Excalibur (1st series) #10

Issue Date: 
July 1989
Story Title: 

Chris Claremont (Writer), Marshall Rogers (Guest Penciler), Terry Austin (Guest Inker), Mas & Heisler (Letterers), Glynis Oliver (Colorist), Terry Kavanagh (Editor), Tom DeFalco (Chief Editor/Referee), Chris Claremont and Alan Davis (Creators)

Brief Description: 

Captain Britain battles Hauptmann Englande outside of the Tower of London. The rest of Lightning Squad as well as Commander Dai Thomas and W.H.O. soldiers look on. Two of the Nazis, Doktor MacTaggert and her bodyguard, Callisto, make a run for the Blackbird jet with their hostage, Brigadier Alysande Stuart. Falling debris from the grappling superheroes allows the Brigadier to make an unsuccessful run towards freedom. Captain Britain notices a little dinosaur boy is about to be squashed by falling bricks and stones from the tower and he saves him. Because he allowed himself to be distracted, Ghost-Shadowcat is able to disrupt his nervous system, knocking him out of the sky where Nazi-Nightcrawler teleports him several times, hoping to further weaken him. When Hauptmann Englande prepares to strike him a finishing blow, Captain Britain surprises everyone by striking the Hauptmann instead. Then Excalibur’s Meggan, who had tricked Lightning Squad into believing she was their Meggan, unexpectedly knocks out Nazi-Nightcrawlerand recaptures Nazis Dr. MacTaggert and Callisto. Just as Ghost-Shadowcat makes a lunge for Meggan, Phoenix returns just in time to incapacitate the ghost. Shadowcat, meanwhile, who was previously knocked unconscious by her doppelganger, is woken up by Alistaire Stuart and is instantly smitten with him. They are both startled by a portal that Widget opens up to a world of Amazons. As a tall woman reaches through the gate for Alistaire, Kitty saves him by phasing through it, shorting it out and knocking out the Widget robot. Neither of them is sure what to do with the device, but they bring it with them when they join everyone else for peace conferences. The plan is to return the Nazis to their world in exchange for their own people. Kitty decides to go back to the lighthouse and Rachel offers to fly her there. They are noticed by Sat-yr-9, who craves their power.

Full Summary: 

Captain Britain and his Nazi doppelganger, Hauptemann Englande of Lightning Squad, duke it out over the Tower of London. The two, being cross-dimensional twins, are evenly matched. But, Captain Britain, who is wearing his too-small original uniform that he borrowed from the tower’s museum, has been suffering from mysteriously weakening powers ever since his trip to America during Inferno.
The Captain is punched through a wall out into the courtyard where Excalibur’s Blackbird jet can be seen. He waits, hanging in the air, for his opponent to catch up to him. He’s still reeling from the idea that all of Excalibur seems to have counterparts and essentially he’s fighting himself. He also realizes that of all of Excalibur, he seems to be the only one left fighting.

As the two superbeings trade blows and over-blown banter above, Lightning Squad looks on at the action. Nazi-Nightcrawler praises Captain Britain’s spirit and comments, “Gallant to his grave!” Meggan warns him that overconfidence can be as deadly as any foe and Nazi-Nightcrawler concedes that he stands corrected and inquires if, since she seems to think that the ‘ragamuffin’ has a chance, she would care to place a small wager on the outcome. He, for one, loves the opportunity to bet on a sure thing.

Hauptmann Englande punches Captain Britain in the gut and Brian realizes that he felt that, barely saw it coming and had no time to block – he still feels weak. The Nazi kicks him and Cap is knocked with a crash onto the parapet below. The Nazi goads, “you’re making this too easy, Captain – hardly worth the effort.”

In the interior of the tower, where the headquarters of the British government’s Weird Happenings Organization (W.H.O.) is housed, soldiers tell each other to look out for the falling debris. Commander Dai Thomas of Scotland Yard – Special Branch walks in and demands to know who is top soldier. He’s answered by a Sergeant-major Sutcliffe and is apprised of the situation.

The Nazi doppelgangers of Excalibur have shown up and released the two prisoners, Nazis Dr. MacTaggert and her bodyguard Callisto. They’ve taken Brigadier Stuart as hostage. In the soldier’s opinion the whole thing is a royal cock-up, but Dai didn’t want the man’s opinion, he just wants reinforcements, and he wants them deployed fast.

Lightning Squads Nightcrawler is enjoying the display as the two muscle-bound supers continue to fight and trade insults. The Hauptmann calls Cap a dog and asks him if he’s too stupid to know when he’s been beaten. The Cap retorts that he’s been ‘beaten’ by experts, and the Hauptmann doesn’t even come close. Brian thinks as soon as he says this that that was bright. He’s making his opponent angry so that he will hit harder. But, even if the other man makes a careless mistake, Brian doesn’t think that he’s in any condition to take advantage.

Hostage Brigadier Alysande Stuart runs out of the tower, held at gunpoint by Reichminister MacTaggert and Callisto. She asks them, as they run to the Blackbird parked in the Courtyard, where they plan to escape to, since, wherever they go, they’ll still be trapped in this world. Callisto counters that it’s not such a bad thing to have a whole new world to conquer.

The Brigadier further questions how the pair can return to their own dimension when they don’t even know how they came to this one. The Reichminister explains that the two points aren’t mutually exclusive. Afterall, how does the Brigadier think that Lightning Squad arrived to rescue them? Alysande wonders aloud if that is possible and is answered that nothing is impossible for the thousand-year Reich.

Reichminister MacTaggert orders Callisto to make the jet ready for flight, they’re going to depart London. She then tells the Brigadier to order her troops to withdraw and cease firing. The Brigadier thinks that is easier said then done.

Just then a figure is slammed through the wall of the tower and flies in an arc to splash into the river where it smashes into a garbage barge. Stone, brick and other debris from the tower flies everywhere. As she exclaims, “The muscle-bound fools – do they mean to ruin everything?!” Reichminister Macctaggert dives for cover. “Down milady!” Callisto warns behind her as she tries to protect her from the falling stonework.

While her two captors are busy trying to protect their own skins, the Brigadier decides that this is the perfect opportunity to escape. She only wishes she had the slightest idea who is winning the battle.

As he fires from behind a wall of rubble, one soldier remarks to the Sergeant-major that their Captain Britain appears to be taking his lumps. Dai Thomas who has never stopped smoking his cigarette, says that he doesn’t understand it. According to Professor Stuart, the two should have equivalent powers and the worst situation for them should be a draw. Sergeant-major Sutcliffe comments that he guesses anybody can make a mistake, even the prof.

The Reichminister fires back on the soldiers with her small handgun. The eye-patch wearing Callisto notes that this is harassing fire only, designed to keep them pinned down until reinforcements arrive. MacTaggert says that this is because the soldiers are afraid of harming their precious Brigadier. Callisto looks up and realizes that the Brigadier is gone. MacTaggert orders her to go after Alysande and bring her back alive.

As Callisto chases down the other woman she thinks that this was a gutsy move on the Brigadier’s part, to try and escape during a firefight no less. Considering the moonless night and the fog, Alysande has the perfect cover and might have been able to successfully escape from anyone but her. Callisto tackles the Brigadier from behind and overpowers her.

Since the Reichminister wants her breathing, Callisto will let the Brigadier live, but she promises to break her if she doesn’t behave. Reichminister MacTaggert yells to the ‘policeman’ to call of his dogs or the Brigadier will suffer. The soldier standing next to Dai comments that the Reichminister is serious. Dai Thomas informs them that this is a bluff. The soldiers are reluctant to risk the Brigadier’s life, but Dai asks them if they think their superior officer would call this any differently.

Just then Dai and the soldiers are startled to see a family of tourist dinosaurs from another dimension wandering around in the fog. “This is all we bloody need!” says Commander Thomas.

The cigar smoking dinosaur father comments that the monkeys that inhabit this dimension had a nerve stealing them from home, especially to a planet that may be damp enough, but is far too cold. The dinosaur mother thinks it may have been an accident. Then she warns her young son Calvin to stop picking on his sister. Dino-Calvin complains that he’s not having any fun.

“Appropriate.” Hauptmann Englande says as he hovers over the River Thames, his doppelganger has been sunk along with the garbage barge. He’s in the midst of declaring that this may have been a disappointing battle, but he is victorious nonetheless, when Captain Britain, his uniform much the worse for wear, rises out of the river.

“An old failing among your kind, Hauptmann,” he comments as he flies to the other man, “celebrating your triumph – before the battle’s truly over!” Cap sends the Nazi a devastating blow and thinks to himself that it’s a surprise that he’s holding up better than his old uniform. He hopes that last punch is enough to finish the job as he’s afraid that if the battle goes on much longer he’ll be fighting it ‘starkers.’

Hauptmann Englande crashes through the stone wall of the ‘poor tower’ and yet more debris is flung about. Captain Britain thinks to himself that if anyone is underneath the falling stones… then he realizes that someone is. Dino-Calvin looks up as he’s about to be crushed and his mother frantically yells out his name.

Captain Britain rushes to the rescue, praying that he is fast enough. It’s his fault the boy is in danger and if there is one thing that he doesn’t need it’s another death of an innocent child, another Mickey Scott on his conscious. He makes the save just in time.

Dino-Calvin is thrilled to be deposited on the tower wall. He thinks the experience was fantastic and wants to do it again. Captain Britain politely replies perhaps another time as he ponders to himself that something very strange is going on as this lad is very unusual looking – a human-like dinosaur. Gratefully, the little dino-boy calls him Mr. Hero and informs him that he looks like a real mess!

While Cap is thus distracted, a white shrouded figure passes out of his chest from behind him and the Captain falls out of the sky. Ghost-Shadowcat calls him poor captain and tells him that while the Shadowcat that he knows disrupts the electricity of machines when she phases through them, she disrupts the electricity of life.

Just as Captain Britain is about to hit the ground his arm is grabbed by the Nazi-Nightcrawler. The mutant tells Cap not to worry as he will catch him and even, as he teleports with the man repeatedly, set him down gently. At the fourth teleport Captain Britain’s body is flung face-down on the ground and his Nazi assailant comments, “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!” He says that it’s a pity that only he can endure the strain of those multiple teleports.

“You’ve done your part well,” says the leader of Lightning Squad. But, the honor of administering the ‘coup de grace’ goes to him. Hauptmann Englande lifts up the dazed Captain’s head by a fistful of his blonde locks and pulls his other fist back for that last punch.

But, Captain Britain beats him to it. Hauptmann Englande is flung back by a surprise undercut punch from the kneeling Excalibur hero who wonders as he does so whether he really sounds so pompous when he speaks. Behind him Nazi-Nightcrawler and Meggan stand. The blue mutant is incredulous, saying that after everything the Captain went through, he should have been barely conscious, utterly helpless.

While he’s distracted, Meggan taps him on the shoulder from behind, her other hand in a fist. “We in Excalibur,” she says as the Nazi turns, “Are just chock-full of surprises!” She punches the man hard enough to knock him out and send him flying through Ghost-Shadowcat’s intangible form before crashing to the ground.

Meggan thinks that it’s been almost unbearable for her to watch from the sidelines, waiting for her chance to finally act. Meggan snatches the gun from Reichminister MacTaggert, calling her a wicked witch and then steps over to her bodyguard, knocking her out with a slap of her hand.

Meggan turns just in time to see the fanged, wraith-like doppelganger of Shadowcat coming for her. Since the others seem to think that the mutant is really a ghost, Meggan wonders if her powers will work on her. She never gets the chance to find out though because Rachel shows up just then and grabs her ‘physically and psychically’ in her Phoenix raptor’s claws. Rachel wonders why there are doppelgangers for all of the Excalibur members except her.

Meanwhile, Shadowcat regains consciousness in a dark corridor of the Tower of London. She hears a garbled voice speaking to her and tells the person to stop yelling and that she can’t understand a word he’s saying. Alistaire Stuart apologizes, saying that the Queen’s English probably sounds like gibberish to American ears. He tells Kitty to be careful how she moves as she’s lying partially in the floor. He wonders if that’s dangerous.

Kitty tells him that it’s only dangerous if she solidifies and adds that that isn’t likely to happen. As Alistaire questions how that can be, Kitty sits up. She thinks that the professor is beautiful and is instantly infatuated. Distracted for a second, Kitty hesitates before replying to the professor, telling him that her natural state is to be intangible. Alistaire says that’s probably why he had such a difficult time taking her pulse. Kitty thinks to herself, whatever her heart-rate was then, she bets it’s racing now.

Calling herself a silly girl, Kitty prompts herself to tell the man her name. But, before she can, she reacts in surprise to something behind the professor. As Alistaire asks her if something is wrong and wonders if he can summon her teammates, Kitty draws his attention to a little robot head that levitates above the floor and begins to emanate light. “Friends?” the Widget questions as it forms a metallic archway.

Neither Alistaire nor Kitty have any idea what the creature is, but Alistaire’s first reaction is to walk towards what he believes to be a portal. A forested hillscape appears through the arch and Alistaire is excited by the smells that come to them on the breeze. Kitty tries to grab at Alistaire’s ankle to stop him, but she’s still too weak even to move really, and her hand phases right through him.

A tall Amazon woman appears in the door and reacts to the sight of the man with a wide smile and an exclamation of surprise. Alistaire introduces himself as the Chief Scientific Advisor to W.H.O. and is surprised as the woman just reaches through the portal and grabs him by the shoulders. Kitty thinks that she agrees with the woman that Alistaire’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, but she saw him first. Kitty grabs the man’s ankle and manages to make him intangible.

Losing her grip of the professor, the Amazon tumbles backwards. Kitty tells the Professor that he’d be better off staying on their side of the gate. Alistaire reacts to the curious sensation of being phased. He tells Kitty that he approves of what she did, but seeing the Amazon’s angry face, doesn’t think that the woman is going to take ‘no’ for answer. Kitty does the only thing she can do and phases her hand through the gate’s circuitry.

The electronics overload violently and the archway collapses into smoldering metal fragments. Widget yaieows! in apparent pain and shuts down. Alistair and Kitty, their clothing torn from the force of the explosion that had thrown them to the floor, recover. Alistaire picks up the apparently inert Widget head. He tells Kitty that whatever she did, he fears that it worked too well.

Kitty thinks to herself that it was the robot or Alistaire, not that the professor should thank her or anything. Aloud she asks if Widget isn’t one of W.H.O.’s toys. Alistaire says, “Hardly.” He has no idea where it came from or what it’s doing there.

Together, Kitty and Alistaire walk to the Great Hall of the Haunted Tower where everyone is gathered and in conference. Rachel sits on a table and eyes Lightning Squad. She tells them that she knows what they are thinking and dares them to take their best shot. In the doorway, Kitty tells Alistaire that Rachel’s in a mood and hopes Lightning Squad gives her cause.

On the other side of the room Brigadier Alysande Stuart and Commander Dai Thomas speak with Reichminister MacTaggert and three men who could be government officials. Behind them, in the corner, Brian tells Meggan that her impersonating Lightning Squad’s Meggan was their ‘ace in the hole,’ and would have allowed her to follow anywhere the Nazis went. Meggan tells Brian that it was awful, just watching helplessly. And Brian tells her that it wasn’t fun being hit either, but it all worked out for the best in the end.

Kitty, meanwhile excuses herself from the professor who tries in vain to grab an intangible shoulder and tells her to leave well enough alone. The Excalibur member is approaching her doppelganger and asks if Alistaire could do the same if he were in her shoes.

Shadowcat’s doppelganger is barely fifteen, like Kitty, but she looks like an old woman. And Kitty is horrified to see her eyes. She wonders what the other girl has seen in her life. Though she only thinks this, the ghost answers her, saying that she’s seen, caused, and suffered, Death. Kitty asks, “What have they done to you?” and then shouts aloud so that everyone turns to look, “What have you done to me?!!”

Reichminister MacTaggert answers her, telling her that it was an honor for ‘the child’ to have been singled out for her special abilities to serve the Fatherland. “You made her a demon!” Kitty accuses her. The Nazi official taunts the girl further by suggesting that in that, the two Kittys are not so different. She’s warned by the Brigadier to have a care, as Kitty looks willing to prove that point, over the Reichminister’s dead body.

Before Kitty can try anything further, she’s scooped up by a flying Phoenix who tells her that it’s time to say good-night kiddo. Kitty wants Phoenix to leggo and put her back down, but Rachel says that it’s bad form to start another scrap so soon after settling one, especially in the midst of the peace talks. Alistaire looks admiringly after Phoenix, having registered her name for the first time, and decides that she’s a woman worth risking everything to win.

Rachel and Kitty sit on the wall of the Tower of London as the sun rises over the city. Rachel apologizes to her young friend for taking her out of there so quickly, but things were getting tense. Kitty says she thinks she finally understands about Wolverine’s berzerker rages. She says that she could have killed that alternate world version of Moira and still wants to. “How could anyone human commit such atrocities?” Kitty questions.

“We’re a talented species,” Rachel answers. She reminds Kitty that she was once a hound, conditioned to hunt down mutants, killing the lucky ones and sending the rest to concentration camps. She tells Kitty that she’d be amazed how quickly a person can become acclimated to the horror and butchery.

Kitty wants to free her doppelganger from all of that, release her spirit and finally and truly let her die. Then she wants to go after the world that enslaved her. “An admirable proposition, Katzchen – always assuming, of course, we win --“ Nightcrawler says as he scales the vertical face of the wall. He wants to know how taking on this other world will help their Moira MacTaggert and the crew of the Highland Flyer.

Rachel asks if the bigwigs are still cutting a deal and Kitty says, “They can’t!” as Nightcrawler joins them at the top of the wall. The women are informed that the consensus is that restoring everyone to their rightful world is the best solution for all concerned. Because the Nazis are oriented to magic as well as science, they have the means to make a temporary bridge between dimensions. At the proper time and place there will be a straight swap of trains and people.

Kitty cannot believe that their enemies will be allowed to get off scot-free without paying for everything they’ve done. Kurt reminds her that the Nazi’s world is not their own, and as they’ve most emphatically been told, the decision isn’t up to them. “Great,” Kitty says, and she’s no longer interested in sticking around. She asks if anyone would mind her going home. Rachel offers her a lift. Kitty accepts the offer but first has to phase down through the tower wall to pick some mysterious something up.

Phoenix and Shadowcat fly over London. Kitty’s carrying a Widget-sized bundle wrapped in her ripped sleeve. Rachel tells her that sometimes the choices aren’t clear-cut and the victories aren’t absolute. Sometimes you have to settle for a draw. Kitty says it’s clear-cut to her, and Rachel asks her if her desire for vengeance is worth their Moira’s life.

Inside the office of the Senior Vice President of Fraser’s bank, Courtney Ross watches the two Excalibur members fly past. “Isn’t that a sight to stir the blood?” she rhetorically asks. Courtney is able to name the women as the young starchild Phoenix and the younger Shadowcat. She also seems to have a good idea of their power and potential. And she can’t wait until all of that belongs to her. Spread out on the desk behind her is a dossier including photos of Gate-crasher’s Technet.

Characters Involved: 

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


Commander Dai Thomas of Scotland Yard – Special Branch

Brigadier Alysande Stuart of the Weird Happenings Organization

Professor Alistaire Stuart, Chief Scientific Advisor to W.H.O.

Sergeant-Major Sutcliffe and various soldiers of W.H.O.
Hauptmann Englande, Nazi-Meggan, Nazi-Nightcrawler, Shadowcat-Ghost (all Lightning Squad)

Reichminister MacTaggert and bodyguard Callisto
Opul Lun Sat-yr-9 (impersonating Courtney Ross)

Family of four dinosaur tourists
Amazon woman

Story Notes: 

The Pinup on the back cover is of the four members of Lightning Squad.
Lightning Squad first appeared in Excalibur #9 and it was in that issue that Meggan took her counterpart’s place off-panel.
Moira MacTaggert, Callisto, and the Highland Flyer and crew passed through Widget’s portal in Excalibur #4 and the Nazi train was discovered by W.H.O. in Excalibur #6.
Due to injuries suffered during the Mutant Massacre, Kitty’s natural state is to be intangible and it’s a strain for her to will herself solid.

The tourist family and their dinosaur counterparts will make their next and final appearance in Excalibur #51.
Rachel not having an other-dimensional counterpart was part of a never fully realized plotline that was intended to show that she was a child of the Phoenix Force and as such unique in the multiverse. Considering that several alternate versions of Rachel have appeared in various issues of What if …? and Exiles the point of her uniqueness is moot by now.

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