Excalibur (1st series) #16

Issue Date: 
December 1989
Story Title: 

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

Claremont & Davis (creators)

Brief Description: 

On an alien world, a hooded woman tells a story of how Excalibur came to a very special world. Nightcrawler fell from the train and landed on a skyship in the middle of a pirate attack. He sides with the attacked, led by princess Anjulie, only to be hit in the back by her, after he saves her. Later, he awakes and Anjulie appears extremely grateful, though Nightcrawler becomes curious and suspicious about her behavior. Elsewhere, Kitty and Rachel, who, like Kurt, cannot access their powers, find themselves strung up in a smoking house. Kitty uses her ninja skills to free them and beat the mad cook. As a result of her fighting prowess, they are induced in the Dracic confederation, which gives the girls one companion on their quest to find their friends. They quickly find Alistaire Stuart, who is being hunted by some creatures. The creatures back up, but the heroes find themselves attacked and caught by a mass of tentacles, which come out of a skyship. On the skyship, Kurt secretly follows Anjulie into the dungeons, where he finds the pirate leader, Kymri, who tells him the truth about Anjulie. He frees her and they follow Anjulie to find her master: a huge tentacled creature that is holding all of Excalibur prisoner and is feeding on their powers. They mange to free Kitty and Rachel. Kymri attacks and kills Anjulie�s priest, only to find that it is her horribly disfigured father. As she is in shock, Anjulie attempts to kill her, only to be run though by Kitty. The monster grabs her again, intent on feeding on Kitty. Kurt observes that the creature seems to be afraid of Rachel. Reasoning that her power may overload it, he tosses her into its jaws. What happens next is anyone�s guess.

Full Summary: 

A bar reminiscent of Mos Eisley, full of strange alien creatures. At a table, surrounded by aliens, sits a human woman whose face is obscured by the hood she wears. Attentively, the aliens listen to the tale she spins.

(the story)

On a strange world with twin moons, a flying imperial cruiser is boarded by another, smaller pirate vessel. The human-looking imperial soldiers are defending their leader, a blonde, ravishing beauty named Anjulie, against the blue-skinned Nightcrawler-lookalike pirates, led by another young woman named Kymrii.

The pirate leader reaches Anjulie, ordering her to stand forth and do her servants the honor of facing her end as bravely as they. That moment, there is a flash in the sky and, a moment later, Nightcrawler falls right down on the pirate leader.

The mutant has barely times to get his bearing but, seeing a beauty pleading for help and several pirates intent on attacking him and her, he quickly grabs a sword and begins to fight. A short time later, he is the only one left standing, remarking that this is what he calls a workout.

By that time, though, Kymri has awakened. Upon seeing what Nightcrawler has done to her men, she calls him a cur and tells him he hasn�t won until he has bested her. Nightcrawler disarms her with ease, and tells her he is a stranger who�d rather be romancing a lovely lady than dueling her. Kymri falls down, exhausted. She calls him a fool and asks if he knows what he has done. Nightcrawler wants to know what, when something hits him from behind and takes him out. Merely helped rid me of the one person in all the world I truly feared,Anjulie announces with a smirk.


The mystery narrator gives a short explanation of who Nightcrawler is and where he came from. He is a member of Excalibur, heroes from a parallel Earth, who, thanks to an accidental activation of the semi-sentient robot, Widget, ended up bounced around the crosstime stream. This arrival proved rougher than most. A sudden lurch, a shattered window and Kurt fell out of the train. But he wasn�t the only one so cast adrift�

(the story)

Kitty and Rachel awake to find themselves hanging upside own in a smokehouse. Rachel tries to use her powers, but finds they don�t work. The same goes for Kitty. Fortunately, the younger girl has an alternative. She tells Rachel that she once almost became a demon ninja. She uses her training and manages to wriggle out of her boots. Good for her, Rachel laughs, but her boots sort of go all the way to her neck. She could probably do it regardless, Kitty states. Except that she�d be too embarrassed.

Kitty helps Rachel down, when the cook comes in - a huge creature with four arms and two big knives. Rachel announces she will handle this and lunges at the cook, having forgotten hat her power doesn�t work. The cook swats her aside and lunges for Kitty, who ducks and grabs his leg. They both crash through the wall into a kind of tavern, where more red beings and purple humanoid dragon creatures are sitting.

The cook threatens to carve her meat. Kitty parries his lunge, disarms him and takes him out with several well-placed kicks and blows. Nice moves, kiddo, got any more? Rachel wryly asks, as they now find themselves surrounded by the patrons.

(the present)

The storyteller wants to cut back to Nightcrawler now, but the audience protests. What happened to the girls?

(the story)

The short version: the cook wasn�t exactly popular, and the warriors were impressed with the girls� fighting prowess and courage. So that they were inducted into the Dracic confederacy of warriors, armed and outfitted according to their new station (in outfits that are a tad too skimpy for Kitty�s taste) and, accompanied by the first selectman of the dragons, they set out in search of their missing comrades.

Nightcrawler, in the meantime, awakes in a hot pool, not remembering what hit him. Anjulie, dressed in little more than two sheets of silk, joins him in the water, telling him how grateful she is for his saving her life. Nightcrawler gets embarrassed, but forgets that very quickly as Anjulie kisses him passionately.

Later, sprawled on a huge couch, they discuss matters. Kurt mentions his friends and Anjulie explains that they are already looking for them. However, with the whole world to search, they may never be found. Kurt suggests to extrapolate a trajectory from were he landed. Worth a try, Anjulie admits, while asking her servant Pica for more wine. The servant spills a drop on Anjulie�s hand and her mistress gives her a disbelieving, seething glare. Kurt interrupts the mood by kissing the drop away. Anjulie is apparently soothed, as she tells Pica she�ll deal with her later. While her tone seems light, Kurt notices that Pica is quaking as though under a sentence of death, but Anjulie is quickly diverting his attention again.


The audience interrupts. Thy want less mushy stuff and more adventure.


The story turns to Alistaire Stuart, running for his life from several monstrous looking beings, who quickly capture him. He is lucky the princess wants him alive, they inform him. That moment, they are joined by Rachel, the dragon and a still horribly embarrassed Kitty. Unlike the hunters, the heroes are only armed with swords not firearms, so they and Alistaire quickly make a run into one of the ruins, only to run into a dead end. The dragon gets bravely ready to defend his new friends and roars.


The audience gleefully expects a massacre but they don�t get their wish.

(the story)

Suddenly, the hunters make a run for it, leaving Alistaire. The girls don�t care for the reasons and ask Alistaire if he is happy to see them. Still on his knees and turned into the other direction, Alistaire just gargles something incomprehensible. That glad to see them? Kitty gently mocks. Alistaire finds his speech again. They weren�t scared off by them, but by that. Behind them is a huge tentacly mass coming out of a skyship. The tentacles grab the heroes and draws them into the ship.


A member of the audience interrupts, pointing out that among his species similar means are employed for species interaction. To each their own, the narrator replies, and continues.

(the story)

In the meantime, Nightcrawler is stirred from the divan, as he notes Anjulie talking to a hooded, blue-skinned man. Kurt notices that his skin looks awful. Secretly, he follows them into the catacombs of the ship, wondering if he has joined the wrong side. Anjulie is lovely but something is wrong. Plus it is his nature to sympathize with the pirates.

He realizes that these are the dungeons and he is shocked to find what is left of the servant, Pica, in one cell. Arms come from another cell to press him against the bars. Using his tail, Kurt trips the attacker, breaking her leverage. It is Kymri, dressed like a sacrificial maiden, which is what she is supposed to be. Nightcrawler coaxes her into giving him some info.

(Kymri�s tale)

The citadel used to belong to Kymri�s family until Anjulie arrived and seduced and overthrew her father. Soon after, when Kymri had been driven into exile, all the magic went out of things, as though the world had been drained of its primal life-force.

(the present)

Ashamed of siding with the wrong woman, Nightcrawler releases Kymri from her cell. They attack and best two guard and Kurt quickly attires himself in what goes for armor in those semi-nudist parts and he and Kymri take the weapons.

They follow Anjulie�s trail to the deepest catacombs of the floating city, where they find themselves wading in human bones, those of Kymri�s people and her crew among others. They hear chanting and step into the next chamber. Before them they see Anjulie, worshipping a huge, green, tentacled monster that is holding Kitty and Rachel with its tentacles. As it is kind of opaque within, it can be seen the unconscious Captain Britain, Meggan and the dragons.

Kurt severs one of the tentacles and frees Kitty, while Kymri goes for Anjulie. Her armed, masked guard comes to Anjulie�s help but Kymri quickly dispatches of him. As she removes his hood, she is shocked to learn that it was her father, hideously transformed. While she is in a state of shock, Anjulie lunges at her with a knife. Before she can harm Kymri, Kitty runs her through with her sword and kills her.

The next moment, Kitty and Kymry are grabbed by the tentacles of the monster, which announces that the light burns bright in Kitty. He will drain her as he has this orb. Kitty begins to glow, as the monster begins to drain her, as do the prisoners within the monster, but Kymri does not.

Rachel and Kurt realize that this has to do with their powers. They attack with their swords and Kurt notices that the creature is flinching away from Phoenix. What makes her so fearsome? Taking a fearsome gamble, Nightcrawler grabs Rachel and tosses her into the monster�s jaws. He believes that the monster is stealing both this world�s magic and denying them access to their powers. But Rachel, as Phoenix, has access to the primal lifeforce of the entire cosmos, which is hopefully more raw energy than the horror can handle. A short time later, the Phoenix effect explodes.


The narrator promises to tell the rest of the story after a brief intermission.

Characters Involved: 

in framing sequence

unidentified narrator


in the narrator�s story

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



Alistaire Stuart (chief scientist of WHO)


Kymri�s crew

The dracic confederation


Anjulie�s master

Kymri�s father

Anjulie�s crew

Pica, Anjulie�s servant

The cook

in Kymri�s tale


Kymri�s father


Anjulie�s master

Story Notes: 

The story is a homage to early 20th century pulp science fiction novels, particularly to Edgar Rice Burroughs �John Carter of Mars� series.
The cover appears to be a homage to Frank Frazetta's cover for the 1970 Science Fiction Book Club edition of this novel.

(Thanks to Ann Nichols for pointing that out)

Kitty�s demon ninja remark refers to the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine limited series.

This is the one time Kitty deliberately killed someone, a deed that will haunt her for a long time to come.

Issue Information: 
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