Excalibur (1st series) #51

Issue Date: 
June 1992
Story Title: 
Don’t Drink the Water

Alan Davis (writer), Dougie Braithwaite (penciler), Jeff Albrecht, José Marzan, Mark McKenna & Jimmy Palmiotti (inkers), Michael Heisler (letterer), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Terry Kavanagh (editor), Tom deFalco (editor-in-chief)

Excalibur created by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis

Brief Description: 

While the members of Excalibur rest, there is a crisis in Brighton with dinosaurs running wild, formerly the dinosaur tourists who were stranded here. The answer to that lies on a parallel Earth inhabited by evolved, peaceful saurids, where the human tourists are stranded and where a Saurid Excalibur is trying to find their missing tourists. The quest takes them along with Karl Lykos to the Savage Land – a polluted city – where the High Evolutionary is using the human tourists to try and create a human race with the help of the brainwashed Fantastic Five. Excalibur and Lykos manage to beat the Evolutionary and free the FF. Their version of Reed Richards helps them to return the human tourists and gather their own devolved citizens. Earth 616’s Excalibur learns of this only after their answering machine. Happily they also learn that Professor Xavier and Jean Grey are en route to Britain to help them with the comatose Rachel. In Brighton, Gatecrasher is haunted by visions of Hawd-boiled Henwy, who demands revenge for his pointless death.

Full Summary: 

The members of Excalibur sit in front of a screen. They can’t watch a film without popcorn, Kitty Pryde complains. Brigadier Stuart replies her levity is inappropriate. WHO does not request Excalibur’s assistance without just cause as this recording will demonstrate.

The film shows a beefeater, a scared couple with a young child and a bored teenager sitting. The beefeater suggests they jump the ugly blighters next time they bring grub. Them weird faces is just pantomime masks. Of course, this is all a prank, British humor, the father suggests with a forced laugh. Throw an innocent family of Americans in jail and watch them sweat. Maybe the camera is behind that mirror, his wife suggests. Candid camera, the man agrees. All cool, they can take a joke. Then he breaks down and shouts at them to let them go already They’ve been here two days! They are human beings!

The film stops. Human beings? Excalibur ask. The brigadier called them in to help with a missing person case. Yeah, the file says Wilbur and Martha Griswald, her children Calvin and Susie and a beefeater guide, color sergeant Vaughan all vanished during a tour of the Tower of London, Kitty adds. Yes, the brigadier replies and the creatures they have just observed claim to have the same names and similar biographical details.

She switches on the light and explains they believe them to b from an alternate reality that is dominated by mammals. With the lightswitch, it is revealed that they are all man-sized saurians.

Shadowcompsognathus aka Kitty shivers. Mammals, All cold and slimy. Britanicus Rex corrects her that most are warm-blooded. He encountered many of the species during his Corps training on Otherworld. He wants to see the captives to try and deduce their point of origin and location of their people. Brigadier Alysdon Stuart refuses. Her twin brother Alysaur explains that the humans were kidnapped last night by agents of the High Evolutionary. The insane genius who created the Savage Land? Nightstrutter asks. Alysaur explains they believe he plans to use the humans to further his attempt to create a superior species. But he will never succeed. His ungodly experiments are blights on their environmentally friendly culture.

The brigadier introduces a scientist to them: Dr. Karl Lykos. Their expert on the Savage Land. Lykos admits he does not relish his expertise. It was won with bitter, terrifying experience. He was with his father while he surveyed the mountain range that encircles the Savage Land when he was attacked by the savage spawn of the Evolutionary… wild barbarian… vile … evil!

Britanicus Rex tries to calm him. He barely escaped with his life, Lykos finishes. Alysaur adds that things have deteriorated since then. The Fantastic Five went to the Savage Land some weeks ago and haven’t been heard from since. Rex promises they will return the humans and rescue their people, wherever they may be.

Earth 616:

The missing dinosaur tourists find themselves in Brighton, currently sick from the bad food and water. Martha blames her husband Wilbur for their situation. He insisted a European vacation would do them good. They all wanted to go to California to Wallyworld! There aren’t any spacewarps in Wallyworld! Her mother was right when she said he was a prehistoric, throwback!

She interrupts her rant when she notices that her husband isn’t only sick, but suddenly growing as he transforms…

Back on Earth 99476, Excalibur’s sword ship slows to cruising slowly as it approaches the eternity mountain range that surround the Savage Land. They realize that isn’t a cloud, but smog. The Savage land beneath the smog is a huge hellish city spewing toxic fumes.

Missiles hit the ship and the team abandons the plane. As they land in a back alley, Lykos complains this evil place is rightly called the Savage Land. Megon observes the buildings are cold and brutal, not in harmony with nature.

Kitty notices a bad smell. The next moment, a crowd of wild, painted humans runs towards them, demanding Rex’s costume in barely intelligible language. They are chased away by a miaow they recognize and fear. It’s Zabu!

Ka-Zar a dinosaur dressed in a white suit, orders his tiny sabertooth kitten Zabu to come to him. He tells Excalibur he is no longer Lord of the Savage Land. His analyst advised him to avoid stress. He’s got high blood pressure, not to mention a vicious duodenal ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome and he’s sure he feels a migraine coming on. He thinks he should head home for a nap. Zabu purrs. If they are here to pick a fight with the High Evolutionary, they’ll find him in that big tower with the projectors on top. Please don’t tell him Ka-Zar sent them!

On Earth 616, the sentient saurians have all transformed into genuine dinosaurs who now roam around aimlessly at the Brighton seafront. The hapless police doesn’t know what to do. They are joined by Commander Dai Thomas, who asks a police officer for a cigarette, before reminding himself the new boys are all so health-conscious. He cancels their order of sharpshooting.

Who gives him that authority? the cop protests and Thomas shows him his government mandate. He gets all the weird jobs and there’s been plenty of them. As long as the beasts are passive let’s not aggravate them. He’s sent out a request for Excalibur’s assistance. What’s the story here?

The police officer explains he thinks the creatures are connected to these aliens and shows a file of the Technet. Thomas doubts it. The Technet have been lodging with Excalibur and went back to their own world.

The cop isn’t sure. He tells Thomas that the town council let the aliens move into the old port in return for controlling the weather. Make it warmer like. They hoped to attract more tourists. Now they got dinosaurs! He knew it was asking for trouble, making deals with crazy aliens.

From inside, Yap gleefully watches the panicked humans running from the aliens while Gatecrasher is depressed and stares at nothing, believing to hear the voice of Hawd-boiled Henwy who she sacrificed to beat Excalibur… but she blew it! Henwy’s ghost accuses her. Jumping up and down, he orders her to avenge his futile death or he will haunt her. Gatecrasher promises to avenge his death, leaving Yap to wonder what’s going on.

On Earth 99476, Excalibur directly fly to the tower. They land at a platform. Alisaur is eager to examine the technology and Rex warns him. They are told to stop by the Fantastic Five. The Spider-Man analogue Arachnosaur (the team’s fifth member) webs Alisaur and Lykos up. Kitty tells him he is wasting his time as the Invisible Woman analogue captures her and Lockheed. They are mind-controlled! They don’t even recognize them or Invisiguanodon would know she can phase through her forcefield! The Thing’s reactions are slower too! Rex exclaims. And Saur Fantastic forgets how elastic he is as Nightstrutter evades him by teleporting until his foe is exhausted.

Megon flies to H2O tanks which the Torch analogue cracks, leading to him being extinguished. Kitty phases through the electronic circuits in Arachnosaur’s web-shooters, causing them to go wild. And the Five are beaten.

Suddenly, a whole wall opens up and the giant High Evolutionary shows himself, behind him machinery in which are holding tanks with the five humans from Earth 616. The High Evolutionary points out that he labours to advance their species. He is not an evil saur! The mammalian form is genetically superior to theirs. The human animal is their future.

He is insane! Lykos shouts. His creations are vile, depraved beasts that offend natures! He has made mistakes, t he Evolutionary admits, but fate has delivered these naturally evolved humans – referring to the tourists – to him. Their genetic code will allow him to stabilize his human population.

Lykos shouts never and tears at some of the machinery’s cables, willing to give everything to stop him. It detonates.

On Earth 616, at Braddock Manor everyone’s asleep. None of them is awake to receive Dai Thomas’ phonecalls for help.

On Earth 99476, after the smoke sets, Nightstrutter finds Lykos dead and the High Evolutionary is nowhere to be found. Megon frees the humans who were protected from the blast by the fluid incubators that held them.

Rex apologizes to the people and the Beefeater is astounded to see him wearing Captain Britain’s costume. Rex recognizes the name. Captain Britain is the rogue from Earth 616… he was at his trial.

The Fantastic Five address him, wishing peace, now that they are no longer under the Evolutionary’s mind control.

Sue suddenly screeches, seeing a rat-like creature. Reed identifies it as a Triconodon, a primitive mammal which the Evolutionary transformed into the “humans” that populated the Savage Land. Now that his machine is destroyed, they have reverted to their true form. On Sue’s command, he chases it away. Ugly little blighter, Britannicus Rex observes. Yes, how could anyone be insane enough to believe those small things could be superior to dinosaurs? Alysaur asks. He bets they even taste as foul as they look.

Kitty coughs, pointing out the frightened humans. Alysaur apologizes, assuring them he’s never eaten anything with an I.Q. in double figures. “Dad, he knows you’re a shoe salesman,” the teenage girl hisses while her father asks if they can go home now, please. Alysaur assures them certainly as soon as they have verified their point of origin and devised a means to return them there.

Reed points out a solution. Many of the complex electronic components in the Evolutionary’s machinery are still intact. He can salvage the necessary materials and construct a crosstime portal that will deliver them to the precise location and their missing people.

On Earth 616: The Brighton streets are empty now. Even the most fearless reporter fled when the Griswalds began to forage for food… leaving a few nervous policemen to ponder the limits of a dinosaur’s appetite.

Thomas again tries to reach Excalibur and still gets the answering machine. Suddenly, there’s a blinding flash and the heroes from the other world as well as the missing people appear.

Britannicus Rex informs the police that they are here to return five of their natives and collect five of their own race. Would that be them over there? Thomas asks, pointing at the ravaging dinosaurs. Mein Gott! Nightstrutter exclaims horrified. What could have caused them to devolve in such a manner? A cocktail of pollutants he would imagine, Reed surmises. Though he is confident he can reverse the transformation when they get them home. How do they propose to do that, Thomas asks. They don’t appear to be open to communication.

When they are not, Thing and Rex attack with the Thing being hurled into a wall. Arachnosaur and Rex manage to tame the two large ones. Arachny notes they are all eager to get home. It must be tough living amongst these repulsive mammals. Reed chides him to be tolerant of other species, even if they are suicidal. He feels a lecture coming on, Thomas mutters unimpressed.

While the other heroes lead the dinosaurs through the portal, Reed lectures that this world is being poisoned by their own blind science. His world’s civilization is in harmony with nature. Everything they have created will melt back into the good Earth, should their species become extinct. Nothing would remain to mark their passing save a few fossilized bones. With that, they are gone and Thomas decides to get a few stiff drinks.

At Braddock Manor, the team has gotten up. In the kitchen, Brian offers Kylun and Cerise a place to stay with them. There will be plenty of room here, once hey get the place sorted. It’s been closed up, virtually derelict since his sister Betsy joined the X-Men.

Kurt joins them and tells them there is no change in Rachel’s condition. He prays she will recover but is not confident. Feron hovers over her like a vulture, waiting for Rachel to die so he can claim the Phoenix Force. He doesn’t trust Feron so he chased him into the garden, so he could get some breakfast. Lunch, Brian corrects him and offers to make him an omelet.

Alistaire run in, telling them to forget the grub, there’s an emergency! Now there’s a novelty, Brian sighs.

They join Kitty in the living room, where they catch the end of the news report claiming Excalibur helped drive the dinosaurs into the space warp.

It’s got to be a hoax, Brian announces. Kitty finds the explanation, namely several exasperated phone messages by Dai Thomas. Their amusement fades when the last message is one by Jean Grey, announcing they got Kurt’s message regarding Rachel. She and Professor Xavier are flying over E.T.A ten P.M. British time. Thank heaven, Kitty sighs. If anyone can help Rachel, it is Professor X!

Characters Involved: 

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






Commander Dai Thomas

Brighton policemen

Martha Griswald, Wilbur Griswald, their kids, Beefeater

Gatecrasher, Yap( both Technet)

in Gatecrasher’s vision:

Hawd-boiled Henwy

on Earth 99476:

Britanicus Rex, Megon, Nightstrutter, Shadowcompsognathus (all Excalibur)

Brigader Alysdon Stuart

Alysaur Stuart

Dr. Karl Lykos



Savage Land humans

High Evolutionary

Arachnosaur, Dinotorch, Invisiguanodon, Saur Fantastic, Thing (all Fantastic Five)

Story Notes: 

Actually, the humans disappeared more than two days ago in issue #9, but time moves differently in the different parallel worlds.

Hawd-Boiled Henwy was the weapon Gatecrasher used to try and kill Excalibur in issue #42. As Alan Davis is forced to leave the series with issue #67, the subplot is never resolved.

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: