Excalibur (1st series) #2

Issue Date: 
November 1988
Story Title: 
A Warwolf Possessed

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

Brief Description: 

A young boy named Colin McKay hides from his pursuers in an abandoned factory. There, he meets a robotic friend who plays games with him. When Colin’s enemies find him, the robot creates doorway to another dimension, which Colin happily walks through. Meanwhile, Kitty is taken by the Warwolves into the London Underground. The rest of Excalibur arrive shortly thereafter. The Warwolves take Kitty to their den where they skin her. Rachel feels her pain telepathically, takes off to the sky, and uses all her power to maintain Kitty’s consciousness. Nightcrawler follows a lead by himself and ends up getting captured by one of the Warwolves. Rachel informs Captain Britain and Meggan of this and they take off hot on his trail. They arrive at the Warwolves den interrupting the skinning process on Kurt. Their combined might easily defeats the Warwolves. There’s a problem, though, as they find Kitty has somehow merged with the Warwolf that skinned her. Shortly after she wriggles her way out of the Warwolf body leaving Excalibur with only one problem left: what do they do with the Warwolves? Kitty comes up with the idea to put them in the London Zoo.

Full Summary: 

Loch Daemon

Among the highlands of Scotland sits a factory that many say is haunted. It is here that a curly-haired,cat-eyed young boy named Colin McKay seeks refuge. Breathing heavily, he holds a piece of machinery above his head, ready to attack the thing chasing him. He peers out from the support beam he’s hiding behind and begins shaking. He sees two spotlights coming towards him, the thing that’s been chasing him. As it gets near, he drives his makeshift weapon down at it. The thing with the two bright lights bites off the end of Colin’s weapon and eats it.
Colin yells as at his pursuer for eating his bat. He tells the thing it isn’t fair, that they can’t play proper games if it keeps eating everything. He suggests they play Hide ‘N’ Seek instead of Tag. Colin peers out a shattered factory window at the ancient ruins across the way. He wonders why the factory is so rundown and thinks it might be because it’s so far from anything. Then he begins thinking the druid ring or even the factory might be haunted.
Colin asks his friend if he is a ghost of the machines. He thinks that would be super. He puts his hand to his stomach and tells his new buddy that he wishes to be super, that maybe he could eat steel and wouldn’t be hungry, or he could beat up the guys who kidnapped him from his home. Colin recounts how the people who stole him said they were paid lots of money to do so and that he offered them the 50 pence from his pocket, but they only laughed at him and called him a “mutie”. They even told him that it served his parents right to die after having “a freak like me.”
A bunch of men in uniforms come busting in the place. They spot Colin and radio to Vixen they found the boy. Colin takes off. One of the guys holds up a bag of “Frying Scotsman” takeout and asks if he’s hungry. Another guy wishes they could just shoot the kid and be done with it.
The men fan out as Colin hides behind some debris. He turns around in wonder as bright flashes begin emitting behind. A smile creeps across his face as he says, “Oh gosh! Oh golly!! Oh wow!!!”
The men close in on his position, but find no trace of him, only a weird metallic ring that looks like a rounded doorway. One of the guys said they heard him and he sounded happy. Another reminds them Vixen won’t be happy.
They make their way outside to the awaiting Vixen and her two bodyguards sporting leopard vests. She asks rather icily what happened. One of the guys explains that the kid vanished like magic. She tells him that before she’s done he and his crew will wish they had vanished with him.
Inside the factory, a short time later, the curved doorway device springs to life. The head on top opens its eyes, light pouring out like two spotlights. It disconnects from the portal and says, “Colin”, “Friend” and then “Safe”. It repeats these words five times in a row and then says, “Oh gosh oh golly oh wow!” Suddenly the metallic doorway lights up as a yellow flash of energy crackles within.
Hob’s End Station

Meanwhile, at the London Underground the Warwolves make their escape with Kitty in-tow. They dive onto the tracks and race down the tunnel. An innocent bystander is knocked down onto the rails, screaming. A teenage boy named Toby reaches down and asks for her hand, but a friend pulls him back saying it’s too late.
The subway train comes barreling down the track. The conductor spots the kid, and with a burger in one hand applies the brakes. He yells, “Crikey O’Reilly?!?” and drops his sandwich when Captain Britain flies right in front of him, picks the girl up and flies her to safety. Phoenix stops the train’s momentum with her telekinesis.
Captain Britain places the girl on the platform and she starts crying. The looky-loos stare at him in amazement. Meggan comes flying in from around the corner and asks if that was Kitty screaming earlier. Nightcrawler arrives too and the crowd of people begins freaking out. Meggan tries to calm them down explaining they’re there to help.
A police sergeant comes strolling along and asks what’s going on. Captain Britain explains the situation and tells the sergeant to contact Commander Dai Thomas to vouch for them. Rachel turns to leave, but the sergeant grabs her by the arm. He tells them until the mess is sorted out nobody is going anywhere. Rachel gets angry so Nightcrawler tries reassuring her. Rachel points out Kitty’s life is at stake and he reminds her that Kitty’s natural state is to be phased and that the Warwolves shouldn’t be able to harm her. She points out that if that’s true how did they capture her.
A ways away, Kitty is wondering the same thing riding on the back of a Warwolf. Somehow her body has bonded with the creature. She scrutinizes her earlier plan to act as Phoenix bait. She resents the fact she didn’t fill the others in on it for fear they wouldn’t let her risk it. All she wanted to do was prove herself to the rest of the team.
The three Warwolves arrive at their den. The first two drop their new skins on the floor much to the chagrin of the third who yells at them to hang them up and then tosses Kitty onto the ground. They begin arguing over the sanctity of skins. The one who was carrying Kitty tells them they’re just jealous because “the false Phoenix” will be its newest skin. And with that the Warwolf picks Kitty up off the ground. The Warwolf’s eyes begin glowing and all Kitty can do is think, “No!”
The Underground

At that same moment Rachel is overcome with a traumatizing, telepathic episode. She screams out in agony as she feels a spirit torn from its flesh and consumed. She shoots up out of the Underground at top speed, blasting out the ceiling on her way to the nighttime sky. She screams out Kitty’s name.
Excalibur stares up at the gaping hole in the subway roof. Nightcrawler feels bad for holding Rachel back. The police officer demands to know who’ll be paying for the damages. He starts yelling at Captain Britain about destroying public property. Nearby, another police officer smiles a wicked smile and thinks to himself “we’ve crippled our foes by claiming one of the Excalibur for our own.” Nightcrawler notices his odd expression and wonders what it’s about.
Warwolf Lair

Meanwhile, the Warwolf has finished its skinning of Kitty. Her Phoenix disguise lies flat on the ground, a pink aura rising above it. The Warwolf picks up the costume and looks inside and is completely shocked to find no skin anywhere. The other two Warwolves begin rolling around on the floor laughing at their patronizing clanmate.
Fraser’s Bank, Thameside

Nigel Frobisher is getting his groove on with a girl named Cecily when all of a sudden the image of the Phoenix appears in the sky, lighting up the room through the large glass window. Nigel stops kissing Cecily and stands in awe by the window. Cecily tells him its ugly and to close the curtains. Nigel says it’s beautiful. As if talking to himself he says he knows it’s her and that they were meant for each other. Cecily yells angrily back at him that that’s what he said about them. Then she stomps out of the room and slams the door behind her.
Somewhere else in the building, Courtney Ross is going over some financial reports. She also spots the Phoenix outside her window. She stares down at the photo of Brian Braddock on her desk and correlates Braddock reentering her life with the world suddenly turning very strange. She looks back at her reports mentally noting that Brian was a thing of her past, and not now.
Outside Courtney’s window off in the distance, Rachel bunches her face in extreme concentration. She contacts Kitty and tells her to hold on, and then reaches out to the rest of her teammates. She tells them she can’t get fix on Kitty’s psychic signal because it’s so weak. She tells them they need to find her quickly because she’s using almost all her strength to keep Kitty from discorporating and she’s growing tired.
Down below, Nightcrawler tells her to stay airborne, away from the Warwolves, while they go on the hunt. Commander Dai Thomas arrives and he’s none too happy. Nightcrawler tells Captain Britain to deal with Commander Thomas while he follows a hunch. He hands over a scanning module and tells Braddock to use it to try and find Kitty.
Nightcrawler follows the suspicious policeman from earlier as he breaks away from the group. Sure enough, the police sergeant goes down some stairs, darts around a corner and drops onto the tracks. Nightcrawler asks Rachel if she can scan him. Rachel tells him she doesn’t have enough power to spare.
So Nightcrawler takes it upon himself to follow the strange fellow down the tube. The sound of an oncoming train reaches Kurt’s ears. He stares behind him at the blaring lights of the front car. He scrunches up as close as he can against the curved roof of the tunnel. The train cars rush past him at maddening speed, but luckily with enough room to spare. He wonders what happened to the policeman.
Speak of the devil, the policeman has found himself a spot inside an alcove. His face elongates as the silvery form of a Warwolf comes slipping out of his mouth.
With the subway train passed Kurt looks around for traces of the police officer. He finds no blood or any sign of the body. Nightcrawler decides to check one of the alcoves. He crouches down and finds some shoe prints in the dirt... and suddenly senses the presence of someone standing right behind him.
Back at Hob’s End, Captain Britain tries figuring out the mini-Cerebro Kurt handed him. Rachel interrupts to alert him Nightcrawler’s been attacked. Captain Britain wants to know if she can lead them to him. Rachel says she’ll lose her connection with Kitty. Meggan tells them not to worry, that she can follow their physical trail. She morphs into her more animalistic form and takes off down the stairs.
Warwolf Lair

The Warwolves are still discussing the botched skin transformation of Shadowcat. The Warwolf that tried taking Kitty’s skin begins feeling weird. Its body suddenly changes to a more humanoid form. The other two continue to make jokes. The “policeman” Warwolf enters at this point with Nightcrawler on its back and chastises the others for acting like jerks.
The “Kitty” Warwolf explains how it tried to skin the fake-Phoenix, but she vanished and now it’s turning into her. The “policeman” Warwolf tells it not to worry and offers up Nightcrawler to serve as its new skin. “Kitty” Warwolf makes a “Ieeyuckhk!” sound and says he’s ugly. The “policeman” Warwolf warns it not to start any trouble.
“Kitty” Warwolf grabs Nightcrawler and places him on the ground. It stares into his eyes, and starts having second thoughts. “Kitty” Warwolf swats its arm back knocking the three other Warwolves into each other. “Kitty” Warwolf hangs its head in its hands and apologizes. “Kitty” Warwolf didn’t know what came over it. The Warwolf explains it feels so strange. Suddenly hair starts sprouting from its head and the Warwolf begins to scream.
The Warwolves begin fighting amongst each other because the “Kitty” Warwolf’s attack tore one of the other’s new skins. Nightcrawler, meanwhile, regains his ability to move and tries to sneak away. One of the Warwolves grabs his tail as he tries scaling the wall. The Warwolf pins him to the ground and begins the skinning process.
The room starts shaking. Captain Britain and Meggan bust through one of the walls. Meggan heads over to help Kitty while the Captain rushes over to defend Kurt. With the Warwolf distracted Nightcrawler kick-flips him at Braddock who punches it square in the face.
Meggan grabs a hold of one of the other Warwolves, but it flips her around. Its eyes light up as it tries skinning her, but Kurt and Brian slam their fists into either side of its head. The Warwolf collapses to the ground. The three look over to see “Kitty” Warwolf pounding the snot out of the remaining conscious Warwolf. They pull her off and are surprised to see Kitty’s new look.
They stand around trying to figure out exactly what’s going on. Meggan tells them her scent changes from Kitty to Warwolf with every breath. Rachel comes flying in the den and spots the skins hanging on the coat rack. “Kitty” Warwolf explains how the Warwolves wear the skins to blend in with regular people. Phoenix explodes with bright light and yells they should pay them back, life for life.
Nightcrawler pleads with her to stop, that it would be murder. She tells him it’s justice. ‘Crawler tells her she doesn’t have the right, none of them do, they need to let the law decide.
“Kitty” Warwolf starts making some strange noises. Hands appear at the corners of its mouth. Then comes Kitty’s head and slowly but surely she pulls her way out, naked as the day she was born. She pulls Rachel’s costume off the Warwolf noting that she’s intangible again. She hands it over to her teammate and surmises her phasing power must have interacted weirdly with the Warwolf, which caused the odd circumstances. She further explains that Rachel was able to keep her consciousness cohesive and she found she could control the Warwolf’s actions.
That leaves Excalibur with just one more problem. What do they do with the Warwolves. There’s no prison that can hold them. Just then Shadowcat comes up with the perfect solution.
London Zoo

Days later, a crowd of people stare in wonder at the London Zoo’s newest attraction. The placard reads:


Other-Dimensional Origin

Genus Unknown

Predator Species

Extremely Dangerous

Donated by Excalibur

Inside the glass enclosure two of the Warwolves are watching television. A third is reading the paper, smoking a pipe on a recliner, while the fourth is wagging its hands and sticking its tongue out at the onlookers. Excalibur is there as well checking out the display. For the most part they are pleased. Kurt voices one worry of his. They did start out as a six-pack.

Characters Involved: 

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

Colin McKay


Commander Dai Thomas, Scotland Yard


The Vixen

Vixen’s soldiers
Courtney Ross, banker and former girlfriend of Captain Britain

Nigel Frobisher, banker

Cecily (Nigel’s lady friend)

Toby (teenager who tried saving the girl in the tracks)

tube driver

Police officers

Story Notes: 

The mechanical entity hanging out with Colin is none other than Widget who was introduced for the first time in the previous issue.
As we’ll find out in Excalibur #42, Colin was transported to an alternate reality where time moved a lot quicker. While there he grew to adulthood and manifested his mutant powers. He will join Excalibur under the codename Kylun.
Colin mentions that his parents were dead in this issue, but in later Excalibur issues Colin (Kylun) leaves the team to go search for his parents, so apparently Vixen’s men lied to him.
The Vixen is a crimelord who first appeared in the Moore/Davis Captain Britain stories by Marvel UK (and was mentioned in the first Captain Britain series).
In the previous issue, Kitty came up with a plan to bait the Warwolves, which ended with her getting captured. This is where the main story of this issue starts off.
Some websites have the four Warwolves officially named: Ducks, Jacko, Popsie & Scarper. “Scarper” is an old-fashioned term meaning “to run away”, “escape”, etc. It is used when the Warwolves are fleeing from Excalibur. “Popsie” and “Jacko” are the names of the people two of the Warwolves skinned, not their official names. “Ducks” seems more like a term of endearment.
The Warwolves will return in Excalibur #41 to battle with the team once more.
The backside of the issue is a pin-up of Shadowcat and Lockheed.

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