Excalibur (1st series) #120

Issue Date: 
May 1998
Story Title: 
Current Events

Ben Raab (Writer), Mel Rubi (Penciler), Scott Koblish (Inker), Kevin Tinsley (Colorist), Richard Starkings & Comicraft’s Kiff Scholl (Letterers), Jason White (Assistant Editor), Frank Pittarese (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor-in-Chief)

Brief Description: 

Douglock plans to “rescue” Wolfsbane from the quarantine chamber, and in the process discovers that he has information regarding the Legacy Virus stored in his mind from Zero. However, when he manages to open the door, expecting a gushing Wolfsbane to thank him, he is met instead with a resentful Rahne, who tells Douglock to get over his stupid crush on her. Moira’s reaction to the quarantine ending is somewhat unclear. Meanwhile, Colossus and Meggan have another run in, where Meggan accuses Colossus of not being there when she needed him the most, while Nightcrawler phones the Xavier Institute to check in on things, but Marrow answers the phone, and doesn’t take kindly to being told to put one of the “real” X-Men on. Wisdom packs his bags, which pleases Lockheed, but Kitty tries to get him to talk to her. Wisdom knows that he should, and knows what he should say, but all he can bring himself to say is “I thought you loved me”, accusingly. Sabra contacts Nightcrawler, revealing that Legion is on a rampage in Israel, while Wisdom goes to catch his boat off the Island, where Meggan is waiting for Brian to come home to her. Meggan tells Wisdom what she thinks about him, because he asked her too, then leaves, watched by a tearful Kitty.

Full Summary: 

Muir Island Research Center, Scotland, where the techno-organic member of Excalibur known as Douglock is busy tapping away at a computer. On some sort of crusade, the computer tells him Insufficient memory, unable to comply. ‘You archaic piece of Shi’ar junk!’ Douglock exclaims, boasting that his pinkie finger has more RAM than it. ‘Computers! Nothing but cold, calculating machines!’ he mutters, thinking that computers have no concept of emotion, and the lengths to which a person will go for someone they care about. ‘Not like me. Right now, I’ll do anything - even hack into the Muir Island genetic center mainframe if it’ll help Wolfsbane!’ Douglock thinks to himself.

Suddenly, the owner of the Research Center, world-renowned Doctor Moira MacTaggert appears on a monitor, angrily asking Douglock who told him he could go mucking about with the temperature controls, as it is as hot as blazes in the quarantine unit. Douglock jumps back in his chair, ‘Oh, um…er...hi, Dr. MacTaggert!’ he exclaims, remarking that he didn’t mean to do that, as he was just trying to contact Rahne. He then asks if he can speak to her. ‘fine. But hurry. We’ve got samples to study if we’re ever to cure the Legacy Virus!’ Moira snaps back.

Rahne “Wolfsbane” Sinclair appears on the screen, ‘I knoooow, Mum. I’ll only be a minute!’ she tells Moira, before exclaiming that Douglock would never do anything to disrupt her experiment. ‘Absolutely’ Douglock replies, while thinking to himself that Rahne is going to kill him for jeopardizing Moira’s self-imposed quarantine. One of Douglocks’ wires latches into the computer, as he thinks to himself that he cannot let his best friend on this planet risk contracting a deadly disease for the sake of an experiment.

Rahne remarks that she loves Lady Moira dearly, but that if she has to look at another holographic DNA helix, she thinks she will scream! Rahne then asks Douglock what life is like on the “outside” these days. Douglock smiles and tells Rahne that lots has happened since she jumped in there. ‘Where to begin…? Where to begin…? Oh I don’t know!’ Douglock exclaims, before beginning a recap on recent events for Rahne.

Meanwhile, deep beneath Muir in a docking bay, Piotr “Colossus” Rasputin stands before a blank canvas. ‘Lost your muse?’ the elemental Meggan asks her friend as she hovers behind him. Colossus turns, ‘Meggan. I didn’t know you were there’. He remarks. ‘Apparently. You’ve hardly said a word to me in days’ Meggan replies. Colossus points out that Meggan has hardly spoken to him also, ever since she accused him of harboring some secret “attraction”, she has been distant ever since.

Meggan replies that, as an empath, she simply reflects the emotions directed at her. ‘That is an excuse. We both know that!’ Colossus exclaims, before admitting that he has intentionally kept his distance of late, but only out of respect for their friendship. Colossus dips his brush in red paint and begins drawing on the canvas, while Meggan tells Colossus that, ever since Brian left, he has been the one friend she could turn to when she was down. Meggan remarks that when she needed Colossus the most, when the emotions got too confusing to handle alone, he wasn’t there for her.

‘You call that “respect”? Rubbish!’ Meggan exclaims before flying out a window, ‘RUBBISH!’ Colossus calls out to her, asking her to wait, but it is too late, she’s gone. Piotr turns back to his painting, telling himself that Meggan is right, that he should have helped her. ‘But how?’ he wonders, knowing that Captain Britain will return to her soon, so what right does he have to meddle in the affairs of Meggan’s heart? However, Piotr knows he is Meggan’s friend, and would like to be so again when this storm has blown over. Colossus looks at his painting - a woman walking through a brick wall, and remarks ‘Speaking of “stormy” relationships - I wonder how all fares for Katya and Wisdom?’.

Back in the comm.-room, Douglock and Rahne are still chatting. ‘So Meggan thought Piotr had a crush on her, when all along she’s the one who had a crush on him?’ Rahne asks, remarking that it is a veritable soap opera, like something on the MTV, before asking what was going on with Kitty and Wisdom. ‘Hey, don’t you want me to save the best gossip for last?’ Douglock asks, while thinking to himself ‘Or at least until I bypass the quarantine room’s intranet and crack the locks on the electro-magnetic door!’

Rahne tells Douglock to tell her about Nightcrawler then. ‘How’s everyone’s favorite fuzzy elf?’ she asks. Douglock replies that Kurt is up to his tail in “change”, remarking that it is like everything old is new for him again. ‘How so?’ Rahne asks curiously. ‘Well, just after we escaped from Nightmare’s “misery theatre”…’ Douglock begins.

Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner is in another of the communication rooms, ‘I cant get it out of my mind’ he thinks to himself, re-living the horrible image of Charles Xavier suffering because he wasn’t strong enough to protect him. Kurt remarks that although Excalibur never directly suffered the bigotry of Bastion and his genetophobic Operation Zero Tolerance, his abduction of Professor X is a stake through their hearts nonetheless. Kurt remarks that many of his fellow X-Men owe Xavier their lives, as does he, and wonders why they haven’t contacted Excalibur so that they might find their mentor together, as the family they once were.

Looking at the blank monitors, Kurt wonders if it is because their comm-system is down, unaware that the X-Men no longer have one thanks to Bastion. Kurt recalls something Cyclops once told him: “High-tech problems often require low-tech solutions” and reaches for the telephone. ‘Now to see who’s home at good old 1407 Graymalkin Lane!’

The phone rings at the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning: ‘Are you $%^&@#$ kidding me!?’ shouts the X-Man known as Marrow as she rushes for the phone, wondering what stupid “son of an up-worlder” calls at a time like this. Picking up the phone, the foul-mouthed young woman exclaims ‘Who the #$*^$$# is this!?’

Nightcrawler smiles, introducing himself as Kurt Wagner calling from Muir Island, he asks ‘Who’s this…?’ The reply he gets is blunt: ‘Marrow. What the %*#^@ do you want?’ she snaps. ‘Ah, you must be new. Be a darling and put one of the real X-Men on, would you?’ Kurt asks. ‘”Real” X-Men? “Real” X-Men? Why, you lousy moth -’ Marrow exclaims before shoving a bone through the X-Men’s telephone. ‘Oops. I’ll…uh…call back’ Kurt remarks.

Meanwhile, Moira calls out to Rahne, ‘Flirt time’s over, girl! Back to work with ye!’ she shouts as she grabs her foster daughter by the air, pulling her away from the monitor. ‘Ouch!’ Rahne exclaims, before shifting her form into a half-girl half-wolf and growling. ‘Don’t you be growling at me, young lass!’ Moira snaps. ‘Yes’M’ Rahne replies. ‘And if ye think morphing to your transitional lycanthrope state is gonna scare me a lick?’ Moira adds. ‘No’M’ Rahne replies. ‘I didn’t think so’ Moira remarks, before telling Douglock to be a good lad and get the thermometer sorted out so they can get on with their tests.

‘You got it, Doc!’ Douglock replies, while thinking to himself that is just the cover he needs. ‘If this works, that is’ Douglock thinks as he plugs himself into the computer. Moira and Rahne detect something wrong when and Rahne asks Douglock what he thinks he is doing. ‘Um…nothing!’ Douglock replies. Rahne tells him to be careful, otherwise he is likely to short out all their maintenance systems in here. ‘Hail Mary, full of grace…’ Moira thinks to herself, while Douglock leans back and grins, thinking ‘That’s the idea!’, all he has to do is convince the computer that they solved the Legacy mystery, the locking mechanism is disabled, and Rahne walks out of there as healthy as the day she walked in. ‘So, still curious to know the dirt on Kitty and Wisdom?’ Douglock asks smugly.

‘So this is it, huh?’ Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde asks as she watches her lover and teammate, Pete Wisdom, packing his suitcases. Lockheed coos in Kitty’s arms, while Pete replies ‘Looks like it’ and closes his case. Lighting a cigarette with one of his “hot knives”, while Kitty asks him if he will be back, Wisdom replies ‘Depends’. ‘On?’ Kitty asks. ‘Dunno, Pryde. It just depends’. Kitty looks to the ground and tells Wisdom that is not fair, adding that they parted on a bad note as she was having doubts about their relationship.

Kitty tells Wisdom that nothing actually happened between her and Rigby Fallon, but she just felt something - something different than what she feels for Wisdom, mostly because Rigby is the same age as her, but nothing like what she and Pete share. ‘I’m not asking you to like it, but can’t you at least see my side?’ Kitty asks. ‘Why should I?’ Wisdom replies. Lockheed grins with satisfaction, while Kitty tells Pete that if he cannot answer that question for himself…her voice trails off, while Pete declares that perhaps this is for the best then.

He stubs another cigarette out into an already full ashtray and thinks to himself that he can imagine what Kitty is thinking right now, : “A chance at genuine happiness stares you dead in the face for the first time in your miserable life, and what do you do? Pack your bags. All because some ‘bird’ broke what’s left of your heart. Think you’re being a real man, sneaking out of my life - of Excalibur - as quietly as you snuck in? That’s no ‘man’ that’s a bloody coward. A real man doesn’t hide his feelings from his friends. He shares them, regardless of the consequences”.

Picking up his suitcase and jacket, Wisdom begins walking out of his quarters, thinking that if those are Kitty’s thoughts, she would be right, he should tell her how he feels. How much she hurt him, and how much he wants her to hurt for it. ‘It would be so easy…for a coward’. Wisdom decides that he should say something to Kitty, as he owes her that much. ‘You said you loved me’ he declares. Kitty frowns, then turns to Wisdom and they look at each other for a moment, before she hangs her head while Lockheed grins at Wisdom, who walks out the door. ‘I thought I did’ Kitty whispers while Lockheed consoles her.

‘Poor Kitty!’ exclaims Wolfsbane, while Moira remarks that it is such a shame. ‘And just when Mr. Wisdom was starting to tolerate me!’ Douglock adds, remarking that losing someone you love is pretty awful, whatever the circumstances. He asks Rahne if she agrees, and suddenly Rahne starts blushing, and is lost for words. ‘Feeling a little flush?’ Moira asks her daughter, who asks Douglock if he is sure he fixed the thermometer, as it is starting to warm up in the quarantine room all of a sudden. ‘Ahhh, young love’ Moira thinks to herself, before remarking that Rahne’s flushness is not due to the thermostat.

Douglock grins as he remarks that Dr. MacTaggert is probably right, and offers to double-check one last time to be sure, while thinking to himself ‘I knew it! I knew Rahne felt something for me! This is gonna be so great!’. Douglock latches himself into the computer again, ‘Finally! I’m in!’ he exclaims, while discovering that, according to the computer, he could have ended the quarantine weeks ago. He thought that data was purged from his memory. ‘But if it wasn’t? Oh, wow! This is incredible! Rahne and Dr. MacTaggert are gonna be doubly surprised!’ he thinks excitedly.

Wolfsbane hands Moira the latest batch of analyzed samples and remarks that it looks like she is still clean. ‘Thanks be to God for that!’ Moira exclaims, before they hug, while Moira declares that she hates the idea of Rahne being in here, risking infection just to help her mother feed her obsessions, but that she is glad she is in here with her. ‘For you, Mum? Anything!’ Rahne exclaims, when, suddenly, Quarantine parameters satisfied…electromagnetic locks disabled…experiment concluded. Announces the computer. Shocked, Moira exclaims that this cannot be happening, as her work is not finished yet. ‘It’s okay, Doc. I found what you’re looking for!’ Douglock exclaims as he enters the quarantine room as the door opens.

Douglock announces that important information about the Legacy Virus, the data Zero uploaded into him, is still buried deep inside his head somewhere. He exclaims that if they can access it, there will be no further need for testing, experiments, or quarantine. ‘And there’ll be no need for anyone to die searching for the cure, especially you, Rahne! Don’t you get it? I saved you…because I love you…!’ Douglock exclaims.

Furious, Wolfsbane exclaims that she doesn’t believe this, and tells Douglock that he is the one who doesn’t get it. Rahne points out that they might not be able to access that part of Douglock’s memory, and that if they do, the data might not even be available. ‘You’ve not only ruined weeks of hard work, but you’ve risked my Mum’s life, and for what? A stupid bloody crush!’ Wolfsbane exclaims before running off.

Douglock calls out to her, asking her to wait. ‘I only wanted to help…’ he whispers. Moira approaches Douglock and tells him that sometimes in life, you’re going to discover that despite your very best intentions, no good deed goes unpunished.

Meanwhile, Nightcrawler tells Colossus that it is more than just feeling “out of the loop”, but that it is like they don’t even count anymore, no even to the X-Men’s enemies. ‘Would you prefer Bastion crash through our door so that we could be “part of the action”?’ Colossus asks. Nightcrawler replies that he doesn’t, but that he cannot help but wonder what Excalibur has really done for mutant kind lately. Colossus smiles and remarks that they have done a great many things, perhaps not on the same scale as their Stateside comrades, but they have made a difference in their own way.

Kurt replies that perhaps he misses the good old days. ‘So your wardrobe change indicates’ Piotr remarks, motioning to Kurt’s classic duds. Kurt replies that he dusted off the old circus togs the other day. ‘Something about getting back to basics just felt right’. Suddenly, the communication system goes off, and Colossus remarks that is a password-protected line. Kurt adds that only trusted members of Professor Xavier’s clandestine “Mutant Underground” can access it.

In Israel, ‘The Password is “Cyberno”…confirm?’ a woman says into her communicator. ‘Confirmed…but who are you?’ Kurt asks. The woman replies that her civilian name is inconsequential, but that they can call her Sabra! Colossus exclaims that he remembers Sabra as the Israeli heroine from that Contest years ago. Kurt tells Sabra to pardon their surprise, before asking how she got this number. Sabra frowns as she replies that this is the line designated for underground communications. ‘Do the math’ she adds. Colossus asks Sabra if there is something Excalibur can do for her, to which Sabra replies ‘We shall see’ and announces that for the past three days, Israel has been under siege by a paranormal force so powerful even their own defense for is helpless to defeat it.

Sabra adds that they suspect the paranormal to be a mutant, a being possessed of not one, but three particular talents: telepathy, telekinesis and pyrotechnics. Sabra asks Nightcrawler and Colossus if they see the pattern forming, to which Kurt exclaims ‘Mein Gott…Legion!’

Meanwhile, out on the dock, Meggan sits on the edge and Wisdom comes up behind her, asking her if she is waiting for her ship to sail in. Meggan replies that every morning she sits here watching the trawlers come and go, hoping one of them will bring Brian back to her. ‘And every night, I get up and go back to me room. Alone’. Wisdom smiles, ‘That’s life, girl’ he replies, dropping his cigarette into the water. ‘Get used to it’ Meggan looks at Wisdom, ‘You don’t really believe that, Peter. Do you…?’ Meggan asks. ‘What do you think?’ Wisdom replies.

Meggan tells Wisdom that sometimes she thinks he puts on these crass, detached airs to keep people off balance and at arm’s length - so they won’t get close enough to see that behind the swearing and the cigarettes, he is really no different than them. ‘That you need…and want…their love and affection, and that you’ve got so much love inside you, just waiting to burst out’. Meggan tells Wisdom that perhaps it is because she is an empath that she senses this, but reminds him that he did ask her thoughts, and that’s them.

A small boat approaches the dock and Wisdom stands up, telling Meggan that next time he won’t ask, and excusing himself. ‘My ships’ about to sail…and so am I’. he declares, while standing on the back of the small boat and looking back up at the Muir Island Research Center, while Kitty Pryde looks out of a window, watching Wisdom leave, a tear rolls down her face….

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Douglock, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Pete Wisdom, Wolfsbane (all Excalibur)

Dr. Moira MacTaggert



Marrow (member of the X-Men)

Story Notes: 

Moira began a self-imposed quarantine in Excalibur (1st series) #115, and Wolfsbane joined her that same issue.

Meggan accused Colossus of being attracted to her in Excalibur (1st series) #118.

Captain Britain left in Excalibur (1st series) #110.

Excalibur were trapped by Nightmare in Excalibur (1st series) #119.

Nightcrawler was tormented by Xavier’s suffering in a nightmare scenario in Excalibur (1st series) #119.

Shadowcat met and developed feelings for Rigby Fallon in the Kitty Pryde: Agent of SHIELD mini series.

Douglock received data on the Legacy Virus from Zero in Excalibur (1st series) #80.

The “Contest” that Colossus refers to is of course the original Contest of Champions, in which Sabra, and numerous other international heroes made their debut. Sabra would be by far one of the more successful characters to come out of that series.

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