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Excalibur #9 (1989, June)

May 9, 2017

Follow me on Twitter (@XMenXPert). My pull list is up. Now, by Claremont, Davis, Neary, Wilcox, Orzechowski and Mas, “The Two-Edged Sword.”

The Two-Edged Sword

Excalibur had great covers.

Lockheed’s in the lighthouse, waiting for Excalibur to come home. He gets choked out by Shadowcat. But it’s not his Shadowcat. It’s a very different Excalibur who’s come. They have swastikas, and Captain Britain is called Hauptmann Englande (which should apparently be England). It’s a Nazi version of Excalibur! Searching for the Nazi version of Moira!

Excalibur #9

They do have good designs, though, dammit.

Over in the US, beneath the ruined Xavier school, Kitty is putting Brian through a workout. He’s straining a lot more than he should be. The weight-lifting exhausts him and leaves him out of breath. Next up is a test of reaction speed.

Excalibur #9

Ouch. Harsh, Kitty.

Then, another test. Which also goes well.

Excalibur #9

The flapping. Perfect.

Kitty chastises Brian for his subsequent (unheard) language, then tells Kurt that Brian’s not the only problem. While Brian runs a gauntlet to avoid getting paint-spritzed, we get a demonstration of what’s wrong with Meggan.

Excalibur #9

The sound effects are great.

Meggan’s involuntary and unconsciously shifting to look like those near her, which becomes a problem when Rachel pops in and the two start to merge until they rather forcibly separate. And smash the control room in the process. Kitty lets Brian know that his powers are deteriorating, and she doesn’t know why, but there’s other people they can consult. These concerns are put on hold by a call from Dai Thomas asking them to return.

In the London branch of the Hellfire Club, Nigel Frobisher is complaining about Courtney Ross. Who’s right behind him. (And who is actually Sat-Yr-9, who killed and replaced the real Courtney.) She’s very pleasant to him, and suggests a game. Cut the deck, high card wins. Nigel loses, he pays a pound. If he wins, he gets a weekend with her. He loses, and she changes the stakes. For every hand he wins, he gets a promotion, and he can withdraw anytime, but if he loses, he loses it all. He wins 100 000 pounds, and reaches the final bet. Courtney bets her job as VP of Fraser’s Bank. But if he loses, he’ll owe 1 million pounds. He loses. He says he can’t pay, she says he can and he will.

In the Tower of London, a tour is being given of the Gallery of Heroes, which includes a replica of Captain Britain’s original uniform. We all get a brief Who’s On First routine, but very brief.

Excalibur #9

Claremont used that routine a few times.

I’m glad the guy did start to explain it, rather than let it go on. Regardless, we’ll see these people again. But first:

Excalibur #9

Lizard-people!

Outside, the Nazi Excalibur sneaks onto the Tower grounds. They find where Alysande Stuart is interrogating Nazi-Moira. Shadowcat seems to tear the throat out of one guard. Harsh. Alistaire and Dai are dealing with the lizard-people (the father declares himself “a tax-paying tourist,” which . . . yep, he’s American, all right) and Alistaire senses that Alysande is in trouble. This ability to sense when his sister’s in danger is never brought up again. Rachel deals with the Nazi-Brian (and amazes Alistaire, who immediately falls in love with her). Kitty goes to investigate more, and gets taken out by Nazi-Shadowcat. She calls herself dead and a ghost, and Nazi-Callisto referred to her the same way. Pretty dark.

Anyway, Kitty being taken out distracts Rachel, which allows Nazi-Brian to punch her outside, and regular Brian decides he and Meggan need to join in. Nazi-Kurt takes out Good-Kurt, and Nazi-Meggan rejoins the group. On their way out, they’re stopped by Brian, wearing his old Captain Britain uniform, which doesn’t fit him any more. Cliffhanger!

It’s Excalibur. It’s great. Even the drama is tinged with humour. The Nazi version of Excalibur is fairly interesting. This version of Shadowcat is really tragic. (Honestly, I kinda wish she could have been rescued. Her having to exist on Nazi-World is really sad.) We actually get even better ideas of their personalities over the next couple issues. Brian and Meggan’s problems with their powers are an interesting sub-plot, and the next issue actually gives a very strong hint of the cause, for anyone who hadn’t already figured it out. There’s actually a hint here, as Brian says he’s been feeling better since getting back to England. The testing Brian goes through is a lot of fun. Seeing him get knocked around is always entertaining.

The art is Alan Davis. If you don’t love his art, then man, I just don’t understand you, and I’m not sure I want to.

Another excellent issue.

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