Thursday, March 18, 2010

EXCALIBUR #-1 - July 1997

A True & Terrible Sacrifice

Credits: Ben Raab (writer), Rob Haynes & Casey Jones (pencilers), Nathan Massengill w/ Rob Haynes & Casey Jones (inkers), Kevin Tinsley (colors), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters)

Summary: Nightcrawler invites his girlfriend Jimaine Szardos to leave the circus with him. Her mother Margali doesn’t want Jimaine to go, claiming that she must first teach her of the Winding Way. Margali shows Jimaine an image of the Soul Sword, which invokes a brief appearance by Belasco. Later, circus aerialist Sabu asks Jimaine if he can take her place during Nightcrawler’s final performance. Margali uses the opportunity to arrange Sabu’s death during the performance. Margali disguises herself as Belasco and delivers a warning to Jimaine. When Jimaine learns of Sabu’s death, she agrees to stay behind to gain revenge on Belasco.

Continuity Notes: “Jimaine Szardos” will later change her name to Amanda Sefton while spying on Nightcrawler, who was believed to be her brother's killer. Nightcrawler was working at the circus shortly before he joined the X-Men, so he had to have returned at some point over the years.

Miscellaneous Note: The cover is an homage to UXM #111.

Review: Nightcrawler was probably the best candidate to star in a Flashback issue, although Amanda/Jimaine ends up with much of the spotlight. Warren Ellis got a lot of mileage out of Amanda Sefton and Margali, so I can understand why Ben Raab would want to keep the characters around. I don’t know where exactly Raab intended to go with this, and I’m not sure if it really adds anything to the Amanda/Margali relationship. We already know Margali’s dishonest and manipulative, so the only new reason for Amanda to hate her comes from the death of a minor character. Raab does handle the characterizations of Nightcrawler and Amanda well, though, so this doesn’t feel like total filler. It’s also nice to see the return of Rob Haynes and Casey Jones, who are dynamic enough to pull off a dialogue-heavy issue. Either artist would've been a capable replacement for Pacheco.

1 comment:

wwk5d said...

This issue does feature a really weird retcon of sorts, regarding the Souldsword and Amanda (not sure if it was this issue in particular or the within the main titles). Apparently, it always existed and was meant for her. Ignore that we saw Illyana create it and that besides her, it only had a bond with Kitty.

As much fun as these issues were, and as much as we slam Marvel for ignoring continuity is the last decade, this era and some of these issues had quite a few continuity farts.

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