Excalibur, Volume 1 # 72 - 74
This mini arc shows what happens when Sienna Blaze tries to attack Moira McTaggert while the few remaining Excalibur members (Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Phoenix) defend her, leading to some life altering decisions Rachel needs to make.
# 72 - 73: Sienna Blaze
Writer - Richard Ashford
Pencils - Ken Lashley
We start off with the Gamesmaster declaring that the person worth the most points at the moment is Moira, because he wants a copy of her son Proteus's DNA. Due to her recent failure killing off Storm, Cyclops, and the Prof (in X-Men Unlimited # 2), Sienna Blaze is sent to Muir Island to capture the genetic code.
There is a lot of hoopla with Sienna Blaze lighting an oil rig on fire, messing with Nightcrawler's teleporting, and interfering with Rachel's power, but ultimately Excalibur successfully defeats Sienna Blaze and defends Moira.
Two other things going on this issue is that Rachel is experience more weird issues with Captain Britain trying to reach out her and at times taking over her body. Another interesting development comes with Dr. Rory Campbell, who is a mysterious new doctor sent to work with Moira and who seems to hit it off with Rachel.
#74: Rachel's Life
Writer - Richard Ashford
Pencils - Ian Churchill
This issue primarily features a decision that Rachel needs to make. I'm still a bit confused regarding what exactly is going on, but it appears that Rachel has figured out that she alone can bring Brian back to the right time (or dimension?) but she might need to give up everything in order to do so.
Meggan comes back this issue, still messed up, but slightly less catatonic since the last time we saw her. She primarily serves as a push factor on Rachel to guilt her into giving up her life to bring Brian back. While debating her life choices, she seems to make a close connection to a new character who seems like he has staying power, Dr. Rory Campbell. There is a scene where Rachel is talking to Rory while she's thinking about her past and Ahab is drawn. The two characters look a lot alike (same nose and grey streak running down the middle of his hair) and I don't think this was an Easter Egg, I think we're absolutely supposed to catch this.
We also quickly find out that Mr. Sinister was the one who contracted Sienna Blaze to steal Proteus's DNA, but when he discovers that she has some of Rachel's DNA, he is even more happy. Great...all we need is Sinister getting the DNA of a child of Scott Summers and Jean Grey.
I'm not entire sure what's happening here. We're still stuck with only 3 members of the team? I like that they are on Muir Island a bit more connected to the X Universe, but it just seems odd to have a such a small team and I'm a little bummed out that we wrote out characters I liked such as Cerise and Kylun for no apparent reason.
I'm glad Meggan is back as was my 8th favorite character as of 1990 but she's been criminally underused for quite some time.
Richard Ashford writes all three comics with Ken Lashley penciling 72 - 73 and Ian Churchill stepping in for #74. I really know nothing about this Richard Ashford chap and I think I'm gonna need to see more before I can comment on his writing skills.
I will give Ashford credit for doing a good job of naturally breaking the three members of the team into Muir Island while also setting up the story. We have a new setting and potentially shifting mission statement which can be disorienting, but I think it's off to a decent start.
Dr. Rory Campbell is a brand new character who has come to work with Moira on Muir Island. He immediately hits it off with Rachel, however it seems clear that this might be a younger version of Ahab. If that's true (which it seems clear that it is), then this is a pretty interesting character I need to keep two eyes on.
Meggan comes back into my life and I couldn't be happier. She isn't given a lot to work with, but it seems as though she and Captain Britain are coming back which is probably a necessary move for the comic.
Nightcrawler and Kitty don't get much to work with either, other than struggling to adjust to their powers after being thrown off by Sienna Blaze.
Rachel gets the most characterizations here as it's clear she's trying to make a decision to bring Brian back, which could cost her everything. She makes a romantic connection with Rory and seems to be working in harmony with her Phoenix powers.
My Rating and Review - 5/10
There really isn't much special here, which is probably why Marvel hasn't bothered to upload these issues to Marvel Unlimited yet (which is the reason why I didn't include screenshots for my summaries below.
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