Excalibur (1st series) #95

Issue Date: 
March 1996
Story Title: 
Amplified Heart

Warren Ellis (Writer), Carlos Pacheco (Penciler), Bob Wiacek (Inker), Joe Rosas (Colorist), Malibu’s Hues (Separations), Richard Starkings (Lettering), Suzanne Gaffney (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

After hearing an explosion, Excalibur all rush to the Muir Island Communications Suite, where Moira MacTaggert is being scared to death by her recent visitor, X-Man. But Moira stands up for herself, challenging Nate Grey verbally, talking him down – the words of Moira MacTaggert – a deadly threat he has never had to deal with before. Nate challenges each of the members of Excalibur after entering Moira’s mind and reading it without permission, because Spoor told him they were trying to kill him. But after receiving harsh words from Moira, he learns the truth – that his own powers will kill him before he is twenty-one years old. Excalibur all try to calm Nate down, giving him permission to read their minds, and eventually he does so, then believing the truth. He departs the next morning, back into the jaws of the world, as Moira wonders if he will survive long enough to ever return.

Full Summary: 

“X’ed from society. We’re rushing towards the end of the century, our ideas about society, science and even reality breaking up in the slipstream. These final days of the 20th century are the days of the x-factor, the wild gene, whose rare presence gifts superhumanity. A superhumanity that a world already bent double with stress simply cannot deal with. Those with the x-factor are crossed out from normal society, slandered as monsters, when they are only mutants – unusual humans better equipped for the century to come.
Many of those with the x-factor have come together at the behest of one mutant, Charles Xavier, to work towards his personal dream – peaceful co-existence between human and mutant. They wear the mark of their banning from human society proudly as a symbol of their goal…they are the X-Men!
These are the stories of the international X-Group, named for the mythic blade that legend says united a people: EXCALIBUR!”

Excalibur is based on Muir Island, in Scotland, owned by world-renowned scientist Dr. Moira MacTaggert, and consists of a wide array of mutants and super humans. Kurt Wagner, a.k.a. Nightcrawler, the German teleporter and expert swordsman; Amanda Sefton sometimes called Daytripper, a powerful sorceress yet somewhat reluctant participant in all things “X”. Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde, who walks through walls and spent her teenage years growing up as an American X-Man, while Pete Wisdom, her lover, recently left a job as a British Secret Service agent. Rahne Sinclair also known as Wolfsbane was a New Mutant, and is Moira’s foster daughter. Piotr Rasputin, Excalibur’s newest member, the longtime X-Man “Colossus”. Britain’s greatest champion, now retired, the physicist, Brian Braddock, who founded Excalibur alongside his lover, the serene elemental known only as Meggan. The enigmatic Douglock, who appears to be a dead boy cast in wires rounds out the current roster, who is often assisted by the haunted Dr. Rory Campbell.

Previously: His name is Nate Grey, and he comes from an alternate reality. One where a Darwinist mutant-monster known as Apocalypse held rule over America. At the end of the world, Nate Grey was shunted sideways through reality, into our reality. He knows nothing of our world, and little of his origins, for he was grown from the genetic stock of two powerful mutants and he was gifted with telepathic and psychokinetic abilities. He entered our world through the M’Kraan Crystal and befriended Madelyne Pryor, but little did he know, this woman was being manipulated by another – Selene! After a confused battle with Charles Xavier in which Nate thought he had killed him, he traveled to Muir Island in the hope of learning more about himself. Moira MacTaggert has recently discovered that Nate Grey has been designed to die before the age of twenty-one. Nate has just found Moira discussing it with Charles Xavier, and has partially opened her mind.

Muir Island, now, in the dead of the night. Kitty Pryde and Pete Wisdom walk through the Research Station, and Wisdom asks his young girlfriend where Colossus, her ex-boyfriend, is. Kitty replies that he is outside with Kurt and just hasn’t been around much. Wisdom sarcastically tells Kitty that he thought Colossus came to make a friendly visit and sweep her off her feet while putting him in the hospital for three weeks. Kitty tells Pete that she has already explained everything to him, that Colossus was out of his mind over all he had been through, like a “temporary insanity”. She adds that that is no excuse, before telling Wisdom that Kurt doesn’t think Piotr tried to kill him, that the blows were more like hysterical slaps.

Kitty gives Wisdom a side-ways glance as she tells him once he gets to know the real Colossus, the one she knew, he will then understand. Back to the jokes, Kitty laughs telling Wisdom he is a big flirt and probably deserved it all. Wisdom clutches his chest as he laughs, while trying to tell Kitty not to make him laugh. Suddenly, Kitty and Pete are knocked off their feet by and explosion!

Outside, on the cliff overhanging the ocean, Kurt and Piotr, best friends sit and stare into the night as Colossus tells Nightcrawler that no one else will talk to him. Kurt replies that he has seen Kitty and Rahne talking to him, but Piotr adds that they don’t talk to him about what happened when he arrived. Trying to reassure his friend, Kurt informs Piotr that all of Excalibur have been through a lot lately, but to give them time. Kurt adds that his sudden appearance shocked them all.

Not quite convinced, Colossus reveals that Rory Campbell has been helping talk things out with him. Kurt remarks that Rory will probably turn Piotr into his therapy, and Piotr says he heard Wisdom mention it wouldn't be easy for Rory to run away from his problems. Colossus smiles as he says ‘Wisdom is a terrible man’, to which Kurt smiles back when mentioning Wisdom must be feeling better if he is making jokes about a friend who lost half his leg. The two former X-Men are startled and leap up from their sitting positions when they witness a large explosion coming from the somewhere inside.

The Communications Suite, where Nate Grey has ripped up part of the floor, and hovering on it, he is threatening Moira MacTaggart. Colossus rushes to the room, while Kurt teleports there. Wisdom jokes that Moira is blowing the Communications room up herself, while Kitty grabs his hand and phases them through the floor. In their bedroom, Meggan wakes up, knowing that Nate Grey has let his powers out. ‘Every time I try and get an early night’ mumbles an annoyed Brian Braddock next to her.

Nate’s powers flare up as he tells Moira he knows Xavier tried to kill him and that she is trying to do the same thing – for he read her mind and knows she wants him dead before he is twenty-one! Realizing she is still alive, despite the mess Nate made of the room, and how much he scared her, Moira asks him if he feels better now he has done all of this, before telling him it is no wonder he has no friends. Nate stops his rage and looks at the doctor somewhat puzzled.

In another lab, Rory Campbell sits on a bed, seemingly delirious, repeating ‘the mutant’s gone bad, don’t look for him’ over and over again, while oddly enough, Wolfsbane has crawled up an aerial outside, standing above the research station.

X-Man returns to his hovering piece of floor, as Moira calls up to him, asking if he likes breaking into peoples minds and having a quick look, to see what he wants to see and leaving without looking at the stuff he should be seeing. Nate reveals that Spoor who is in the pens told him about her – Moira cuts him off and asks Nate if he read Spoors mind. Nate says he didn’t.

But he does now, his mind reaches down to the cell where Spoor sits, for Spoor told Nate that Moira and “her kind” imprisoned him for no reason other than evil. Nate remembers cells and reacted instinctively. Now though, after reading Spoor’s mind he has become aware that Spoor has been killing people since he was thirteen years old.

Elsewhere, Douglock taps into the computer, searching for the exact locations of the medlab’s psionic damper arrays, for he may be able to move them into the communications suite form where he is.

Nightcrawler teleports in, but Nate immediately buries him under rubble. Kitty and Wisdom enter the room, and when Kitty calls down to Kurt he jokes that it only hurts when he breathes. Kitty Pryde goes intangible, for it is her usual battle instinct, and it saves her life, for Nate’s psionic blow passes through her, but not Wisdom, and as he is blasted back, he cries out ‘Not me bloody ribs again!’

Kitty suggests to Moira that backs towards her, then she can phase her away. Moira orders Kitty to stay where she is and that she will come to her when she has finished dealing with X-Man. Moira stands up defiantly, looking up at Nate as she asks him if he knows Nate lied, which means he had no right to go into her mind. She tells him to finish the job and then he can learn how stupid he really is. ‘Read my mind Nathan’ she shouts at him.

Almost despite himself, Nate activates his telepathy, he sees images of lost loves like Joe MacTaggert, dear lovers like Charles Xavier and deadly virus’ like the mutant killing Legacy Virus.

Colossus continues to rush towards the complex, ready to attack X-Man, until Wolfsbane cuts him off, telling Colossus not to go any further. Colossus asks her why, as she must be in danger. Rahne looks solemnly at Piotr as she reveals that her mother is putting the hard word on Nate. Inside, Kitty tells Meggan and Brian, who just arrived, that Moira’s plan is working, for X-Man doesn’t know how to argue with Moira, Kitty supposes no one has called him up about his attitude before, for he can cope with fights, but Moira is talking him to death!

Still clinging to Moira’s mind, Grey can see an awful tapestry of memory – Moira’s son Kevin, growing into an uncontrollable mutant death-bringer, and his subsequent death at the hands of Colossus – one murder against incalculable death her son would have wrought. The Phoenix – another friend eaten away by her own powers, and Nate sees his own eyes reflected in the eyes of her son and realizes Moira’s fear for him. The Legacy Virus now, and the many dying, despite that Moira and her colleague and oldest friend, Charles Xavier are trying to find a cure – the Legacy Virus, ticking away inside Moira herself, the only human to become infected.

Nate falls down. Eye-level with Moira as she tells him she has been there before. Seen children killed and corrupted by their own power, her son die at the hands of one of her friends, and he had to do it – or else none of them would be here now. Moira reveals to Nate that they are not going to kill him before he is twenty-one, for his own body will do that for him. She adds that that is what Charles was trying to tell him about, and he let Nate believe he was dead because his awesome power frightened Charles, who knew that he could help Nate better in secret.

Trying to comfort him, Moira tries to tell Nate that they are all here to help, that this is a medical installation, and Excalibur are a defensive unit wherever possible. ‘We’re here to help’ she reiterates. Colossus approaches a hole in the wall and asks Nate if he would like to read his mind to confirm this. Kitty walks up and adds that he can read hers too. Rahne tells him that he can read hers too, for she has known Moira longer than anybody here. ‘I bloody hate MacTaggert, so read my mind…you horrible little MTV clone’ Wisdom tells Nate. Britannic gives him permission to read his and Meggan’s minds, and Kurt agrees too.

Angrily, Nate exclaims that he cannot handle any of this, and tries to make himself feel better by telling everyone that they are all lying. A monitor on the floor suddenly talks to Nate, it is Douglock, communicating from another room, who informs Nate that it is possible to read his cortex if he so wishes. Rory Campbell makes his presence known by admitting to Nate that he terrifies him, and so he can look inside his head to find out why he is still here! Nate tries now to brush everyone off by telling them he knows this is a scam.

Colossus drops in front of the AOA refugee and trying to reason with him, informs him that he knows it is easy to become confused and lash out, for it is hard to take responsibility and accept the truth for what it is. He suggests to Nate that he take the hard way, for it is worth it. Moira puts her hand on Nate Grey’s shoulder and tells him that now that he knows how cruel and stupid he can be with his powers, it is way past time he used them to educate himself. She tells him to do as she says and read their minds.

A halo of psionic power links each member of Excalibur’s mind to that of X-Man’s and he learns why they are all here – Kurt because of the dream of co-existence between man and mutant. Kitty because she believes it is the only fight worth fighting for. Meggan to learn, and to do good with what she learns. Brian because he knows it is right. Piotr because he has come to the end of the circle because of the dream. Rahne because she wants to help mutants who are suffering the way she did. Douglock because he wants the components of his mind to co-exist, and Rory Campbell because he is scared of becoming a mutant hater – and this is the best place to do that.

The next morning, Nate Grey, a.k.a. “X-Man” leaves Muir Island after a long night, filled with tears, and he has gone to find a friend to talk things over. He might return, to solve the secret of his limited life span, but he has other things to do first. Excalibur watch as he leaves, and Wolfsbane asks her mother if she thinks Grey will be back. Moira solemnly replies that she doesn’t know, adding that Nate has no life experience, which is probably why she talked him down so easily. She proclaims that the world has got sharp teeth, Nate has so much to learn – he has to survive to come back first.

Characters Involved: 

Britannic, Colossus, Daytripper, Douglock, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, Pete Wisdom, Wolfsbane (All Excalibur)

Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Dr. Rory Campbell

X-Man/Nate Grey


In Illustrative Images

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (All Original X-Men)

Professor Charles Xavier

Madelyne Pryor


Apocalypse, Bishop, Mr. Sinister (Age of Apocalypse versions)

Images from Moira’s mind/Flashbacks

Moira Kinross/MacTaggert

Professor X

Joe MacTaggert <

Proteus/Kevin MacTaggert


Phoenix II

Story Notes: 

This story is continued from X-Man #12.
Moira’s mad son Proteus had to be killed by Colossus (X-Men (1st series) #128)

Issue Information: 
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