Excalibur: Air Apparent
Issue(s): Excalibur: Air Apparent
Whatever its origins, it is more filler for a team that already has its own series but still gets an unusual number of one-shots and Marvel Comics Presents appearances.
Alysande Stuart calls Excalibur to the WHO helicarrier to tell them about a bio-physicist named Jonothon Cayre. Cayre, once an associate of the Machinesmith, has acquired some pieces of Air-Walker, the robotic former herald of Galactus.
This is interesting but a little odd. Machinesmith doesn't seem to like humans very much, so the idea that Cayre associated with him is a little odd. But what's odder is that we saw an Air-Walker robot in Machinesmith's lab (Captain America #249) before Air-Walker's revival and fight with Thor in Thor #305-306. So does that mean that Machinesmith had Air-Walker, who subsequently repaired himself and went to fight Thor, and then Cayre, who just happens to have been an associate of Machinesmith, went back and collected (pieces of) him again? I suppose it's possible that if Machinesmith had Air-Walker once, he would want him again. Or maybe WHO's intel is bad, and Cayre collected bits of Air-Walker after the herald's first appearance in Fantastic Four #120-123 and then brought them to Machinesmith.
In any event, Cayre has "re-created" Air-Walker, and, worse, he's tried to apply the technology that Galactus put in Air-Walker so that he would regenerate to himself, and it's turned Cayre into an insane monster that can unravel a person's genetic structure with a touch. In addition to that, Cayre has an LMD that is armed with a nuclear warhead. So the group is going to have to split up. And just to be polite, some busywork missions are created for Shadowcat and Meggan.
So yeah, we're splitting the group up, one for each middle chapter.
Nightcrawler continues our "is killing robots really killing?" discussion.
Kitty learns that Cayre must have been watching Alien when he tried to create his prototype of Air-Walker. I mean he really messed that up.
Meggan runs into Coldblood (hired by Roxxon to retrieve Cayre's notes in what is said to be his first assignment as a mercenary) and gets put into poses by Butch Guice.
Rachel fights Cayre himself.
Rachel remembers a lesson from Professor X (not Wolverine?), and opts to contain Cayre in glass rather than kill him.
Captain Britain fights Air-Walker.
If the contest was about who had the most muscles rippling through their costume, Captain Britain would have won right away.
As it is, Captain Britain figures out that if he crosses Air-Walker's "wings", it will cause a cosmic feedback loop.
Which, um... i'll let Captain Britain explain it.
Just to really give everyone something to do, Lockheed gets to thwart some overeager and unauthorized WHO agents that try to snoop around in Excalibur's lighthouse while they're dealing with the Cayre crisis.
And then the epilogue, which makes fun of Captain Britain's "non-cosmic" solution.
The issues are actually full of bad one-liners and other attempts at humor from Scott Lobdell, and that and the obvious spit-em-up format ruin what could have been a good plot. The general idea of someone messing with Air-Walker's technology is pretty good, but the forced separation of the team makes no sense. If Cayre is a match for Phoenix (which i accept, given the so-called "para-cosmic" origin of his powers), then the rest of the group could have taken on a former herald of Galactus by themselves instead of having Captain Britain do it alone while the others dealt with random sidequests to keep them busy. So there are some good moments, and decent art, mixed in here with some really bad moments and bad art.
Quality Rating: D+
Historical Significance Rating: 1
Chronological Placement Considerations: Nightcrawler is able to teleport repeatedly, placing this after Excalibur #37-39, and he's also not wearing a cast, which means this couldn't take place between Excalibur #42-54, and the presence of Rachel Summers means this would have to take place prior to Excalibur #46-50. Note that Alysande Stuart is briefing Excalibur on the SHIELD helicarrier. It will be said in Excalibur #55 that the helicarier was in the UK thanks to the events of Motormouth #1.
I'm not taking Rachel's "I'm sorry, Professor X... wherever you are" to indicate that this is supposed to take place while Xavier is in space or missing or anything. Rachel just doesn't know where he is right now.
The MCP do not list Air-Walker as a character appearing here. I assume that's because Firelord says in Air-Walker's next appearance in Silver Surfer #73 that he brought Air-Walker's body to the remnants of Xandar after Thor #305-306. If it's only that, i'll leave Air-Walker as appearing here. After all, Firelord doesn't say right after, and it's a long time between Thor #305 and Avengers #260 when Xandar is destroyed. And even if Air-Walker's body wouldn't be recoverable after the explosion here, Air-Walker's consciousness might get transferred between bodies or something. I guess it can be assumed that Air-Walker is a duplicate robot (he was "re-created", after all), but i prefer that this be the real deal unless something specifically contradicts it. Since i am treating this as a legit Air-Walker appearance, it would have to take place before Silver Surfer #70-75.
Note that this is said to be Coldblood's first job as a mercenary, so he shouldn't appear elsewhere besides his origin story prior to this, or at least while acting as a mercenary.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAir-Walker, Alysande Stuart, Captain Britain, Coldblood, Lockheed, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Rachel Summers, Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde)
Fnord, regarding Machinesmith, you yourself discuss the fact that Air-Walker woke up in Machinesmith's lab in your review of Thor 305-306.
Posted by: Michael | October 27, 2015 8:31 PM
Yeah, i think you're not getting me. Air-Walker reconstructs himself in Machinesmith's lab, and then fights Thor. And THEN, according to this story, Cayre found parts from Air-Walker. It seems backwards.
Posted by: fnord12 | October 27, 2015 8:46 PM
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