Days of Future Tense
Credits: Warren Ellis (writer), Casey Jones (penciler), Tom Simmons (inker), Ariane Lenshoek & Malibu (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)
In the year 2013, the future members of Excalibur live in the ruins of Braddock Manor as England is ruled by Black Air, in accord with the Sentinels. Excalibur’s leader, the crippled Peter Wisdom, calls the team together for a mission. He’s learned where Black Air is holding Douglock and is sending Captain Britain, Psylocke, Wolfsbane, Tangerine, and Meggan to rescue him. While sneaking through Black Air’s headquarters, the team is attacked by techno-organic versions of the Brood. After fighting them off, the team breaks into Douglock’s chamber. They discover Douglock has been dissected, and that the technology Black Air unlocked from his body enabled them to take over the country. Armed guards set their sights on Excalibur. In the present, Brian Braddock wakes up and realizes that he’s witnessed another flash of the future.
This is the second issue in a row that’s only nineteen pages. The remaining pages are made up by a three-page letters column, which features some very large fonts. The Statement of Ownership lists average sales for the year at 167,243 with the most recent issue selling 164,727 copies.
I Love the ‘90s
The present day Excalibur is referred to as “circa 1995”. Wisdom is totally bald on top in 2013, which means he would at least have a receding hairline by now if these characters aged in real time.
For whatever reason, it looks like Ellis felt the need to stall for several issues after Peter Wisdom officially joined the team. It’s not as if there was a whole lot going on in the book that’s being ignored, but dropping the aftermath of Rory Campbell’s accident for so many issues is annoying. As the letters column points out, there’s also the lingering subplot about the Soul Sword that hasn’t been referenced in months. Setting an entire issue in yet another dystopian future feels like filler, even if the final page ties it back to the ongoing storyline about Brian Braddock’s flashes of the future. The story itself is decent enough, if you’re willing to overlook the fact that stories set in dark, depressing futures had already been done several times in the X-books by this point. Maybe I’ve gotten too cynical after so many years of reading comics, but once it becomes obvious that these bleak visions of the future will never actually happen, it’s hard to keep caring. Ellis does a fine job with the character interactions and the ominous narration though, so judged on its own merits, it’s enjoyable enough.