Issue(s): Excalibur #9, Excalibur #10, Excalibur #11
And that introduces a Nazi version of Excalibur, from the same dimension as the train that brought the Nazi Moira MacTaggert and Callisto.
I've been saying that this is a more lighthearted book compared to the other X-titles, but that doesn't take into account Nazis. And not "fun" Nazis like our
Meanwhile, the real Excalibur are in the "sprawling research complex" beneath the X-Men's now destroyed mansion.
Guys: this is how you get lower back injuries.
If you find yourself arching your back during an overhead press, let alone the horrible twisting Brian is doing with his legs, it means you've got too much weight on the bar.
Of course the problem is that Captain Britain should be able to lift that much easily but his powers have been wonky. Kitty Pryde (love the way she's drawn here) is testing his power loss, although to an outside observer (me, Meggan) it seems more like she is torturing him.
Notice that this isn't the Danger Room; that's down the hall.
Kitty has noticed that Meggan's powers are working weirdly, too. We've been seeing evidence of this all along, and last issue's story seemed to suggest that Meggan had embraced it.
After these tests, Nightcrawler gets a call from police lieutenant Dai Thomas (did he know they were staying in the basement of the destroyed X-Mansion?) regarding the appearance of the Nazi Moira Mactaggert (and disappearance of the real version). Meanwhile, the weird robot Widget swaps out more people between dimensions, this time tourists visiting the Tower of London.
The Tower of London happens to be where the WHO organization is headquartered.
But in addition to dinosaur tourists, WHO are attacked by the Nazi Excalibur.
But the real Excalibur eventually show up.
Alistaire Stuart is particularly taken with Rachel Summers, who is able to easily pin "Hauptmann England". But then Kitty meets and is knocked out by her alternate self...
...and that distracts Rachel enough for Hauptmann England to knock her out. The still-injured Nightcrawler is unable to withstand the multiple teleports of his alternate self...
...so it is down to Captain Britain (more on Meggan in a second). He's wearing his old costume, which was on display at the Tower, because his current costume had been destroyed (note that he's wearing a New Mutants uniform in the testing scans above). Brian had been feeling better about his powers since he returned to Britain, but he's still weaker than his Nazi counterpart.
After taking a serious beating...
...Captain Britain's powers return, after and perhaps because he takes the time to rescue an innocent bystander (one of the dinosaur tourists) during the fight.
The art in issues #10-11 is by Marshall Rogers instead of Alan Davis, and it's unfortunately very stiff and not like his recent Silver Surfer run.
It turns out that Meggan had already infiltrated the Nazi group.
Our Excalibur group eventually prevails.
It's also observed at this point that all of Excalibur have an alternate dimension counterpart except for Phoenix.
During the fight, Alistaire Stuart finds Kitty partially phased into the floor, and he wakes her up. She gets a crush on him, but as we saw earlier he only has eyes for Rachel.
Widget pops up at this point as well, and Alistaire nearly gets pulled into another dimension, but Kitty phases through Widget, disrupting it.
We learn that Kitty is "barely 15" when she later talks to her counterpart.
It's ultimately decided that the UK government can't or won't do anything about the invasion of these alternate dimension Nazis, and instead they agree to work together to open a dimension back to their own world. Kitty in particular (not surprisingly) takes umbrage to that, but Excalibur agree to go home.
Unrelated to the main plot of these issues, we have a few scenes following Sat-yr^9, the alternate dimension version of Saturnyne who (stay with me) has killed and replaced Courtney Ross. In the first scene, she's winning a high stakes card game against the obnoxious Nigel Frobisher. This is happening at the London Branch of the Hellfire Club.
And then at the end of issue #10 she's seen observing Phoenix as she and Kitty are heading home. Note that Kitty has also picked up Widget at this point.
My lack of interest in Excalibur has always been because of the alternate dimension stuff, and of course we're coming up to the Cross Time Caper. Looking at just these two issues, there really doesn't seem to be a point to the incursion of the alternate dimension Excalibur. If you compare it to something like the seminal Days of Future Past, the idea was to show the X-Men the stakes of what they were fighting for. Here, there's some potential interplay to showing Kitty Pryde a world where the Holocaust had continued (i guess?) but for the most part the alternate dimension counterparts are just like "Look, here's an evil Nightcrawler!". So it's a fun fight, but seems like kind of a pointless two issues at a time when this book should be establishing an identity for itself. But the alternate dimension stuff will turn out to be the identity for the book, riffing on Alan Moore's multi-dimensional Captain Britains.
But before that, Marshall Rogers' guest stint continues for issue #11, which is mostly a downtime issue.
Rachel and Kitty return to their lighthouse island to find that Magik's Soulsword is waiting for Kitty.
Kitty doesn't want it, but despite all her Phoenix power, Rachel is unable to get rid of it. So they leave it there in the stone, like, well, Excalibur, the sword in the stone (in some tellings).
Later, Alistaire Stuart shows up at the Lighthouse, ostensibly to give an update on the negotiations with the Nazi Excalibur, but really because he's got a crush on Rachel. And Kitty has a crush on him, and wonders what she can to to get his attention.
She comes to the conclusion that she has to sit around the house in fetish gear all the time like Rachel does, just in case a guy shows up, and she even goes through her closet to pick something out.
Then, after throwing the clothes off, there's another inter-dimensional shift like we've been seeing in the lighthouse (although it's worth noting that Kitty had been working on getting Widget working again, too), and she appears naked in some alien court.
And then returns back to our Earth to appear naked in front of Rachel and Alistaire.
Meanwhile, Nigel Frobisher, after losing that bet to "Courtney Ross", rushes to be at her office at 9am per her deadline to him. He makes it to the office by 9, and has to be helped up by Brigitte Nielsen.
Ross (really Sat-yr^9 in disguise, remember) chews him out anyway and then, since he can't make good on the bet, tells him that he has to become her personal lackey, and she'll reward him for it. She then tells him that she wants him to hire Gatecrasher and the Technet.
Later (indeed, much later; see Considerations), Excalibur gather to see their Nazi duplicates get traded back to their own dimension in exchange for Moira MacTaggart and Callisto. Before the portal is opened, though, it's revealed that Nazi Excalibur's train is powered by a dragon...
...and the question of the rights of the dragon are raised and debated. Alistaire convinces Nazi Moira to leave the train behind to not risk damage to the portal. The portal is then opened, prisoners are exchanged, and then, as the Nazi group is leaving, Nazi Moira grabs a micro-nuclear grenade and tosses it. At the same time, Kitty was discovering that Widget had gotten away from her and was consuming metal objects inside the train and growing in size. Phoenix contains the nuclear blast, Widget seems to activate, and Excalibur (with Alistaire) and the train disappear.
Next issue begins the Cross-Time Caper.
As Michael noted earlier, the lettercol for issue #11 contradicts the evidence in Excalibur #6 that Nightcrawler was taking the leadership role of the team; a response in the lettercol says that Captain Britain is indeed the leader.
Quality Rating: B-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue begins with Excalibur utilizing the underground facilities of the X-Mansion. It's unclear how long they've been there. Kitty visited the destroyed mansion grounds and met the New Mutants in issue #8, and after that there's the battle between Magneto and Sebastian Shaw. Excalibur must have come here after that. Damage Control #4 shows the Danger Room's self-repair systems stealing construction materials from surrounding sites, and the Damage Control group de-powers the Mansion. I'm placing these issues after the Damage Control issue, in part because Damage Control #4 was an Inferno tie-in (of sorts) and i'd like those to be out of the way by now, and in part because the underground facilities look to be in perfect working condition, which suggests that at least some repair work had already been done. Alternatively the explosion that destroyed the mansion just never touched the basement. I assume Excalibur just flip the power on again. But maybe they turn it off again when they leave (or they disable the self-repair function, or it was damaged when Damage Control shut it off abruptly, etc.).
Excalibur leave for their Cross-Time Caper at the end of this issue, keeping them off Earth for a considerable period. Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem takes place during issue #11 here, before Kitty and Rachel return to see the Nazi Excalibur off. Excalibur #20, a fill-in, also takes place during issue #11.
An additional note: of all the characters from the alternate Nazi dimension, the MCP only tracks Hauptmann England. I'm not sure if i really want to track any of these alternate dimension characters, but i see from the MCP's listings that Hauptmann England appears in volume 2 of Excalibur, and him appearing outside a single series makes it more worth doing. I don't know if the same is true of the other characters. So far the Nazi Moira MacTaggert and Callisto have already appeared in multiple issues but i have not listed them.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (6): show
FNORD - in regards to the rebuilt mansion, this was stated on uncannyxmen.net - http://uncannyxmen.net/x-marks-the-spot/xavier-institute -
Posted by: clyde | September 24, 2014 3:22 PM
"He's wearing his old costume, which was on display at the Tower, because his old costume had been destroyed"
So Brian was so torn up about his old costume getting destroyed that he wore it in memorium?
Posted by: Max_Spider | September 24, 2014 4:07 PM
Well, he's wearing his old costume, which is for the moment his new costume, because his old new costume was destroyed, making it his new old costume. No? Ok, i fixed it.
Clyde, thanks for the link. I'm not sure that X-Men #1 actually mentions Forge rebuilding the mansion or if that was a plot point leading up to that issue? Or if that's just snark on the part of writers of that post.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 24, 2014 4:12 PM
"Agility means, in part, the ability to get out of the way when something comes straight at you."
Posted by: Michael | September 24, 2014 8:00 PM
It's not explicitly stated, but in "X-Men" #1, Cyclops asks Forge "How are *YOUR* defensive systems" (emphasis mine) and give that he's a builder and still hanging around the X-Men, it's pretty well implied that the newest X-Mansion is his creation.
At the time #10 and the next few issues came out, I was learning that people actually drew comic books, and eventually put it together that I liked work from Marshall Rogers ("Silver Surfer," for instance) and Terry Austin (that stuff with John Byrne) but they totally sucked when working together. Of course later I found their classic run on "Detective Comics" with Englehart.
Now, I think he was probably trying too hard to work with Alan Davis' characters.
Posted by: ChrisW | September 24, 2014 8:09 PM
Thanks guys. I've trimmed down the Considerations section a bit removing the idea that the re-activated self-repair feature might have helped with the mansion's eventual return.
Posted by: fnord12 | September 24, 2014 8:46 PM
One of the very few weaknesses of Excalibur was its fashion sense. Just about all of the team members used to have better costumes (except for Nightcrawler).
Posted by: Luis Dantas | September 24, 2014 10:02 PM
Another problem with Nazi Excalibur--the tone clash is still the biggest one--is that we've already seen a fascist Captain Britain, namely Kapitan Briton from Sat-Yr-9's world. He's dead, and he and Sat-Yr-9 weren't working with Hitler, but the point was the same, only without the overtones of cartoonizing real-world horrors.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | September 25, 2014 3:43 AM
The fact that Claremont is trying to make humor out of an adult seeing a 15-year old naked is just creepy.
Posted by: Michael | October 9, 2014 10:53 PM
Also, there's a scene you didn't post where alternate Kurt tries to rape Brigadier Stuart, which is odd because Alpha Flight does the same thing with alternate Spider-Man and Lil a few issues later.
Posted by: Michael | October 9, 2014 11:26 PM
Claremont is not very subtle far as sexual behavior goes, but I think he did fine this time. The joke worked - and I am not even generally approving of Claremont's characterization, mind you.
I'm bothered by his ambiguous and IMO unsolvable handling of the Illyana - Kitty connection. It is raised far too often, given way too much significance and way too little in the way of an explanation or meaning. Now it is resistant to the freaking Phoenix Force? Really?
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 9, 2014 11:32 PM
I suspect what we saw of Illyana in X-Men Forever is a clue to Claremont's intentions: she was going to try to drag Kitty to the dark side. But in 616, maybe Kitty would have pulled Illyana back.
X-Men: True Friends has to take place sometime before this. During the Cross-Time Caper, Rachel refers to meeting the Shadow King in that mini ( which was originally intended as two 1990 Excalibur specials).
Posted by: Walter Lawson | October 9, 2014 11:46 PM
But during True Friends, Kitty knows Logan is alive, which would suggest True Friends takes place after X-Tinction Agenda. The reference during Cross-Time Caper could have been referring to something else.
Posted by: Michael | October 9, 2014 11:56 PM
Hanks, Michael: I'd forgotten Logan even turns up in the last, present-day scene of that book, which occurs at a party that takes place on the Scots parliament's opening day (meaning 1999, but given the sliding timescale, who knows). I guess True a Friends should be placed sometime between the Muir Island Saga and Alysande's death in Excalibur 55.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | November 23, 2014 10:44 PM
Anyone want to hazard a guess at who the other members of the London branch of the Hellfire Club surrounding evil Courtney and Nigel are?
Posted by: Nathan Adler | April 4, 2015 5:07 AM
I can make out Sneezy, Doc, Dopey, Harpo, Chico, Ringo and his other brother Darryl.
Posted by: ChrisW | April 4, 2015 11:56 AM
Yeah, I was just singing Rogers' praises this morning about his epic Detective Comics run and I don't like his work here at all. Maybe it just doesn't fit right after Davis' style, which was one of my favorite things about Excalibur.
The response in the lettercol is ridiculous. Brian is so clearly not the leader of the team.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 28, 2015 12:28 PM
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