79: Excalibur # 35 - 41 (Lobdell Era 1)

What’s Covered?

Excalibur # 35 - 41, Weird War 3.


Roster Watch


Synopsis


# 35: D'Spayre in a Well

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - David Ross

This is the weakest installment of the bunch, but it wasn't terrible either. There is a girl stuck in a well and we learn that both the girl and town is really being tortured by D'Spayre, a lame demon who pops up from time to time and pushes the team to face their deepest fears. In this issue, Rachel faces some specific flashbacks of her time as a hound with Ahab, but this arc helps her to work past those feelings, come out better, and eventually stop D'Spayre, save the girl, and be the hero.


This almost immediately followed the Days of Future Present Annual Crossovers (as covered in 70: Days of Future Present), so I give Lobdell credit for tying in the larger crossover and Ahab to this comic at a time when Excalibur barely gets much connection to the larger X Universe.


This helped to clear some of the baggage off Rachel's plate. Her memory issues from her time with Mojo is going away this is step 1 of table clearing for Rachel.


I'm not too familiar with the art of David Ross, but when compared to other guys running the house style (as opposed to the Jim Lee Image style that's about to be coming), I think he does a fine job.


# 36: Silver Sable

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - David Ross

This one was the epitome of a one and done, but it wasn't too bad. Silver Sable and her band of outlaw mercenaries (The Sandman, Paladin, Rocket Racer, and the Prowler) are working as eco terrorists for hire and the team happens to be there and fights with them. Lobdell is clearly trying to make a political point. I LOVE politics in the real world and hate them in comics, but here I appreciate his ability to show that these environmental issues are not black and white.


# 37 - 39: The Promethean Exchange

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Mark Badger

Now this was a pretty good story! Dr. Doom shows up looking for Kitty's help. Once again, I'm impressed with Lobdell making a connection to a past story, with Doom bringing up that he once saved her life during Fantastic Four vs. X-Men (as covered in 46: UXM 215 - 219 (Longshot, Havok, Dazzler)).


Dr. Doom asks Kitty to use her power over the Soul Sword (another connection to past events) to open a connection to Limbo. He claims that he wants to gather a material called Promethean to create a renewable energy source that will make the planet a better place. Kitty agrees to do this (after Rachel incorrectly assures her that his intentions are pure via a mind probe) and shocker...he tricked her. Doom takes the Soul Sword for himself and sets out to take over Limbo and all the Promethan for himself.


Eventually the West Coast Avengers Show up to fight Doom, which is another development I liked. It might not be an X-Universe crossover, but at least Excalibur is connecting with anything else in Marvel! During all this, Nightcrawler becomes cured of his teleportation woes, so now his table is cleared of his baggage. Lobdell also gets ambitious with using this arc to explain the true nature of Illyana's armor being Promethean all this time and they claim this dimension was never truly Limbo, as time does actually move forward here.


In the end some half demon named Darkoth shows up and helps to defeat Doom, ending the arc with the souldsword in toe. I'm not sure if we'll see this Darkoth guy again. They seem to be setting him up as a big deal, but I also think this was an attempt to clear the table with Kitty so that she no longer has the leftover Illyana plotlines hanging over her head. I like that stories are actually going somewhere, but due to my love of both Kitty and Illyana, this bummed me out.


Oh, I almost forgot. The art is God awful. Who is this Mark Badger guy?! Yuck!


# 40: Lockheed on center stage!

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Dave Hoover

THIS was one fun little issue. The rest of Lockheed's race comes to Earth and puts him on trial. We learn that Lockheed had a great destiny but put it all aside because he sees great promise in Kitty and Excalibur. Also, Lockheed apparently has a wife and kids who come back with him, but I have a feeling we won't see much of them. We'll see!


Also, I'm kind of digging Dave Hoover's art, but it could just be due to how much better it is than that God awful Mark Badger stuff.


#41: Why not just have the real X-Men?

Writer - Scott Lobdell

Pencils - Dave Hoover

So for this one, I kind of got pissed off. The X-Men show up and the two team's talk. They apologize for going this long without talking but wanted to check in on Kitty and Nightcrawler. Betsy and Brian finally talk and Brian is so happy. And then...it turns out the X-Men are actually Warwolves in disguise. What THE FUCK. Why couldn't we just get the real X-Men to come to this issue and have this happen for real. At the end of the issue they talk about how they are going to pick up the phone and call the X-Men (off panel) and while I'm glad we finally got something, I felt very prickly and unsatisfied by this. What a tease!


By the end, Meggan and Brian are getting more cozy so the 3 way love triangle stuff is on it's way out as part of the table clearing.


My Connections and Creators

Alriiiiiiiiight, the first Lobdell era of Excalibur. For those of you who have been following my blog, you know there have been ups and downs. Before I started Excalibur, I was SUPER excited to get into the series. I quickly started to hit the breaks and wasn't sure if the Whimsy was for me. When I got into the second wave of the Cross Time Caper, I was seriously considering giving up on the comic altogether. Luckily, I heard that it starts to get better as time goes on and especially once Alan Davis takes over (which will be covered in my next Excalibur post).


Scott Lobdell steps in here as the writer for # 35 - 41. I have to say that this is really my first exposure to him. Even though these comics are 30 years old, I try to keep myself spoiler free of what's coming, however I haven't been able to avoid some pretty steep criticism of Lobdell. I have to say that after my first exposure to him, I'm optimistic they were wrong! One thing to specifically mention is that Excalibur has often seem purposely on an island. Hahahahahahaha. Get it? But seriously, they seem disconnected from the rest of the X-Books. Some of the criticism I had heard about Lobdell was that he doesn't plan things out far in advance, however this run of issues was constantly making great connections to the past and I have to get him a lot of credit for that!


These comics aren't fantastic by any stretch of the imagination, but they are light years better than what we've been getting and I had a great time with them! This helped to keep me going on the Excalibur train, and I've even read ahead at this point through # 50 with Alan Davis and I'm happy to report that I am thoroughly enjoying the comic!


Another thing that this mini era did a lot of was table clearing. It's clear that both Lobdell and soon after Alan Davis wanted to clear out as many dangling plot threads as possible so that things could be back to square one and then be all systems go for new stories without any baggage.


I'm going to stick with skinnier coverage for now, but my tentative plan is to pick back up with more expansive coverage (full screenshot breakdowns per issue) when we get to the Alan Davis run next.


My Rating - 4/10


Next up, time for the X-Factor reboot!


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