Quirky mayhem in Manhattan

August 9, 2013

Excalibur Classic TPB 2: Two-Edged Sword
Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Alan Davis

By Avi Green

In the second Excalibur trade, more bizarre mayhem continues to confound the team led by Captain Britain, as they discover vampires have invaded New York City, turning everybody there into zombies. So, they all take off to the Big Apple to combat the menace, which has turned Rachel Summers into a mannequin (hey, I said it was quirky, didn’t I?), and beating these vampires is no easy feat. Captain Britain is hypnotized into becoming a Rambo-like nutcase, and Kitty becomes a girl commando along the same lines while trying to save him from the bizarre brainwashing spells.

Eventually, they succeed in routing the vampire invasion and saving Rachel from her predicament. The story then focuses on Brian’s search for Meggan, who’s wandering around the docks trying to piece together her feelings, while Kitty visits the New Mutants, who are working on putting the Xavier mansion back together again. They get into an argument, and eventually come to terms with their own disagreements.

The Excalibur team then goes back to Britain, where the strange little robo-head called Widget led to some of their team being transported into a paralell world run by neo-nazis, while a distorted reflection of Excalibur from this very dimension comes into ours to stir trouble at the Weird Happenings Organization’s castle headquarters. There’s even an alien family who enter and go on a trip around our world, in one of the more amusing segments. The real Excalibur team eventually defeats these scum, and sends them back while the real Moira MagTaggert is given back. But the evil doppelganger is a sore loser, and she launches an attack just before their portal closes that sends the train that was also lost into other different dimensions. Which’ll be the focus of the next TPB, the Cross-Time Caper.

Like the first, this too is a pretty good tale, though it does have parts that are an acquired taste. A most amusing moment was when Rachel takes off to see the young son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor (?), and causes Kitty’s clothes to transmogrify into those of an infant in a crib! That’s something that sure had me chuckling.

The last part is a special featuring the X-babies, and how they travel into our world asking Kitty to help them evade the wrath of Mojo, who’s using trick contracts to take them back into his employ. We also see Spiral’s true guise as Rita Wayword here. This was also pretty well done.

Of all the Marvel tales set in Europe in an ongoing series, I’d say the first half of Excalibur’s original run was one of the better efforts from back in the day, thanks to Claremont and Davis’s stellar efforts in both writing and art.

Copyright 2013 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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