Excalibur (1st series) #15

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 
Impossible Missions

Chris Claremont (writer), Alan Davis (penciler), Paul Neary (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Tom Orzechowski & Mike Heisler(letterers), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom deFalco (editor-in-chief)

Claremont & Davis (creators)

Brief Description: 

Nigel Frobisher hires the Technet to free Captain Britain’s elder brother, Jamie, from the African ruler, Doctor Crocodile. The Technet teleport into Doc Croc’s stronghold and Gatecrasher and Yap quickly confront Doc Croc, who is having Jamie tortured. However, they do not pay attention and Doc Croc puts them to sleep with some gas. Gatecrasher and Yap have a vision where they see and experience the crimes Jamie committed in Africa: murder, slavery, poaching. As they awake, Doc Croc explains but, Yap, full of fear, teleports them back to Great Britain. There, Jamie’s power awakes, as does he. He perceives reality as strings, which he can manipulate. While still believing all of this to be a dream, he takes out the Technet, changes Doc Croc into a real, tiny crocodile and then wanders outside, where Nigel Frobisher makes him an offer he cannot refuse. In the meantime, Excalibur have many adventures in many different dimensions, ranging from silly to tragic. They miss one opportunity to return home. Also, Rachel’s health is getting poorer and she and Meggan again display some strange sort of link.

Full Summary: 

Gatecrasher impatiently calls in her team. Their client Nigel Frobisher has arrived and it is time to got to work.

Gatecrasher shows them Frobisher’s briefing hologram. Their objective is to rescue James Braddock, older brother of their old friend Captain Britain. Why doesn’t he do it, Ferro2 demands. “Because he isn’t available, Cretin,” Gatecrasher shoots back. He and his fellow members of Excalibur have disappeared. The holograph now shoes a grotesquely distorted man: Joshua N’Dingi aka Doc Croc, the tyrant who has sentenced Jamie to death by slow torture, and finally the fortress where Jamie is being held.

Holding onto Gatecrasher’s back, Yap snarls at Thug, who throws a piece of food at him that hits Gatecrasher. Gatecrasher first chides them for their behavior in front of a client. When Thug is unimpressed, she grabs him by the throat and reminds him they are exiled there until they capture Phoenix and turn her over to the Omniversal Mastrex.

The majority of the team teleports away, leaving only a few members and Nigel. Numbers wonders what has happened to Excalibur.

In another Britain in another dimension, where there should be London there is a desert. A stagecoach closes in on Excalibur’s train, followed by bowler-hatted braves with British accents. This is a dimension where America is the font of civilization and Europe the wild untamed frontier. On the stagecoach are Excalibur, who are fleeing for their lives. Rachel dressed as a trapper, Cap as the Lone Ranger, Kitty is wearing a bizarre costume, Meggan has transformed into an even more bizarre froglike shape and they are all overshadowed by Nightcrawler as a saloon hostess. Meg and Kurt are carrying a totem pole, to which a barely dressed Alistaire Stuart, who is begging them to cut him loose, is tied. To buy the team time, Lockheed breathes fire at the warriors. By the time the smoke has settled, the train is gone.

Earth 616, the East African nation of Mbangawi. Several guards are protecting a stronghold. One of them informs the others that the witch woman has predicted trouble for tonight. Suddenly, there is a knocking noise from outside. One guard opens a view window to see Gatecrasher grinning at him and introducing herself. She informs them of her intentions to save the prisoner. The guard closes the window and sounds the alarm. All of the guards point their weapons at the door. Unfortunately, the Technet teleport in behind them.

Ferro2, Waxworks and Ringtoss quickly and non-violently take out their foes. While Gatecrasher, along with Yap, Scatterbrain and Joyboy, walks inside, she warns a disappointed Thug not to cause too many fatalities. A huge guard expects them and Scatterrain takes him out.

As they walk on, Yap warns them that he senses power and danger. Gatecrasher scoffs at the sight before her. Jamie Braddock, totally out of it, strung up. An old crone and the cyborg Doc Croc are all the opposition between them and Jamie.

Gatecrasher addresses Doc Croc, suggesting he release James Braddock into her custody for his own good. Croc retorts they better remove themselves from his domain while they are still able. Joyboy attacks the witch woman, finding in her an age-old desire to be one with the cosmos. He grants her wish. She’ll recover, but she’ll never be the same again.

Yap again warns Gatecrasher, telling her things aren’t what they seem. Moments later, Doctor Crocodile gasses both of them with a gesture.

Another Earth, another London. A dark and stormy night at castle Stuart by way of Frankenstein. That world’s Alistaire Stuart is a mad scientist in the Frankenstein mold, his sister seems half vampire, half Frankenstein’s bride. A Boris Karloff-like monster is waiting obediently on them. Tied to a slab are the 616- version of Alistaire and Rachel Summers. Franken-staire and Sandy cheerfully assure them that getting their brains switched won’t hurt a bit. The two Excaliburians protest forcefully.

I trust we’re interrupting Nightcrawler suddenly announces, accompanied by a Kitty turned vampire and a werewolf Meggan. The objects of the quest the scientists sent them on are a green flamingo and a foul smelling substance in a jar. Kitty turns to the tied up Alistaire, intent on draining him. Nightcrawler insists she shouldn’t spoil things at the end and Rachel shouts at her to behave. Nightcrawler asks the Stuarts to kindly transform everything back to the way they were … especially the duck. They look at a duck, suspiciously dressed in the colors of Captain Britain.

(Gatecrasher’s and Yap’s vision)

It is a perfect Africa with all the wild life co-existing peacefully. Gatecrasher and Yap marvel at this paradise. The next moment monster-like raiders appear, slaughtering all the animals and collecting their furs and teeth, anything that is considered valuable.

Gatecrasher turns around to see starving Africans behind her. Why will nobody help those people, she wonders. She turns around again to see a Red Cross famine relief transport. The cars are on fire; the relief workers have been murdered.

Gatecrasher suddenly finds herself in chains and angrily screams why this is happening. What’s the sense in giving away for free what can be sold, an armed mercenary asks her. He turns to his boss and asks if she is to be sold on the Tangier slave market.

The boss is a dapper-looking Jamie Braddock, trophy bimbo at his side, who informs the merc that his reputation is based in providing quality merchandise. This walking hippopotamus will not do. He holds a blade to her face. Gatecrasher first begs, but then stops herself. She refuses to grovel.

She had better learn if she wishes to have a hope of survival comes the voice of the Omniversal Mastrex, Opal-Luna Saturnyne. She reminds Gatecrasher that she failed on her assignment. Gatecrasher protests that it wasn’t her fault. A crocodile appears before her and announces that she always says that. Everybody else is to blame, never her. To face the truths and falsehoods in others, she must first do so in herself. Gatecrasher attacks it and strips away the illusion, it is Doctor Crocodile.


Why did he do this? she asks. He had them at his mercy. He tells her that she had to learn the truth about the man she’s been sent to rescue. There is honor in her and courage, albeit of the most reluctant kind, but not in those she serves. She has been deceived. Yap suddenly begins to foam at the mouth. Something is very wrong.

Elsewhere, Excalibur’s train has arrived on another Earth and Kitty, Nightcrawler and Captain Britain are talking with policemen to find out where they are. They have clearly been though much; Kitty is dressed as a voodoo queen, Nightcrawler is wearing a dapper white three-piece suit and Cap is dressed as a communist hero. They ask who the British prime minister and American president at the moment are and the answers sound correct. The cops also seem to recognize them. Sounds like their Earth, but they’ve been wrong before. “I am not a number,” a sleeping Alistaire protests. Kitty goes to wake Phoenix who is supposed to verify things for them.

Some odd energy effect is flaring between Rachel and Meggan and they both awake simultaneously, Meggan wearing a green version of Rachel’s hound outfit, and Rachel wearing a red version of Meggan’s costume. Even worse, they seem to be talking in each other’s voices. Rachel powers up to switch back their costumes. Angrily, she blames the other girl, as she is a shapeshifter.

As Phoenix joins the others, the policemen recognize her, too. Excalibur realize that this is the first world where that is the case. This must be their home. However, that moment, Widget feeds off Rachel’s power envelope and away they go again, leaving two bewildered policemen.

Elsewhere still:

Jamie Braddock is a broken man. Instead of his former, handsome self, he is a ragged skinny figure dressed only in a speedo, gazing at nothingness with his eyes. His limbs flail about like a puppet. Unlike everybody else, he can perceive the strings, though, the strings that hold everything together, filaments of energy so fragile they seem to snap at the merest touch. Only then to miraculously reform and renew themselves immediately thereafter. A veritable puzzlement. So he stands stock-still to sort it out. I feel happy he repeats idiotically. And more vital and alive than at any times since he left Great Britain years ago.

Gatecrasher realizes that Yap teleported them all back to their Brighton piers. She berates Yap but he still seems completely out of it. Gatecrasher demands to see their client Nigel Frobisher. Chinadoll informs her that he left soon after the team did. Lucky for him, Gatecrasher mutters. She tells Numbers to invoke the major penalty clause of their contract. Mr. Frobisher had best hope she doesn’t take it out of his hide.

“I feel happy,” Jamie sings, as he stumbles outside the building. “Oh shut up,” shouts an annoyed Gatecrasher and decides to have him put under restraint. Doc Croc warns her that Braddock is more than he seems and Yap mumbles that he fled because he was afraid. But there at home, the fear is worse than ever. Gatecrasher orders Bodybag to take Jamie.

What Jamie sees approaching is a denser, more structured network of energy strings, a little frayed at the edges. Without knowing why, he grabs a handful and gives a hearty yank. Bodybag screams in pain. Thug and Ferro2 are the next to try their hands. They fare no better. Scatterbrain intends to simultaneously fire every synapse in Jamie’s brain. Unfortunately, it is she who gets fried and he is made whole, sort of.

He looks around and takes in his surroundings and the people for the first time. Gatecrasher hopes that he is more rational. Croc tells her that only means his power is now directed by intelligence rather than brute instinct. Jamie takes out Waxworks, Chinadoll and Ringtoss and even Joyboy fails, as Jamie states with a nasty smirk that he no longer has any limits. To think he’s been missing this his whole life. He’d be shrieking with rage, if he wasn’t so gosh-darn happy. And he has them to thank for it. Almost a shame it’s a dream. If he could do this in reality…

Gatecrasher tells Number to try his luck, while Croc realizes that Jamie believes himself to be still imprisoned in Mbangawi. Of course, Jamie easily takes out Numbers. Croc observes that he has a child’s demand for instant gratification, matched to the power to make it so, freed of all moral restraint because he doesn’t think it is real. As the witch-woman foretold. He should have heeded her warning and slain him ages ago. This is his fault. He gets ready to fight while Gatecrasher wonders what Jamie will do to them if they lose. With a grin, Jamie gets ready for the fight.

Another reality. A destroyed London, a nuclear winter. An alternate Meggan, dressed in a Captain Britain outfit, tells Excalibur that there was a war between superbeings, which led to this. There is almost nothing left. After her Brian got killed, she became this world’s Captain Britain. Kitty observes that Rachel looks stressed, but Rachel assures her she is fine. The other Meggan tells Cap and her counterpart to look after each other and enjoy the happiness that her Brian and she only had the smallest taste of. Megan offers that she could come with them to another world, and start again. She thanks them, but her place is here. This Earth is only sleeping. When its wounds are finally healed she has to be there to help it wake and hopefully live again.

Brighton, Earth 616, a singing Jamie walks onto the pier, wondering what to do. Nigel Frobisher offers his services. He has a car waiting and an offer Jamie won’t refuse… namely dominion over half the world. The chauffeur asks whether she should contact resolutions and have them deal with Gatecrasher. Already taken care of, courtesy of Mr. Braddock, Nigel replies.

Inside the building, Gatecrasher and the Technet are watching TV and are happy as if nothing bad had happened. Gatecrasher announces that she loves it when a caper comes to a splendidly profitable conclusion. Probably because it happens so rarely, mutters Ferro2.

Suddenly, an agitated Thug leaves the bathroom, telling them he has had enough. He holds up a small crocodile with cyborg limbs (same as Dr Crocodile) and tells Gatecrasher to keep her pets to herself.

Elsewhere, a barren landscape, where Excalibur’s train has crashed. Lying unconscious on the ground are Captain Britain, Meggan and Widget. There is no sign of anybody else.

Characters Involved: 

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



Alistaire Stuart (chief scientist of WHO)

Back on Earth 616

Bodybag, Chinadoll, Ferro2, Gatecrasher, Joyboy, Numbers, Ringtoss, Scatterbrain, Thug, Waxworks, Yap (all Technet)

Nigel Frobisher (banker and servant of Sat-Yr-9)

Jamie Braddock

Joshua N’dingi / Doctor Crocodile

The Witch woman


Frobisher’s chauffeur

British policemen

on other worlds

alternate Meggan

alternate Alistaire and Alysande Stuarts

British Indian warriors

in hologram

Captain Britain

Jamie Braddock

Doc Croc

Gatecrasher and Yap’s vision

Jamie Braddock


Jamie’s girlfriend

Dead Red Cross workers

starving Africans

Doc Croc

Story Notes: 

The Technet were sent to capture Phoenix in Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn Special Edition. When they failed, Saturnyne sentenced them to stay on earth until they fulfilled their job.

Jamie Braddock was taken prisoner by Doctor Crocodile in Captain Britain (2nd series) #9-10. After learning of his crimes, Captain Britain washed his hands of his brother and left him to his fate.

Alistaire’s striped shirt and the “I am not a number” line seem to be an homage to the surreal TV show, “The Prisoner.”

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