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Finally on target again! Next review should be ready by Wednesday!
I have tons of reading to do… been picking up some DC Trades. still working my way through Crisis on Infinite Earths and then have Final Crisis to read. I have to admit…they are really good stories.
Excalibur #100 (August 1996)
[Onslaught, Impact 1]
Writer: Warren Ellis
Pencilers: Casey Jones, Randy Green, Rob Haynes
Inkers: Tom Simmons, Jason Martin, Rick Ketcham, Rob Haynes
You’ll have to bear with me. I only recently bought Excalibur #98 and 99 so at this point, I wasn’t reading them and so had no idea what was happening in this issue.
London is burning (in case you couldn’t tell from the title). Literally. Rioting, killing, all around violence, all thanks to something that Margali Szardos (the adopted mother of Nightcrawler who’s a bit crazy in her lust for power sometimes) is doing with Douglock’s head beneath the Black Air building. Excalibur shows up early in the morning, hoping to rescue Douglock, but now in shock at the devastation. Pete Wisdom jumps out of their jet to chase after a Black Air agent, Scratch, who can help them find out where Douglock is. Nightcrawler leads the rest of the team into the Black Air headquarters for an all out assault.
Back on Muir Island, Amanda Sefton (daughter of Margali, a witch herself, and former girlfriend of Nightcrawler) pops out of thin air at Moira’s feet. She explains how her mother beat the crap out of her with the Soulsword (that Amanda had given to Margali for safekeeping) and had killed all the magicians in front of her on the Winding Way (a path to ultimate power for a magician that Margali had been after in years). But before Moira can really figure out what to do, a jet shows up and five X-Men get out: Cyclops, Jean, Psylocke, Archangel, and Cannonball. They announce that Xavier has gone insane and there might be something beneath Muir Island that can help them. Moira knows a bit of what they’re referring to and takes Scott and Jean below while the rest take Amanda to the medlab.
Back in London, at the Hellfire Club, the Black King of the London Hellfire Club is dead, shot by the Black Queen. Captain Britain discovers them as they are some of the few not overtaken by the madness that has taken over. He is attacked from behind by Scribe, taken over by Mountjoy. Meanwhile, Kurt’s team enters Black Air to discover a horde of Black Air soldiers killing each other. However, when they notice Kurt’s team, they turn on Excalibur. Colossus agrees to stay behind because he is one that can’t be hurt by these men. He is the only one who can survive without injuring these men. Kurt takes the rest deeper into Black Air.
In the basement of Muir Island, Moira, Scott and Jean enter Xavier’s secret room and immediately the computer wakes up, unlocking an Xavier Protocol, revealing schematics for a suit of armor designed to neutralize a psychic’s effect on a target. Warren walks in to announce that Amanda took off and the computer automatically analyzes his additional brainwaves and unlocks another protocol.
Back in London, Pete Wisdom and Scratch try their best to kill each other. And Amanda slowly makes her way to London, teleporting in short jumps (almost getting run over by a car). And Captain Britain fights against both Mountjoy/Scribe and the Black Queen.
At Muir Island, Warren’s brainwave activates a protocol explaining how to kill Wolverine and Jean realizes that’s all the Xavier Protocols are: Xavier’s notes on how to kill the X-Men (which is really kind of twisted…I mean seriously…what the %$^& is wrong with Xavier?). She sends a telepathic message to Cannonball and Psylocke to join them.
Back in London, Excalibur encounters the Red King who is brandishing a sword. Nightcrawler is exalted at a sword fighter and takes him up on the challenge. Meanwhile, Wisdom and Scratch continue their battle. Captain Britain has bested the Black Queen but Mountjoy is still trying to kill him.
The latest Xavier Protocol is how to kill Cable. Jean’s decided she’s seen enough and packs up the program to take back to the states.
Nightcrawler, having bested the red king, finds Margali, in a frozen pose, hands still gripping Douglock’s head. Kitty immediately gets to work, trying to figure out how to detach Douglock from the system. Amanda shows up to explain the source of the power just as Kitty discovers how to break the program holding Douglock in place. Captain Britain, with one last punch, buries Mountjoy/Snitch in a pile of rubble. And just as Scratch is about to deliver the killing blow to Wisdom, a burst of flame incinerates the villain. Lockheed is there, gloating (this is actually a funny scene when you take into account the fact that the two hate each other). Finally, Douglock speaks, broken free of the program that held him in thrall. But he is still trapped by the cable connecting him to the demon beneath London. Nightcrawler teleports both Wolfsbane and Amanda beneath the floor. Wolfsbane slashes the cable and Amanda opens up a mystic portal to send the demon back to its prison. Doing so, causes Margali to disappear as well, screaming as she goes.
All is well…the team survived. It’s time to relax.
So…if this review seemed like it was all over the place…that’s because that’s how the issue felt. I mean…it’s hard to even know where to go from here. I wasn’t actively reading Excalibur at this time and picked up this issue only because it was an Onslaught tie-in. I only ever read Excalibur after the fact and quite frankly, it was never the same one Alan Davis left. That’s not to say Warren Ellis didn’t do a good job, but when I look at these issues, the story seems really hard to follow.
Of course that may be mostly due to this one. It’s an issue #100…a milestone issue… but it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal. And part of the problem is that they felt the need to tie this into Onslaught…and they did so poorly. First of all, there are continuity errors. In Uncanny X-Men #335, we see how Excalibur is already made aware of Onslaught and Moira even mentions how it’s time to unlock the Xavier Protocols. But here, Moira has no idea what they are and only knows of a secret room…in addition, the revelation that Xavier has become Onslaught is news to her. I don’t know if this was due to Lobdell overstepping, Ellis not really paying attention, or an editor who failed to get the two on the same page, but it bugs me.
But if that was the only issue I had with the Onslaught tie-in, I could live with it. But as it turns out, this entire trip means nothing because the Xavier Protocols don’t last past X-Men #55 (no, you haven’t missed it…yes…that’s a bit of a spoiler…I’ll review it soon enough). But the biggest problem? Is the fact that the scenes with the X-Men disrupt the entire flow of the story. I mean, seriously… Ellis should have put it at the beginning or end of the book…not scattered throughout. Because this part has nothing to do with Excalibur and having to jump repeatedly to Muir Island kills the mood.
And don’t get me started on the art. It’s just…I don’t like it. I know art is subjective and since I’ve never studied art, I have a hard time making objective claims about it…and there’s nothing specific about the art that I can pin down, it’s just not good. I miss Carlos Pacheco. He was a fantastic artist on Excalibur but unfortunately, they couldn’t even get him for this milestone issue.
This issue isn’t all bad, though. I love seeing that another city in the world is burning, not just New York. It’s a good reminder that shit happens elsewhere. But the best part? Lockheed and Wisdom. Watching these two go at it is hilarious. And the fact that Lockheed hides it all from Kitty, making Pete look like a crazy guy? Priceless!