Excalibur, Volume 1 # 75 - 77 (March '94 - May'94) and X-Men Unlimited # 4 (March '94)
Excalibur #75: Goodbye Rachel, Hello Weird Brian
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Ken Lashley
Following the wedding of Scott and Jean, Rachel is absolutely over the moon. She's flying around, laughing, and talking about how great life is. So naturally, something terrible is about to happen to her. Megan flys up to Rachel in her more natural and mystic form, being super serious like she's been for a long time, and asks Rachel to bring Brian back. Brian tries to forcibly take over Meggan's body, leaving Rachel with an impossible decision to make.
Suddenly Amanda Sefton, Nightcrawler's old girlfriend from the Claremont era and sorceress in her own right, shows up under the new moniker, DayTripper! I don't recall loving this character before, but boy was I excited to see her pop back up. That's the real joy of doing this journey, I get every reference! Amanda offers to use her mystical powers to help both Rachel and Brian, but she's sure not to make any promises.
In an obvious final moment, Kitty and Rachel take a psychic trip down memory lane, with Rachel/Lobdell reminding us of the terrible life Rachel has lived. Ultimately, Rachel decides to give in and whole heartedly agrees to bring Brian back to help Meggan. Amanda tries to save her life, but is ultimately unsuccessful and Rachel is pulled into the timestream. (We'll be picking this back up when I do my deep dive into Cable's history).
In Rachel's place we find Brian, who now looks different and is going by the name Brittanic. He's speaking a little differently, but I have to tell how weird it is that I'm actually 6 issues past this and we've either not seen Brian at all or he's had very little to do. I'm surprised he was brought back at all considering how under utilized he is, but again I don't really like the character that much so I'm not complaining.
One more note, while all the characters were looking into the timestream, Rory saw Ahab and instantly knew that was his fate. We'll see him struggling with that knowledge for the next few issues.
X-Men Unlimited # 4: Nightcrawler's Momma
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Richard Bennett
This is one of those situations where I feel guilty only providing a synopsis. I'm going to water down a long story into a few points and feel bad essentially saying "If you want to know every detail, you just need to read the comic!"
Mystique kills the general who tried to contract Sabretooth to kill her (as covered in the Sabretooth limited Series). Both Rogue and Nightcrawler are invited to the funeral by Mystique where Nightcrawler learns that Mystique is his true mother, making Rogue his step sister. Speaking of family, Nightcrawler's half brother Graydon Creed is on hand to try to kill his whole family.
We learn the true story behind Nightcrawler's origin. Apparently Mystique was married to some rich Count and pretending to be human until she was outed due to A) Having a blue baby and B) turning blue herself due to the strain childbirth. We also learn that in an effort to save herself, Mystique throws baby Kurt over a cliff into a nearby stream/river to save herself (I'll have a lot more to say about this in the character beats section below).
In a twist of fate, Mystique, Rogue, and Nightcrawler all find themselves hanging from the ledge of a cliff and Mystique (apparently) allows herself to die to save Nightcrawler and Rogue.
Excalibur #76 - 77: Sigh, D'Spayre
Plotter - Scott Lobdell (76 - 77), Richard Ashford (77)
Script - Richard Ashford, Chris Cooper (77)
Pencils - Ken Lashley (76 - 77), Robert Brown (77)
We catch up with Nightcrawler after the events in XMU # 4 in a hospital, being cared for by Amanda (Day Tripper). They are making out, so apparently they are right back together. Good for you, Kurt, good for you.
The major plot for these two issue centers around the boring demon D'Spayre who captured the sorcerer mom of both Amanda and Kurt (don't ask). Boiling a lot of pointless plot into a simple point, Nightcrawler is able to save her. At one point we got a flashback of "young Kurt" as his best friend was forced by his father to stop being his friend.
Meanwhile, we see Brian (Brittanic), Megan, and Kitty race off somewhere, this is more like the C plot and I have no idea what's happening with him and this story.
The real B plot actually focuses on Zero (the android from the MLF) as he is being targetted by Stryfe's drones for execution and appears to have grown a conscience and has gone from barely talking to never shutting up. At the end of the issue, he runs into a techno organic being who looks like Doug Ramsey. This is a huge plot point, but I'm assuming the next arc will get into this so I'll just leave it here for now.
This comic has no identity right now. I can tell there is a concerted effort to bring the team in more closely to the larger X Universe, but other than that, I'm not sure what we're doing here. We've been down to only 3 team members for the last few issues and one of those is permanently leaving. I don't understand what's up with Captain Britain and Meggan. They have been core, founding members, yet they've practically been written out for a long time and now they are back but still not acting like the characters I know. I'm really just not sure what's happening here.
What's with X creators and D'Spayre?!" I guess I'm just bitching all day today. But seriously, why does this random D'Spayre guy keep popping up in so many various X stories. If you see D'Spayre, you just know you're getting a one and done forgettable story. <End Rant/>
Ken Lashley has great art. I'm REALLY digging it. My friend Lobdell is struggling here though. My guess is that he already has a full plate and is asked to step in here and right the ship, but he doesn't have enough time to do the series proper. That's the excuse I'm giving him.
Here is what I put in my notes: "What gives Meggan the right to push Rachel to give up her life?!?" Yea! So let's talk about this. The focus of # 75 (and some of the preceding issues) is that Rachel has the ability to bring Brian back but is choosing not to because it would cost her everything. There doesn't seem to be any problem though with Meggan demanding that she bring Brian back, knowing that it would mean the end of Rachel, her friend who has been there for her, for years. This seems like a major misstep and is another thing that just feels off right now with the comic.
I'm a little conflicted about my feelings for Rachel. This is the second time where she has been written out of a series. I was thrilled the first time because she was a big crybaby and I didn't miss her. She's not a crybaby anymore, she's definitely more likeable, but she still hasn't been a great character. I'm certainly bothered that she is getting written out after Kylun, Cerise, Feron, and Micromax were all written out as well. Is this going to become a Nightcrawler solo series eventually or something? Let me sort out my feelings.
My final note: "Woah! Since when is Mystique such a raging bitch?" She threw Kurt off a cliff, intending to kill him. A baby. Her baby. She tried to kill him. Aren't we supposed to be feeling more sympathetic for her? Showing her as a selfish baby killer isn't helping much with that effort. This whole issue seems like a pretty big failure. So it's confirmed that she has a favorite kid. Spoiler, it's not Graydon or Kurt. (Pssst, it's Rogue).
I'm thrilled to see Amanda Sefton back. I am getting the vibe that she may be a recurring character, which I would welcome since I'm concerned about a few of them we have to work with.
Dr. Rory Campbell officially learns of his fate as Captain Ahab. Just kidding, it's just Ahab. It's super fascinating in retrospect that Rory and Rachel were hitting it off, knowing that one day he will (or could) subjugate and use her.
My Rating - 3/10
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