Excalibur (3rd series) #10

Issue Date: 
April 2005
Story Title: 
Casting Fate

Chris Claremont (writer), Aaron Lopresti (artist), Greg Adams and Brad Vancata (inker), Transparency Digital (colors), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Stephanie Moore (editor), Mike Marts (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (president)

Brief Description: 

Having learned of the Magistrates’ deaths at the hands of some mysterious creature, Callisto takes charge and leads the others in investigating the murders. After using Wicked’s spirits to scout the tunnels, she and Karima venture in to find those responsible leaving Book and the others to tend to McCoy’s injuries. Callisto and Karima bond as they explore, each revealing a bit about themselves to the other and finding they have much in common. They discover the lair of the Sugar Man and battle him and his servant, Rastus. Karima is injured but finds that her body can repair itself. Callisto is also severely wounded when the Sugar Man’s henchman bites off her left tentacles! Despite these injuries, the two women manage to defeat and apparently kill their opponents. Meanwhile, Magneto orders Hub to retrieve Xavier and continues to seclude himself in the main house with his daughter, Wanda. Xavier responds and is shocked to see the changes in Magneto and the main house. Magneto begs Xavier to save the life and soul of his daughter, since his is already damned forever.

Full Summary: 

(Hammer Bay – Base Camp)

Doc McCoy AKA the Dark Beast stumbles into the base camp and promptly collapses from severe wounds after giving a cryptic warning to Callisto, Karima and Shola. Karima kneels by his side and a scanning device automatically pops out of her wrist as Shola wonders aloud who attacked McCoy.
Callisto takes command and orders Shola to telekinetically seal off the underground catacombs from which McCoy just emerged. When Shola questions these orders and his own ability to seal every entrance to the underground labyrinth, Callisto wraps her tentacles around his throat and tells him to do as he is told.
The rescued Genoshan children are amazed by Karima’s scanning device and she is equally surprised by the capabilities of her new body. Callisto continues to bark orders, sending Hub to the main house for Xavier’s med kit and to fetch Magneto.
When Hub tries to teleport into the main house, a magnetic force field repels her. Magneto emerges and is still wearing the costume worn by the Magneto impostor who devastated New York City. He states bluntly that he requires privacy when asked why there’s a force field around the house. Hub has a bloody nose from the impact with the shield and Magneto is harshly uncaring. Hub explains that Callisto sent her for medical supplies due to the recent massacre and McCoy’s injuries. Magneto continues to be overly harsh with Hub but does relent enough to give her the med kit. In return, he demands she bring Xavier to him now. When Hub asks if he’s going to help, Magneto makes it abundantly clear that he has higher priorities. Hub then teleports away with the med kit to get Xavier.
Elsewhere, Callisto recruits some help from Wicked and her “spirit friends” in addressing the current crisis. She asks Wicked to search the catacombs with her spirits. Wicked is afraid because she herself feels the pain of whatever happens to her “spirit friends”. Callisto says they’ll do it together and takes the hand of Wicked’s spirit guide. This spirit guide apparently allows Callisto and Wicked to “see” and experience what the other spirits in the catacombs do. Callisto hopes that this might allow her to bear some of the brunt of any attacks made against Wicked’s spirit scouts. Callisto asks Wicked to have her spirits cover all the exits out of the catacombs and to retrace McCoy’s steps to find the supply vault.
Callisto admits that she doesn’t trust McCoy as one of the spirit forms reaches the site of the massacre. Wicked is frightened by what she sees and wants to go back, but Callisto urges her to remain so they can more closely examine the bodies. As the spirit form approaches one of the slain magistrates, a clawed hand slashes through it. Simultaneously, Wicked and her spirit guide cry out in pain.
Karima grabs Callisto by the vest and chastises her for risking Wicked’s life that way. Callisto understands where Karima is coming from but warns her never to lay hands on her again. Callisto says she did what she had to do given the circumstances and then tells Karima that the two of them are going hunting. She leaves Shola as back-up. She then checks on Wicked, who is upset that Callisto broke her promise. Callisto apologizes but still needs Wicked’s help to keep watch. Shola wonders what they are going to do about McCoy. McCoy comments that “any job worth doing, is best done yourself” and asks for Book’s help in patching himself up. Callisto teasingly warns Book not to let him die.
(Hammer Bay – Inside the Catacombs)

As they descend into the catacombs, a miniature headlamp emerges from Karima’s bicep. She notes that Callisto likes to be in charge and Callisto merely says it’s her nature. Karima wonders why she chose her over Shola and Callisto states that it was due to Karima’s training and experience, as well as her Sentinel components. Karma is a bit bewildered by the many changes in her body. Callisto teasingly tells her that they are useful and incredibly cute. Karima asks her not to make fun and Callisto tells her that this too is part of her nature.
Karima complains about the tunnels prompting Callisto to share a bit about her time with the Morlocks. She explains how they were massacred in much the same way as the Genoshans. She mentions that they were led by Scalphunter and that when she meets up with him again, all debts will be paid. The bonding continues as Karima asks if Callisto really likes her new arms. Karima notes that they make Callisto look inhuman. Callisto’s perspective is different. She revels in what she can do with her tentacles. She also questions exactly what “human” means these days. She uses Nightcrawler as an example: demonic appearance but heart of gold. Karima admits that she is a bit “old-fashioned” in her views of what is normal.
The two women come upon the bodies of the Magistrates. Callisto mentions once more that Genosha was built on the backs of slaves. She wonders if the world tolerated the inhumanity towards the mutates because they needed what Genosha had to offer or perhaps they feared retaliation. Or just maybe the world agreed with Genosha’s answer to the “mutant problem”. Karima wonders if the one responsible for the massacre of the Magistrates might have been a survivor out for revenge. Karima says that whoever did this is a monster, no matter the motivation. Callisto urges her to consider her words and that many would apply it to both of them.
As she says this, Callisto flings some knives towards Karima. They whiz past her towards an unseen target inside a rounded vault door. Karima is surprised and a moment later a sharp, barbed tongue lashes out at her. It pierces through her back and emerges through her abdomen before sending an arc of electricity throughout her body.
The Sugar Man emerges from his lair and comments that Karima tastes squishy on the outside but like a machine shop inside. He threatens to emerge from his domain now that they’ve discovered him and notes that McCoy has blazed a trail. Callisto is surprised to hear that he knows McCoy and the Sugar Man reveals that they both originated from an alternate timeline where they served Apocalypse.
As he explains this, his monstrous henchman Rastus appears carrying the dead body of one of the Asgardian trolls. He calls Callisto “fresh meat” and asks whether she’s one the side of the flatscans or the Chosen. She replies whichever side puts him down.
He swings his staff at her and she catches it in her tentacles and slams him back against the wall. She follows up with a kick to the jaw and wonders who these creatures are and where they actually came from. She notes that Rastus is very fast and strong and fights like a pro. He swipes the staff back from her and crushes it between his jagged, sharp teeth.
The Sugar Man tosses Karima aside like a rag doll. She is surprised when the pain subsides and she sees a vision of her own body as its systems begin to repair the damage. She begins to realize how deeply the changes to her body are and that she is truly more machine than flesh. She is horrified and wonders what she did to deserve such a fate.
As Callisto fights Rastus, Sugar Man threatens to give her Rastus’ job. He then fires a machine gun at Callisto. They exchange complimentary banter as Callisto deflects and dodges his fire. The Sugar Man then lashes out with his tongue, which Callisto deftly avoids. As he draws it back into his enormous mouth, the electrical energy arc out and catches Callisto in its wake. This gives Rastus time to seize her by the shoulders. One of his monstrous heads bites down on her, severing her left tentacles just below the shoulder. Callisto cries out and falls to her knees as the Sugar Man wraps his tongue around her neck. As he draws her closer, she pulls a knife out and cuts his tongue off. Rastus hits her from behind, knocking her unconscious.
Karima rises and fires an energy bolt at Rastus. She reminds them that Callisto isn’t there alone. The Sugar Man tries to spear her with his tongue again but she proves resistant. She makes it clear that she can’t be beaten the same way twice. Callisto awakens and lunges at the Sugar Man, driving a piece of the broken spear through his head. She falls into Karima’s arms and asks if they’re dead. Karima indicates that they are before seeking out medical supplies to deal with Callisto’s wounds. Karima teases that if Book was challenged by dealing with McCoy’s injuries. She’s really going to love dealing with Callisto’s severed tentacles. Karima is shocked at the mess they’ve made of things. Callisto notes that the fact they survived is what counts.
(Hammer Bay – The Main House)

Xavier has been brought to the Main House by Hub. He notes her obvious agitation but does not pry. He is worried about Callisto and Karima but can do little due to the catacombs` shielding which prevent him from contacting them telepathically. Shola lifts Xavier and his wheelchair intro the house but is prevented from joining the Professor by Magneto’s force field.
Once inside, Xavier notes that most of the house is new, with the roof and walls repaired and electricity restored. Xavier notes that Magneto was not capable of such a feat when he left. From the shadows, Magneto welcomes Charles and tells him that the need here is desperate.
Xavier asks what Magneto has done when he sees the radical changes to the house and the fact that his friend is clad in the costume worn by the false Magneto who attacked New York. Magneto begs Xavier to “save the life of my child…her very soul!” He adds that as Charles can see, Magneto’s own soul is “already and forever damned.”

Characters Involved: 

Callisto, Charles Xavier, Freakshow, Karima Shapandar, Magneto, Shola Inkose, Wicked (all members of Excalibur) p>
Book/Annika, Broadband, several Genoshan children (Genoshan survivors)
Hub (Part of a Genoshan Underground)
Dark Beast/Henry ”Doc” McCoy
Sugar Man, Rastus (Refugees from the Age of Apocalypse)
Wicked’s spirit guide and various spirits
Unnamed clawed creature
In Callisto’s memories:


Story Notes: 

This issue is the first appearance of Rastus in the mainstream Marvel Universe. This is notable since Marvel made quite a big deal about only bringing four characters over from the popular Age of Apocalypse timeline (Dark Beast, Sugar Man, Holocaust and X-Man). How Rastus managed to make his way over from the AoA has yet to be explained.
The restoration and redecoration of the Main House is likely a result of Wanda’s reality-warping powers, which have spiraled out of control. Many speculate that she is also influencing Magneto’s power levels and personality to match her own sub-conscious perception of her father. This would explain his attire and his brusque attitude towards Hub in this issue. It may ultimate explain various inconsistencies in Magneto’s history and representation including the Magneto doppelganger who ravaged New York.
Marvel has announced that their next major company-wide event “The House of M” will center on Wanda and the repercussions of “Avengers Disassembled”. Magneto and Xavier are set to star in this mini-series as well. This and upcoming issues of Excalibur will likely lay the groundwork and contain foreshadowing for this series.

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