Issues: Exc # 18 - 34 (Nov ' 89 - December '90)
# 18 - 19 (Jamie Braddock's in the Fast Lane)
I'm going to say right off the bat that Jamie Braddock is super interesting. Maybe one of the most interesting characters in Excalibur. I hope we see a lot more of him.
So at this point the team is still jumping from one dimension to the next as part of the Cross Time Caper. They find themselves in a world controlled by Jamie Braddock. I guess Jamie was a race car driver, so in this reality which he controls, everyone is a race car driver? Or something? I'm not super well versed in Captain Britain lore, so I found it weird when he said "If Jamie is a mutant in this dimension, I wonder if he is in ours." I didn't know that he didn't know that. Interesting.
There's really not a lot here. Jamie kidnaps Meggan (although she kind of naively goes for a ride with him) and the team ends up needing to fight Jamie to get her back. Eventually it works out and they race off to the next dimension. Meggan and Rachel's powers keep messing with each other, creating a bit of tension between these two. Also, widget transforms into a car, so it makes me wonder if he's kind of going to be like Warlock in this series!?
# 20 (Demon Druid)
So this is a fill-in issue and I think it takes place on our earth? A cool looking blue guy, named the Demon Druid shows up and begins siphoning power from different power plants, etc. The team shows up to stop him, but Rachel figures out that he's not necessarily a bad guy, just a guy looking for a power source to get home. Brian, who is still not being portrayed very well, is determine to charge ahead and beat the guy up. Rachel gets in his way and there is a small Rachel vs. Brian battle.
There's more Brian/Meggan weirdness. Meggan is angsting pretty hard about Brian thinking she's ugly. Meanwhile, Brian is off making out with Courtney Ross (who is actually Sat-yr-9). Brian is being a huge dick to Meggan and pretty much everyone.
# 21 - 22: Crusader X
And the team finds themselves in ANOTHER random dimension. In this one, the Shadow King pretty much rules all. Claremont is totally using these other dimensions to plant the seeds of things that are going on in our own dimension, such as Jamie having powers and the Shadow King turning into the big bad in the other X comics. It kind of reminds me how Days of Future past (as covered in 11: UXM 141 - 142 (Days of Future Past!)) showed us that Kitty and Colossus were married, then after that those two started flirting a lot.
This reality has Tony Stark as the leader of an X-Men like group with Jean Grey, Cable, Professor X, and a female archangel involved. Excalibur fights them (of course with a Brian vs. Brian battle) and then they quickly scamper off to the next reality.
This realities version of Captain Britain is "Crusader X" who shockingly, is a dick in this reality as well. Is Claremont also trying to show us that these are his true colors??? There are a lot of X-Fans out there who say "I love Captain Britain" and I'm still waiting to see what the big draw is.
Nightcrawler is tortured in this issue. Kitty actually gets separated from everyone else and finds her way back to our earth. Rachel is very powerful but slightly less annoying than when she was a part of X-Men.
#23: Evil Illyana
This was an issue I actually really liked. Probably because it featured Kitty and Illyana. Basically Kitty and Illyana run the world (or at least Britain) with an army of justiciers which are basically police officers dressed like Captain Britain. In this reality there is a human looking Nightcrawler and Doug Ramsey is still alive. In the issue Illyana actually backstabs Kitty and shows herself to be the villain, trying to rule the world. Excalibur needs to partner with their version of Kitty to stop her.
# 24: End of Cross Time Caper
This is a very eventful issue that actually ends the Cross Time Caper. The team is brought before Saturnyne (not to be confused with the evil Sat-yr-9 that's currently impersonating our earth's Courtney Ross), who is the Omniversal Majistrix, essentially the # 2 person enforcing different realities under Roma. She essentially rips the team a new one for messing things up in the various dimensions they've been traveling to. With Kitty missing, they decide to dress Rachel up in a wig and blue outfit to pass as Kitty. It looks menacing, but in the end Saturnyne lets them leave and helps them get home. It's implied that she knows Rachel is really there and is willing to let her leave. I'm not sure if this means that the Warwolves or Technet no longer need to hunt for Rachel, since both of them are supposed to be looking for her (as covered in my first Excalibur blog).
Kitty is discovered back on earth and being taken care of by Courtney Ross (who is actually Sat-yr-9). There is absolutely no mention of her being Sat-yr-9 or her doing anything devious (other than grooming Kitty for some reason) to the point where it makes me wonder if Claremont forgot and this is actually the real Courtney Ross. There is one scene I have to show and talk about:
What...the fuck...is this? My mind is blown in so many ways.
First, this is Kitty's 15th birthday. She was 13 and a half when we first met her, so we're supposed to believe everything that's happened since Dark Phoenix has been a year and a half. That seems wrong.
Second, I don't even think I'm reading into this too much to see a lesbian scene. Really? why? I have nothing against lesbians, but we just established that Kitty is a teenager (a young one) and Courtney is clearly an adult. So that in itself is wrong. And then why is Courtney romancing Kitty in general? Like, why is that a plot point. It has to be romance because later in this issue she takes her to Paris and out to fancy dinners, and buys her a car. I just don't understand what this is about.
Third, I try to keep my eyes out of spoilers for future things (since I'm reading everything chronologically) but there seems to be a lot of online discussion about Kitty being bi or a lesbian. Unlike Bobby Drake (Iceman), this would be a major check in the direction of this not being a retcon.
#25: Gallactus comes a callin'
Ok, maybe i regret zipping through these stories. Both the Illyana and Satyrnyne issue were good and this one is great too.
Gallactus shows up with his current Herald, Nova, and states that it's not safe for Rachel to be in possession of the Phoenix force, so he is going to forcibly remove it from her. A bunch of cosmic beings show up to witness this, such as the Watcher, Roma, and Death him/herself.
As a quick aside, I covered Classic X-Men #43 in my Dark Phoenix blog, where a dead Jean Grey/Phoenix was greeted by a handyman doing manual labor. In the blog I guessed that this was an incarnation of Death and this issue confirms that theory by showing the handyman show up and turn into Death.
Allistaire Stuart helps create a device to help Rachel fight Gallactus and before she departs, they kiss. Nothing really happens between the two of them after this, at least through the issues I've read (all covered here). Rachel decides that instead of fighting, she will give herself up willingly. Before that can be completed, the cosmic beings warn Gallactus that by doing this, it could create the end of the universe as it's not a simple (or advisable thing) to rip the Phoenix Force out of a living host. Gallactus grudgingly agrees and flies off.
Also, It's revealed that Kitty is going to go to boarding school, starting a side plot that I actually find interesting, mostly because I adore Kitty.
And now onto a long run of terrible one shots. The team is back on earth, but that's not improving anything.
Mastermind shows up, manipulating the team and trying to attack Rachel as a way to get revenge on her mother (Jean). Eventually they figure it out and Mastermind packing.
Brian continues his run of being a huge dick to Meggan. Meggan and Nightcrawler end up going out on a date. It appears as though these two are actually together in this issue, but it's never that simple. We find out that Brian was being controlled by Mastermind for some indeterminate period of time and when Brian comes back, he's actually acting normal and affectionate towards Meggan. I'm pretty sure that Brian and Meggan end up getting married at some point, but I still felt disappointed that Nightcrawler didn't get more time with her. From this point forward, it looks as though Brian and Meggan are happy together.
#27: Galactus in human form?
Claremont must really have missed the Cross Time Caper, because in this issue they don't travel to another dimension, but they meet someone from another dimension and technically interact with another dimension without permanently leaving.
We see a continuing sub-plot between Jamie Braddock and Nigel Frobisher. Basically Jamie is fully lucid and hell bent on taking over the world. It appears as though Nigel is working for him, but this confused me because I thought he was only supposed to be fetching Jamie for Sat-yr-9?
This issue turns into a battle where Jamie is manipulating reality between Excalibur, Nigel, and a version of Galactus where he has some powers but is still mostly human (Nth man).
#28: Bar Fight
So basically Brian and Meggan go to a bar (they are doing well as a couple now) and get in a bar fight. That's about it.
Something, something about D'Spayre transforming a hospital into a nightmare and the Power Pack was involved. I skimmed through it because I was bored and wanted to move on to better comics.
#30: Vampire Meggan
Yadda yadda, something about Meggan turning into a Vampire. She gets better, all is well by the end.
#31: Son of Krokoa
Nightcrawler solo issue where he ends up on a deserted island with the Son of Krokoa. I slowed dead and read this more thoroughly because it's the first time Krokoa has shown up since Giant Sized-X-Men and I know Krokoa will be huge in the X-Men re-boot. In Giant-Sized X-Men, Krakoa was ejected into the sun, but apparently pieces of him broke off and landed elsewhere. In this issue, one piece went mad, takes over an indiginous people, fights Nightcrawler, and loses.
#32 - 34: Mesmero and Kitty at Boarding School
Alright, so across these 3 issues we have two stories going on. In one, Mesmero (who is just a green skinned mutant), is bullied by robots reporting to Fenris. Fenris has been showing up from time to time in X-Men lately, so I like that this is sort of a tie in to the other X books. Mesmero takes over Excalibur to help him fight off Fenris. I believe this isn't completely resolved by the time the issue ends. (I was so annoyed by how bad these issues were I couldn't help skimming).
Nightcrawler seems to be getting back to his normal teleportation skills, so that's cool.
Most of this time is spent with Kitty at boarding school. It's actually a really well written story, but I'm going to give a brief overview. Basically, Kitty runs into a bunch of stuck up bullies but eventually wins them over and enjoys being at the school. A bunch of other stuff happens but I'll leave it here. Kitty ends up meeting back up with Excalibur at the end of this. I'm not positive if she will re-join the team or not.
My Connections and Creators
Alright, I'm gonna be honest. This series is testing my patience. It's disappointing because it wasn't that long ago I couldn't stop talking about how excited I was to start reading the series. I still love Kitty and Meggan is great too, but these are tough to get through. Especially when X-Men is almost always good, X-Factor is getting better, and with Cable at New Mutants, that's soo exciting. Unfortunately these stories struggle due either to terrible art, silly stories, bad writing, or stories that are just not very ambitious. It doesn't help that this comic line is very far removed from the rest of the X franchises. They try to connect it from time to time, but it's very thin. The good news is that a few internet conversations seem to be supporting that these issues are bad and that it gets much better with Issue # 42 when Alan Davis takes over. I'll definitely keep reading until that point, but I'm second guessing whether I'll make it to Issue # 125. Marvel Unlimited is a missing a lot of issues and just cuts off at 103, so that's telling me something too.
The Cross Time Caper did not only drag in 1989 (like all the X comics did), but it kept going into 1990. It just got tiresome and should have ended at least 5 issues earlier, but more like 9 issues earlier if I'm being honest.
In regards to characters, I always love Kitty and that continues. I liked her little high school drama when she went off to Boarding school. Kurt is actually the team leader for a majority of these issues, so he got the nod in my Roster Watch. I think I hate Cap right now, so I having no problem seeing Kurt take over. I still love Meggan and Rachel is slightly less annoying than she could be. I loved seeing her meet her mom and dad for the first time, but that doesn't even happen in the pages of Excalibur (instead during the Days of Future Present Annual crossover in the X Universe).
My Rating - 1/10
Next up we'll check back in with the X-Men, who are still disbanded, yet merging closer and closer to the X-Factor squad and positioning us to that fun 90's Jim Lee re-boot!
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