Credits: Ben Raab (writer), Mel Rubi (penciler), Rob Hunter (inker), Comicraft’s Kiff Scholl (letters), Kevin Tinsley (colors)
Summary: Excalibur travels to Venice, where Cerebro has finally located Nightcrawler. Nightcrawler’s captors reveal themselves as exiles of the Sidri. Years earlier, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat disobeyed Corsair’s orders and sent a vaccine to a Sadri ship that was adrift in space. The cure mutated the Sidri, who now seek revenge on Nightcrawler. Excalibur arrives and fights against the Sidri. Colossus is isolated during the battle and left alone against the aliens.
Continuity Notes: The Sidri say that Nightcrawler was delivered to them by Black Air, which is supposed to explain where he’s been for the past few issues. An extended flashback scene, detailing Nightcrawler and Shadowcat “curing” the Sidri, is supposed to take place when Xavier was infected with a Brood embryo circa the extended Brood arc that began in UXM #154.
Review: This is one of the few Excalibur stories to actually take advantage of Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Shadowcat’s history with the X-Men. Raab seems to like that era of the X-Men so much, he dedicates a lengthy flashback to the early ‘80s team, faithfully presented in their proper costumes, riding through space while angsting over Xavier’s Brood infection. They encounter a wandering Sidri ship, which for some reason leads the team to believe the crew is sick. Corsair refuses to stop and help, so Shadowcat and Nightcrawler find a vaccine and shoot it like a torpedo into the Sidri’s ship. The dialogue isn’t clear if Shadowcat misread the Shi’ar description and shot a mutation virus by mistake, or if the vaccine is also a mutagen, but whatever. The Sidri are now mutated and have returned years later to kill Nightcrawler. It’s always amusing to see an “altruism gone wrong” story, but this is just filled with holes. Why did the X-Men assume the Sidri were sick in the first place? Why would Shadowcat presume to know which specific vaccine was needed to cure the Sidri? How do the Sidri even know the X-Men were involved with this; let alone with specific members of the team sent the vaccine? Raab is apparently testing the waters for his latest pitch, Untold Tales of the X-Men That Don’t Make Any Sense.
Aside from this, last issue’s cliffhanger is essentially ignored, with only Douglock briefly reflecting on how much he misses Wolfsbane. No one can be bothered to mention how utterly dumb both Moira and Wolfsbane acted last issue, or muster up enough energy to actually free them from the quarantine? Plus, for the thousandth time, I’ll mention Raab’s sad interpretation of Peter Wisdom’s accent, which now has him using “ye” instead of “you.” Artistically, Mel Rubi has moved on from imitating Jim Lee to a Joe Quesada pastiche. It’s still ugly in places, but Quesada seems to suit him more. Eventually, Rubi will move on to J. Scott Campbell, and actually do decent work in that style.
Credits: Ben Raab (writer), Mel Rubi (penciler), Rob Hunter (inker), Comicraft (letters), Kevin Somers (colors)
Summary: Excalibur regroups and defends Colossus against the Sidri. When the aliens realize Douglock is Phalanx, they steal some of his components. Meggan and Pete Wisdom combine powers for a fire blast, which forces the Sidri to retreat. Douglock reveals that the Sidri are also techno-organic, and stealing his communication components will now enable them to rejoin their race. Meanwhile, Wolfsbane consoles Moira inside the quarantine, while Shadowcat returns home. Lockheed mysteriously disappears in a flash again. Unbeknownst to Kitty, her Bamf doll now has an evil grin.
Continuity Notes: Douglock says that giving his communication components to the Sidri has severed him even more from the Phalanx. Shadowcat is returning from the Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD miniseries, but she’s now wearing elaborate body armor that never appeared in that series.
I Love the ‘90s: Kitty lets out a “Not!” while talking to Lockheed.
Review: At least the Sidri are taken care of relatively quickly. Raab works in a few character moments during the fight, and the Sidri actually do come across as rather formidable, although the claim that they’re also techno-organic and can intuitively use Douglock’s technology to rejoin their race is suspect. Over in Subplot Land, Moira tries to get Wolfsbane out of quarantine, but she’s talked out of it. Of course, if Moira hadn’t stupidly set the door to unlock only when a Legacy Virus cure was found, she wouldn’t be in this predicament. Lockheed goes back to whatever it was Raab had him doing a few months ago, while one of Kitty’s Bamf dolls is apparently evil. Nice cliffhanger, and hopefully the Lockheed subplot will actually get some closure soon.