Wednesday, February 16, 2011

EXCALIBUR #120 - May 1998

Current Events

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

Summary: Douglock hacks into Moira’s quarantine, hoping to free Wolfsbane. In the process, he discovers the Legacy Virus information given to him by Zero might still be accessible. Wolfsbane, however, is incensed that he’s potentially ruined Moira’s research. Meanwhile, Meggan ponders her feelings for Colossus, as Peter Wisdom prepares to leave. After learning of Kitty’s doubts about their relationship, he’s decided to quit the team. Later, as Nightcrawler questions Excalibur’s direction, he receives a message from Sabra informing him that Legion has returned.

Continuity Notes: According to a footnote, this story occurs simultaneously with X-Men #75 (Nightcrawler tries to call the X-Men and only gets an annoyed Marrow on the line). Douglock was given the secrets of the Legacy Virus back in Excalibur #80. The idea has largely been ignored, although Warren Ellis teased the possibility of Black Air stealing the data from Douglock’s brain during his run.

Review: It’s another plot-lite issue from Ben Raab, although we do see the exit of a notable cast member, so something does happen to alter the ongoing continuity. I’m not sure if anyone really bought into the Pete/Kitty breakup, and I suspect it’s one reason why Raab’s run was so detested by internet fandom in the late ‘90s. Even if Wisdom would break up with Kitty after learning about her crush on someone else, I doubt he would leave the team over it. Besides, Pete and Kitty as a bickering ex-couple has loads of possibilities. The only aspect of his departure that works for me is his final conversation with Meggan, who uses her empathic powers to explicitly list all of Wisdom’s character flaws, while still reassuring the readers that he’s a decent guy. The two characters play off each other well, and now I wonder why they rarely had scenes together.

Unfortunately, we’re still dealing with Moira’s utterly idiotic quarantine. It is over as of this issue, and there’s even the revival of Douglock’s forgotten Legacy Virus info, but this was such a stupid idea I don’t think I could accept any solution that doesn’t reveal Moira’s been mind-controlled, or perhaps possessed by a dimwitted ghost, this entire time. And while I’m glad a long-ignored plot thread has been resurrected, with the benefit of hindsight, we all know that the final issues of Excalibur have nothing to do with the Legacy Virus’ eventual cure.

I wonder if Raab knows the axe has fallen on the series by this issue, since he isn’t shy about adding some meta-commentary concerning Excalibur’s lack of luster. Nightcrawler questions why the X-Men haven’t contacted the team about finding the missing Professor Xavier, while Colossus wonders if Nightcrawler is disappointed that Excalibur didn’t seem important enough for Bastion to target. (They weren’t, by the way.) “It’s like we don’t even count anymore,” Nightcrawler moans. It’s as if he can look into the mind of an X-completist. If you’re hardcore enough, you’re still going to buy Excalibur, but who’s really excited by the book at this point?


2badguys said...

Surely they weren't targeted because they're in the UK? Wasn't ZT a US thing?

Just remembered the X-Men were picked up in Japan.#


tomorrowboy 2.7 said...

Excalibur (when Warren Ellis) was writing it was the book that got me really into superhero comics. (Well, that and the Age of Apocalypse crossover that happened at the same time). From buying random issues at convenience stores I became a kid that went to the comic shop ever week. I read other titles, but Excalibur was my favourite. I tracked down all the back issues, got important appearances by other characters in other books and then...Ben Raab happened.

This was the final issue I bought as a monthly issue. Several months later I found out the series was cancelled and picked up the last few issues because I figured I might as well have the complete run.

Still, this issue must have been extra terrible to make me quit reading the comic entirely.

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