Thursday, May 8, 2008

EXCALIBUR #82 – October 1994

The Light of a Tainted Dawn
Credits: Scott Lobdell (plot), Todd Dezago (script), Ken Lashley & Steve Epting (pencilers), Moy/Carani/Floyd/Candelario/Livesay (inks), Dave Sharpe (letters), Chris Matthys (colorist)

Douglock, Wolfsbane, Forge, and Cannonball are confronted by Phalanx member Shinar. He brags that the Phalanx’ beacon, the Babel Spire, is almost complete. The team fights against the Phalanx, but Douglock once again appears to turn on them. Shinar views this as a transparent move and uses Douglock, along with Cannonball and Wolfsbane, as genetic fodder for the Babel Spire. Shinar explains that Douglock was being used as bait in order to bring Forge into the Phalanx. Forge, still under the Phalanx’s influence, is given the responsibility of overlooking the emergence of the Phalanx embryos. Meanwhile, Douglock explains that as mutants, the team can’t be assimilated into the Phalanx. He suggests taking advantage of the static their powers create to reach the top of the tower undetected and stop the beacon. Nearby, Nightcrawler’s team of mutants arrives and fights a group of Phalanx in the woods. Nightcrawler discovers Forge, and convinces him to use his powers to create a device to fight against the Phalanx. Douglock and the others reach the top of the tower to discover that the beacon has already gone out. Douglock attempts to scramble the message, as Wolfsbane asks him if there’s any way to free the villagers being used to power the beacon. Douglock uses his own body to block the beacon’s power, allowing the villagers’ life energies to return to their bodies. With the Phalanx’s living circuit of energy broken, the tower begins to collapse. The loss of the villagers causes Shinar to melt away. Douglock reappears, saying that he still exists because he has something to live for.

Continuity Notes
Nightcrawler’s team is seen arriving in a hi-tech ship created by Forge and powered by Polaris. In the previous chapter, they left in a bubble created by combining Polaris and Siryn’s powers. The fact that the team wasn’t supposed to have access to technology, because the Phalanx could overtake it, was treated as a major story point in the last chapter.

In the previous chapter, the Babel Spire had already sent its beacon out into space when Cannonball’s team arrived. In this issue, the tower is still being built and the beacon doesn’t go out until the end of the story.
Douglock tells Cannonball and Wolfsbane that he was able to absorb them because they allowed him to, which I assume is an attempt to cover the fact that the Phalanx can’t assimilate mutants.

Miscellaneous Note
“Shinar” is the name of the plain in Babylonia where the Tower of Babel was erected in the Old Testament.

How many of these Phalanx comics do I have to read? This is the weakest chapter of the storyline yet, not even offering any decent characterization or action scenes. The characters just fulfill their clichéd roles in the story, beat the bad guys, and then go home. The sloppy continuity and multiple artists make the whole thing feel kind of shoddy. Not letting Kitty Pryde be there for Douglock’s big heroic moment, in an issue of Excalibur no less, just gives you the impression that most of this wasn’t thought out very well. It’s hard to believe that Marvel used such a weak story as their big summer event, and as the launching place for a new title.

1 comment:

Teebore said...

Even as a kid, I thought this three issue portion of the overall Phalanx crossover was the weakest.

Now it seems what I considered the "main" portion of the crossover (the Uncanny/X-Men books) wasn't much better. And I have a feeling the Wolverine/Cable contribution won't exactly redeem the crossover as a whole...

I will say, it was nice to have a crossover that was broken up into chunks like this, each telling their own side of the story, rather than the traditional X-Cutioner's Song style crossover.

Not saying one was better than the other, but even as a kid, I appreciated the variety.

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