2015 5:21 PM
I saw "Writer: Scott Lobdell". And stopped reading.
Posted by: Tabe8 | October 3, 2015 8:53 PM
You are very wise. I say this in a 'can we sit at your feet and sup from your wisdom' sort of way. Scott Lobdell will only get worse.
Posted by: ChrisW | October 4, 2015 2:06 AM
The only thing from Lobdell I ever enjoyed was his brief stint on Fantastic Four after Heroes Reborn. I think collaborating with Davis brought out the best in him.
I guess Generation X had a few fun issues here and there, too, from the bits I sampled.
But his X-Men were horrible, and his current stuff is utterly abysmal, and, in the case of Red Hood at DC, downright offensive.
Posted by: Bob | October 4, 2015 1:32 PM
If I had still been reading Excalibur I would have seen this is as being a complete hose job for fans. It had been years since Excalibur had interacted with the X-Men and there was no reason to still keep them separate. The X-Men are basically family to Kitty and Kurt and literally family for Rachel and Brian. They had just been to Muir Island. And they still just kept Excalibur in this separate pocket universe. Even in the crossovers they would be completely ignored.
I didn't need a return to status quo for the X-Men. I didn't need them back in the mansion and I sure as hell didn't need Xavier back in a wheelchair and leading them again. But I desperately needed Kurt and Kitty to return to the team. It would be another two years before Kurt would show up in Uncanny for a few pages.
Posted by: Erik Beck | December 16, 2015 11:39 AM
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