Excalibur (1st series) #31

Issue Date: 
November 1990
Story Title: 
No Man is an Island (But no island is a man either, so it works out)

Scott Lobdell (author), David Ross (penciler), Allen Milgrom (inker), Brad Vancata (colors), Ken Lopez (letterer), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom deFalco (editor in chief)

Excalibur created by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis

Brief Description: 

Flying on vacation with Captain Britain’s private plane, Nightcrawler gets into a storm and crashes on an island where he finds strange statues of the X-Men. He witnesses natives trying to sacrifice a girl. Attempting to save the girl, he finds the “island god,” a sentient spore of the new X-Men’s first foe, the island Krakoa. Nightcrawler fights the spore and its “Vega-Men” and eventually tricks it into drowning. Now he only has to survive Cap’s wrath at crashing his plane…

Full Summary: 

How embarrassing, Kurt Wagner aka the amazing Nightcrawler thinks, as he sits at the control of a plane. Every other X-mutant gets to die in battle, saving the universe from one cosmic evil or another. Everyone except him. He dies on vacation…

In the torrential storm, the radio no longer works. Neither does the navigational system. No place to land in the middle of the worst South Sea tropical storm in thirty years. Next time, it’s straight to Disneyland for him.

Suddenly, he sees an island. No chance to reach it in the plane, but what good is the mutant ability to teleport if he doesn’t indulge himself? Especially now that he’s working his way past his one-day-limit. He teleports down. Of course the problem is he can only teleport at the same speed he’s teleporting out, which is very fast. He lands in the water and is pulled ashore. Groggily, he mutters he didn’t think dying would be so painful.

As he comes out of his fog, he wonders that if he has met his maker he looks awfully familiar. Before him is a giant statue of his head. This is too weird, he mutters, seeing more heads in a row depicting Cyclops, Colossus, Storm and Sunfire. If anyone wants him he will be in a coma. From some distance, a curious young native woman discovers him.

Meanwhile, atop the Excalibur’s lighthouse, a dejected Meggan sits, recalling how close she came to eating a poor little doggie. To say nothing of the chunk she took out of Kurt shoulder. Depressed, she subconsciously takes on the shape of the gulls flying around her. Glumly, she wonders whether she should simply leave the team.

Captain Britain joins her and Meggan quickly returns to her ordinary form. He tells her not to blame herself for what happened and adds that Kurt took Dr Strange’s advice to take some time off to recover. If he knows Kurt as well as he thinks he does, he’s probably having the time of his life. Being a member of Excalibur doesn’t automatically mean everything has to go wrong.

Kurt awakes when he hears a shrill scream. The native girl that watched him before is being dragged away by native men. Kurt follows them at some distance to a volcano, where he witnesses a religious ceremony with the natives throwing fruit down the volcano. The only thing missing is a human sacrifice, Kurt thinks.

As if on cue, the natives are getting ready to throw the girl into the hole. He and his big mouth, Kurt thinks. He teleports in front of them, which predictably leaves him weakened. He grabs the girl, noting that the men seem to almost worship him. However, his weakness causes him to fall over the edge off the volcano with the girl.

A mysterious rock plateau forms out of nowhere beneath them, breaking their fall. She noticed it as well? he remarks as the girl says something in her native language. Good, he thought it was just him.

The rock moves them into a side cavern. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear this island was alive. Faru kri anstru? the girl asks. Right, he agrees. The only living island he knows is probably orbiting Pluto by now.

She shouts something as before them they sees a huge green lifeform and hieroglyphs on the walls, which Kurt realizes are telling the story of how the X-Men beat the living isle Krakoa. The natives probably witnessed this which explains their reverence for the X-Men, but why the human sacrifice?

Maybe it’s because they know that spores from the departing Krakoa fell back to Earth, the green lifeform suddenly suggest. Maybe because it needs the occasional essence of a human soul to build its strength in order to avenge its sire. Maybe still it is because they know that not even their pitiful X-gods can save them from… the son of Krakoa!

Those are all very good reasons, Nightcrawler deadpans. Does he have to choose from them or does he get to make up one of his own?

The native woman standing behind Kurt screams something challenging at Krakoa Jr. Kurt tells her he appreciates the vote of confidence, but now isn’t the time to make him angry. She retorts with something snarky. She didn’t mean that, Kurt says automatically. He doesn’t know what she’s saying? Krakoa Jr. mocks and translates. Danke, Kurt remarks and asks him to tell her to make her way to the surface and bring back reinforcements. Amused, Krakoa Jr. complies. The girl walks away disgusted. Men. Apparently, she expected more from her god.

Who thought recreating the world in his image would be so much fun? the creature adds. Recreating the whole world? Kurt repeats. Pretty ambitious… Not at all, Junior replies. As his father he is of this earth. As the only spore that did not drown he is the forebear of a new race. He is… Vega-Superior!

Please be serious, Kurt protests. Tendrils spring from Junior as he threatens to suck the essence of Kurt’s mutant abilities into himself. There’s such a thing as being too serious, Kurt decides as tendrils grab him.

Junior muses that he should develop a sense of humor before bringing about the genocide of the human race. He’s free on Tuesday if he’d like a lesson, Kurt offers weakly He will be dead long before Tuesday, comes the reply. Maybe Kurt replies and grabs a stalactite with which he cuts himself free. He’s faced worse challenges in the Danger Room. When it was turned off.

He climbs up as Junior threatens he will not escape them. “Them?” Kurt asks. The new life form that will soon walk this Earth. Oh, that them, Kurt replies.

Krakoa Jr. explains that during the X-Men’s brief visit to his father’s isle, he memorized their genetic codes. As his direct descendant, he shares all of Krakoa’s memories. He has used that information to breed a new race of men. Elemental beings, an ice Wolverine, a lava Cyclops and a stone Colossus arise. He calls them…

Please don’t say it, Kurt mutters.

… the Vega-Men!

He’ll say this for him, Kurt remarks. What he lacks for in authenticity, he makes up for with really stupid names.

This from a man who calls himself Nightcrawler? the island retorts while his Vega-Men attack him. Evading “Cyclops,” Kurt admits touché, but adds a Colossus made of stone, a lava spouting Cyclops and a Wolverine made of ice… it’s not the same. Evading “Wolverine’s” strike, he needles the island that even Krakoa would have known that it takes more than one punch to knock out Wolverine, as he demonstrates. If Logan were alive today, he thinks he would be spinning in his grave.

He swings up behind “Cyclops,” remarking he couldn’t do that to the original. On the bright side, if all the Vega-Men are going to be this easily defeated, he’ll probably have time to get a tan before he goes. Observing Colossus, he realizes that the Vega Men are absorbed into the earth as soon as they are beaten.

The girl shouts something and the island translates it as Die, false god! Die, die, die! Kurt gets the basic idea and bamfs away to reappear outside. He realizes he’s managed three ‘ports in one day. Keep pushing himself like this, they’re going to be picking blue fur off the beach for weeks All in all he’d rather be at home fighting Warwolves.

Not enjoying himself? comes the question as Junior’s version of the Angel grabs him. Junior boasts that he is one with the isle. As he grows and matures he can control very aspect of the isle. What it sees, he sees. What it feels, he feels. Kurt grabs a branch from a tree and hits Angel with it, hoping Junior will feel the pain. Startled, Angel lets him go.

Kurt lands utterly exhausted. He notices other islanders trying to tell him something. The meaning becomes too clear as the island version of Nigtcrawler himself takes him into a chokehold. Kurt easily frees himself though and tosses his double into the trees.

He will pay for this, Junior mutters. He’s afraid, his American Express traveller checks went down with the plane, Kurt quips. Suddenly, he notes the double melting. He believes the term is teleporting, the double replies and adds a bumph noise.

Hands suddenly begin to grab Kurt’s leg from the ground beneath him, as he protests. Nightcrawler suggests he never try out a new power during a fight and slams him away with a stick. As he is thrown into a tree and loses contact with the ground, the creature also loses its life. Apparently, Junior’s bond with the isle is more tenuous than he’d have him believe, Kurt realizes.

Suddenly, Junior himself with the angry woman on his shoulder appears to kill Kurt personally. Kurt suggests his Gal Friday is a negative influence on his personality. What happened to the cheerful, fun-loving, quip-spouting junior from moments ago? Junior, however, has no more time for jokes; he has a world to conquer.

What with his mind made up and all he will pardon him for swimming ahead and warning the rest of the planet, Kurt remarks and dives into the ocean, hoping Junior will follow. Egged on by the girl, Junior does so.

When he is in the water, Kurt asks if he’s sure there aren’t any siblings of his Kurt will meet. No chance of that, Junior replies. He was the only spore to land on an island while the rest fell into the sea and… drowned. With that, he sinks and dies, leaving his would-be bride alone and in a snit.

Some time later, Rachel, Meggan and Captain Britain are looking for Kurt and finally search the island. They find he is more than okay. As Kurt is waited upon by the natives, he greets them on Wagner’s Isle. Rachel asks who the woman in the cage is. An old island tradition, Kurt explains. Any islander who offends the god, him in this case, is sentenced to a month in the cage.

After they settle down for a sumptuous feast Kurt begins to narrate what happened. He was flying here in the plane when he…

That plane has been in his family for years, Brian interrupts him. If anything happened to it…

Meggan asks Brian to let Kurt continue. Maybe he should start in the middle, Kurt suggests. After he safely navigated the plane to the shore…

Characters Involved: 

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

“Vega Superior” / Krakoa Jr.


Native girl

Story Notes: 

The title refers to John Donne’s Meditation XVII.

Meggan acted possessed due to dark energies last issue.

The X-Men fought Krakoa in Giant Size X-Men #1, the story that introduced the all new all different X-Men.

At this point, the members of Excalibur (like most of the world) believe the X-Men to be dead after the events of “Fall of the Mutants.”

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