Excalibur (3rd series) #1

Issue Date: 
July 2004
Story Title: 
Forging the Sword - part 1: Paint It Black!

Chris Claremont (writer), Aaron Lopresti (artist), Greg Adams (inked), Liquid! (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Stephanie Moore & Cory Sedlmeier (assistant editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

In Genosha, Xavier thinks back about the destruction that his twin sister, Cassandra Nova, caused. Resolving his emotions, Xavier opens a secret compartment on the bottom of the coffin near him. He removes an outfit that seems more soldier-like and a handful of electronic devices, including weapons. Trying to pick the coffin off the ground, he is embarrassingly thrown to the ground by his own momentum. A ghostly Moira MacTaggert appears near him and questions him of his intentions in Genosha. Xavier tells the mirage that he plans to figure out what has caused the large spike in mutant births. Elsewhere, Unus watches Xavier from afar and commands his three lackeys nearby him to go to Xavier and teach him a lesson. Back with Xavier, Moira has disappeared and Xavier finds a new mutant named Wicked. Talking to Wicked and seeing her powers in action, Xavier is stopped by Unus and his group as they show up to attack him. Xavier stops the three lackeys, while a new comer named Freakshow easily dispatches Unus. Xavier thanks the two mutants, Freakshow and Wicked, telling them that he would like to teach them, as he once taught the X-Men. After arriving at his destination, he psychically urges Freakshow and Wicked to go to bed. As the two of them walk away, Xavier turns around to meet an old ally, who has been waiting for him to arrive, the man named Magneto.

Full Summary: 

Xavier sits in his wheelchair and closes his eyes to ponder on his dream. He thinks that he has fought his entire life for this dream, where human and mutant can live together in harmony. Looking upwards into the sky, he thinks to himself that his dream has not happened today! Looking onto the wreckage of what used to be Genosha, Xavier sees the towering statue of the mega-sentinel, turned memorial, and realizes his thoughts ring true. Polaris a short time ago shaped the memorial; it has three heads, one Magneto, the other Xavier, and the third a Sentinel.

Sitting near the mummified remains of his former enemy, Magneto, Xavier remembers a few months back when this very Island of Genosha was alive with life, mutant life especially. He recalls the filling of terror as the mega-sentinels attacked and sixteen million people died, thanks to the mad schemes of his twin sister, Cassandra Nova. Xavier thinks that he witnesses the shadows of the dead and, instinctively, he reaches out to save them, only to pull his hand back in sorrow as he realizes that it is the impressions of two dead mutants carved by a large heat source against the rock wall.

Xavier thinks about the global response that followed the disaster, or more like it, the lack of global response. Xavier remembers how the world powers all set back and watched as only Xavier and his breed helped. Xavier knows that the nations are all worried of a terrorist response from the survivors so they have quarantined off the island, making it almost impossible to enter or leave. Xavier uses his mutant powers to reach out across the Island and pinpoint the survivors to help him get a true picture of the inhabitants of the Island. Xavier clutches his head and complains aloud about the pain that his power stunt had just caused him. He thinks that it has been to long since he tried a stunt like that without the help of Cerebra. He ponders about his softness, because of his dependency on his equipment.

Xavier moves his chair closer to the fallen coffin of the mummified body. Pressing a button on the side of the metal coffin, the back pops off, revealing an arsenal of weapons stored with-in the base. Xavier readies the weapons he pulls out and dresses in a soldier-like uniform. While doing this, he remembers the nickname he was called by his fellow soldiers in the Korean conflict. He remembers that they called him the Good Shepherd, due to his uncanny ability to be able to locate any of his comrades that were missing and bring them home. He thinks that today is no different; he is still searching for lost mutants that need his help, just as he has been since the creation of his X-Men. Xavier picks up the mummified body, hurls it into the coffin and closes the lid. Reaching down, he grabs the handle of the coffin and strains to lift it. He remembers that he chose to bring this heavy-duty coffin, due to its storage abilities, but, as he checks his electronic equipment, he notices that most of it does not work. Increasing his effort to lift the coffin, he hurls his own body from his wheelchair as the apparatus is knocked off balance, due to the heavy coffin. Lying on the ground with his head buried in his arms, Xavier thinks to himself that there has to be a better way.

Suddenly, an apparition of Moira MacTaggert appears, wearing a blue skirt with matching jacket, saying that there is never a telekinetic around when he needs one. Xavier tells the figment of his imagination to show some respect, because he is the greatest mutant telepath on the planet. Moira scoffs and tells him, “whatever.” Xavier asks her if she is supposed to be a ghost? She replies that his question is loaded because Genosha is full of ghosts. Sitting up, in a sprawled out fashion, he tells Moira that he means no offense, but Moira died hundreds of miles away, so her ghost should not be among them. Bending towards Xavier, Moira is now dressed in a white blouse with high cut shorts and a lot of cleavage showing. She tells him that she must be a figment of his imagination then and he apparently must see her as she once was when the two of them were young and in love.

Xavier crawls to his wheelchair and rights the tipped frame, and then he pulls himself up into the seat. Xavier asks Moira if he was wrong in leaving his X-Men to come and try to rebuild Genosha. She tells him that both of them (the X-Men and Xavier) need time to heal and learn how to get along without the other. Xavier places straps onto the nearby coffin, then places the other end of the same straps around his torso. Using the wheelchairs electronics, he lets the chair act as a vehicle, guiding him through the nearby terrain. He jokes with the aberration that the coffin with integral wheels was regrettably not available.

Inside the right eye of the head of Magneto on the memorial built by Polaris, Unus looks out on Xavier and tells three nearby mutants that they are going to go down to meet Xavier and show him who really owns Genosha!

Moira questions Xavier on what he finds so funny. He tells her that Unus may be untouchable, but his thoughts are far from detectable. Suddenly, the coffin hits a rock, stopping the chair and sending Xavier’s back into agony. Moira leans next to Charley and asks him why he continues to push himself on? Sweating and rubbing his shoulder, Xavier tells her that she is a projection of his “super-ego,” so she should know the reasons. He tells Moira that, despite popular belief, he is not there to pay penance for what happened to Genosha at the hands of his sister, Cassandra Nova. He tells her that he is there because of the recent spike in mutants popping up around the globe. Moira tells him that all their research pointed towards a gradual increase and not such a large spike. He tells her, as she places her arms in a comforting embrace on his shoulders, that he does not like to be wrong.

He tells Moira to look around them and see the totality of what action and reaction look like when brought together. He goes on to say that with the surge of mutant births also came the backlash from scared baseline humans. Picking up a bug, he tells her that not even cockroaches survived the slaughter. Touching his brow, he wonders aloud if mutants are truly the next step in the human’s evolution or if they are all just aberrations from the norm. He asks her how nature will deal with them if that is true? She disappears and tells him that in the end baseline human and mutants will always come out the same. Xavier wonders aloud if that is true. Turning his attention to a nearby presence that he feels, he asks Wicked what she thinks about the matter.

A girl wearing a leather outfit with fish-netting leg-wraps appears from behind a nearby rock and worries aloud about how totally “busted” she is. Xavier mentally tells her that he is a telepath and the reason she does not see his lips moving is that he is speaking to her with his mind. Removing a gun from its holster on his wheelchair, he tells her that, despite current thoughts, he is aware of everything that goes on around him. She tells him, displaying a tattoo on her left shoulder of a skull inside a heart, that she knows who he is and asks where his X-Men are. He tells her that they are living their own lives and he is there, quite alone. He asks her what made her take the name Wicked. She tells him that if he is such a powerful telepath than he should already know the answer. He tells her that he has respect for others. He goes on to say that having power means to know how to use them responsibly as well.

She asks him what he wants here. He does not answer the question; he asks her what she wants with him. She tells him that she wants salvation. He responds that it is not salvation she wants, but revenge! She points a finger towards him and tells him that he told her that he would not pry into her thoughts. Xavier replies that some thoughts refuse to stay hidden. Wicked folds her arms and turns away from Xavier; she asks him where he and his X-Men were when they were needed the most. Xavier humbly tells her that life is a work in progress and the sad thing is you can never predict how it will turn out. Bowing his head, he closes his eyes and tells her that he is truly sorry.

Suddenly aberrations come from nowhere and head towards the nearby coffin. She tells him that she does not want his pity. He informs her that he was not offering any and then questions where the aberrations came from. She tells him that they are with her and that, if he wants to be safe, she must get him to his destination before dark. She summersaults into the air, landing on the coffin with the ease of an acrobat. He tells her that he can see that she is a woman of honor, style, and courage, who would never harm a man that is alone and that comes to her in peace.

With that said, he turns his attention to a quartet of mutants that come nearer to him, with bad intentions. Unus commands his three lackeys to attack Xavier. Suddenly, as they stop their charge, Xavier tells Unus that his attack is unnecessary, as he apparently has taken care of the three mutants by controlling their minds. Unus tells Xavier, as his lackeys walk away, that his mind tricks will not work on him. Xavier tells Unus that, even though he is wrong, Xavier will not use his mind powers on him. He tells Unus, as another mutant enters the picture, that this young friend of Wicked is named Freakshow and he will easily defeat Unus. The boy seems small in stature and by appearance in his mid teens. Unus tells Xavier that he has been working his brain too hard, because that small boy can do nothing to harm him. Suddenly, Unus’ eyes enlarge, as the small boy grows larger and more hideous in appearance. Growing four arms and at least twelve feet in height, this now monstrous form opens up its wide jaws and swallows Unus intact.

Wicked tells Xavier that the incident was “hardcore.” Xavier explains to both Freakshow, who still remains in the form of the monster, and Wicked that Unus has a force field that engulfs his body, so he will be excreted later by Freakshow, unharmed. Freakshow tells Xavier that he wishes Unus would stop wiggling. Xavier promises Freakshow that he will help him ease the discomfort but, sadly, he will have to stay in his monstrous form until Unus has passed. Xavier and the mutants begin their journey again. Xavier tells them that hopefully Unus will learn from this experience today but, knowing him, probably not. Freakshow asks Xavier why he is there? Xavier tells him that he has come as a teacher. Wicked teases and asks if the X-Men were Xavier’s “outreach program?” He tells her that in a sense they were. He finishes their conversation by telling them if they come back tomorrow to meet him he will begin their lessons.

The two mutants begin to walk away, when a voice is heard behind Xavier asking if he used his telepathy to make them leave. Suddenly the metal coffin begins to hover in the air. He tells the voice that the two of them were exhausted; he just made their beds feel irresistible. The voice tells Xavier, as they near an abandoned house, that he is late. Xavier tells him that it is nice of him to meet him and to help. The voice now appears, it is Magneto, who shakes Xavier’s hand and tells him that, with everything that has gone on of late, it is best that he keeps a low profile.

Characters Involved: 

Charles Xavier




Unus and his mutant allies

Xavier’s Memories:

Genoshan Citizens

Moira MacTaggert


Story Notes: 

The entire island of Genosha, along with it’s population, was destroyed by Cassandra Nova’s Mega-Sentinel in New X-Men (1st series) #115-116.

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