Friday, February 15, 2008

EXCALIBUR #55-#56, #59-#60

#55 (Davis/Farmer/Oliver/Heisler) – The “Page 0” cover is great; they even remembered to add “Stan Lee presents” at the top of the masthead. This is probably my favorite cover gag from the Davis era. Davis continues to build on continuity dating back to the Marvel UK days, while also bringing in X-Man Psylocke for a Braddock family reunion. The opening fight scene accomplishes a lot of action and characterization at the same time, an ability that modern comics seem to have lost. Long-time supporting cast member Alysdane Stewart is killed off, just a few pages after an unrelated mystery involving her being framed for treason is introduced. It's not immediately obvious where Davis is going with this. At first, it seems like the subplot is just misdirection to make her murder more shocking, and that her death is mainly there to make Jaime Braddock more threatening. Actually, her death ties in to an upcoming storyline, which at least makes her murder seem less gratuitous. At any rate, this is an enjoyable issue, going from the light comedy of the early Excalibur issues to the darker tone often used in the original Captain Britain series.

#56 (Davis/Farmer/Oliver/Heisler/Eliopoulos) – Concluding the two issue arc, the bad guys get away and Excalibur mourn the loss of their friend. This is the payoff of a subplot that began in the early Claremont issues, and it probably would’ve worked better if the resolution didn’t come fifty issues after the plot was introduced. It’s still not bad, though. I've always liked Jaime Braddock as a villain.

#57 (Davis/Lobdell/Madureira/Rubinstein/Tinsley/Lopez) – I never read this issue…but Luke did! Check out his review here.

#59-#60 (Lobdell/Kolins/Holdredge/Kryssing/Higgins/Moreshead/Thomas) – I was warned when I started collecting Excalibur back issues to avoid the non-Davis issues. I can assure you that this is good advice. I got these issues when I won an Excalibur lot off eBay, so maybe that absolves me of my sin. This is a lame two-part story that introduces two comedy villains, while failing to introduce any actual comedy. For some reasons, these issues were released bi-weekly, even though the rest of Marvel’s line had abandoned that shipping practice years earlier. It’s just rushed filler material that’s best forgotten.

Edit: I realize the formatting on #57 is screwy. Blogger's preview looks fine, but for some reason it comes out looking crappy. Oh, well.

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