Excalibur (1st series) #38

Issue Date: 
June 1991
Story Title: 
Out on a Limbo – book two of “The Promethium Exchange”

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

Excalibur created by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis

Brief Description: 

The West Coast Avengers arrive at Excalibur’s lighthouse and close the portal to limbo that threatens to draw in chunks of the countryside as well as Alistaire Stuart. Next, they leave for Limbo where Doom has left the unconscious members of Excalibur at the mercies of demons who have taken the form of heroes. The Avengers quickly dispatch of the demon-heroes and, after the usual fight due to a misunderstanding (between Captain Britain and Wonder Man), the two groups team up. They form teams of two to close each of the five portals between Earth and Limbo. They manage to do so, but are nevertheless too late as, witnessed by a mysterious captive demon who hates Doom, the villain uses the Soulsword to destroy the literal heart of Limbo, making everything native to the place revert to Promethium.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere in England, Alistaire Stuart is left alone outside Excalibur’s lighthouse. The team left only ten minutes ago. Still, waiting is the worst part, he thinks. Hearing a noise, he exclaims that this sudden ominous rumbling runs a close second. He jumps backward as part of the cliff he is standing on is torn away.

At that moment in Limbo, Captain Britain suggests to Doom’s demons that maybe they can talk this out. I say thee nay! a Thor demon informs him and hits him. And I say double nay an ordinary demon adds as he too strikes and Cap lands far away.

Satisfied, Doom sees that none of Excalibur are left standing. Have his loyal servants pleased him? one of the demons asks Doom. Pleased is a bit strong, Doom replies. He does, however, confess to being intrigued by the forms the local demons have chosen. As always, they felt the needs and thoughts of he who rules their dimension, comes the reply. For the moment, that is he.

Shall they have the humans tortured in his honor? There is no honor in torture, Doom replies. They were noble, albeit brief, adversaries. Kill them! Quickly, he orders. He walks towards the castle, intending to secure the eternally energizing metal that is Promethium. Then he shall rule Earth as easily as he rules this ghetto of a dimension that was once called Limbo. If anybody wants him, he shall, be in the castle.

Back at the light house, Alistaire notes the anomaly is getting larger, its pull stronger. He says good-bye to Rachel, fearing he is going to die.

That moment, the West Coast Avengers arrive from the ocean. The Lady of the Lake refers to the anomaly, telling them the destruction of England has already begun.

Quicksilver quickly saves Alistaire. Iron Man wants to attack the anomaly and the Lady calls out that his repulsors are useless. The portal only absorbs mass.

Tigra and Wonder Man throw chunks of ground at the gateway to make it overload. The Scarlet Witch and the Lady help with magic and probability altering. And quickly the anomaly is closed up… for now.

The Lady of the Lake fears it may be for naught. This is but one of five dimensional portals scattered throughout the ever mystical realm of England. In order to secure Doom’s beloved Promethium, it will be necessary to collapse Otherplace in on itself.

So because nature abhors a vacuum, the entire country will be pulled through the portal to fill the void of this Otherplace which they’ve been referring to as Magik’s Limbo, Alistaire pipes up.

Alistaire belatedly introduces himself, adding he is a confidant of her Majesty’s greatest superteam, Excalibur. That would be the same Excalibur that provided Doom with the Soulsword? Wonder Man asks. You Yanks never make a mistake? Alistaire shoots back sourly. If they are ready to depart? the Lady asks.

Elsewhere, a wannabe Wolverine demon gets ready to do something terrible to Shadowcat’s face. Say good night, babe, he announces. He never gets the chance, as Iron Man tackles him, informing him if he’s supposed to be Wolverine, the phrase is “bub.” The West Coast Avengers have arrived.

Someone tell her she’s asleep, Kitty mutters. That she didn’t help Doom enter Limbo. And most importantly that they are not being rescued by the Avengers. Brian’s gonna kill her.

The Avengers don’t find much in the way of resistance as the demons prove cowardly (or are taking a break for dramatic effect, according to them) and run.

Soon, Kitty, Nightcrawler and Meggan of Excalibur have awakened and face the Whackos. Nigtcrawler thanks them on behalf of their team. And on behalf of their team, Quicksilver announces, they’d like to know whatever possessed them to trust Dr—

Wanda quickly shushes her brother.

In the meantime, Iron Man frees Phoenix from the Encephalographic loop. He recognizes the device Doom used to incapacitate Rachel? Kitty marvels. Where does she think Doom stole the idea from? the inventor retorts.

Meggan reminds the others of Captain Britain’s plight – trapped at the bottom of a ravine and very mad.

When Wonder Man tries to help him up, Cap immediately strikes him, telling him not only is the ugliest demon yet, he’s also the laziest. What is he talking about? Simon protests. Cap hits him, informing him that he shows no attention to detail. That “W” on his chest should be an S. And where’s the cape?

Having had enough, Simon informs him that he doesn’t know who Cap thinks he is, but the name is Wonder Man! With a W. He strikes Cap (who stands corrected.

Ah, the smell of testosterone in the air, Rachel announces as she lights up the Phoenix effect. An entire dimension full of demons and they slug it out between themselves.

Nightcrawler too suggests that this team-up will go a lot smoother if they stop pounding each other.

The two apologize and make up. Wanda turns to Phoenix. Her magic has located each of the five portals. If Rachel could project it into everyone’s minds… The Scarlet Witch has taken command, deciding they will split up in teams of two, one member from each team. They’ll draw on Excalibur’s experience here. Once they destroy the portals, they’ll rendezvous at Doom’s castle. Any questions?

They leave, unaware that one particular demon considers them his pawns, planning for them to dispose of Doom’s plan, for although it will mean the deaths of all who dwell within this dark dimension it is surely the only way he may ever know eternal peace.

Nightcrawler and the Scarlet Witch are heading for the first portal, a small ruin on a summit. Nightcrawler thought it would be bigger. Let them be thankful it is not, Wanda announces. With luck, they’ll have destroyed it and departed before they are confronted by Doom’s safeguard. Then again mayhap not, a Dr. Strange demon replies, attacking together with a Mr. Fantastic.

How disappointing, the Witch remarks. One would think Doom’s subconscious would have been more creative when designing demons. Under his rule these are little more than Dr Strange and Mr. Fantastic doppelgangers.

Doppelgangers? Kurt asks. Sprechen Sie deutsch, Fraulein? (Do you speak German, Miss?)

Jawohl, natuerlich, mein herr,(Yes, of course, Sir) Wanda replies.

Attacking them, the Dr. Strange protests what ancient gibberish they are spouting. It was German, Wanda explains as she fends him off and if he had been raised in Europe like Kurt and herself he’d be bilingual as well.

Mr. Fantastic tries to keep up with Kurt who teleports through the pain. Wanda tries to point out to the demon that if Doom succeeds in imploding the dimension, they will perish. Does she think living as a demon is fun? comes the reply. She doesn’t suppose it’s any worse than being a mutant, Wanda surmises.

Kurt, in the meantime, has managed to trap his demon between the pillars and kicks him in the face first, then ties him up with his own elastic body. Wollen Sie tanzen mit meinen freund? he asks Wanda. Es schmesht mir gut, she replies.

So, Kurt takes out Strange with a rock and Wanda uses her hexes to have Mr. Fantastic snap like a rubber band. One more hex bolt to destroy the portal and their mission is completed.

Iron Man and Meggan head for the second gate, only to be expected by more demons trying to be the Silver Surfer and the Human Torch. Meggan apes the Torch’s power to fight him. The Surfer attacks her with the power cosmic. Iron Man like a true gentleman throws himself between Meggan and the blast, meaning his armor has to recover.

Meggan uses the magic of the dimension to also mimic the Surfer’s power. The two demons turn smaller under her attack and shrink into nothingness. Meggan and Iron Man destroy the gate.

Shadowcat and Tigra hide behind some rocks close to the third gate, watching an absurd scene, namely three demons arguing which one of them is the true Wolverine.

One of them asks how the boulder got there to block the gateway (that was the gateway closed by the Lady of the Lake and the Avengers from the other side before they entered Limbo). Who cares? another Wolverine informs him. They’ll just unget it!

What does she think happens after they remove the boulder? Kitty whispers. She’s seen it first hand, Tigra replies. It gets ugly.

One of the Wolverines sniffs. Does anyone beside him smell… a Kitty? Two actually, Tigra replies as they show themselves. Kitty orders them to step away from the portal and nobody gets hurt.

Nobody threatens Wolverine and lives to tell about it, one Wolverine replies. Kitty kicks him in the face. She knew Wolverine. He was a personal friend of her. And he is no Wolverine! Or he would have prepared himself against the ninja techniques the real Wolverine taught her.

Tigra lifts Wolverine number two. The two heroines toss their Wolverines against each other and Kitty phases them into one single ball. And since no two objects can exist in the same place at the same time, they explode. Problem taken care of.

A Thing and a Thor guard another portal. Thing complains his talents are wasted here. I hearest thee, Thor sighs.

Captain Britain taps Thor on the shoulder: pardon me, is this jaw taken? He hits him.

Didn’t he get enough bruises the first time round? Thing mocks. What makes him think he’ll do better in a rematch? Because this time he brought a friend, Cap replies as Wonder Man makes his entrance.

Maybe they can talk this out? the demon suggests nervously. Let’s not! Simon replies and slugs him as does Cap.

In the meantime, Thor has recovered and calls up a thunderstorm to hit Simon. Instead of hurting Wonder Man, though, he manages to finish off his own pal.

Thor warns them back. No rational man would dare face the full unfettered fury of a thunder god. If he were a rational man, he wouldn’t have become a superhero, Cap retorts. Together, they finish him off and close the portal, Simon tells him they should rejoin the others. On the way, he can tell him the Hercules story….

Phoenix and Quicksilver attack the last two demons, a Professor X who possesses more mass than mind and an Invisible Woman who is translucent at best. She thinks they lucked out, Rachel remarks, sparring with the two lamest demons in the dimension. So it would appear, the speedster agrees.

Do they have any idea what being invisible does to one’s self-esteem? the demon protests. She then stops Quicksilver in mid-run with a translucent forcefield. Phoenix mentally makes Professor X believe he is attacking her while really he is taking out the Translucent Woman. Quicksilver thanks her by hitting the Prof.

They could have phoned in that battle, Rachel sighs, though she wonders what AT&T would charge for the destruction of a dimensional gateway? The Phoenix raptor flares up as she destroys the doorway.

From his castle, Doom sees the raptor and realizes that she is alive and that no doubt that goes for the rest of Excalibur as well. No matter, he decides. By the time they arrive here at the castle, he will have destroyed this dimension.

But he is curious, he turns around to address a dark demon held prisoner by one of Doom’s demons. How did he manage to lie to Doom? Unlike Belasco or the child named Magik – the previous rulers of Limbo – Doom’s will is supreme over every demon who dwells herein.

True, the prisoner replies. Even the demon lord named S’ym, who ruled the demonic hordes before Doom’s arrival hasn’t got the strength to oppose Doom. But he was not born of this dimension. Doom’s control over him ended several years ago, shortly before he became encased in the remains of the mortal coil Doom sees before him. Though his identity remains a mystery, he can tell Doom this much: He sees before him a man who shall rid the world of the horror that is Dr. Doom!

Then he suggests he do so quickly, Doom replies. In moments, he shall plunge the magical Soulsword into the very heart of this dimension. Every grain of sand – every living creature native to Otherplace - will revert to its natural state of Promethium. Ironic, isn’t it? The death of one dimension will herald the birth of a new era for another. For as sole possessor of the Promethium, it will only be a matter of time before he at last reigns supreme over all of Earth.

He dares turn his back on him? the demon exclaims. The heart Doom meant is literal. And just as the heroes storm the castle, the last thing they see is Doom plunging the Soulsword into said heart. They are too late!

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

Darkoth (Unnamed)

Story Notes: 

Alistaire’s last name is misspelled “Steward” here.

Meggan is mis-colored as Tigra on page 7.

Cap mistakes Wonder Man for Superman.

The German dialogue between Nightcrawler and Wanda is:

“Do you want to dance with my friend?”

“It tastes good (sic),” probably meant to mean: “it suits me fine.”

AT&T is a phone company.

Kitty refers to Wolverine in the past tense, because at this point she still believes the X-Men are dead.

Issue Information: 
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