Excalibur (1st series) #37

Issue Date: 
May 1991
Story Title: 
House Call – book one of “The Promethium Exchange”

Scott Lobdell (author), Mark Badger (artist), Glynis Oliver (colors), Chris Eliopoulous (letterer), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom deFalco (editor in chief)

Excalibur created by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis

Brief Description: 

Doctor Doom pays a visit to his former patient, Kitty Pryde. However, he is less concerned about her recovery and more about her theoretical mastery of Limbo and the promethium there, which he could use to solve the energy crisis for the entire world. After Phoenix reads his mind, Kitty decides to go along with him and lead him to Limbo by taking up the Soulsword. Excalibur, however, doesn’t trust Doom and secretly follows the two. With good reason. On the way to Limbo, Doom uses the first opportunity to get the Soulsword from Kitty and proves to be treacherous. He intends to make the world dependent on Latveria for energy. Excalibur attacks, but proves to be no match for Doom (though Doom inadvertently solves Nightcrawler’s teleportation problem for him). Finally, only Doom and Captain Britain are left standing and Limbo demons which look like Earth heroes, who obey Doom. In the meantime, the Lady of the Lake, distrusting Excalibur’s bumbling, has asked the West Coast Avengers for help against Doom.

Full Summary: 

Early morning in the Excalibur lighthouse. Still in their pyjamas, the team is gathered in the kitchen trying to get some semblance of breakfast. Kitty tries to carry the plates to the table, attempting to practice staying solid. Unfortunately she is distracted by Lockheed and drops the plates.

That’s Braddock china, Captain Britain protests. It’s been in his family for years! It might be time to invest in another set, Kurt suggests.

Rachel refuses to catch the plates telekinetically, focusing on the percolator while Nightcrawler uses his teleportation and acrobatics to at least catch some plates. He doesn’t suppose half an antique collection is better than none? he ventures. No, he doesn’t suppose it is, Cap replies annoyed as he tries to catch the rest.

If he had a butler, this wouldn’t happen, Rachel grumbles. The Avengers have a butler. Why doesn’t he get a butler? She though everyone in England had a butler.

A nanny is more like it, to nursemaid them crazy Yanks, he rants catching a plates, unfortunately a cup gets away. That’s his favourite cup! Brian shouts. Rachel tells him to grow up. He’s a superhero. Super heroes don’t have favourite cups! Having had enough, Lockheed catches the cup.

Meggan, in the meantime, is busy at the stove, trying to cook pancakes for the first time. She offers a plate full to the others. Who’s first? she asks. Love to, but she’s allergic, Kitty replies. To eggs? Meggan wonders. To open flame, comes the reply, as Kitty refers to the fact, the pancakes are actually on fire.

Phoenix decides to sacrifice herself. If she can survive the Warwolves, she can probably survive Meggan’s first pancake, she figures.

Kurt remarks that, as Meggan’s private tutor, he must commend her on the phone message she took for Kitty (Kitty- Dr. Doom kaled, bee bye tumorow –M). Of course, he questions the authenticity of the caller.

Oh no, Meggan replies happily, she wrote it herself. Isn’t it exciting? The king of Latveria calling here. He’s very famous. She saw him profiled on Panarama.

That reminds her, Rachel remarks, she’s supposed to take the Warwolves for their allergy shots today. Can she get her breakfast to go? The others begin to snicker except for Meggan who replies those are nasty beasts. Does Rachel think that is wise?

She’d join her, Kitty joins in, but she’s taking the Crazy Gang to the zoo at noon. No prob, Rachel replies. But who’ll be around to help the Technet move in this afternoon? Brian finally remarks.

As the others laugh openly, Meggan finally realizes that they are making fun of her. She turns to the door as the bell is ringing. The others call after her: if it’s the Juggernaut, tell him the super-villain brunch is next week.

With her outside, Rachel remarks she’s so gullible. Rachel isn’t even from this time period and she recognizes a prank call. That’s his Meggan, as innocent and trusting as she is beautiful, Brian boasts. For that very reason it is cruel to tease her so, Kurt protests.

Meggan strides in, telling them she bets they feel stupid. Mortified. Aghast, totally dissed, the others reply, only Brian asks why. Because he’s here in the living room, she replies and throws open the door to admit Doctor Doom, who greets them with a mild “hello.”

Rachel instantly changes their pyjamas to their costumes as the team gets ready for an attack save for the still smug Meggan and Kitty who slams the door before the team and reminds them he called to talk to her.

Phoenix is unconvinced. She wants to fight him. She owes him for something he’s going to do in the alternative future where she was born. As for the here and now, Cap adds, doesn’t Doom realize a man’s home is his castle? Probably, Meggan retorts, Doom’s home is a castle.

Aren’t they all overreacting? Kitty asks. Why should they trust him? Brian asks. Kitty reminds them that Doom didn’t ambush them. He did call. They can at least hear him out.

Kitty’s phases into the living room, asking: what’s up, doc? She takes it this isn’t about her two thousand mile check-up? She’s still under warranty, isn’t she?

So to speak, comes the reply. While he confesses to being curious as to her condition, since he saved her life, it is he who requires her assistance. He continues that there’s a mystical metal known as Promethium. As an energy source, it is inexhaustible and waste-free. It would mean the end of Earth’s energy crisis. Forever.

Rad, Kitty replies. So what does he need his favourite ex-patient for? He explains that the metal is located in the pocket dimension so quaintly referred to as Limbo. And she is his sole means of entrance to the mystical domain. He needs her to draws the Soulsword.

Magik’s soulsword? she asks. The one embedded in front of the lighthouse? Is there another? he asks.

The others eavesdrop. Let her get this straight, Kitty asks. Unlimited wastefree energy? Could that mean… no greenhouse effect? No global warming? Or acid rain? No oil wars? Nothing, he agrees, but peace and prosperity.

What’s to keep him from becoming the financial ruler of the world? she asks. The energy would be free, Doom replies. She has his word. His word, eh? Okay, she agrees.

What? the others chorus. May they see her in the kitchen Captain Britain asks seething and drags her through the door which they then slam shut. Has her brain gone totally ethereal? Rachel demands.

Fools, Doom thinks to himself, then his attention wanders to a painting on the wall. An original Van der Woulde. He thought he owned all the original Van der Wouldes. Hmpf.

While he simply takes the picture Kitty announces to her friends in the kitchen that she believes him. The man is a despot, he can’t be trusted! Captain Britain protests. Kurt and Rachel agree, but Kitty reminds them that Doom saved her life. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a good guy, Rachel retorts.

Before the discussion gets ugly Doom steps into the room and suggests an easy solution. He addresses Phoenix: To paraphrase another “despotic world leader”… ready my thoughts!

Rachel does so. She skims his memories: Childhood spent as a gypsy fugitive from Latverian authorities, the accident that scarred him, tutelage under Tibetan monks and the creation of his armour, his ascension to the Latverian throne and his recent attempts at world-domination based in a deep-rooted need to serve the people of Earth as their natural leader. She senses arrogance, the forced solitude of leadership. But nope. No evil per se. Is she sure? Cap demands. She’s the Phoenix, she reminds him, celestial avatar. She knows evil. He’s clean.

Okay, she can go, Cap announces. But a minute ago he said… Kurt protests. That was a minute ago, Brian replies and tells him to shush.

And so soon they find themselves in front of the Lighthouse where the Soulsword is embedded. Kitty touches the sword hilt, the others watch as Doom begins a spell. Is there anything he can’t do? Kitty wonders aloud. Knit, he deadpans. He finds it repetitious.

Can they go over it again? she asks. What is it she’s supposed to do? With this minor spell, Doom repeats, he is only weakening the mystical barrier between their dimension and the next. As the only living being who can draw the Soulsword, the embodiment of her former comrade’s magical might, Kitty can cleave the barrier in two. This will allow them to travel via a pocket dimension and enter Limbo undetected by its demonic denizens.

Is this the right thing to do? Meggan whispers to Brian. If Doom wants into Magik’s Limbo, he’ll get it, he replies. This way at least they can keep tabs on him.

Kitty draws the sword and is covered from neck to toe in mystical armour. The others still whisper and act silently, hooking Widget up to Kitty’s dimensional fine tuner.

That moment, Alistaire Stuart turns up and loudly asks if he missed breakfast. Sorry, Rachel tells him. Dr Doom arrived and talked Kitty into a cross-dimensional mining expedition into Limbo and guess who has to chaperone? No need for sarcasm, Alistaire replies. He apologizes for being late.

Kitty pierces the barrier while she asks why Doom knows so much about the Soulsword and Promethium and just about everything. It was all covered in but one of the chapters of the Darkhold, he replies. Why does she find that less than reassuring? Kitty mumbles.

They enter a tunnel and walk through. How is she doing for a novice? Kitty asks. She’s doing well, he replies. For a novice. And the gate closes behind them, but Widget duplicates the coordinates, powered by Phoenix.

He supposes that means breakfast is off, Alistaire asks. Any instructions while they are gone? Feed the lighthouse twice daily? Cap orders. Whether it needs it or not.

After realizing he’s been had, Alistaire wonders what sentient lighthouses ear. Any preferences?

A bit away, in the water, the Lady of the Lake harrumphes. Mortals! With defenders of the throne like these, who needs enemies?

On the way to Limbo Kitty asks what the rational for this so-called shortcut was. Doom replies that the so-called Inferno proved that the hordes of Limbo do not always follow the wishes of their ruler. That’s what spooks her, Kitty admits. And until they arrive she is not even sorceress supreme. Anything could happen. How could that have slipped his mind? Doom asks. She wonders, Kitty replies and warns him that if anything happens to her, he’ll be stuck.

At that moment, demon shapes rise from the ground and grab her with the tentacles. Kitty finds the armour cancels her phasing powers. What a thoroughly unforeseen complication, Doom remarks and grabs the Soulsword out of her hand. Kitty loses the armour and he hacks through the tentacles, freeing her. After he’s done, Kitty demands he fork over the sword, but Doom ignores her and strides ahead.

They finally arrive. What gives, Doom? Kitty demands. He said he needed her in Limbo. No, he said he needed her to draw the Soulsword. There’s a difference.

Kitty notes that, with the armour gone, she is no longer sorceress supreme of Limbo. She never was, Doom corrects her. While others, for reasons of their own, chose to call this place “Limbo,” it is not. Time passes here. True Limbo is timeless. There exist natural predators here. In true Limbo, there are but transient and displaced souls. There is no sovereign of true Limbo. But while he possesses the Soulsword, he is ruler of this mystic domain.

Naturally, he’ll pardon them if they try to stop him? Kitty asks rhetorically, and Lockheed blasts fire at him. Naturally, he replies dryly. And they’ll pardon him if his forcefield deflects the dragon’s flames?

He used her! she shouts. Set her up from word one. He has no intention of sharing the Promethium with the rest of the world, does he? On the contrary, he replies. As he promised, the energy would be dispensed for free… up until the moment all of Earth becomes dependent on his nation of Latveria for power. After that, only those countries that swear total allegiance to Doom shall continue to function. He swats Lockheed away.

Kitty attack Dooms, aware of the fact it is rather stupid as he might be able to cancel her powers. Indeed, he slaps her away. Alone she is no match for him, he warns her. Time for Excalibur to reveal themselves. So who’s alone? Phoenix asks threateningly.

Meanwhile in America, the home compound of the West Coast Avengers (at the moment Wonder Man, Iron Man, Quicksilver, Tigra and the Scarlet Witch):

The team is taking it easy, lazing around the pool while Iron Man (in armor) is firing up the grill for a barbecue.

Lying at the pool, Wanda suggests to Wonder Man who’s carrying the burgers they’d all eat a lot sooner if he stopped ogling and hurry up with the food. Who’s ogling? he asks and falls over his own feet. Thankfully, the superfast Quicksilver catches the burgers, muttering annoyed: don’t get up anyone. Let the world’s fastest mutant do all the work. As usual.

Don’t hurry on her account, Tigra suggests. She likes her burgers like she likes her men… Raw? he asks. No, well-done with lots of onions, comes the reply. Half woman, half cat, all incorrigible Wanda remarks.

They really should have that step fixed, Simon mutters. Maybe they should have him fixed, Quicksilver replies pointedly. Iron Man warns them to play nice.

Lying down next to Wanda, Greer announces satisfied: no world threats, no doomsday devices, no rampaging monsters. This is the life! There, now she’s ruined it, Wand replies. She’s ruined what? Once anyone mentions how nothing happens… everything happens, Wanda explains. Isn’t she being a bit… superstitious? Tigra asks. She’s the Scarlet Witch, comes the reply. She’s supposed to be superstitious.

The pool begins to hiss and something takes form. What did she tell her? Wanda remarks. The water turns into the Lady of the Lake. Wanda identifies her. She explains she has traversed the world to enlist the aid of Iron Man, he who has championed the Greater Isle of Britain in times past. Once again his adversary Doctor Doom threatens the welfare of her people. Despite their best intentions the defenders of the realm known as Excalibur are his unwitting pawns. If he is to succeed in his latest bid for world domination, it will begin with the total obliteration of England. She disappears. She supposes this means lunch is off! Tigra sighs.

In Limbo, Doom is being roasted in Phoenix fire as he begs for mercy, a mercy Phoenix denies. Trouble being that it’s happening only as an encephalo-hologram, an endless loop Rachel is trapped in. Brian realizes Doom ascertained her brain wavelengths when he “allowed” her to read his mind.

Kurt tries to teleport close to Doom. But he ‘ports partially into Doom’s electro-magnetic force field which hurts him, leaving him no choice but to teleport out again, even though the strain of multiple ‘ports usually about does him in. Except… there is no strain! In fact, teleporting suddenly proves easy again. Could exposure to the force field have realigned his mutant ability to teleport electromagnetically? That can only mean… he’s cured! Kurt shouts as he teleports multiple time.

Cap tells him to stop, warning him that Doom can probably change his direction on whim. The next moment, Doom proves him right by directing Kurt at Meggan. His apologies, Kurt mutters. He’d be forgiven sooner if he didn’t look like he was fancying it so much, Cap states sourly.

Shall they get this over with? Doom asks bored. They certainly shall, Cap announces and flies at him. Cap hits Doom’s forcefield. Doom orbits Limbo and lands again… atop Cap. Both are surprised to find the other man still standing.

Angrily, Doom announces he cannot allow him to further disrupt his plan. He and what army? Cap shoots back. Wouldja believe this one? a demon horde that has gathered replies. Those demons look suspiciously like demon versions of Earth heroes. So, Vic, the Mr Fantastic lookalike demon addresses Doom. Is he going to introduce them to his buddy or what?

He understands his unconditional surrender is no longer an option, Doom remarks. Surely, Cap replies.

Characters Involved: 

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


Alistaire Stuart

Iron Man, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, Tigra, Wonder Man (all Avengers West Coast)

Lady of the Lake

Doctor Doom

Limbo demons

Story Notes: 

Captain Britain’s joke that the Technet are going to move in is going to bite him in the back in issue #42.

Kitty was cured of her out of control phasing by Reed Richards and Doctor Doom in the Fantastic Four vs. the X-Men limited series.

Kitty inherited the Soulsword in Excalibur (1st series) #7 when Magik reverted to a child after the Inferno storyline.

Kitty created the dimensional finetuner in issue #20.

The Darkhold is a tome of blackest magic, usually connected with the ancient demon Chton.

The Lady of the Lake is the name of several related characters who play parts in the Arthurian legend. These characters' roles include giving King Arthur his sword Excalibur, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father.

Nightcrawler’s limited teleportation ability was caused by injuries he sustained first at the hands of Nimrod in Uncanny X-Men #209 and then by the Marauder Riptide in Uncanny X-Men #211.

For more information on the other dimensional realm, check out the UXN’s X-Marks the Spot article on Limbo.

Issue Information: 
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