Collects Excalibur issues 6-11 & Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem

Writer: Chris Claremont
Artists: Alan Davis, Paul Neary, Marshall Rogers, Terry Austen, Arthur Adams, Bob Wiacek

This time the series starts with a bang; literally because Phoenix leaves the lighthouse in a hurry and blows a path straight through the whole building. She heard a cry for help from her “little brother” baby Nathan Summers and left to help him. A huge cross-over event, Inferno, has begun. Excalibur’s part isn’t necessary for the event’s overall plotline but the characters go through changes which will affect them later. In fact, a reader might be confused if she or he hasn’t read the other Inferno comics.

Rachel flies to New York, which has been taken over by demons. She’s promptly taken out of the rest of the story – because she’s turned into a plastic dummy. Meanwhile, the rest of the team flies after her. Unfortunately, the demonic influence in the city immediately takes over Meggan who changes into the Goblin princess and she starts to hunt Brian, Kitty, and Kurt.

Afterward, the team stays in New York for a couple of days. Issue 8 is an aftermath issue where each of them goes to their own ways. Kitty visits her old friends the New Mutants, Kurt is retrieving an old X-Men jet, and Rachel visits her brother, but unseen by Jean and Scott because they don’t yet know that Rachel is their child from another timeline. Meggan is terribly ashamed of her actions and has left to harbor where a group of women find her and cheer her up. Meanwhile Brian is looking her all over the city. He also finds out that his powers are diminishing.

In the next issue, Kitty tests Brian’s powers and notices that they’re nearly gone. She also brings the others’ attention to Meggan’s problem: she changes shape unconsciously to anyone who is near her. But they’re called back to London by detective Thomas. There, Excalibur has to confront Lighting Squad: their double from another Earth which was conquered by Nazis. Hauptmann Englande and his associates are very nasty people. Their Kitty is a tortured being who has been forced to kill and might be a ghost herself. The Nazi team doesn’t have Rachel, though.

In the final issue, the English authorities have negotiated a way to return the Nazi team to their own world but something goes wrong. The Excalibur vanishes, too.

Meanwhile, Nigel Frobisher, the rather unpleasant banker we met earlier, gambles with Courtney Ross but loses – big time. Courtney is turning about to a quite a nasty person, too.

The whole team get a lot to think about in these stories but Meggan especially: she’s starting to wonder just who she is or if she even has a personality of her own. Also, when the team returns to the lighthouse, Kitty finds Illyana’s soulsword in front of the building. She doesn’t want it but even Phoenix can’t get rid of it. She also feels really inadequate next to Rachel. Also, Kitty and Kurt are starting to see disturbing parallels with Jean-Phoenix and Rachel-Phoenix which is very bad news. Brian is still an alcoholic and Kurt is worried about the whole team.

Mojo Mayhem was drawn by Arthur Adams and stars X-Babies who are Mojo’s creations. Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Psylocke, Longshot, Colossus, Havok, and Dazzler escape the Mojo world with an unfortunate adult. At the same time, Kitty is taking a deserved vacation but ends up with the X-Babies.

I enjoyed this collection as well, but I remember my favorite being the Cross-Time Caper which starts in the next collection. I read them when they originally came out, in the early 1990s. A very impressionable age for me  . I think the start of Excalibur is one of Claremont’s best writing: mixing adventure with relationships and interesting supporting characters. He’s also dealing with a lot of mature themes such as attempted rape and alcoholism in addition to Meggan’s identity problems.

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