Excalibur #42 (October, 1991)
“a Hatch is Plotted”
Writer/Pencils – Alan Davis
Inks – Mark Farmer
Letters – Michael Heisler
Colors – Glynis Oliver
Editor – Terry Kavanagh
Chief – Tom DeFalco
Cover Price: $1.75
Welp, the grand Blogger experiment continues to underwhelm and annoy. I had, what I felt to be, a very interesting piece in mind for today… but, still can’t seem to batch-upload photos. When I usually insert images, it’s a process that takes about 1-2 minutes depending on how many images I’m inserting (usually between 20-30 per article).
With Nu-Blogger and broken-ass Old-Blogger, that process now takes over 10 minutes! Which may not sound like all that much time, but… if you take into account that it takes me at least an hour and a half just to write each article here… those minutes really start to add up.
The Blogger Help forums are just as unhelpful as usual. Folks with this same problem are being drowned out by user-blaming Google-homers looking to have their loyal heads patted by “Top Commenters” with little gold stars next to their names. I wonder if Tom King is a “Top Commenter”…
Anyhoo… I will continue to work at this, but as not to leave us in the lurch today, we’ll be looking at an issue of Excalibur we covered on From Claremont to Claremont.
We open at the headquarters of TechNet, where Gatecrasher is giddily announcing that something is alive. The rest of the team isn’t quite sure what she’s going on about… and are pretty sure she’s just lost her mind. She assures them that’s not the case, and produces the answer to all of their Excalibur-related problems (Phoenix in particular)… an egg?
Speaking of Excalibur, we shift scenes over to the lighthouse, where breakfast is underway. The radio is on, and from it we can hear a news reporter discussing Excalibur’s latest adventure. He suggests that the team ought to be honored by the Queen… which Nightcrawler ain’t really feelin’. He thinks the media, and one reporter in specific, is just leeching off of their heroic feats.
As Meggan gets ready to prepare an egg for Kurt (perhaps just to give him something to occupy his mouth), one flies out of the carton… and ping-pongs all over the kitchen, before settling on the table… and cracking!
What emerges from the egg is… the terrifying, horrifying, genociding: Hawd-Boiled Henwy! He threatens the team that they’re about to meet their doom! Gotta assume this li’l fella was inspired, at least a little bit, by the Looney Tunes pain-in-the-ass, Henery Hawk. Considewing da speech impediment, he’s puhhaps an amowgamation of Henery and Tweety Bird.
As Henwy continues with the threatening remarks… a clock begins to tick on his bulbous yellow noggin. This ain’t no ordinary bird…
… it’s a bomb! With a THOOM, the roof of the Lighthouse is blown to smithereens. Across the sea, TechNet celebrates finally having bested the Exy’s!
The baddies teleport inside what remains of the Lighthouse, and collects the bodies of the (still alive) good guys.
Well, here’s the thing… before the bomb went boom, Rachel was able to deflect the blast! And so, Excalibur and TechNet spend the better part of the next three pages punching and kicking one another. That is, until the Techies fall into a weird stasis… as though they were frozen in time. Suddenly, a portal opens… and two figures step out.
This is Horatio Cringebottom and Bert. They work for Majestrix Opal Luna Saturnyne… by decree of the Omniversal Guardian, Roma. This is some very Excalibur-y stuff right here.
Horatio informs the team that they’re here for Widget… the little robot-head looking thing, whose origins we’ll learn more about later on down the line. Kitty and Rachel try to reason with the fellas… but, they ain’t hearing it. They’ve got their orders, and they will do what they’re told.
Bert gets to “operating” on the li’l metal head… taking it apart piece by piece! The Exy’s are not pleased… but Bert assures them there’s nothing to worry about. Inside of Widget, underneath a bunch of gunk, trash, and a rubber spider… they find: a life-force?
Until they can better understand the inner-workings of Widget, Bert decides it best to implant a G/9543/CV#7 (which apparently inhibits the ability to access Crosstime?) into the shell, and reassemble the thing… so they might examine it later on. Widget returns to normal… well, as normal as a metal robot head might be.
Before finally leaving, Horatio warns the team that TechNet’s stasis will only remain another five-minutes. He also hands Captain Britain a gemstone that he needs to give to Gatecrasher at that time.
Excalibur spends the next five minutes moving the frozen Techies into position, so that when they finally “wake up”, they’ll wind up beating the hell out of each other. Kind of a dick move, but whattayagonnado?
After the baddies come out of stasis, and punch each other a bit, Captain Britain informs Gatecrasher that he has a gift for her. He hands her that gemstone, and from it appears a holographic message from… Saturnyne! She informs the TechNet that their “contract” on Phoenix is hereby rescinded. Also, their “exile” on Earth-616 is now indefinite.
Nightcrawler begins to feel some of that old Catholic guilt… and suggests to Brian that they really ought to take care of the stranded-TechNet. At first, the Cap ain’t havin’ it… but, he eventually gives in.
We wrap up with an epilogue… on Ee’rath. Here we meet… one of the more lackluster character finds of 1991! Kylun. He promises that Excalibur will pay for what they’ve done to this land.
Growing up, Excalibur wasn’t really on my radar. Even as a rabid X-Fan, I kind of dissociated this title from the rest of the pack. Probably had something/a lot to do with the fact that it was 50-cents more expensive than the rest of the “core” X-Men line. Excalibur, Wolverine, and (tangentially) Alpha Flight were those books I sort of had an eye on… but, just couldn’t commit to the “inflated” $1.75 cover price.
When I finally did get around to snapping up every Excalibur I could find in the quarter-bins, I was pleasantly surprised by just how fun the book was. It almost made me mad how fun it was, because it meant I missed out on something really special during my younger days in comics. Why wouldn’t Wizard Magazine tout this book as being this damn fun? You’d figure this would be promoted as the “X-Book for people who don’t like the X-Books” or something, but… notsomuch.
So, whatta we got here? Well, a really fun (and funny!) book. Even picking this issue up again after like 20 years, I was taken aback by just how much fun I had with it! It’s silly without veering too far into ridiculous (which is really saying something for a story featuring a cartoon baby chick blowing itself up), and it manages to set up the next story arc(s) while building some interesting subplots. Really well done.
Alan Davis’ art is something I sort of run hot and cold with. Sometimes I feel like there are few better… other times, I’m really not feelin’ it. This issue, I’m happy to report, is the former. Really top notch stuff here.
If you’d like to hear myself and Jesse Starcher spend nearly an hour discussing this very issue, you can check out the first episode of From Claremont to Claremont: An X-Men Podcast, and shuffle up to timestamp 5 Hours – 0 Minutes – 1 Second (05:00:01).