Issue(s): Excalibur #82
...with Douglock seemingly betraying his former New Mutant teammates. Douglock is actually engaged in a ruse, which is pretty clear to everyone except the insufferable Cannonball.
Forge, partially assimilated by the Phalanx thanks to his bionic limbs and the affinity with technology that his powers give him, is led away by Shinar.
Meanwhile, the rest of the X-Teams arrive and join the fight.
One semi-interesting bit is seeing members of X-Force under the command of Havok.
There's really no payoff, though.
Nightcrawler eventually convinces Forge not to help the Phalanx.
The Phalanx - initially a seemingly unstoppable enemy - suffer from Diminishing Threat Syndrome in this story. It helps to have people like Shadowcat and Polaris fighting them since their powers are particularly suited to fighting mechanical threats, but in general it feels like we've gone from Storm and Gambit doing everything in their power for two issues to just temporarily halt them to random X-characters punching out individual Phalanx with little effort.
The real focus of the story is Douglock, and we end with him more formally joining Excalibur.
(Actually we end with Forge being weirdly sad about killing the Phalanx but that's too weird to dwell on.)
I think there's an interesting, if not uncommon, idea with the organization that Steven Lang works for having utilized the Technarchy technology as a way to build a new generation of sentinels, only to find out that the use of the technology has much greater implications for the human race. In a sense it's really a spin on most sentinel stories where they eventually go out of control and start doing their own thing, but i like the tie-in with Warlock's race instead of the usual enslave/sterilize/exterminate humanity in order to save it angle. Unfortunately, the way the crossover is split into subsections, the unfolding of that story is kind of awkward.
There's an additional element about the Phalanx that i've only read about on Wikipedia and it's unfortunately unsourced:
Phalanx are formed when organic lifeforms are infected with the Technarchy's techno-organic transmode virus. They pass through a lifecycle attempting to infect others before reaching critical mass. At that time, by hard-wired instruction, they build a "Babel Spire" to contact the Technarchy. The Technarchy consider Phalanx to be abominations. They invariably destroy the Phalanx "nest", usually by converting the entire planet into techno-organic matter and draining its energy.
I think the bolded portion of that adds a cool layer of irony to the whole thing. It's not something that comes out in this story, though.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is the third and final part of Phalanx Covenant: Life Signs.
Crossover: Phalanx Covenant
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showAmanda Sefton, Boom Boom, Cannonball, Forge, Havok, Nightcrawler, Polaris, Rictor, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), Shatterstar, Shinar, Siryn, Warlock, Warpath, Wolfsbane
From what I've read, the stuff about the Technarchy regarding the Phalanx as abominations is from the later Warlock series (referenced here: https://uncannyxmen.net/characters/warlock-iii/page/0/4).
Posted by: Dave77 | January 16, 2018 7:22 PM
Yeah, it’s definitely in Conquest. Warlock is a key player in turning the tide against the Phalynx. I wanted to read the Phalynx Covenant, because I enjoyed Conquest, but this stuff is just unreadable as far as I’m concerned. The way I feel reading this is how Jodi Foster must feel watching Suicide Squad...
Posted by: Andrew | January 16, 2018 7:42 PM
Am I the only one who disliked Douglock? I really liked Doug and Warlock, but not this character.
Posted by: Lecen | January 16, 2018 9:24 PM
Fnord, Boomer and Kitty have a discussion in which Kitty mentions what's going with her father (Excalibur 76-78), Illyana's death (in X-Men 303) and Rachel's being sent to the future (Excalibur 75). Do those count as references?
Posted by: Michael | January 18, 2018 9:25 PM
Added those references. Thanks Michael. In general, though, if it's unfootnoted references to recent issues of the same series and i miss them, it's not urgent to point them out.
Posted by: fnord12 | January 20, 2018 1:45 AM
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