Collects Excalibur #12-20

Writer: Chris Claremont, Michael Higgins
Artists: Alan Davis, Paul Neary, Dennis Jensen, Dan Adkins, Rick Leonardi, Ron Lim, Ron Rubenstein

Excalibur’s interdimensional travel has begun! Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Phoenix, Captain Britain, Meggan, Lockheed, Widget, and Professor Alistare Stuart are thrown from one dimension to another. Sometimes their powers work, sometimes they don’t.

First the train they’re traveling in sets down in a magical version of Britain where fairies live in the forests and the Queen’s guard has giants. And the Queen and the Queen Mother are accomplished sorcerers. The story isn’t terribly original but has some great gags, like the opening sequence where a knight errant sees a worried Lockheed next to unconscious Kitty and draws the wrong conclusions.

In the third issue, number 14, things get even sillier when the team arrives to Earth where apparently every incarnation of every super hero and villain exists at the same time. Meanwhile, back on Earth Courtney Ross sends Nigel Frobisher, the unfortunate former banker, to hire Technet to free Brian’s (and Psylocke’s) older brother James from captivity. His jailor is Doctor Crocodile.

In the next issue, the team hops from one dimension to another while Technet frees James. However, it turns out that James was a very bad man and now he has pretty incredible powers, to boot. He wipes the floor with Technet singlehandedly. In the first Excalibur special, Technet captured Kitty, Rachel, and Meggan so Jamie is worrisomely powerful. During the fight Excalibur hops from dimension to dimension wearing pretty silly outfits.

The next two issues, 16 and 17, are perhaps my favorites in this long-running series with Kurt as the swashbuckling hero. This is clearly a homage to Barsoom (and Claremont wrote Barsoom comics for a while so he knows the source very well) with swordfights, men and women in very small amount of clothing, and four-armed aliens. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Also, the team’s powers don’t work in this dimension so they have to rely more on their wits and skills. At the end, Meggan shows herself to be very powerful indeed.

Next, the Jamie Braddock plotline gets into higher gear and Excalibur arrive into a world which seems to be obsessed with car racing and the world’s best racer is Jamie Braddock. Of course, the Excalibur have to fight him in the end. Guest starring Dirty Pair (Lovely Angels from manga). These have some great scenes, such as Kitty in the wheel of a racing car Widget has made but on the whole, this was starting to get to bit too silly even for me. At the end of the issue, Kitty is separated from the rest of the team; she’s stranded into their home reality.

The final issue is one-shot set before the Cross-Time Caper started. Demon Druid causes problems for our team. Unfortunately, this is a complete fill-in with Brian acting like an ass and Meggan crying over him on Kurt’s shoulder.

Issue 18 starts a galore of guest artists which lasts until issue 23. Unfortunately, they all have very different styles from Davis so the difference is jarring. Claremont makes fun of this in issue 18 where Kitty says that they look different.

Claremont also establishes a connection between Rachel and Meggan which was started actually back in their New York adventure. Meggan is a shape shifter and she also tends to shift her shape to mimic anyone close to her. This is very unfortunate in the case of Phoenix where Meggan goes so far that she makes herself look like Rachel and changes Rachel into Meggan. That’s why they crash into the car racing world. However, it also gives the team a chance to deal with super powered Jamie. We also get to know that when Meggan changes her shape to another super person, she gets the powers, too!

I enjoyed this collection, too.

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