Excalibur (1st series) #1

Issue Date: 
October 1988
Story Title: 
Warwolves of London

Chris Claremont (author), Alan Davis (penciler), Paul Neary (inker) Glynis Oliver (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Ann Nocenti & Terry Kavanagh (editors), Tom deFalco (editor in chief)

Excalibur created by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis

Logo designed by Ken Lopez

Brief Description: 

Captain Britain, Shadowcat and Phoenix help with a hostage situation in London during which Phoenix flips as she senses someone die. This happens two more times in the next few days, each time when the Warwolves kill someone and take their place. While Captain Britain gets reacquainted with his ex-girlfriend, Courtney Ross, and Rachel gets hit on by slimy junior banker Nigel Frobisher, Meggan and Nightcrawler scout Brian and Meggan’s lighthouse as their new headquarters. While doing so, Nightcrawler suddenly and briefly believes himself to be in another dimension. Kitty, in the meantime, works on a special module that makes her appear to have Phoenix’s power emanations and then dresses up as Rachel and goes out, planning to draw out the Warwolves. She is more successfully than planned and finds her phasing power doesn’t work against them as the Warwolves take her prisoner. In the meantime, on Lock Daemon, the Crazy Gang’s idiot savant member Tweedledope discards a failed experiment, unaware that it has gained sentience…

Full Summary: 

Loch Daemon, in the highlands of Scotland, a haunted place on a haunted night, in this case a warehouse where the Crazy Gang’s idiot savant member, Tweedledope, is busy inventing, which in his case consists of putting several doubtful substances and different kinds of garbage together to combine the ensuing mess with a transistor radio, and shake it. When nothing happens, he throws the small thing away and walks away disappointed, not noticing that it opens its eyes…

Meanwhile in London, there’s a hostage situation. The police have already surrounded the club Wally’s. Lighting a cigarette, Commander Dai Thomas of CID mutters he must be crazy turning to Captain Britain and a pair of teenagers when he has trained police officers at hand. Captain Britain stiffly reminds him that Shadowcat and Phoenix are no more ordinary teens than he is an ordinary man. And this is meant to be reassuring? Thomas scoffs. Cap asks him to trust him. He’d better be right, Dai warns him. Any hostages get even scratched – let alone killed – and they’ll both of them be done.

Atop the roof, an elderly policeman is not at all happy about the involvement of the two people next to him – Shadowcat and Phoenix. Lasses their age should be home a’bed, he tells Kitty Pryde, not gallivanting about rooftops at three in the flipping morning! He’s the policeman, not her!

Phoenix informs Kitty they have their cue. Cap informed her it’s time to move. The policeman reaches out and his hand goes through Kitty. See, she tells him smiling, no need to worry. In their own way they are as professional as the cops and, in their time, her partner and she have helped to save the world at least twice. She phases herself and Rachel down through the roof. With a smile, she thanks him for worrying thought. It’s sweet!

The policeman stares after them in amazement. A moment later, he is attacked by a silver, sleek creature, a Warwolf. He consumes Ray Mulholland, leaving only the skin for the Warwolf to wear as a disguise.

Unaware of the tragedy that will occur on the roof in a few seconds, Shadowcat who is in telepathic contact with Phoenix peers through the wall to see. The hostages are sitting on the ground, hands on their heads, surrounded by four masked and armed criminals. Rachel intends to use her telekinesis to disarm them, but suddenly screams in pain, alerting the criminals. She breaks down unconscious. Even Kitty has a headache, even though she only caught the fringes through their psi-link.

Two of the goons enter the chamber to find the unconscious Rachel. They drag her to the other hostages. Hiding in the walls, Kitty grabs a sheet and plays ghost to scare the goons. In panic, one of the goons fires at her.

The others hear the gunshot outside. Dai Thomas commands all units to move in, while Captain Britain flies ahead.

Kitty phases one of the goons along with her. He becomes panicked at the thought of being a ghost. Kitty warns the others she will do the same to them, unless they lay down their arms, which they do. She thinks to herself criminals really are a cowardly, superstitious lot.

Rachel has woken up again. Surrounded by the Phoenix effect, she warns them to obey and uses her telekinesis to smash their weapons and ram them into the wall. “Show-off,” Kitty thinks. Look who’s talking, Rachel thinks back.

When Captain Britain smashes his way in, the situation is already under control. Cap asks Kitty what happened while Rachel is strangely absent. One of the hostages, a man dressed in a white suit, invades Rachel’s personal space. Introducing himself as Nigel Frobisher, he tries to flirt with her. She is clearly not interested but he refuses to get the signs, until Cap invades his personal space and suggests he take a hike. Angrily muttering, Frobisher walks away.

Rachel tells the others that she had telepathically heard someone’s dying scream. And now she cannot find even a residual trace of that person. It’s as though the mind she touched never existed.

A while away. The Warwolves check out their next victim. An overdressed young man in a car, impatiently waiting for his girlfriend Popsy for a night on town. Officer Mulholland, or what seems to be him, knocks against the car window. The young man, Jacko Petrie, opens it, only for the next Warwolf to consume him. He hasn’t even got time to scream so, elsewhere, Rachel does it for him.

She and Kitty are in the bathroom of Brian’s townhouse in 1, Merlin Mews. Kitty tries to calm Rachel who tells her that it happened again.

In the meantime, a young woman, Popsy, dashes out of the door to join her boyfriend and the policeman he is chatting with, with no idea what is expecting her.

Another night at Merlin Mews. Kitty sits in the cellar with her computer station crying as she looks at pictures of the X-Men and Doug Ramsey, as well as a letter from Doug’s parents. She always figured that the X-Men led charmed lives. That no matter what, they’d pull through Joke was on her.

And Doug was so determined to pull his weight with the New Mutants, even if it killed him. She curses them all. This isn’t fair! They faced he worst villains in the world and beat them all! How is it that heroes die while they remain? And with the X-Men gone, they probably figure there is no one worth the name to stand against them. Are they right? she wonders. Are they fooling themselves with Excalibur?

Her train of thought is interrupted when Brian, dressed in a suit, steps down to bring her some tea and cookies. He asks how she is feeling. Fine, she replies, except for the headache she seem to get now from the strain of counteracting her phasing power and keeping her body solid.

Brian tells her she’s been spending a lot of time in his old workshop. Rachel and he were getting worried. Kitty apologizes. She gets sort of macro-obsessive when she’s working on a project. She quickly pulls away the gadget she’s been working on. Brian recalls he used to tinker with electronics too when he was at school. Those days seem like ancient history. Same with her remembering her life before the X-Men.

Brian tells her he has business in town and Rachel is seeing a play. Why doesn’t she join them? Kitty asks for a rain check. She wants to finish this. How is Ray doing? There have been no more than these three seizures these past three days. She’d feel better though if she could determine what their cause was. Maybe, Kitty thinks, as she looks at her gadget, she can do something about that…

The two other members of Excalibur, in the meantime, are at the west coast of England. Meggan has flown Nightcrawler out there to the lighthouse she and Captain Britain live in. Did he really push her darling Brian off their lighthouse into the sea? Meggan asks giggling. It seemed the thing to do at the time, he admits. She’d have given anything to see that although if she had been there, she supposes, she’d have had to stop him. Who knows, Kurt suggests, she might have helped!

They land on the balcony and she leads him inside the observatory, their living room. Spectacular, he admits. But does Captain Britain approve of this plan to turn their home into Excalibur’s headquarters? It’s a splendid idea, she replies, he won’t mind a bit.

Now that is what he calls a bed! he exclaims a moment later when he sees their round oversized bed. And it’s not for him, she tells him. She asks him to pardon the clutter. She had to clear out the lower levels to make room for him and Kitty and Rachel. She begins to make some tea.

Kurt looks around the lower floors, admitting the lighthouse is bigger than he thought. But if Brian doesn’t know they are moving in it could mean trouble. He enters the storage cellar or what should be the storage cellar. What he sees is a huge hall and a strange assortment of alien creatures surrounding a floating beautiful princess. Immediately, the aliens attack. Kurt teleports away upstairs into the kitchen. Exhausted, he shouts that there are dangerous creatures in the basement.

They walk downward and Meggan notices he is as weak as a baby. Teleporting isn’t as easy as it used to be. Megan opens the door to the storage cellar to find… a storage cellar. Did he imagine it? Kurt wonders.

London, Fraser’s Bank. Rachel (in a very, short very tight red dress with high red boots and a Phoenix pendant hanging from a necklace) is in the reception area looking out of the window while telepathically talking with Meggan and Kurt.

One of the junior bankers, one Nigel Frobisher, asks the disgusted receptionist who the “looker” is. Nothing to do with him, Abby replies curtly, thinking he is a pig. She refuses to introduce them. No matter, he smirks. Be more fun breaking the ice on his own.

He introduces himself to Rachel who isn’t even listening while Meggan telepathically tells her that in all the time she and Brian have lived in the lighthouse nothing like this has happened before.

Nigel remarks he can’t shake the feeling they have met before. He touches her hand. Rachel only now begins to notice him and his dirty thoughts. I beg your pardon? she asks icily, somewhat helped by the Phoenix effect. Scared, Nigel falls to the ground. Rachel suggests that next time he’s with a lady he act like a gentleman. Abby claps enthusiastically.

From a secluded office Brian watched the show. He recognizes Frobisher as the chap who accosted Rachel at the nightclub. She handled him well but he’s the type who will never get the message. Still, perhaps he should suggest Rachel adopt a more conservative mode of attire.

His train of thought is interrupted when the person he has come to see enters, one Courtney Ross, senior vice-president of Fraser’s bank and Brian’s former girlfriend, a beautiful icy blonde strikingly dressed all in white, enters.

The two reminisce, and he remarks she is more beautiful than he remembers. But when did she become a blonde? Always has been, she replies as she hands him a drink, but in school she considered this color socially and politically déclassé so she dyed it auburn.

As they sit down on a leather couch, he confides he’s glad she changed it back. It’s quite spectacular. Getting to business, she remarks she’s sure he hasn’t come calling simply to reminisce. He has need of her bank, he begins.

Nighttime at Merlin Mews, where Kitty has finished her module which makes the Cerebro program believe she is Phoenix. Now all she has to do to complete her deception is look the part. She manages to get into Rachel’s costume, embarrassed that even her skin isn’t that tight. How come Rachel can walk in these heels?

In addition, she has hennaed her hair, pulled it into a braid and used make-up to fake the facial tattoos. Adding a leather jacket, she phases outside. Her doppelganger module replicates Phoenix’ unique energy pattern, but much stronger. Anyone snacking for her will home in on Kitty. Hopefully the disguise will fool the Warwolves and draw them out of hiding. As she leaves, she just misses the returning Meggan and Kurt.

Freezing, Kurt gets into a steaming hot bath. A moment later, Meggan enters without warning to bring him some hot cocoa. Nightcrawler disappears under the bubbles as far as humanly possible and explains that a gentleman prefers some privacy in his bath. News to Meggan, who figures Joan Collins never seems to mind being interrupted in her bubble bath. She leaves and Kurt thinks to himself that unlike Meggan Joan doesn’t have a very big very powerful very hot-tempered boyfriend and sighs.

In the meantime, Kitty is scouring the streets with nothing to show. She’d figured that the culprits were the Warwolves as Rachel is unable to sense them telepathically.

Back at Merlin Mews, Meggan is hooked to the TV, ready for Coronation Street, Eastenders, Dr. Who, Wildways and Star Trek. Walking down into the workshop, Kurt muses about her love for television. He finds Kitty’s gadgets, namely a Cerebro doppelganger module and realizes what she’s been doing. Horrified he calls Rachel who is watching Hamlet in the Aldwych theatre. He informs her that Kitty is in East London, the old warehouse district and tells her to get there as quickly as she can and alert Captain Britain. Meggan and he are on their way. Rachel is surrounded by the Phoenix effect as she takes flight.

A disappointed Kitty passes a kissing couple (unaware it’s Jacko and Popsie). She realizes she should have talked this over with someone but Kurt is the only one she relates to in this team and him not all that comfortably.

Rachel contacts her and wonders about her outfit. It’s a long story, Kitty tells her and promises she’ll tell the rest when she gets home.

Sergeant Mulholland strolls towards her along with the couple. Kitty recognizes him from the hostage situation. The three tell her they’ve been waiting most eagerly for this moment. Not suspecting anything, Kitty smiles back.

Rachel telepathically asks her what’s going on. Just the cop they met the other evening, Kitty replies. Rachel warns her that she cannot scan him. He is invisible to her psi-powers.

Addressing her as Phoenix, the Warwolves show their true forms and shed their skins. Rachel telepathically tells Kitty to run.

Kitty figures her phasing power will keep her safe. She is in for a surprise as the Warwolf manages to slash her.

Rachel has arrived and slams her body into the attacking Warwolf, flattening Kitty and the other two. However, she loses her grip of it in a warehouse and a pipe breaks and she is covered in treacle.

The other two Warwolves, still figuring Kitty is Rachel, tell her she has a lifetime contract with Mojo.

Rachel telepathically shouts at Kitty to phase free but the Warwolves scrambled Kitty’s phasing powers – she is stuck.

The four Warwolves have gathered, wondering why there are two Phoenixes. They decide if Ktty isn’t the real deal, the fourth Warwolf just got itself a skin.

Cue for Kurt to teleport in. The Warwolf strikes him away and Meggan catches him. But the Warwolves take the opportunity to scramble into their hideyhole with Kitty.

Cap and Rachel join the others. Phoenix grimly informs the others that something went wrong with Kitty’s phasing powers. Now she is their prisoner and they plan to turn her into a Warwolf!

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Shadowcat (all Excalibur)


Commander Dai Thomas

Courtney Ross


Nigel Frobisher (junior banker)


Tweedledope (member of the Crazy Gang)


Sergeant Mulholland, Jacko Petrie, Popsy


Story Notes: 

This series continues from Excalibur: Special Edition #1: The Sword is Drawn.

The title is a spoof on the rock song “Weerewolves of London” by Warren Zevon.
The X-Men seemingly perished in Uncanny X-Men #227. Doug Ramsey died in New Mutants (1st series) #60.

Loch Daemon is the home of Lady Daemon, a character created by Chris Claremont in Bizarre Adventures #25.

Tweedledope is a member of the Crazy Gang.

This shows the creation of Widget who will later join the team.

Commander Dai Thomas is a former foe and later ally of Captain Britain.
Courtney Ross used to be Captain Britain's love interest in the first Captain Britain series.

The Warwolves were introduced in Excalibur: Special Edition #1.

The line “Criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot” is from the origin of Batman.

This is the first appearance of Nigel Frobisher who becomes a sort of running gag in the series.

The scene in the lighthouse is the beginning of a mystery that won’t be solved until issue #50.

The backside of the issue is a pin-up of Phoenix.

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