Issue(s): Excalibur #71
The story starts with Nightcrawler getting attacked by Spoor on Muir Isle.
Spoor is simultaneously trying to recruit Magneto, citing Colossus' recent decision to join Magneto. And he's also using his psycho-stimulatory powers to manipulate Nightcrawler, goading Nightcrawler into trying to kill by talking about the hundreds of people he (Spoor) recently murdered. Shadowcat and Phoenix show up to stop Nightcrawler from bashing Spoor's head with a rock. Spoor is said to have a death wish, and says that he knows that the murders he committed were wrong.
Spoor is put into the custody of Moira MacTaggert. Then Professor X, Cyclops, and Jean Grey arrive. They want help trying to get Colossus back. The theory is that he joined Magneto because of a head wound that he sustained (as opposed to the overwhelming despair of seeing his parents and sister die along with a general sense that Profesor X's dream was failing). And they want to use his former girlfriend, Kitty Pryde, to lure him to Muir Island so that they can capture and cure him. Kitty is uncomfortable being used this way, but reluctantly agrees.
In X-Men #25, the Acolytes were all teleported off of Magneto's Avalon space station, and it was said to be badly damaged by the end of the X-Men's fight with Magneto. But all of the Acolytes are back at the satellite now, and it seems to be operating normally. Wolverine's recovery took weeks, so there was plenty of time to regroup and repair. But you'd think the X-Men would have an immediate interest in going back to collect Magneto's comatose body. They left in a hurry because of Wolverine's injuries but you'd think that going back now - also to capture the rest of the Acolytes - would be a priority. I guess getting Colossus out of the way is a step towards that goal.
It's also worth remembering that Colossus aided the X-Men in X-Men #25. So you might think they'd try reaching out to him honestly instead of trying to trick him. Granted i'm not a brain surgeon; i don't know the exact science behind how head injuries turn you evil.
Kitty calls Avalon, saying that she wants to join the Acolytes (although there is magnetic interference, a lingering effect from Magneto's EMP, and the message isn't complete). Exodus grants Colossus "leave" to go to Earth to meet her.
Cable's computer, Professor, detects Colossus' teleportation to Earth, and Cable decides to go after him because "I have unfinished business with the Acolytes -- on account of their ersatz leader reducing me to a centerfold in spare parts quarterly". Since it's a personal grudge (albeit one not directed at the person who actually harmed him -- and really? Colossus of all people?!) he doesn't take X-Force along.
Meanwhile, Nightcrawler talks to Cyclops about his leadership problems. I noted in the last arc that Excalibur was getting reformatted to be more of a direct X-Men team and we saw some of the characters getting written out. This issue confirms that some of the other characters, like Kylun and Micromax, are also gone.
Also meanwhile, Jean Grey is talking with Rachel Summers.
Jean hints that she's going to marry Cyclops and have a baby.
Jean is called away to help with the capture of Colossus. Rachel then detects the arrival of Cable.
Cable buries Rachel under a pile of rocks. She escapes with her rarely-used time jump powers (i guess the first time in a tactical capacity), but doing so has the odd side effect of showing her merged with Captain Britain's body (CB was said to have been lost in the timestream).
Rachel recovers and knocks Cable out because she detects the arrival of more Acolytes. So sorting out any mysteries between them will have to wait until another day. Nightcrawler is currently holding them off. Note Voght's comments about being the ancestor to all of Xavier's children.
Voght's description of Nightcrawler's leadership style has him making a joke about Havok and X-Factor, and - sickest burn of all - says that the Acolytes are not in a position to talk about "interchangeable personalities". Cyclops makes a quip along similar lines when he joins the fight.
Meanwhile, Colossus' wound is healed. But he still says that he wants to remain with the Acolytes. However, he and Kitty have a reconciling before he leaves.
Colossus aside, the Acolytes are mass murderers (Carmella Unuscione in particular was among the group that killed the children in Uncanny X-Men #298). It's pretty amazing that the X-Men let them walk away.
In the aftermath, Nightcrawler says that (what's left of) Excalibur will remain on Muir Island to act as an extension of MacTaggert's work helping mutants. In a tortured attempt to justify the continued use of the name Excalibur, they say that they will be the "'enchanted blade' serving as a metaphor for a scalpel, if you will - cutting deep into the problems that fall between the cracks of X-Men, X-Factor, and X-Force". We'll see how that plays out, but it's a clear continuation of the efforts from the last arc to bring Excalibur into the core X-Universe.
I guess Cable woke up and went home on his own, because he's not seen again in this book.
I kind of randomly remembered that it almost seems like Colossus was going to be an original member of Excalibur (since he was injured and sidelined during the Mutant Massacre at the same time as Nightcrawler and Shadowcat), and therefore it's not too weird that a development in his character arc would occur here. But that's silly and not necessary; his relationship with Kitty is the hook here.
I wouldn't say that this issue has any relevance to Fatal Attractions, but it's a decent story in its own right that makes use of the "crossover" to give us some interactions that have been lacking. The art can get a bit rough (inevitable with three artists and four inkers) and there's nothing great here. And there's a lot more that needs to be said regarding Colossus' decision to hang with the Acolytes and the X-Men allowing them to continue to operate. But the character interactions are nice.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the final part of Fatal Attractions. Also needs to take place after Cable has recovered in X-Force #26.
Crossover: Fatal Attractions
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (3): showAmelia Voght, Cable (Adult), Carmella Unuscione, Colossus, Cyclops, Exodus, Jean Grey, Katu Kath, Moira MacTaggert, Nightcrawler, Professor (Prosh), Professor X, Rachel Summers, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Spoor (Acolyte)
"but you'd think that going back now - also to capture the rest of the Acolytes - would be a priority".
Posted by: clyde | January 20, 2017 3:10 PM
Granted i'm not a brain surgeon; i don't know the exact science behind how head injuries turn you evil.
That's comic book science for you; a head injury will either just knock you out for a few hours with no lasting effects, or it will cause you to undergo a total personality change.
fnord, you should check out the Hal Jordan Head Injury Project. Considering all the knocks Green Lantern took to his noggin over the years, it's no wonder that Hal eventually went crazy and turned evil.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 20, 2017 3:39 PM
And so, every non-mutant character departs Excalibur. An original book with interesting cast is turned into another unnecessary iteration of the X-franchise. Bleh.
Posted by: Piotr W | January 20, 2017 4:30 PM
Yet bizarrely, CaptainnBritain's return is already being set up, after he was arbitrarily written out with the other non-mutants. I forget just when he comes back and how long his ludicrous Britanic phase lasts, but the all-mutant Excalibur turns out not to be a stable concept for this book either.
Part of Claremont's reason for leaving Colossus out of Excalibur originally was that the team didn't need two strong guys, and it already had one in Captain Britain (while the X-Men had none, although Rogue should count). I wonder if the X-editors at some point planned to have Colossus join Excalibur around this time, but decided by the time this issue was conceived to have him remain with the Acolytes and to bring Brian back. Colossus does eventually join around 1995.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 20, 2017 6:47 PM
This issue DID come out a month late, but Wolverine 75 also came out a month late, so there wasn't much of a gap between them.
Posted by: Michael | January 20, 2017 8:09 PM
@Piotr W: Agreed completely. I was really disappointed when all of those characters were abruptly written out of the book.
Posted by: Ben Herman | January 20, 2017 9:57 PM
@Walter- what happened was this- Marvel UK was planning on doing a Captain Britain series with a Captain Britain other than Brian. So Lobdell was told to write out Brian and bring him back with a different identity. Then the market collapsed, the Captain Britain series never saw the light of day, and Brian went back to being Captain Britain by the end of 1994.
Posted by: Michael | January 20, 2017 10:51 PM
Michael, you've mentioned several times that these books were late. I wonder if that accounts for the weird structure of the "crossover" (where there are, say, several "regular" issues of Uncanny in-between the event)? Also it seems very unprecedented to have an entire event full of late book (as oppose to just one or two issues). Now these days that would just be a result of the writers putting their other projects above a "mere" comic story, but what was their excuse back then?
Posted by: Jon Dubya | January 21, 2017 10:22 PM
@Jon- this wasn't the only time in 1993 when all the books of a crossover were late. It also happened with Bloodties, the crossover which followed this. As to why it happened- it was 1993. The quality of Marvel's editorship declined in 1993 (Ben Herman has suggested it was because DeFalco allowed Marvel to expand its line too much too fast) and as a result numerous books shipped late. They finally managed to get the books mostly back on schedule towards the end of 1993.
Posted by: Michael | January 21, 2017 11:56 PM
@Jon, maybe Michael knows better, but my recollection is that even aside from the delays, Fatal Attractions was always designed to be staggered over several months. Presumably that was partly to take advantage of the X-Force/X-Men/Wolverine 25-increment anniversaries, and maybe in the hope that the staggered pattern would boost the whole line.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | January 22, 2017 1:36 AM
@Walter- yeah, you're right- it was planned to take place after several months.
Posted by: Michael | January 22, 2017 9:02 AM
I always considered Captain Britain and the Marvel British comics material to be the core of Excalibur, and not the mutants. In fact, I would have preferred a British title with no mutants than a mutant title at all. I understand why Claremont would still want to write about Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Rachel, but I felt they were extraneous. The much later title Captain Britain and MI13 was more along to my liking in the sense that a character like the Black Knight has much more connections to Britain since his legacy is tied into Marvel Arthuriana. Scrape together some other characters with ties to the British Isles, and it would have been a stronger title thematically (it doesn't have to ignore mutants completely, Banshee might be appropriate even though he is Irish and not a citizen of the UK).
Alan Davis' involvement in Excalibur was the creative peak of the run. His run with Claremont and solo run are the two best runs of the title (Claremont by himself was not as good). Ignoring that and going solely with the mutants because of the current hot streak was not the right decision.
But Marvel would be making a lot of very bad decisions in the next two years. During their period, one has to remember the financial skulduggery behind the scenes.
Posted by: Chris | January 22, 2017 1:00 PM
I didn't follow Excalibur but even I was confused after reading about Captain Britain's status in this issue and remembering him drinking a cup of tea back in X-Men #25. I thought to myself "I don't recall fnord placing any Excalibur issues between X-Men #25 and this one", they really messed up on that one.
Posted by: Bibs | April 11, 2018 2:19 AM
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