Excalibur (3rd series) #5

Issue Date: 
November 2004
Story Title: 
Food Fight - part 1

Chris Claremont (writer), Aaron Lopresti (artist), Greg Adams (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: 

Asleep on Genosha, Xavier is suddenly awoken by a disaster. He hears the cries of his students on Mumbai, as his base in India has just been destroyed. Xavier goes outside to send his astral form there to check on them. After arrival, he meets Sabra, Monet and Thunderbird. Neal is looking for his lover, Lifeguard, so Xavier offers his help. After rescuing her, the two mutants discuss Neal’s plans for the future of Mumbai and X-Corp. He does not answer his true question, instead Neal warns Xavier about the cost of keeping secrets from his X-Men. Xavier knows Neal is right. He searches deeper for the mental image of their attacker, but is violently thrown from the astral world by a Sinister voice and an appearance of a grey crow. Lying on the rain soaked ground of his own hideout, Xavier is rescued by Callisto, who then discusses with him the appearance of the crow and her thoughts on the matter. Elsewhere on the island, the mutant named Shola runs the streets looking for some sort of release to his pent up anger. He finds the relief he needs against the Sentinel Monument. Finally succumbing to fatigue it is luck that saves him, as Wicked is nearby to pick him out of a puddle. The look of worry crosses the young girls face, but it is soon replaced by shock, as both she and Shola are knocked unconscious by a handful of Trolls with syringes. The same Trolls attack the hideout of Xavier’s, taking out both Callisto and Charles, leaving Magneto and Karima with no choice but to surrender. The Troll’s leader is a mutant named Stripmine, who commands his lackeys to strip Genosha of all its treasures.

Full Summary: 

A truck filled with explosives drives down the streets of Mumbai, India, its destination the local X-Corp headquarters. A troll is the driver. After arriving at its destination and parking in the garage, located underneath the skyscraper, the troll states that the final weapon is placed and primed for simultaneous detonation so his allies can, now, transport him away. With a “zzzamp” of electricity the Troll is gone, while outside the Headquarters terror ensues as an explosion rocks the building to the ground.

In Hammer Bay, Genosha, the explosion is felt by Charles Xavier, through his telepathy, causing him to awaken. Pulling himself up, by means of a bar overhead his bed, he lifts himself into his ATV wheelchair. Xavier thinks about how all electronics on Genosha quickly degrade due to, possibly, Magneto’s power over Magnetism, how long his ATV wheelchair will last. Wheeling himself outside, near the pool, Xavier concentrates on the disaster that had awaken him from his slumber.

Projecting his astral self across the ocean, he immediately arrives in Mumbai, by the side of an X-Corp member named Sabra. Sabra tells him that the bomb was meant to take out the local Cerebra, which it did, but it is a miracle the casualties are minimal. Changing direction, Charles asks Monet, another X-Corp member, who is responsible. She tells him that, right now, his guess is as good as hers. Back on Genosha, Xavier holds his head in thought, as he realizes that, without the Cerebra in Mumbai, the outside world has no way of knowing what is transpiring on Genosha.

Quickly, back in Mumbai, the Professor finds Thunderbird, the leader of the local X-Corp branch, as he senses Neal’s worry. Neal tells Xavier that it is Lifeguard he is frantic about, as she sensed the attack moments before and flew out trying to stop it. Xavier, sweating, tells Neal that he will act as a psychic beacon pointing a path to her. When Neal asks Xavier why he is sweating, Xavier calms his worries, thinking to himself about how much of a liar he is, but he knows the X-Men must transcend their limitations daily to save lives, so their mentor must not do any less.

Xavier’s astral form travels near Lifeguard, who is trapped under heaps of rubble. She chides herself for nicknaming herself Lifeguard, as she is the one needing saving. Xavier tells her to have faith, as she will not be there long. Neal Sharra gets closer to Lifeguard, allowing his body to glow with power to act as a light in finding her. Once upon arrival, Xavier watches the two of them and thinks about how much he wishes he would have gotten to know the two of them better. After climbing from the rubble, he thinks about the past, about his original five students, then he remembers the present and how his student body, now, consists of hundreds.

Xavier asks Neal if he is going to rebuild. Neal tells him that, after New York’s incident, Purity is the most popular website on the Internet, but what hurts mutants the most is that their mentor has chosen to flee to Genosha, leaving them without their shepherd. Xavier tells Neal that he hopes that he can trust him, knowing that he has gone to Genosha for a good reason. Thunderbird, carrying Lifeguard and walking away, tells Xavier that trust cannot survive in an emptiness so in order for mutants to trust him, he must learn to let his students in on his secrets.

(Xavier’s Thoughts)

Xavier thinks of the past, about how he has always been a secretive person. He remembers going on a talk show called World Beat, announcing his support for mutants, but not the fact he was a mutant as well. Also, he remembers starting his X-Men as a surreptitious group. He thinks about how he could reveal to them that he is working with one of their greatest enemies to try and save a nation. Xavier ponders about the true threat to Genosha and feminine eyes grace his thoughts. Turning to fire, the eyes seem to taunt Charles, until he delves deeper and finds a Sinister appearance under them.


Xavier’s glass world shatters, sending him back to the physical world, hurling his ATV wheelchair to the ground. Xavier hears a voice; the voice tells him that he should have learned his lesson, so now it is going to cost him. He begins to scream MURDER, as he looks up to see a grey crow looming above him. Callisto hears Xavier’s cry and jumps from her nearby location, to apparently save him, bursting Xavier’s hallucination as she falls. Callisto picks Xavier up and sets right his wheelchair, she tells him that with his yelling he could make any girl assume the worst.

The two allies, being pelted by a hard downpour of rain, discuss what has happened on Mumbai. Xavier tells her that somebody has crippled the X-Corp operation along the entire coast, but as he got closer to the source he heard a voice and witnessed a grey crow. Angered, Callisto hurls her daggers into a nearby wall. She asks him if he means John Greycrow a.k.a. Scalphunter, the butcher of her Morlocks? The daggers, in the wall, have made a sketch of Greycrow’s head. Callisto announces that it was he who slaughtered the Morlocks, in what was then considered a “Mutant Massacre.” Callisto takes three more daggers, hurling them into the sketch of Greycrow’s eyes and forehead.

She tells Xavier, she hopes that he understands what she will do if the two of them ever cross paths. Xavier asks Callisto if his approval would even matter? Questioning, she asks if he wants Sinister and the Marauders to pay for what they have done. He tells her of course he does, that he could turn them all off with just a thought. Callisto tells Xavier that he needs to start concentrating, while she breaks open the Champagne. Xavier tells her that, with his powers, he could bring about an Apocalypse, but mutants everywhere need to learn to tame the beast within them all, if they are truly to become more civilized, before they become extinct. He goes on to say that they are trying to set a standard for the world, because out in the darkness, that surrounds them, is what awaits them if they fail.

Shola is a man that runs as if possessed, because he is actually possessed. On the day the sixteen million Genoshans died, each one left their last moments burned into his mind. He runs through the streets hallucinating about a few of their deaths at the hands of the three headed – gigantic – killing Sentinel. He runs till he reaches his intended destination, chanting the word “NO,” where he fires a telekinetic blast straight through the chest of the once killing Sentinel, now monument to Charles Xavier and Magneto. Inside the monument, Unus and two of his other comrades wake up and wonder if they are under attack.

A jet plane, radios back to its headquarters that he has just witnessed a sighting on Genosha. He tells them to get him a full telemetry reading so he can know what to say to the president.

On the nearby coast of India, Lifeguard and Thunderbird discuss what the sighting could mean to other mutants around the globe, as well as the hysteria it will cause baseline humans once they find out.

Back on Genosha, Shola collapses from exhaustion, mumbling the word “no!” Wicked had been close by when the blast occurred, rushing off to check on its source. She finds Shola lying on he ground. She pulls his face out of the puddle of water it had landed in, holding his head in her lap. Around her, her specters get close to her, as if mourning for the trials the boy seems to be suffering from. A Troll’s hand grabs the forehead of Wicked, even before her specters can do anything about, though they do try. She is then sedated by some form of injection, causing the ghosts to disappear. Shola, who is already unconscious, is more easy prey for the Trolls, as they inject him with the same sedative.

Back at their hideout, Xavier announces that he has lost telepathic contact with both Shola and Wicked; it seems the island is under attack. Callisto, shockingly, kisses Xavier and stuffs weapons into the seat of Xavier’s boxers. She tells him to follow her lead, because they may search her, but not a “gimp.” Suddenly, the two mutants are pelted with darts containing the same sedative as Shola and Wicked were administered. Callisto tells Xavier that her arms won’t work, as he states his telepathy seems to be blocked as well. The two crash to the rain-soaked ground, helpless against their attackers.

Inside Karima’s room of the hideout, Magneto reads to her a book. Karima states a fact about how the book is old, since one of its stories takes place in India, but the location belongs to Pakistan, now. Erik tells her that a lot of things have changed since Kipling. With a loud explosion, a nearby dresser is thrown from the wall. Magneto warns Karima not to act now, as she is about to transform her arm into a gun. Trolls come from the wall, as Erik questions them on who they are and what they are doing. A man called Stripmine is amidst the creatures, and he tells Erik and Karima to behave so they are not hurt. He next commands the Trolls to search Genosha, as it is a treasure trove and they are there to strip it clean!

Characters Involved: 

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

Lifeguard, Monet, Sabra, Thunderbird III

Shocker II, Unus, and another mutant ally



Mumbai Firefighters

Ranger One-Zero

Shola’s Memories:

The 16 million Dead Genoshans (just before they were killed)

Xavier’s Memories / Hallucinations:

A Grey Crow

World Beat Talk Show Host

Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl (all five original X-Men)

Charles Xavier

Feminine eyes (with a red background preceded by feminine fiery eyes, followed by Sinister eyes)

Magneto (Excalibur Appearance)

Magneto (Pre-Excalibur / Villain Appearance)

Story Notes: 

As Shola ran through the streets of Genosha, we were given a narration by Charles Xavier, explaining Shola’s plight. He explained how Shola was smuggled out of Genosha as a child, of how he eventually went to college in Chicago, and he also explains about the tragic day when the Genoshan nation was slaughtered and how, thanks to Shola’s empathy to his hidden telepathy, he has relived their deaths every time he has closed his eyes to sleep. Shola is a mutant child who has not slept since their deaths, but stubborn as he is proud he will not let his burden of carrying their deaths go.

The majority of the Morlocks were killed by the Marauders during the so-called Mutant Massacre.

The Rudyard Kipling book Magneto is reading seems to be “Kim,” - the story of Kim O’Hara. The orphaned son of an Irish soldier, Kim is raised in India and eventually enters the service of the British-appointed Raj.

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