Excalibur, V 1: # 51 - 58
#51: Dinosaur People Dimension
Writer - Alan Davis
Pencils - Dougle Brainwaite
This is one of those goofy issues with very little larger importance. Remember how we've seen these random dinosaur people tourists pop up through past issues? Well for some reason, Alan Davis decided to give us an entire issue showing us what is happening in that dimension. There's a dinosaur people Excalibur, Fantastic Five (Instead of Fantastic Four) and more.
The biggest things going on in our dimension is that Rachel is in a coma and believed to be dying. Feron is sitting around hoping she dies (dude's a prick) so that he can take on the Phoenix Force. Kylun also leaves this issue for an extended time to find his parents and explore his roots (Remember, only a year has passed in our time while he is now an adult).
# 52: The Phoenix Force Story
Writer - Alan Davis
Pencils - Will Simpson
While Rachel is in her coma, Professor X and Jean show up to help out. This helps set the sage for the Phoenix's story. We learn that the Phoenix force was looking for Feron (and his line), but ended up discovering Jean Grey. When she died, it became aware and started to have emotion. If found Rachel, in her timeline, since Rachel was very similar to Jean (being her daughter).
In a shocking update, it turns out that Rachel never had the power to travel in time, she could only send her consciousness back in time. Prior to future Kate Pryde dying, Kate asked the Phoenix Force to bring Rachel back to the past and give her a body. This is how Rachel came back to the past and explains how/why Rachel had the Phoenix power. This sets up a long running story where Alan Davis continues to explore a character arc for the Phoenix Force itself.
# 53: Spider-Man Flashback
Writer - Scott Lobdell
Pencils - James Fry
This is essentially a one issue fill in with Captain Britain recalling an adventure he had when he was younger while he roomed with Spider-Man. Not much to see here, move along.
# 54: The Crazy Gang
Writer/Pencils - Alan Davis
The team is brought in to a small village where all the inhabitants are gone. After searching around, they discover that the townspeople are living happily in a simulation of Alice in Wonderland. It appears as though the Crazy Gang are good now or something and everyone laughs at the end at this misunderstanding.
Alan Davis is really trying to wrap everything up here. It seems even the Crazy Gang needed an ending. I applaud him for caring so much to wrap up loose ends, as it is something that bothers me.
# 55 - 56 (Sat-Yr-9)
Writer/Pencils - Alan Davis
Alllllright. This was actually one of my favorite Excalibur arcs to date. We start with Asian ninja Betsy visiting her brother for the first time (It's about time).
As the team is trying to enjoy a nice time at a party, Sat-Yr-9 and Jamie Braddock show up. Within minutes, Alysande Stuart is killed! Man, Sat-Yr-9 has a tendency to show up and just murderize secondary characters that you think will play a big part in the series (She killed Courtney Ross in my first blog coverage). I looked it up and it appears like she really stays dead. Wow.
We get a little bit of Sat-Yr-9's backstory and everyone learns that she's from a Nazi-like dimension and has been impersonating Courtney for quite some time. No one is more thrown off by this than Kitty, who spent a very odd bunch of issues living with her (and having weird, potentially sexual but certainly awkward experiences, as covered in 66: Excalibur # 18-34 (End of Cross Time Caper))
Kitty is the only one who manages to get free and Meggan learns she is able to resist Jamie's reality warping powers. Together they are able to free the team and beat this fearsome duo.
Before the party was crashed, Cerise and Nightcrawler had a long makeout session, kicking off a romantic relationship between the two of them. I know this is trying to distract us from thinking about Nightcrawler and Meggan, but I'm down.
# 57 - 58 (X-Men and Alchemy)
Writer - Alan Davis & Scott Lobdell
Pencils - Joe Madureira
It took 57 fricken issues, but Excalibur finally met up with the X-Men! About damn time. These issues are not great as Tom Jones, the mutant transmuter, and the stock trading trolls show up again (first seen in X-Factor as covered in 59: X- Factor 40 - 50 (The Judgment War)). This isn't a great story so I'll just tell you that the two team's fight together and win. That's about all you need to know.
Alan Davis loses a little bit of steam after the great Necrom storyline (as covered in 83: Excalibur (Vol 1) # 42 - 50 (Alan Davis takes over)). There are a bunch of super forgettable stories (Dinosaur people, Spider-Man flashback, Crazy Gang, and Alchemy), but we do get two very strong story arcs.
The first strong issue comes in Issue #52 where Davis decides to further tackle the origin of the Phoenix Force. Once again, I applaud the surgical approach to closing every potential loose end. There will be a bit more about the Phoenix Force, Rachel's past (or future), and Widget in the next blog, but for now we start to see everything coming together.
# 55 - 56 gives us one of my favorite Excalibur arcs so far. Sat-Yr-9 and Jamie Braddock show up, wrecking shit. At least one recurring character will die, we learn more about Sat-Yr-9, and both Kitty and Brian come face to face with how thoroughly they have been deceived and react accordingly.
My Rating - 5/10
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