What is ‘Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn’?

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In January Marvel is going to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Britain’s premier super hero team. Now I guess reuniting them isn’t such a big deal when three of them are currently already on the same team but dragging the married and child blessed couple out is another matter altogether. After all while most X-fans know who Kitty, Kurt and even Rachel are the Merlin empowered defender of Britain is another matter. Still it’s hardly the first time the world of the X has dived deep into Captain Britain’s life and for that we must go back, maybe not to the beginning but to a beginning; to the first time………………………………..

 

We begin in the year of 1987 when Charles Xavier was busy surfing the cosmic highway with Scot’s Dad and shaking up with his princess girlfriend on a regular basis. Meanwhile on Earth the original X-men had decided to form their own team of mutant hunters in down town New York and the group currently calling themselves the X-men were all dead. Well as dead as anyone ever is in an American comic book. In truth they had decided to move to Australia and in the end isn’t that the same thing. It was in this messed up world came a new super hero team, a team who would take more care in the placement of their X than most. They would be the misfit team, the weird team, the dysfunctional family that most super teams claim to be. Now for most books that would be an excuse to be a bit wacky, a bit goofy and a bit silly but here we find a team that is well and truly broken. Kitty is bearing the physical wounds; now taking a great deal of strength to become solid and always returning to her ghost like state soon after ward. Kurt is dealing with survivors guilt over the death of his team mates and Brian has turned to the bottle over the death of his sister.

It’s most probably that this team would never have got together in the first place if not for Rachel Summers and the Technet. Now Rachel is the daughter of Scott and Jean from a future where Sentinels control the united states. One time X-man herself until she got stabbed by Wolverine after an argument over how to deal with murderers. She was patched up by an agent of Mojo called Spiral after signing an extensive contract that she now wants out of. The technet are a bunch of inter-dimensional bounty hunters from the days when Captain Britian could hold his own comic. Not so much bad as just often on the other side and not always the best at their job. It seems they have got wind of Rachel’s escape from her showbiz lifestyle and have been a contract to hunt her down. Not for Mojo mind who has dispatched his own team to recapture his newly acquired star.

So with Warwolves in London and Technet willing to take the girlfriend of Captain Britain and Kitty Pryde prisoner to ensure nobody stands in their way it’s up to Kurt to knock some sense into Brain Braddock’s thick head via a strong cup of tea and a dunk in the Celtic Sea and form a rescue mission with naught but his wit and a portable Cerebro unit that can hopefully track down Rachel before anyone else can. Now in some comics the team would at this point come together and beat these guys with a quick “Zap”, “Pow” and “Biff” before riding off into the sunset to right wrongs and fight evil. Now seen as this started a ten year run it’s safe to say that the same happened here but I quite like how here it isn’t as easy as that with the team getting a thrashing from the most colourful band of bounty hunters it’s possible to imagine. Meggan is reduced to Jelly and Kitty is turned into the Blob and that’s not counting the damage when the two groups hunting Rachel meet.

The “special” first issue of the series is a treat. Able to stand on it’s own and leaving enough threads to tug on once the series begins, such as the immanent question of what happened to the warwolves and the slightly less pressing question of what happened to technet. It lures you in with very solid well realised and flawed characters who are looking to live up to a legend. The art work and story promise at some of the weird and off the wall adventures to come; from the sight of Wolverine getting his nails done while reading a book on Japanese flower arranging to the mad haters tea party that Rachel falls into on her flight from Mojo. Even the art work on the less out there scenes such as showing Meggans emotion defining her body are well handled by Davis and the writing is well Claremont. I love it for all it’s overwrought hamminess  just as I loved the series that followed and while it might not suit anyone it wasn’t the same when they left the book. If you want to see more than I suggest you head over to the X-men X-pert who is going through the whole thing one issue at a time.

 

 

3 thoughts on “What is ‘Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn’?

  1. Thanks for the shout-out. It really is SUCH a great comic. Claremont and Davis (and the rest of the creative team) worked so well together, and had so much fun, and it made for a wonderful comic.

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