Wednesday, February 11, 2009

EXCALIBUR #104 – December 1996

Buried Secret
Credits: John Acrudi (plot), James Felder (script), Bryan Hitch, Rob Haynes, & Scott Koblish (pencilers), Paul Neary, Scott Koblish, & Rick Ketchum (inkers), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (lettering)

Summary: Following his dismantling and reconstruction, Douglock begins to dream of Doug Ramsey’s funeral. After Douglock interrupts a conversation between Kitty and Peter Wisdom, Wisdom interrogates him about his identity. Kitty is still convinced that Douglock is Doug Ramsey, but he denies it. Agitated, Douglock jumps out of the window to avoid the conversation. Kitty decides to take Wolfsbane and Douglock with her to investigate Doug Ramsey’s grave. Later, Muir Island is attacked by the Mutant Liberation Front, who want to steal Moira MacTaggert’s Legacy Virus research. MLF member Selby learns of the Xavier Protocols, which detail how to kill the X-Men. When Moonstar confronts Moira, she reveals her true identity. Meanwhile, Kitty phases inside Doug’s grave, and is shocked to discover his body.

Continuity Notes: Mutant Liberation Front member Selby debuts. His power is the ability to “intuit binary language”.

Review: This is the beginning of a filler run that’s bidding time until Ben Raab’s debut as writer. I believe this is the next to last issue of Excalibur I purchased, so don’t expect too many posts on this particular series in the future. I assume the goal of this storyline is to give Douglock a definitive origin, which is something the initial Phalanx storyline had already covered rather conclusively. Kitty’s sudden belief that Douglock is Doug Ramsey doesn’t really work, as previous stories have already shown her accepting the fact Doug is gone. There is some justification for the story’s impetus, as it’s pointed out that Douglock has been reconstructed after Black Air’s dissection and his personality is off, but it feels like a stretch. The dialogue reads like something out of the 70s, as most of the cast members have long inner monologues that recap their entire histories and their current character arcs. Nothing’s advanced, of course, but we’re treated to more pages of Colossus questioning his place in the world and Moira agonizing over her Legacy Virus infection. Most of the scripting is terribly awkward, creating gems like, “Dani! You were one of Xavier’s young pupils – his New Mutants. I can’t believe it…has the world gone mad?! Bryan Hitch’s art rises this above the level of your average fill-in, but that’s all this issue has going for it.


Seangreyson said...

Honestly the story arc really doesn't provide an actual origin for Douglock.

What it seems to do is push everyone's attitudes towards Douglock back 20 issues and recreates the conflicts between everyone at that point (except for the creepiness of investigating graves).

No real explanation. I also always liked the fact that once the XP bunker was opened, it couldn't be relocked. That's really sensible.

kerry said...

I totally forgot Arcudi even had a run on this book. I'm a little surprised at G.'s assessment of his clunkiness, as I remembewr Arcudi being a generally strong scripter (I ejoyed his Gen-13 run during this era as well). As far as this book's creative direction goes, I was a fan of Ellis's run at this point and was dismayed when Raab came on; I felt he was a truly mediocre writer and the book ended on a low note on his watch. He apparently has done good work on Moonstone's Phantom book since, but I was rarely that displeased with a book's writer.

G. Kendall said...

I totally forgot Arcudi even had a run on this book. I'm a little surprised at G.'s assessment of his clunkiness, as I remembewr Arcudi being a generally strong scripter

Acrudi plotted the issue, but James Felder scripted it.

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