Issue(s): Excalibur #57, Excalibur #58
These issues are the first full length Joe Madureira issues at Marvel, so there's that. They also feature the return of Alchemy, which is a nice little thing, and the trolls he comes into conflict with are a good subject for Madureira (although i'd rather have had Davis). And, most importantly, the story features the first in person meeting between the majority of Excalibur and the X-Men since, like, forever. The story also shows Nightcrawler being tentative in his leadership of Excalibur in the face of Cyclops' experience as a leader, and Nightcrawler's general sense of being treated like a background character by the X-Men. So it should be a fun story with some good character moments, but Lobdell's irreverent jokey scripting really grates on me.
Excalibur are in the sewer searching for Sat-Yr^9 when they come across some police that have been turned to gold. Meggan transforms into a wolfen form to follow the trail, and they encounter the trolls.
Excalibur do well against the trolls, but Alchemy, whose mom is the trolls' prisoner, turns Captain Britain into gold...
...and Meggan is affected as well, although her transmorph powers delay the effect.
Nightcrawler sends Cerise back to get Feron, who is a wizard, so that he can restore the transformed figures. Meanwhile, the X-Men arrive in London, since Alchemy tried to contact X-Factor before he was kidnapped by the trolls. They go to Alchemy's home to pick up the trail. The smell of trolls apparently causes Wolverine to go berserk, an amplification, supposedly, of the antagonism that all humans naturally feel towards trolls. Wolverine's state doesn't seem to have much of a practical effect on the plot, though.
Nightcrawler and Kitty are the only members of Excalibur still in the sewers when they encounter the X-Men.
You can see Nightcrawler almost literally becoming a background character once he and Kitty fall in with the X-Men.
These characters all get captured by the trolls, in part thanks to Alchemy turning Wolverine's claws to rubber.
And it turns out that Feron "failed basic alchemy", so he's unable to restore Captain Britain and Meggan.
But when Cerise and Feron are detected by the trolls, Nightcrawler plays up the fact that he's feeling rejected by the team.
He wins the trolls' trust and they allow him to go to attack Cerise and Feron. But of course it's a ruse, and he eventually gets the X-Men and Excalibur free, and they fight the trolls. Although Wolverine continues to not be much help.
Alchemy has made good on his promise he made at the end of his first appearance to learn enough science to restore the people that he's transformed, so he's able to fix everyone at the end of this story. And Cyclops reaches out to Nightcrawler and says that the teams need to stay in touch better in the future.
This whole story is told as a flashback from the perspective of Jester from the Crazy Gang. Now that the evil trolls have been defeated, the rest of the trolls have been moved to the Crazy Gang's Wonderland.
I wondered why the Crazy Gang were allowed to remain loose after their Wonderland story, but i see now that Wonderland can almost be used like a prison or reservation for all the weird characters that Excalibur encounter.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: Note that even though Psylocke appeared in the previous two issues, she is on the plane with the other X-Men responding to the call from Alchemy when she is first seen in this story, so time enough has passed between this arc and the last one for her to have returned to the US and it would be ok for her to appear elsewhere in between.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAlchemy, Beast, Captain Britain, Cerise, Cyclops, Feron, Gambit, Jester (616 Crazy Gang), Jubilee, Meggan, Mrs. Jones (Alchemy's mom), Nightcrawler, Phay, Phee, Phough, Phumm, Phy, Psylocke, Rogue, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Wolverine
with the marvel sliding timescale, Excalibur not getting in contact with the X-MEN would be almost impossible in today's world or in the even in the start of the millenium, even more since the X-men has access to one of the most advanced technologies ever even alien. Sure there's the being invisible to electronics things but thats no longer the case as far as X-Tinction Agenda.
Posted by: FRANCISCO ARBOLEDA | April 27, 2016 12:39 PM
To be clear, this story makes a point of saying that it's the first time they've met "in the flesh". We know they at least talked to Cable and were in the process of being transferred to the X-Men at the end of Excalibur #41.
Posted by: fnord12 | April 27, 2016 12:47 PM
Madureira was a good choice for this two-parter since the original troll story was done by Art Adams.
Also kind of crazy to realize that the last time Nightcrawler interacted with the X-men, excluding that less than meaningful off-panel video conference, was when he was injured in the Mutant Massacre in 1986.
Posted by: Red Comet | April 27, 2016 1:24 PM
I really like the cover to #57. Would make a nice poster. They even had the decency to leave Feron off of it.
Posted by: AF | April 27, 2016 1:32 PM
Did Cyclops call Nightcrawler "son"?" They are both adults and either the same age or Kurt is older! I read this in real time and never noticed this until now. Scott Lobdell really understood some of the most basic characteristics of the characters. Incredible. I need to press the Sturky button now.
Posted by: Brian C. Saunders | April 27, 2016 4:08 PM
Why does Kitty say "yeach" when thinking of her birthday party? All Saturnyne did was fly Kitty to Paris and get her a car?
Posted by: Michael | April 27, 2016 8:07 PM
I really disliked how Shadowcat seemed to go maskless around this point. She's a superhero, wear your mask, darn it!
Posted by: Bill | April 27, 2016 10:13 PM
I still find it very odd that this is the first in-person meeting between Kirk and Kitty and the rest of the X-Men. (You know when the x-men stopped being "dead" and all) And during that time, the X-Men have never introduced Gambit or Jubilee (who were with the team at the time of #41)? Of course this let's the two "newer" characters legitimately believe Nightcrawler might be a traitor (her! Look at Gambit there with the unintentional irony!)
Also, while one metatextual commentary was brought up about Nightcrawler feeling like a "background character" one that isn't brought up is Cyclops's comment on "how to bring the two teams closer together" as I've heard that was a concern with the X-book editors at the time (coming to a head just before Fatal Attractions.)
Incidentally, I find it amusing that "the X-Men arriving" REALLY only means "The Blue Team." And yet they are written as if they are totally synonymous (will get a similar effect around the mid-2000s with Whedon's team.)
Posted by: Jon Dubya | April 27, 2016 11:29 PM
I grew up with (and worshipped) Joe Mad's art in the issues of UXM circa Onslaught & OZT so reading these issues was rather interesting.
It's funny that in these issues his art actually resembles more Bachalo's than his future manga-like style.
Posted by: Bibs | February 2, 2018 7:22 PM
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