Excalibur (3rd series) #11

Issue Date: 
May 2005
Story Title: 
Save the Life of My Child

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

Brief Description: 

Xavier reprimands Magneto for his brash actions in rescuing the Scarlet Witch and exposing himself publicly, especially to the Avengers. Magneto himself seems to be having difficulty explaining his actions in a logical way, showing clear signs of outside influence. The others are concerned about these events and the potential power that Magneto has demonstrated. Xavier agrees to do all that he can to help Wanda. Meanwhile, Courtney Ross AKA the new White Queen of the Hellfire Club has cast her eye towards Genosha. She orders her associate Viper to acquire land in nearby Zanzibar by whatever means necessary. Viper engages the services of the mercenary group called the Weaponeers. They launch an attack on Zanzibar during a gala reception celebrating the founding of the first branch of (I)Mutantes Sans Frontieres(/I), a global outreach effort headed up by Warren Worthington AKA Archangel. He and his teammate and girlfriend, Paige Guthrie spring to Zanzibar’s defense and protect the nation’s president. The president reveals himself as Zanzibar’s own national protector, Askari the Spear. The three heroes repel the Weaponeers’ initial assault and Viper herself enters the fray. When the Excalibur group on Genosha sees a broadcast of the battle, Callisto decides that they will go to Zanzibar’s aid.

Full Summary: 

(Fraser’s Bank – London):

The Hellfire Club’s new White Queen, Courtney Ross, is conversing with her partner in crime, Viper and expresses her desire to purchase land adjacent to Genosha. Viper wonders how she’ll deal with any opposition from the Hellfire Club’s new Lord Imperial Roberto DaCosta AKA Sunspot and his mentor, Sage. Courtney makes it clear that Sage has burned her bridges with both Sebastian Shaw and the X-Men and that she’s fundamentally on her own. She adds that if she achieves nothing else, she will update the Club’s sense of style and transforms the traditional, corseted garb of the White Queen into a sensible white business suit. She states that she will create her own traditions and make her own rules as she always has. She then orders Viper to acquire the property she desires and to have no further contact with her until the deal is done so that Sage is not tipped off to her plans. She makes it clear that Viper is not to fail or grow to bold in her own ambitions or she will pay the price.
( Hammer Bay – The Main House ):

Charles confronts Magneto and questions why he would dare to reveal himself to the Avengers. Magneto argues that Charles is not a father and couldn’t possibly understand that he had no choice but to go to her. Xavier asks Magneto why he opted to wear that particular costume and Magneto seems stymied by the question, stating only that it felt right. He explains to Charles how Broadband played the news report of the attack on the Avengers. Magneto claims that despite there being no mention of Wanda specifically, he knew that she needed him and exactly where to find her. When Xavier asks how he got to her, Magneto smiles and tells him he created a pocket wormhole. Xavier is in utter disbelief at Magneto’s actions.

Outside, Shola and Karima are updating Callisto. She is equally surprised that Magneto created a wormhole and notes that before he could barely lift his own weight in iron much less achieve such a dramatic display of power. As she ponders the logistics of this feat, the Dark Beast arrives having begun the road to recovery after his recent injuries. He explains first that he heals remarkably quickly and then explains that magnetism is a fundamental force of nature and it’s a wonder that Magneto has not done such things in the past more often. He nearly falls as he tries to bound down the side of the cliff and is caught telekinetically by Shola.

Charles and Magneto continue to argue and Magnus urges Xavier to enter his mind to see Wanda as he does. He describes her as having “the edges of causality fraying about her.” He acknowledges the harm he has done to both her and Pietro over the years and vows to set things right so that they do not have to bear the sins of their father. He is clearly under physical stress from the extreme use of his powers. Xavier is also tired from his recent journey into Genosha, but he agrees to do all he can to help Wanda.

The Dark Beast provides a quick science lesson to the rest of the crew, explaining how the combination of gravity and magnetism is the source of stellar fusion. He notes that it is only the internal conflicts that plague Magneto that have kept him from expressing his powers in more dramatic and powerful ways over the years. Magneto’s fear of becoming a tyrant like those who oppressed him in Auschwitz may have been all that held him back from achieving this potential. He fears that if Magneto ever truly reconciles his inner demons and truly embraces his rational side with his righteousness, the result could be an even more powerful adversary.
He then explains that where Magnus’ power is over the physical world as it is, Wanda’s power gives her control of the very shape of that reality. He suggests that a mixture of the two could prove an unparalleled threat. Callisto makes it clear that if it comes down to that, they’ll all do what’s necessary but until then the situation is in Charles’ hands.

( Zanzibar – Six Months Later ) :

Warren Worthington III and Paige Guthrie (AKA Archangel and Husk) are attending a gala reception in Zanzibar to celebrate the opening of his new outreach organization, Mutantes Sans Frontieres (Mutants Without Borders). The organization is the brainchild of Warren and Hank McCoy. Mutantes Sans Frontieres is a non-governmental global outreach organization designed to provide trained volunteers who can operate in places the X-Men and X-Corporation have no official presence. These volunteers will help educate the community about mutant issues, assist emerging mutants in dealing with their awakening powers and awareness of their mutant status and will alert the X-Men when an intervention might be necessary. The president of Zanzibar seems impressed by all this an in support of Worthington’s plans.

The gala is disrupted by an attack by a group known as the Weaponeers. They target Zanzibar’s airports and military bases while sealing the major embassies in a sophisticated stasis field.
As Warren and Paige react to the attacks, a cadre of Weaponeers teleports onto the terrace and issue orders to seize the President. Warren releases his wings and orders Paige to grab the President. Paige grabs the president and Archangel grabs the both of them and flies them away from the crowded hotel before the Weaponeers can react.
They pursue and the President of Zanzibar is as bewildered by the attack as the two X-Men. He claims that Zanzibar has no powerful enemies and lacks any kind of strategic or economic value. The Weaponeers pursue in their cruisers and fire on Warren, Paige and the President. A stray blast rattles Archangel forcing him to release his “passengers”. Thinking quickly, Husk grabs the president’s hand and “husks” into a rubber-like form to cushion their fall.

Once they are safe on the ground, Paige “husks” again into a solid organic steel form. A moment later, another cadre of Weaponeers teleports in to capture the President. Husk holds her own until they use a putty-like spray that pins her to a wall. As the Weaponeers give the order to kill her, their leader is struck down by an energy blast. All present are surprised to see that the beam originated from Zanzibar’s president! He stands defiantly in costume and proclaims that Zanzibar, despite its lack of wealth is not easy pickings for those who seek to exploit or conquer the tiny nation. He declares that to conquer this island they will first have to conquer its protector… Askari the Spear!
He then proceeds to drive back the encroachers with his energy powers and apparent superhuman strength. He mentions that he fought their fathers when they sought to conquer Zanzibar and make it a colony and that he embodies “the power of Mother Africa herself”. Husk watches in amazement as he takes out the entire contingent of Weaponeers, wishing she could help.

A few blocks over, Archangel has led the Weaponeers’ skycraft into a narrow city block that minimizes their maneuverability. Flying with great evasive dexterity, Archangel lands atop the vessel and breaks open the window to the cockpit with a piece of debris. He yanks the pilot out just as the craft explodes and revels in the life of action that he leads.

At the Weaponeers’ headquarters, the Commander watches the battle with his employer, Viper! She is disappointed by their performance and taunts the Commander with the grandiose guarantees of success made by the Weaponeers’ leader, Achmed Al-Khalad. The Commander orders more troops in to deal with Archangel and Viper herself says that she will personally handle the capture of the President. As Viper strides away, the Commander states that they have their own agenda and implies that Viper could “inadvertently” meet her fate in the heat and confusion of battle. Viper expects such a betrayal. She grabs a set of mechanical jet-wings and departs to join the fray. She ponders Archangel’s attractiveness as she heads towards the battle.

Husk expresses her surprise that the President of Zanzibar is a super-hero. He explains that he is retired and his country needed Jono Baraka more than Askari the Spear. Their conversation is interrupted as Viper attacks them both. Husk retaliates and the two women wrestle a bit and exchange verbal barbs. Viper dodges out of the way just as Askari fires a blast of energy at her. He misses and strikes Husk instead.

( Hammer Bay – Genosha ):

It is several months later in Genosha. Shola, Karima and Callisto have all tweaked their costumes slightly, adding X symbols and motifs. Callisto’s left tentacles appear to have begun healing as well. Broadband picks up some transmissions of the battle in Zanzibar. Callisto recognizes Husk as well as Viper. Shola says this looks like X-Men business and Callisto sees this as an opportunity to show the world that Genosha and its people are not a threat by helping their neighbors. They agree to go to Zanzibar’s aid. Callisto elects not to inform Xavier as he has made working with Magneto his priority for the last several months. Callisto leaves Book in charge while she is away and has Hub teleport her, Shola and Karima to the site of the battle.

Characters Involved: 

Callisto, Charles Xavier, Freakshow, Karima Shapandar, Magneto, Shola Inkose, Wicked (all members of Excalibur)

Warren Worthington III/Archangel, Paige Guthrie/Husk (Both former X-Men)

Broadband, (Genoshan survivor)

Hub (Part of a Genoshan Underground)
Dark Beast/Henry ”Doc” McCoy
President Jono Baraka/Akari the Spear

Courtney Ross/ (Sat-yr-9 in disguise), Viper (Both Hellfire Club)

Weaponeers including their Commander and Rashid

Story Notes: 

The true Courtney Ross was an old flame of Brian Braddock AKA Captain Britain who went on to become the highly successful head of the Fraser Bank in London. Several years back she was murdered and her identity was co-opted by Opul Lun Sat-yr-9. (Excalibur (1st series) #5) Sat-yr-9 is an inter-dimensional counterpart to Courtney Ross as well as to Saturnyne, an agent of Roma and Merlyn of Otherworld. She once ruled a militaristic society with an iron fist until Captain Britain and other members of the Captain Britain Corps defeated her. Her true identity was revealed in Excalibur (1st series) #55, but apparently she continues to operate under the guise of Courtney Ross. She became the White Queen of the Hellfire Club in Uncanny X-Men #449.

Viper is a terrorist and mercenary who once led Hydra and the Serpent Squad. She has clashed with the X-Men numerous times and was briefly married to Wolverine. She has recently entered into a business partnership with Courtney Ross and has been by her side as her “Warrior White Princess” since she ascended to the rank of White Queen in the Hellfire Club.

Magneto was wrong when he said that Xavier couldn’t understand his actions because he was not a father. Charles had a son David Haller AKA Legion who had a number of mental health issues which Xavier tried in vain to help him address. If anything, this should make Xavier more capable of understanding Magneto’s situation with Wanda. Legion first appeared in New Mutants (1st series) #26 and died in X-Men: Omega.

Warren’s plans to start some kind of mutant outreach organization were first introduced in X-Men Unlimited #8.

Warren Worthington mistakenly refers to X-Corps. He is actually referring to the X-Corporation, which is not to be confused with the militant group X-Corps which was gathered together by Banshee.

The Weaponeers appeared recently in Uncanny X-Men #444 when Storm and her XSE team halted their attack on the Central Saharan Republic. The group’s leader has been named as Achmed Al-Khalid, but he has yet to be shown. Originally they are from Counter Earth (the one Franklin Richards created for “Heroes Reborn”).

The final scene in Genosha clearly takes place several months after the earlier scenes. This is a device to bring the events in Excalibur in line with the continuity in the rest of the X-Titles. Signs of the passage of time include minor additions and changes to the cast’s costumes and the progress of Callisto’s tentacles in healing. It also appears as if other dwellings have been constructed and the land fully leveled in Hammer Bay. It is a bit odd that in both scenes, the same cast of characters is shown hanging around outside the main house discussing things, though.

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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