Excalibur (1st series) #13

Issue Date: 
October 1989
Story Title: 
…the Marriage of True Minds

Chris Claremont (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Tom Orzechowski (lettering), Glynis Oliver (colors), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Claremont & Davis (creators)

Brief Description: 

Captain Britain receives a new uniform, the costume of the late Captain Marshal, and the queen mother thanks the team. However, they also learn that refusal of William’s proposal is not an option for Kitty. She is abducted and magically transformed into a more princess-like version of herself. During an attack on her life she briefly turns into her old self again before switching back. When she is attacked again at night, half the team fights the demon, while Meggan and Nightcrawler, led by the fairies, find and stop the true culprit, princess Kate, an alternate Kitty. Kate was jealous of Kitty winning Billy’s affections and Billy tells his grandmother that he made a mistake and asks her to bestow her blessings on them. The queen, who had actually intended Kate to be her granddaughter-in-law in the first place, agrees.
Back on Earth 616 in Brighton, Nigel Frobisher hires the Technet to save the life of Jamie Braddock, Captain Britain’s elder brother.

Full Summary: 

So what do they think, Captain Britain asks of his teammates, as he presents the new uniform he has been given – in effect a more simplified and streamline version of his old look, displaying instead of a Union Jack pattern simpler planes and shapes in the same color scheme.

Kitty and Nightcrawler at once tease him, mumbling that the outfit is awfully white, not to mention the helmet… What’s wrong with it, Meggan asks, ready to spring to her lover’s defense, while Brian feebly jokes that in Britain it’s the law. Superheroes same as motorcyclists.

The magicians of this other world interrupt, explaining that their handiwork suits him well. The material is virtually indestructible, proof against arcane weapons and physical ones. Moreover, it will far more efficiently absorb and store the native magics of the British Isles that are the source of his powers. The members of Excalibur realize that this must explain Cap’s weakening in New York, after Inferno, when his old uniform was destroyed. The magician explains that the natural magicks of the world are sufficient to sustain Captain Britain’s life, but his special abilities require England’s unique energies. The same also holds true for Lady Meggan.

Just like a classic fairly tale, Kitty thinks. They are all gifted with powers for which each pays a price. In her phase, she can phase through almost anything, but it takes a real effort to focus her body solid. She phases to the balcony outside, where Professor Alistaire Stuart is taking snapshots.

Hard to believe they are looking at London, Alistaire announces enthusiastically. In many ways, this world is as technologically advanced as theirs, but here creatures thrive that for them exist only in storybooks. On the other hand, Kitty points out, they don’t seem to have superbeings. She points out Phoenix in the sky, telekinetically carrying their train. Alistaire marvels at her relative lack of effort. Is there any limit to what she can do? Kitty replies that the original Phoenix had the power to destroy the universe.

Rachel comes up to join them asking if anything interested happened while she was gone. Kitty angrily thinks to herself that Alistaire is more besotted with her than ever. Meggan comes flying out in a flurry, telling them to hurry inside. The Queen is coming!

The queen mother and the royal consort enter the room and Excalibur politely greet them. The queen mother welcomes and thanks them for the help they gave Prince William on his quest. She continues that she is glad to see the uniform of the late and well-beloved Captain Marshall worn by so able and noble a soul. Brian promises that he will endeavour to be worthy of its heritage and her faith. Silently, he marvels that the queen seems to be an older and kinder version of Saturnyne, while the queen is reminded of her dead lover. She chides herself to stop reminiscing and turns to Kitty.

She also casts a disparaging glance at Rachel and Meggan, stressing that some modicum of propriety must be observed in clothing. She must mean Meggan, Rachel tells the other girl. Her outfit is far too cool.

While the Queen turns back to Kitty, Ray and Meggan discover some dresses and Rachel telekinetically clothes them in them, turning them into outrageously flashy outfits, much to the amusement of Alistaire and the queen consort. The talk between the queen and Kitty is more serious, as the queen explains the consequences of Wiliam’s proposal. A formal proposal of marriage – especially by an heir to the throne – cannot be taken lightly or ignored. Kitty promises to turn him down gently. The queen explains refusal isn’t an option.

Kitty gets agitated. Doesn’t she have any say in this? She’s an American. They fought a revolution to be free of Kings and Queens. In this dimension, the queen retorts, America is inhabited by painted savages with whom Kitty apparently has a lot in common. But they will teach her better. She gestures, and the queen, her daughter-in-law and Kitty are teleported away.

Lockheed goes ballistic and begins to roar. Phoenix has to keep him in check telekinetically as they can’t have him burn down the palace. Yet, Nightcrawler adds. But if they don’t return Kitty…

As they exit the room, a skinny guard informs them that he is to lead them to their quarters. Cap and Nightcrawler posture as they inform him they will go nowhere without Shadowcat. The constable states, if they don’t do as requested, he has to set the lads on them. The lads are giants a good 20 times larger than the team and surround them.

Meanwhile, in Excalibur’s home dimension, back in Brighton where a small part of a condemned pier is literally the only spot of sunshine:

Members of the local council and Gatecrasher of the Technet have come to a deal. The Technet may reside on the pier and in exchange will control the local weather to give the town the ideal weather required for their tourist trade. The still somewhat-weirded out council members leave, only to face an almost as strange sight: the dinosaur tourists hijacked to this dimension by Widget, as they take a walk and remark that this is at least halfway decent weather.

Gatecrasher addresses her motley crew, announcing that she has come through for them again. As can be expected, the Technet can’t stop complaining and their latest toy, Nigel Frobisher, feebly shouts for help. Yap reminds Gatecrasher that they want to go home, and she reminds him in turn that their contract states they are to return with Phoenix or not at all. Or are any of them willing to explain to the Omniversal Mastrex Saturnyne that they defied her orders? None of them are.

Thug lifts up the shrunk and changed Nigel and tosses him on the table. As Gatecrasher and Yap crack some jokes, Nigel begins turning back again and suddenly – on the way – appears as an outraged Saturnyne – frightening the Technet members. Gatecrasher asks how dare he assume the form of the Omniversal Mastrex Opal Luna Saturnyne? Finally himself, Nigel apologizes. It was Joyboy’s fault, pulling out an image from his dream of his boss, Courtney Ross.

He explains why he is there, while Gatecrasher looks at the files he brought. He is to engage the Technet’s services to rescue James Braddock, elder brother of Brian Braddock, under sentence of death from an African tyrant, Joshua N’Dingi aka Doc Croc.

Why didn’t he just say so, Gatecrasher enthuses, while Yap is disappointed as Nigel apparently isn’t going to be a snack. Braddock is one of their dearest friends. Gatecrasher accepts the commission provided they can arrive at an appropriate fee.

In the meantime in another reality, Kitty is imprisoned in another part of the castle, floating in a magic circle where the royal wizards examine her. Kitty angrily tells them her opinion of them and their world. The wizard addresses the queen, announcing that Kitty apparently has access to the requisite arcane power, but has yet to activate her link with it. His screen shows part of the eldritch armor Kitty inherited from Magik along with her Soulsword. The wizard adds that the magic is black, but her soul is so noble she should be able to wield it untainted.

The queen consort remarks that Kitty is violently opposed. Perhaps they should reconsider. Perhaps a mistake has been made. The queen refuses to believe it. William is heir to the throne. His own innate power wouldn’t permit him to make a betrothal if the child were not destined to be his bride. Secretly, she tells herself that Kitty’s aura has resonances that remind her of herself.

All of them surround Kitty and begin a spell, partly to cosmetically reshape her, partially to have her act and think more like a future princess. Kitty angrily shouts at them to stop and finally calls out for Rachel, who senses her scream and bursts through the castle doors, followed by the other members of Excalibur, until an enraged queen mother orders them to instantly stop this foolishness.

Cap and Rachel utter threats until Kitty admonishes them not to. Kitty has changed. Dressed and groomed like a princess, taller and more soft-spoken and well mannered. Rachel lashes out at the queen mother, until Kitty assures her she is fine. She was scared before but, now, everything worked out for the best. Rachel mind-scans her and has to admit she is right. Disappointed, she turns away. Kurt asks if Kitty really wants to marry the prince and Kitty asks him for his blessing. Does she understand the consequences? Rachel asks. She’ll stay here for the rest of her life. Kitty doesn’t care. She is happy now, that’s enough for her.

Later, outside, dwarves and giants are busy repairing the damage to Excalibur’s train. They talk about the dragon inside the train who is glad to be free of its previous owner and about Lockheed who is broken-hearted about Kitty’s betrothal to Billy. Lockheed wistfully stares after the young couple, who are strolling by. From inside the train, Nightcrawler watches them too, still surprised at Kitty’s regal bearing.

Sitting close to him, Alistaire Stuart swears. He explains to the team that he has no idea what makes Widget tick, no clue what power he uses and how to access it. He was making progress before but that was with Kitty. Meggan suggests calling her to help but Alistair replies that she isn’t the same anymore. That teenage rebellious spunk that ignited his own inspiration is gone. Without her, he is not sure he can figure out that mess.

Elsewhere, Kitty and William are strolling. Billy is uncomfortable about Kitty suddenly being so much taller. He’ll catch up she comforts him. He shows her his own small private castle and confides he loves being there, because he can be himself there. What’s wrong with being a prince, Kitty asks. She’ll see, he replies cynically and reveals that she is like the others now. The princesses he meets everywhere who threw themselves at him. Kitty asks if there was at least one he liked a little. Billy remarks that there was one, when suddenly punkish trolls erupt from the ground.

Billy draws his dagger, intending to defend Kitty. The trolls quickly get past him and make lewd suggestion towards Kitty, while one of them carries Billy away. Kitty has had it. Suddenly, her old self again, she phases away in disgust.

Moments later Excalibur arrive and glare at the trolls.

Down below one troll carries Billy off until Kitty phases into his way. She is supposed to be dead, the troll blurts out. She grabs Billy away and tells the troll to consider her a ghost then. If he attacks Billy again, she’ll haunt him forever! Frightened, the troll runs off.

The two of them join the others above ground and Billy is happy to see that Kitty is her old self again, but then she turns back into princess Kitty, who politely assures the guards that it wasn’t their fault. She adds that those poor creatures were hardly the most credible of threats. Yes, because they didn’t know about her phasing power, Nightcrawler remarks glumly. That has changed.

At night, suddenly black shapes manifest in Kitty’s bedroom. Having expected the trap, Phoenix and Captain Britain burst into the room, intent on handling the monster while Kitty is to phase away. Except she finds she can’t, as tendrils of the shadow creatures hold onto her. Cap finds he can barely touch the creature, while it can connect with him and Rachel’s attempt to blow the monster apart results into it breaking into smaller fragments that attack her.

With only one creature focused on her, Kitty returns to her old self and phases trough the tendrils. She realizes that those demons are variations of the Shaitan character they fought the other day.

The queen consort enters the room, curious about the noise, and Kitty jumps on her, as the creature attacks gain. Kitty phases both of them through the ceiling. She means to deposit the queen there and rejoin the battle but the other woman uses magic to stop her, reminding her of her responsibilities. Kitty shouts that they are her friends and she won’t be any use if she reactivates the queen mother’s spell. Maybe there’s a reason it keep on wearing off. Maybe Shadowcat is the person she is meant to be, not princess Kitty. The queen consort lets her go.

Meanwhile, led by Meggan’s faery friends, Meggan and Nightcrawler follow them to a strange tower. The fairies tell Meggan that they are frightened of the sorceress within. They believe her to be a younger incarnation of the queen mother. They peek through the window to see the princess they rescued the other day, busy giving her creature orders through a scrying ball. She orders it not let anyone to come to any harm save for Kitty.

In the palace, Kitty rejoins the fight and, in the tower, Princess Kate orders her creature to act before the queen mother can react. She is unaware of Meg and Nightcrawler sneaking up on her.

In the palace, Kitty frees Rachel from the shadow shell formed around her by phasing her relieved friend free.

In the tower, Meggan grabs Kate and warns her to do nothing or her life will be forfeit.

In the palace, the three heroes find themselves surrounded by shadows. In the tower, Nightcrawler destroys the scrying ball and the shadows vanish. Nightcrawler wagers that the Shaitan and the ogre were Kate’s creatures as well and the young woman is ashamed.

Later, she is led before the queen mother, who accuses her of high treason. Just as she is about to pronounce the sentence, Kitty, who has noticed that Kate looks a lot like her, interrupts, asking about due process. The England she knows is grounded firmly in the rights of the individual. Nobody is above the law, not even the queen. Shouldn’t they at least try to discover the reason for Kate’s acts? She asks the other girl what Excalibur did to her and Kate coolly answer nothing, until he proposed.

Kitty understands: she wanted Billy to rescue her, but they got in the way. Why, Billy asks. Crying, Kate admits that she loves him. Touched Billy cups her chin. He never realized. He helplessly turns to Kitty, asking what he should do. She tells him to follow his heart. He addresses his grandmother, explaining that there was a mistake and he proposed to one lady when he should have done so to the other. He asks her to make things right. Will she give them her blessing or her curse?

The queen mother silently thinks how silly they are to believe she wouldn’t know about such a powerful young sorceress in her realm. That’s why she sent William into her domain so they could meet. The other Katherine was an unforeseen addition, but her presence allowed Kate to prove her mettle by fighting for he love. And had she failed, Kitty would have remained a suitable alternative. Not giving voice to any of those thoughts, she bestows her blessing on them.

Characters Involved: 

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



Alistaire Stuart


Prince William aka “Billy the Kid”

Princess Kate

The Queen mother

The Queen consort

Dwarves, giants, palace guard

Royal wizards


On Earth 616:

China doll, Ferro, Gatecrasher, Joyboy, Numbers, Scatterbrain, Thug, Waxworks, Yap (all Technet)

Nigel Frobisher (assistant banker at Fraser’s)

Members of Brighton council
The dinosaur tourists

on snapshots

Jamie Braddock

Doc Croc

Story Notes: 

The back cover shows an image of the Warwolves drawn by Alan Davis.
The magician’s explanation that Meggan can only thrive in Great Britain doesn’t wash. She lost control of her powers in New York, but she’s been outside Britain before – even for a lengthy amount of time – without any adverse effects. [Captain Britain (2nd series #11-12)] Perhaps in her case, the power loss was due to after-effects of Inferno or because she subconsciously mimicked Captain Britain’s loss of control.

The dinosaur tourists were taken to Earth 616 by Widget in issue #9. Their fate won’t be resolved until issue #51.

The Technet have the mission to capture Phoenix and are stuck until they do it. [Excalibur: the sword is drawn]

Jamie Braddock was taken prisoner by Doc Croc in Captain Britain (2nd series) #9-10.

Gatecrasher might consider Cap a close friend. He probably has another view, considering how much trouble the Technet has caused him in Captain Britain (2nd series) #4-6 &12.

The link to black magic Kitty displays is the magic she “inherited” from her best friend / soulmate Illyana Rasputin, after the other girl was regressed to a young innocent child in Inferno.

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