Sunday, August 21, 2011


During my teenage years I read a lot of comic books. The Uncanny X-Men was my favorite as it featured Colossus, a hulking Russian dude who can turn his skin to steel. He is a badass, through and through. Shortly after his sister Illyana died and he was written out of the series for a while, I began to look elsewhere for a new comic to enjoy.

And I stumbled upon Excalibur. This series had Nightcrawler and Shadowcat, two X-Men which I also really liked. I came in at an extremely awkward time in the series's run. The entire team was Britanic, Meggan, Daytripper, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Moira MacTaggart. And when I started reading, Douglock was brought in, of which was possibly one revived member of two former New Mutants team members. I enjoyed that these stories had little to nothing to do with the main X-Men stories and therefore have very little impact on their proceedings. Here was a whole new part of the Marvel Universe with a couple somewhat familiar faces and everything was new once again.

So I had to fill in the blanks and get ahold of the earlier issues and was shocked to see that the book was nothing like its present incarnation. I instantly came to like Rachel Summers as Phoenix and the rest of the cast grew on me, despite the fact that most of them had very little to add to the plot. Their dimension hopping and other silliness was so far removed from anything I had read in a comic before. I was engrossed. They faced off against goofy ass villains like Technet, a team of 8-10 beings and each of them had a pretty cool power but they were woefully unable to act as one, and The Crazy Gang, a twisted vision of a bunch of Alice in Wonderland characters. An early issue had a character closely connected to Captain Britain die and replaced by an evil parallel version but it took well over fifty issues for this to even come to a head. And Widget, a small round robot that looked kind of like a floating head took about 40 issues to transform into a really cool looking robot and it took another 20 or so issues to reveal that Widget was actually the future version of Shadowcat from Rachel Summer's timeline who was combined with a Sentinel.

Now I will say that the first 67 issues were really only good when Chris Claremont and/or Alan Davis were writing and mostly when Alan Davis was doing the art. Some fill-in artists on early issues were truly awful. Alan Davis is one of my favorite artists and a panel from issue #50 is tattooed on my body. I keep wanting to get the cover to issue #66 (pictured) tattooed on somewhere as it is my favorite comic book cover of all time.

After Davis left the book sucked outright until Warren Ellis started writing and Colossus joined the team. At the time I didn't know better. I wanted to read anything with Excalibur on the cover. After Warren Ellis left and Ben Raab wrote the book just petered out to cancellation. Raab was a horrible writer, though I will admit he got better the more issues he wrote. From issue #68 on the book had little to do with anything Claremont and Davis did. It went from odd little stories and dimension hopping to X-Men style action stories. I stuck this book out all the way to the end because I liked those characters.

I have all of the trade paperbacks put out for this series and everything that is worth a damn is out. I have my doubts these would be huge sellers. The series as a whole seemed geared toward my own entertainment needs and those are very specific.

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