#46-#47 (Davis/Farmer/Heisler/Oliver) – These issues are the full introductions of Kylun and Cerise, two characters that were essentially forgotten once Davis left the title. Both of these characters have a lot of potential, but I guess they didn’t fit into the darker world of the ‘90s X-titles. Cerise later endures a horribly retconned origin that doesn’t make any sense, which I guess shouldn’t be shocking. These are great looking issues; Oliver’s coloring should especially stands out. Davis’ art plays around with page layouts and pulling the “camera” in and out, an effect he pulls off very well. Davis continues to build on old continuity from Marvel UK, early Excalibur issues, and a one-shot special that was apparently filled with contradictions. This is Avengers Forever-type material, telling you that the mistakes you saw earlier weren’t mistakes and that everything has been happening for a reason. This run was written when continuity was a much higher priority at Marvel, so I don’t know if it’s something that would be published today. Davis is able to incorporate the old continuity with new characters and plotlines in a seamless way, so you really do feel as if there’s logical connection between these events.
#48-#49 (Davis/Farmer/Heisler/Oliver) –These issues mark the first appearance of the Anti-Phoenix, a concept that you might think would’ve had a large role in X-continuity, but seems to have been relegated only to this Excalibur storyline. The Phoenix Force is now being tied into the continuity of the original Captain Britain series, which should (theoretically) root characters like Roma and Merlyn even more firmly into the X-universe. It never really worked out that way, and I don’t think any of these events were referenced after Davis left the title. This storyline is a huge payoff for longtime fans, but it is rooted in continuity from a wide variety of sources, which might bother some readers. Davis is building up to an ominous finish, but doesn’t totally abandon the light-hearted humor of the original issues, something most writers couldn’t pull off.
#50 (Davis/Farmer/Heisler/Rosas) – Davis’ first storyline concludes with this issue, along with some long-running subplots that go back to the early issues of this series. Davis obviously put a lot of thought into how to connect the various plot threads he introduced at the start of this run, making this issue feel like a real payoff. A lot of the early subplots from the Claremont issues are also resolved here. Davis ties them into his story so well, I was surprised when I found out that he didn’t consult Claremont at all when writing this arc (editor Terry Kavanagh told Davis not to worry about what Claremont might have done, just to make the book his own).