Excalibur V1 # 83 - 85 (Sep - Nov '94)
Excalibur # 83 - 85: The Soulsword Trilogy
Writer - Warren Ellis
Pencils - Terry Dodson (83), W.C. Carani (83), Daerick Gross (84), Ken Lashley (85)
Daytripper (Amanda Sefton) encounters her mother, Margoli Szardos, on the streets. Margoli talks about how a fellow sorcerer named Gravemoss is trying to seize the Soulsword to increase his power. Mark Ellis seems to be expanding on a magical concept called "The Winding Way" which is basically a path magicians must follow to increase their power. Margoli is following "the Winding Way" and fears that Gravemoss will use the sword to kill all the sorcerer's ahead of him on this magical path.
It becomes clear that Kitty is losing her mind (as the Soulsword appears to be magically poisoning her mind). This is basically an excuse to show Kitty being "sexed up" and less pure. In one of her raving comments she talks about Piotr saying:
"That idiot Peter never really understood what he was missing."
Gravemoss possesses Nightcrawler and begins strategizing how to get Kitty to give him the Soulsword. Meggan can sense that something is wrong and begins freaking out a bit as well. Gravemoss (as Kurt) pushes Daytripper (Amanda) off a cliff to get her out of the way (Don't worry, she survives). Douglock and Captain Britain aren't given much to do.
Meanwhile, another sorcerer named Shrill (who has a magical eye) decides to converge on the Soulsword as well. Nightcrawler/Gravemoss is eventually outed and there is a battle between him and Kitty. At one point Gravemoss tries to scare her by saying that she is trapped here with him, but she has one of those epic Kitty responses (which no Excalibur writers have tapped into much and I would love if Warren Ellis brings back "awesome Kitty"):
"I'm an X-Man and you're trapped in here with me!"
Eventually Amanda shows back up and works with Shrill to help Kitty and defeat Gravemoss. At the end, Amanda takes the Soulsword to her mother (Kitty gave it to Amanda) for safekeeping. However, it appears that Margoli had planned this all along and it's heavily implied that this entire chain of events was her machination, designed as an evil way for her to get the Soulsword and move ahead in the Winding Way herself. We'll see if this plot thread is followed up on or not.
I can't help myself, I need to complain about how much incorrect information was given about the Soulsword. Overall, there are numerous references to how it was the Souldsword that drove Illyana mad. That's just not accurate. First of all, she didn't really go mad, and the corruptness that she flirted with was the result of her time in Limbo and the magic she used. It wasn't that she had a magic sword that drove her insane.
Also, the magician Shrill says that her magic eye is made from the same material that the Soulsword was made of. Obviously, this also can't be true. Plus, Ellis missed an opportunity to tap into continuity by discussing the eye being made of Promethan (a callback to Lobdell's first run on Excalibur and the Promethan Exchange).
Finally, Ellis tries to explain that the Soulsword passed from young Illyana to Kitty when she died of the Legacy Virus. NO. Young Illyana was not a magician, did not spend an extended period of time in Limbo, and would not have the Soulsword. Ellis could have said that when Illyana was de-aged, the Soulsword went to Kitty, but that would also be ignoring the Promethan Exchange.
This is the start of the Warren Ellis era of Excalibur. I've heard that this is a high watermark for the series, but I'm not overly impressed so far. I'll need to keep reading and decide for myself. The semi-regular artist on this series, Ken Lashley, comes back and I really enjoy his art.
The only character who gets any development here is Kitty. Jubilee sends clothes to Kitty (via Bishop) and we see her getting excited to try it on. I like this because Jubilee resented Kitty at the start of Illyana's Legacy Virus storyline, but came to respect her by the end. I like the idea of these two teenagers connecting. The one thing I liked about this story was that it was Kitty-centric and with her being my favorite character, I would love to see someone give her proper treatment!
My Rating - 5/10
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