Wednesday, September 8, 2010

EXCALIBUR #114-#115, November-December 1997

For the One I Love

Credits: Ben Raab (writer), Pete Woods (penciler), Scott Koblish (inker), Comicraft’s Kiff Scholl (letters), Kevin Tinsley (colors)

Summary: Shadowcat searches the tunnels under Muir Island for Lockheed, as Colossus and Meggan return from France. In her lab, Moira notices an email on their private account from SHIELD. It’s addressed to Shadowcat. Meanwhile, Peter Wisdom is tortured by his ex-girlfriend, and current Black Air agent, Sari St. Hubbins. He escapes his shackles and defeats her in a fight. He offers to leave her alone if Black Air calls off its hits on Excalibur.

Continuity Notes: Wisdom reveals that Sari St. Hubbins was an assassin, and he had to turn her in after her failed attempt on Queen Elizabeth. She’s also supposed to be mentally deranged, as Wisdom hoped that she would get better in rehab. St. Hubbins claims that Black Air was behind the suicide pilot that nearly killed Colossus and Meggan.

Review: The Peter Wisdom subplot finally becomes the main story, and while this resolves one mystery, it also gives us even more pages of Raab accents. Actually, Wisdom’s dialect is slightly subdued here (by Raab standards, at least), but Raab’s interpretation is still a pale imitation of the character Ellis created. Sari St. Hubbins is also a weak villain; a jealous ex-girlfriend with a bit of insanity thrown in…is this really the culprit behind the dark conspiracy Raab’s been setting up since the beginning of his run? The rest of the issue consists of set ups for the New Mutants and Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD miniseries, along with a few references to the ongoing subplots. Not that any of those subplots actually go anywhere, of course. I’m starting to notice a pattern in these issues…


Credits: Ben Raab (writer), Mel Rubi (penciler), Scott Koblish (inker), Comicraft’s Kiff Scholl (letters), Kevin Tinsley (colors)

Summary: Banshee responds to an urgent message from Wolfsbane. He learns that Moira plans on keeping herself in quarantine until a cure for the Legacy Virus can be found. As he tries to talk her out of her decision, Douglock and Wolfsbane grow closer. Meanwhile, Meggan receives a letter from Captain Britain, promising to return soon, as Peter Wisdom unsuccessfully uses Cerebro to search for Nightcrawler. Later, Moira says goodbye to the team and heads into quarantine. Wolfsbane impulsively follows her, and Douglock is unable to unlock the door.

Continuity Notes: According to the recap foldout, Shadowcat left in a SHIELD helicarrier last issue, and Lockheed escaped his shadowy captors by hiding in her suitcase. Neither of these events happened last issue, so I’m assuming these are references to the Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD miniseries.

Miscellaneous Note: The Statement of Ownership lists average yearly sales at 112,177 copies with the most recent issue selling 94,672 copies.

Review: Ben Raab and Mel Rubi reunite on another story co-starring Banshee…could it top the sheer awfulness of their X-Men Unlimited issue? Well, it’s close, but the slight improvement in Rubi’s art prevents this one from reaching the depths of Unlimited. Not only are we treated to entire issue of Banshee and Moira’s insane accents (“The human race is gaunnae be extinct!”), but the plot is probably the weakest Raab’s produced so far. Apparently, Moira’s quarantine chamber can’t be opened period. Not even from the inside, as Banshee exclaims after Wolfsbane jumps behind the doors. I’m all for exploring Moira’s reaction to her Legacy Virus infection, especially if it means dealing with unpleasant issues like how to prevent the victims from spreading the disease. But Moira locking herself in a room that she can never leave? That’s too dumb for words. The subplots are also disappointing, as Wisdom fruitlessly searches for Nightcrawler (why didn’t he get the info out of Sari St. Hubbins after they made a truce last issue?), and Colossus hints that he has a crush on Meggan…the same dilemma Nightcrawler found himself in during the early issues of the series. Maybe some great twists are on the way, but I’m starting to wonder how bad this series is going to get.


2badguys said...

Ironically in the UK when I was a kid Excalibur was pretty much impossible to find unless you went to a specialist comic shop. Of course now you don't get any US imported comics in Newsagents/book shops. Doesn't sound like I was missing out much by this point though.

Stephen said...

I've recently read, for the first time, the final 20-odd issues of both this series and X-Factor. Reading them simultaneously, Excalibur actually didn't seem too bad at all. Yes, it came across as being pretty inconsequential, and the plots were less than edge-of-my-seat, but I thought it was much more coherent and respectful of how characters had been established than X-Factor.

G. Kendall said...

Raab seems to actually like the characters, but doesn't know what to do with them (or perhaps he's hampered with editorial concerns). I have no idea what Mackie thought he was doing with X-Factor.

wwk5d said...

I wonder if anyone who bought # 115 thought Banshee would be the one who "sacrificed" himself...although ironically, it would be Colossus a few years later...and even then, temporarily lol

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