Excalibur #3 (1988, December)
Vixen and her gang are breaking into Crossmoor prison, but it turns out the security force inside was waiting for them. The battle is intense.
You know, I joke, but credit should go to Oliver and Buhalis for taking a black panel and still making it visually dynamic. As Vixen and her men try to get to cover, they find Juggernaut, in a stasis cage. They free him, so he can cause chaos to cover their escape. The other prisoners escape, too. Excalibur shows up to stop them, with Captain Britain going after Juggernaut.
Rachel offers to help Brian, but he tells her to track the escaped criminals. Kitty is the first to encounter some, who are driving a security van. She phases the car, which makes it slow, while the men keep going and fly right through it. And this leads to an amazing moment:
That’s so great. She has to ask them to drive back to the prison. That’s amazing. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler is having a fun time fighting another bunch of criminals. It’s great, too. He’s just got this big grin on his face. Meggan brings back a couple more escapees, then sees Brian getting his ass kicked by Juggernaut, which makes her angry. She goes after him, and starts absorbing energy from the planet to get bigger and stronger. As she throws a punch, though, Kitty grabs her and phases her through Juggernaut, so Rachel can deal with him.
We cut away from Excalibur, to go to Newcastle, where a guy wearing a colander on his head is searching through a junkyard. He’s looking for a UFO. He finds Widget, who creates a portal, which leads poor Rupert into the cell of Opal Lun Sat-Yr9. She was a villain in Captain Britain’s comics. She was the ruler of a Nazi-like world. She’s cruel, sadistic, evil, and just all-around an unpleasant woman. She also looks exactly like Courtney Ross.
Back to Excalibur. With the criminals rounded up, they now have to tackle a much greater threat: moving. They’re moving into the lighthouse Brian and Meggan live in. Kitty hates it, and keeps complaining. Eventually everything is moved in. Not exactly perfectly.
A few days later, the weather is still awful, Brian wakes up, hungover, to Kurt bounding around upstairs. He goes to use the washroom, but Kitty’s taking a bath. Then he hears Meggan shouting. She and Lockheed were trying to fix Kitty a hot toddy, and Lockheed set a bunch of boxes on fire. Rachel throws them out into the water.
This turns into a bit of an impromptu intervention for Brian, as they all say they feel he drinks too much. He gets angry and flies off, and Meggan starts to cry, and Kurt comforts her. The very beginning of what will become a very complicated attraction between them. A little later, Kitty is setting up her computer, when the power goes out. She goes down to the basement, grumbling the whole way.
When she gets down to the basement, she finds herself . . . sort of.
In London, Brian is meeting with Courtney, to talk about what’s bothering him. She points out how much potential he has, and he says he’s never really had a choice in the duties and responsibilities imposed on him, and he wants a life that’s for himself, but he’s afraid to make that choice. He also says he worries Meggan is too devoted to him, which is actually an entirely fair point. There’s definitely something uncomfortable about their relationship. She’s obsessed with him to an unhealthy degree, and he somewhat takes advantage of that fact, overlooking her far too easily. Luckily, that does get better over time. These days, with the character development both have gotten, their relationship might be one of the strongest and healthiest in comics. Which makes it a shame we never see it. I’d like to see them appearing in a series again.
Anyway! Rachel calls him back to the lighthouse to discuss Kitty’s latest sighting. He apologizes to Meggan for his outburst, and she forgives him immediately, because of course. And Kurt gets everyone agreeing to give the home and team a chance.
This is such a great issue. The team rounding up the criminals was a lot of fun, letting each character show off what they can do. And also includes plenty of humour. But the bulk of the issue is the team trying to learn to live together. Brian’s alcoholism and his personal doubts both get some focus here. They’ll continue to be issues for a long while. Brian, quite honestly, comes across as an ass for a lot of this series, especially early on. He’s easy to hate. But Claremont and Davis also put a lot of work into making him sympathetic. The intended message is pretty clearly that good people can make terrible decisions and do bad things. That pretty well sums up Brian Braddock. He’s not a bad person. Just one in serious need of counseling.
I am a little lukewarm on the ending, with Kurt’s little speech about giving the home and team a chance. It felt unnecessary. It felt redundant, really, a repetition of the end of the Excalibur graphic novel.
The art! I should talk about the art, but really, what can I say? It’s Davis, Neary and Oliver. If you don’t like Alan Davis’ art, then I don’t even know you. He’s one of the best out there. Dynamic, with expressive faces and body language, a master at comedy but also a master at drama. The guy’s phenomenal. Neary complements him perfectly. Oliver is a legend as a colour artist. It’s so hard to talk about the art in this series, because, come on, there are only so many ways of saying “it’s great.”
So, all in all, a great comic.