Thursday, February 21, 2008

EXCALIBUR #73 – January 1993

Memories Are Made of This
Credits: Richard Ashford (writer), Terry Shoemaker (penciler), Randy Elliott (inker), Pat Brosseau (letterer), Matthys & Garrahy (colorists)

Siena Blaze arrives on Muir Island to kill the remaining Excalibur members and steal a disc with Proteus’ genetic matrix recorded on it. Phoenix uses her powers to undo the damage to the environment Blaze creates, and makes her telepathically feel the environmental pain her power causes. Blaze briefly gains the upper hand when Phoenix is distracted, but teleports away. Meanwhile, a new member of Moira McTaggert’s research team, Dr. Rory Campbell, arrives. Kitty Pryde checks in on Meggan, only to find that she’s turned into a monster.

Creative Differences
Entire pages of this issue have obviously been re-lettered, along with a few stray narrative captions that were also plainly added later. In one scene, Siena Blaze is triumphantly standing over Phoenix while she screams in pain, but Phoenix’s thought balloons claim that Blaze is teleporting away.

Yeah, this one is a mess. Lots of confused action, awkward dialogue, sloppy lettering and washed out colors. The issue becomes totally irredeemable during the scene I described above, when Phoenix claims that Blaze is teleporting away when she’s clearly not. That’s actually the climax of the issue; Blaze has the ultra-powerful Phoenix on the ropes, is thiiiis close to accomplishing her goal…and a thought balloon claims that she’s suddenly teleported away. No explanation’s given, and Blaze isn’t seen again in the issue. It shouldn’t be a shock that this entire page was obviously re-lettered, too. Come to think of it, the art doesn’t really resemble Shoemaker’s work, either. I didn’t really have high hopes for this issue, but it’s still shocking to see something so incompetent.

Even overlooking Blaze’s awkward exit, the rest of the issue isn’t much better. The dialogue in this issue isn’t in the faux-Claremont vein, but it’s deeply reminiscent of the Silver Age instead. Some examples include: “I wonder what he thinks about me? I think I’ll attend to his recovery…personally!”, “You’ll find Excalibur is not an easy target!”, “Cable! Time-lost brother...why the look of pain on his face?” and “I love this teamwork stuff!” Some fans don’t mind this type of throwback dialogue, but even as a kid it bothered me. There a couple of lines of dialogue that just don’t make any sense, whether it’s continuity confusion (Phoenix referring to her telekinetic powers when she’s describing telepathy), or botched jokes like “You look like a reject from a ‘Bring Back the 70’s meeting”. That’s Siena Blaze talking to Nightcrawler, whose outfit never struck me as being representative of the 1970s at all. Even if he was created in 1975, it’s not like he’s wearing bell-bottoms or an open polyester shirt. I hope the rest of the pre-Ellis run isn’t this bad, but I’m not getting my hopes up.


Luke said...

I hope the rest of the pre-Ellis run isn’t this bad, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

Sorry dude. No such luck. Only thing noteworthy about this issue to me is Rory Campbell, and that particular plot tooook foooooreveeeeer in and of itself, if I remember correctly. At least it seemed to when I was first reading them.

Rain Mac said...

No, the art was great. The part where Rachel was falling and crashing back to earth and having those visions were amazing. Great inks too. And the colors look good too at that time. The art went bad on issue 75 with Ken Lashley doing the pencils.

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