Excalibur V1 # 101 - 104, Pryde and Wisdom # 1 - 3
Excalibur # 101 - 102: Onslaught Blues
Writer - Warren Ellis
Pencils - Casey Jones
These two issues take place during the Onslaught event. To be honest, I'm glad this comic didn't officially crossover. Continuing their own story while being impacted works just fine.
There is a cool scene where Moira has to tell the team about Onslaught (this was when we all though Xavier was fully to blame) and she was nervous wondering how each one would react. The team immediately wants to fly there, but they decide not to for a few reasons. First of all, there was an EMP and they don't think they could get in. But even bigger, Moira tells them that they have a responsibility to stay alive for Xavier in case everyone else dies. To be honest, it's easy to see this as a thin editorial reason for keeping them out, but I'll look past it.
Allistaire Stuart is picked to lead the new rendition of the Weird Happenings Organizations (formerly Black Air) and he asks Rory to come with him. As Allistaire leaves, he takes Spoor with him. This officially cleans up any loose threads and I think it will help the comic stay more focused on the core team.
Brian tells Pete about the flash forward he saw during the Days of Future Tense one-shot in Excalibur # 94. In addition to telling Pete that he was the leader (a bald, crippled Xavier like character), he tells him that they averted the version of their history where Black Air takes over all because Pete make the decision to join Excalibur. However, they lied to Pete and told him that in order to seal the deal and avoid his fate, he needs to tell Kitty that he loves her. Seems a little extreme, but it gets the job done!
Later, when Onslaught is done, we see the team lamenting the lost heroes.
Excalibur # 103: Belasco
Writer - Warren Ellis
Pencils - Casey Jones
This is a short, goofy issue with Kurt, Kitty, and Colossus (the three former X-Men) in a world with all of their alternates. Kitty deduces that they are being tested before Belasco unveils himself. We see that he has Margoli Szardos captive and this plot doesn't really go anywhere, so we'll see if any future writers go somewhere with this as this is goodbye for Warren Ellis.
Excalibur # 104: Are you a real boy?
Plot - John Arcudi
Script - James Felder
Pencils - Brian Hitch
This is primarily a story about Douglock. We see him have some bad dreams and he starts questioning who he really is. This really seems like a forced storyline, but I appreciate the attempt at trying to flesh out this character who has mostly been irrelevant. For some reason everyone starts questioning whether he is Warlock, Doug, or something else entirely. Kitty seems to be convinced he's really Doug (which seems odd), so her and Rahne take him to the states to put it to rest. The last image of his issue shows Kitty sticking her head in the ground and seeing Doug's body there, putting to bed any thought of this really being Doug.
Meanwhile, we a developing plot with the Mutant Liberation Front (I really thought they were dead) coming to Muir Island. We see Wildside, Forearm, and DANI on her way. DANI!? I thought we would never see her again once Nicieza left X-Force and Jeph Loeb dropped her appearances, so I'm thrilled. Not sure where this is going, so stay tuned...
Pryde and Wisdom
Writer - Warren Ellis
Pencils - Karl Story
This is a 3 part murder mystery team up featuring Kitty Pryde and Pete Wisdom. They head to London to take on a case of a mutant serial killer who fossilizes his victims. We meet Pete's dad who is eccentric and believes in conspiracy theories. Some men in black try to kill them and there are some cool fight scenes. Some random mutant woman who I don't care to further understand is trying to kill them. Eventually we learn that one of the cops, a man named Gideon, is actually the killer.
My Connections and Creators
I have mixed thoughts on Pryde and Wisdom. On one hand, the story was not very impactful and seems pretty unnecessary. However, I do love Kitty Pryde and the story isn't terrible.
This is the end of the run for Warren Ellis. In his goodbye at back of # 103, the editor's shared that he said:
"'I don’t have time for this.' In fact, he threatened to not turn in script for Pryde and Wisdom # 3 if he was forced to say any more than that!”
Lol, this is pretty entertaining. I wonder if he was fired and too angry to say goodbye or perhaps he's just always a bit of a jerk. Pretty fascinating. Regardless, he is on his way out. I didn't hate his run, but I didn't love it either. Solid and interesting stories. I like Pete Wisdom, so we have Ellis to thank for him. I like that Meggan was brought more to the forefront. Brian stopped his stupid Brittanic storyline, so that was nice. I'll always remember this as the "X-Files era."
I'll need to decide what I do moving forward. I've heard it gets bad after Ellis departs and the series ends altogether with Issue # 125. For now, my plan is to keep moving forward and finish it out since I'm so close and I've come a long way, however Marvel Unlimited doesn't have # 116 - 125, so we'll just have to see how I feel when I get closer.
I'm going to summarize where these characters are at after the Ellis era:
Kurt further cements his role as the unquestioned leader of the team. Nothing fantastic happens with him, but we do see some solid leadership out of him and some nice relationship moments with Amanda. He got a new look too...the outfit is cool but the facial hair can go when Ellis goes.
My beautiful Kitty. Lol, I never call her Shadowcat. I like that she is getting more prominent on the team and Ellis really seemed to get her voice, bringing back her smart, snippy personality while also serving as the moral center for the team.
She has been aged up significantly in this run as we saw her celebrate her 15th birthday in the pages of Excalibur, but she's clearly at least 18 in Ellis's mind with her dating Wisdom who is at the youngest in his late 20's. I hope future versions of Kitty keep her aged up, but I wouldn't be surprised if she stays a teenager for another 20 years. I don't think she needs a man to be complete, but Pete is already. It's nice knowing that if he gets out line, Colossus will beat his ass.
I like brand new characters and Pete is a pretty good one. He's clearly a stand in for Ellis himself.
She doesn't get a whole lot to do, but I like this character and I'm glad she stayed on the team. I like her with Kurt and her mom was essentially the primary villain of the Ellis run, which gave her an important role in most of the arcs.
This is probably the best version of Brian Braddock that we've gotten. Captain Britain under Claremont was an oaf. Alan Moore did a bit to improve him. Then he was gone from the comic for a while. Then he had that stupid, dreadful Brittanic stuff. Having him here with his ego and alcoholism in check, preferring to work as an engineer was a good look for him. It's like when an NFL coach has a bad year, heads to Alabama to improve his resume, then goes back to the NFL.
I love Meggan and appreciate what Ellis did for her. She was back and she was prominent. Her powers got an upgrade and she was standing on her own without Brian to give her purpose. The editors had the following to say about her in "Sword Strokes," in the back of # 104:
“Meggan is indeed a mutant. Her powers and personality are still a major question mark, though they seem to be affected by the people she is with, as you surmised. Meggan’s abilities will be undergoing some changes next year, to be certain.”
First of all, she's not a mutant. Nice try. I can appreciate that they are trying to keep her heavily incorporated with the other mutants. This is kind of like Claremont trying to say that Warlock was a mutant because he was different from the rest of his race. I have a weird toe nail, does that make me a mutant too?
Wolfsbane here is a casualty of having too many characters in one comic. She wasn't wanted in X-Factor anymore, so it made sense to bring her here. Moira is her godmother, she's European...but she really never made much of an impact on the team. I'm sure ten years from now (in publishing,) I'll forget she was ever on the team.
Similar to Wolfsbane, Douglock is relegated a second tier character. Unlike Rahne, who was a founding member of the New Mutants, Douglock is a completely unnecessary character who probably should have died with the Phalanx Covenant or not appeared at all.
Another character who is "Not American" and had no team, so found himself here. His relationship with Kitty while she has a new boyfriend makes him slightly interesting. I can't help but find myself thinking that they are leaving meat on the bone with him. He was a villain for a few years and there is a LOT more you can do with that, but Ellis wasn't interested in featuring him. I wonder if editorial forced him onto the team.
Muir Island is a perfect place for the team. Better than Brian's watchtower or mansion. Moira has been "slowly dying" of the Legacy Virus for years and I'm wondering if it will ever get her or not. Can you believe the Legacy Virus is still raging?
Alistaire and Rory
They are ok. Not going to miss them.