Excalibur Annual #1

Issue Date: 
May 1993
Story Title: 
(1st story) Black Magic (2nd story) Honey is Money

(1st story) Evan Skolnick (author), Chris Marrinan & Audwynn Newman (pencilers), Mark McKenna, Danny Bulanadi & Keith Williams (inkers) Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas (colors), Janice Chiang (letterer)
(2nd story) Joey Cavalieri (writer), David Boller (pencils), Kevin Conrad (inker), Glynis Oliver (colorist), Richard Starkings (letterer)
Mark Powers (assistant editor), Suzanne Gaffney & Terry Kavanagh (editors), Bob Harras (group editor) Tom deFalco (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

(1st story)
Led by a nightmare of Cerise’s, Excalibur find a castle with a seemingly friendly wizard named Ghath, who is attacked by the dark warrior Khaos. Excalibur beats him and takes him as a prisoner. Later Khaos tells Cerise his story. How he and Ghath come from another dimension where the world has been at war and Khaos is the only hope of uniting the warring factions and bringing peace whereas the wizard Ghath wanted to rule the world. When Ghath was seemingly killed he ended up on Earth where he still magically caused trouble for Khaos’ world Irth. Khaos decided to come here to stop him once and for all. Cerise leaves to check out his story while Khaos ecretly flees. Cerise confronts Ghath, about to return to Irth, and Khaos’ story proves true. The rest of Excalibur and Khaos join them but cannot prevent Ghath’s return to Irth. Khaos and Excalibur follow and together with Khaos’ allies end Ghath’s threat. However in revenge Khaos again finds himself stranded on Earth, looking for a way home.

(2nd story)
A strange barbarian blackmails the Technet into a mad adventure to find a certain nectar for him which it turns out his bride wants to heal his skin condition.

Full Summary: 

(1st story)
Cerise’s dream:
“Pain! Pain and fear of a thousand years of war and a thousand years to come!” On the battlefield is Cerise, fighting an ebon-skinned warrior with white hair. She finds that there is no place to run from the laughing deathmask of battle. No place is safe from his bloodthirst as he stabs her.

Cerise awakes, crying out. Soon, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat enter her room. Another nightmare? Kurt asks. The same, she replies. Seventh night in a row. But this one was different. The rest of the team has gathered by now. Tonight she can feel the source of the pain, she continues. She knows the direction it is coming from now.

Phoenix protests that she can detect no power causing her to have those nightmares. And Feron has detected no mystical presence. Well, something is bothering her and they should figure out what, Kitty points out practically. A moment later, she has an idea and wonders if Cerise isn’t just dreaming about them. The black elf who is always chasing her sounds a lot like Kurt. And the double magical swords of his refer to Kylun. The creep who can fly might be Brian. Impatiently, Cerise cuts her off, announcing she will track down the source of this pain. The others may join her if they wish!

Minutes later and sixty-odd miles north of Braddock Manor, their plane gets ready to land as Cerise senses the source close by coming from a decrepit castle. The plane lands and the team gets ready to check the place out.

Cerise finds a secret passageway leading down. She lights the way and the others follow. She feels it very close by, she announces and screams the next moment, surprised by the old wizard who greets them. He wears the same purple robes she did in the dream. He introduces himself as Ghath, apologizes for scaring her and offers them tea and cookies. Soon they are all gathered as Ghath pours tea and tells his story.

He is from another dimension and has been trying to get home without bothering someone from here. Perhaps, he suggests, Cerise was disturbed by his spells because she too is from another dimension. Cerise keeps silent but is not convinced, and why are his robes so familiar, she wonders.

Suddenly, the black-skinned being with the two swords from her dreams comes crashing through the wall, shouting that, now that he has found Ghath, he will die by the hands of Khaos! Seeing Excalibur, Khaos snorts that Ghath has found minions on this plane. He is not surprised. They’ll be the first to fall before the power of Ibic! A totem at his belt begins to glow and energy bolts hit the members of Excalibur, felling them save for Cerise who shields herself, Kitty who phases and Nightcrawler who teleports out of harm’s way.

Khaos is about to attack Ghath when Nightcrawler teleports in and kicks him in the face. Khaos tries to slash him but Kurt teleports away again.

Cerise steps up to defend Ghath with an energy blast. Khaos is protected by Ibic’s teknomagical shield. He slashes at Cerise’ solid light shield, hurting her. Kurt teleports atop him again and topples Khaos. Having recovered, Captain Britain is about to hit Khaos when Khaos blinds him momentarily with bright lights and then proceeds to throw off Kurt with a judo move.

Before Khaos can kill the mage with fireballs, Phoenix telekinetically diverts them and takes away Ibic, leaving Khaos powerless as Captain Britain slugs him.

Rachel asks Ghath what is going on here. The wizard apologizes for involving them. He is not only from another plane, he is its ruler! He was deposed and teknomagically exiled to this reality by the forces of Khaos. Since he’s been trying to return home, the transdimensional assassin has apparently been sent to finish him off. He apologizes again and suggests they leave Khaos with him. Suspicious, the team thanks him but decides to take Khaos back to their home for medical care and questioning.

For a moment, Ghath’s smile lapses. However, a moment later, he smiles again and replies he’s going to return to his efforts to return home, without upsetting Cerise this time. If they require his assistance, they know where he is.

Later, 3 am at Braddock Manor. The mysterious prisoner remains unconscious but is recovering from his head injury at remarkable speed. He lies in a bed in a cell. All the members of Excalibur have gone back to sleep, save for Cerise, who sits guard outside the cell. Hours later, Khaos awakes, noting he is guarded by one of “Ghath’s minions” as he calls her.

Cerise introduces herself and explains that he is no longer at Ghath’s castle. Nor are they his minions. He interrupts her to spare him her lies. They defended Ghath, therefore they must-- Cerise continues that they just met Ghath when he arrived and they defended him simply because Khaos attacked him. However, she feels there is more to this than has been revealed so far. Khaos still doesn’t believe her. She tells him to look around. Does this look like any prison he’s ever seen? She simply wants to hear his side. He accedes, since he seems to have little to lose.

Khaos’ tale:
Ghath and he are both from a place called Irth. It’s said that, before time began, the gods sprinkled silver dust from the sky in order to grant the creatures of their world teknomystical abilities. His world is rife with monsters, elves, goblins, humans… it’s ruled by teknowizards and overseen by the gods. And Irth is plagued seemingly forever with war. For centuries, the main war of Irth has been between those who live above ground in the light – humans, fair elves, half-elves… and those born of darkness below ground, dark elves such as he, goblins and dwarves.

The ongoing conflict has been the will of the gods for millennia. Those who had lived below eventually conquered the surface of the western continent Dungertheb and reformed it to suit their tastes. The humans and elves who had lived there were forced into slave labor, mining gems from Dungertheb’s rich hills.

It wasn’t long before the traitorous human leader of the Dark Ones, Ghath the Mage, was setting his sights on the eastern continent of Terr’va. Once the tactically priceless island of Ameroth was taken, Ghath knew, even Terr’va would easily be accessible and ripe for invasion.

This is the word into which Khaos was born. A Dark Elf living in Terr’va, protected from lynching only by the fact that he was being raised by Fair Elven royalty. Sometimes even that wasn’t enough to protect him and he had to use his instincts to survive. Which lay in fighting, so soon it became apparent to everyone where his true heritage and abilities lay.

When he was of age, he bade his adopted family goodbye and chose to live his life as an adventurer, a mercenary. He soon met up with other would-be fighters who became his new comrades: Longstrider, Kromm, Kamendae and Quarto. For years they fought side by side, entering deep dungeons and exploring strange lands, even confronting beings who claimed to be from the stars in the sky. All the while, they grew richer and more adept at their chosen specialties.

On one such mission, Khaos was confronted by a teknomagical artifact which revealed his true origin and purpose. He learned that he was actually born to the emperor of the Dark Elves, then spirited away by an agent of the gods to Terr’va. He is therefore heir to the two major elven thrones and charged by the gods to stop the war between them. He was shown that the strategically placed island Ameroth was the key to maintaining the peace and the main obstacle to peace would be the arch mage Ghath, who was even then taking complete control over the Dungerthebian continent.

In subsequent years, Khaos and his companions fought with more purpose than ever. They knew only he could save the world from total darkness. They eventually raised a small army and navy, then captured the island of Ameroth, claiming it as their new home. After they built the ruling castle of Nottlob on the coast, Khaos claimed leadership of both sides in the war. He then declared an unconditional ceasefire.

Only Ghath and a band of his extremist forces refused to accept the peace and attacked the island. But they were too well prepared for him. Khaos was able to capture Ghath using the power of Ibis, his teknomagical monkey statue. It was decided that Ghath was too great a threat to peace to let live and so Kamendae and Quarto devised a spell which would scatter his being across existence. Thus, despite rumors of insurgency on Dungertheb, they believed that they had finally triumphed.

However, it soon became apparent that Ghath lived… somewhere. Their best efforts finally located the mage in this world. He was wreaking his revenge on them, even though he couldn’t return. Someone had to go after him and there would be no way to get back to Irth when it was over. They found a brave volunteer and prepared him for the journey. But Gahth must have been casting some kind of scrambling spell at the time because Khaos ended up zapped here instead of the man who was supposed to go.

That was seven nights ago. He was eventually able to track Ghath’s exact location using Ibic. He can never go home again but can still try to keep peace on Irth. And that’s what he was trying to do when Cerise and her friends interfered. Cerise tells him to rest. Soon the entire team will want to hear his tale. She isn’t sure of anything anymore. Cerise leaves.

Khaos concentrates and his swords come to him, disrupting the laser beams of his cell. Khaos smirks.

Minutes later, Cerise has reached Ghath’s castle. She notices that the damages from the battle have already been repaired, indicating the amount of Ghath’s magical powers. The quaint sitting room furniture and décor are gone. She sees Ghath looking younger sitting in a magical circle and attacking an image of another world.

“No!” she shouts and instinctively fires off a light blast at him which bounces off. With an evil grin, he asks if she has seen enough. He believes she has.

An hour later, Khaos flies towards Ghath’s castle, musing that he may have made enemies of the only allies he may have had on this world. He senses life behind a locked door and inside sees an unconscious Cerise. He finds it odd though that apparently Ghath spared her life which is not like him. He tries to lift the bolt that bars the door to get her out. When he touches it, magical energy makes him crash backward and fall.

Clumsily done, Ghath informs him. His accursed companions Quartro and Kamendae would never have set off such a simple trap spell. But they are not here, are they? Grinning, he grabs him by his clothes. He’ll be sure to give them his regards when he returns to Irth.

No way back, Khaos protests weakly. He has a few ideas about that, Ghath replies, and the first centers round his new friend Cerise. Her energy channelling abilities may prove to be quite valuable to his purposes while he is nothing! He tosses Khaos away. Exuding wings, Khaos breaks his fall. With Ibic, he attacks but Ghath fends off the blast with a shield.

At Braddock Manor, Kitty wakes the others. She has discovered that both Cerise and the prisoner are missing. She figures that the answers can be found at Ghath’s castle and so soon the team flies there.

Once arrived, Cap tells them to stuff the caution. Cerise’s life may be at stake and so instantly they enter to see Ghath fighting Cerise and Khaos. Cap orders them to take him down. They’ll sort everything else out later.

Ghath hits Cap with his energy staff, then Meggan. Nightcrawler now realizes who he is and kicks his staff out of his hands. Phoenix follows with a telekinetic blast which Ghath keeps away with a protective sphere. He quickly reaches out and steals Ibic, then burn a hole into the ground. With the artifact, he can finish his spell to return home.

He places Ibis into the center of the magic circle. As the heroes arrive, they see him pass through the gateway to Irth. Khaos follows, as does Cerise, so the team has no choice but to follow as well.

Moments later, they are on Irth, on the island of Ameroth, as Khaos informs them, under what’s left of his ruling castle of Nottlob. Where did Ghath go? Cerise demands but Feron points out there is a group of warriors attacking them. However, these warriors turn out to be Khaos’ allies. Again, Cerise asks for Ghath.

Kamedae explains that their remaining forces were about to mount a defense against naval assault by Gath and his legions. He’s been preparing this strike for months. Khaos protests that they followed him straight through the portal and he only left Irth a week ago. For him perhaps, Kamendae replies, but for them seven months passed in his absence. Time must flow at different speeds between their worlds and Ghath must have used Teknomagic to exaggerate that difference to fall ahead of them in the timestream.

He points to the coast in the west where Ghath’s armada approaches. Khaos draws his swords, vowing to fight!

A fight is exactly what Ghath and his evil minions had expected. However, they could not have been prepared for whatever now faces them. Phoenix, who can turn arrows back upon the archer; Nightcrawler and Kylun, natural swashbucklers of the highest caliber. The immaterial Shadowcat, with the ability to sink ships by turning part of their hulls intangible; the sorcerer Feron, who flings magical spells never before seen on this world; Cerise and Meggan, firing bolts of pure energy; the nearly invulnerable powerhouse Captain Britain; and Khaos, who has eyes and swords only for Ghath.

Finally, those two archenemies face each other as the armada is lost. Ghath still boasts but doesn’t stand a chance against Khaos. And so, an hour later, the fighting is over and Khaos thanks the heroes. He explains his men can handle what’s left of the fleet. Ghath will be back somehow but they will prepare for him. He swears that peace will reign on Irth. He thanks Excalibur, especially Cerise. Without them, they couldn’t have triumphed. He praises them as heroes and explains that getting from Irth to Earth is no problem; just the reverse was considered impossible until Ghath did it. He bids them farewell and suddenly Cerise kisses him, much to his surprise and Nightcrawler’s displeasure.

Kitty jokes to Rachel that Cerise seems to have a thing for Darkelves… Or for Excalibur, Rachel retorts, explaining that every dimension has an Excalibur and she believes Khaos himself is this world’s version. Lip massage, Cerise explains to the confused Khaos. She wanted to apologize for not trusting him and say goodbye. He thanks her and asks the wizards to begin the spell to transport them back.

There is a blinding flash and Excalibur is back on Earth… and so is Khaos! Even in death, he mocks him, Khaos spits. Ghath’s original scramble spell must have still been partially in effect. It sent him here again. And he has no idea how Ghath opened the portal back to Irth. He’s no sorcerer. So, once again he is trapped on their world, this time probably forever!

Cerise invites him to join Excalibur. He thanks her but it isn’t that simple. There’s more at stake here than his contentment. He was created to preserve the peace on his world. Without him, Irth could degenerate back into endless war. Perhaps he and Ibic can piece together the spell to open the portal. She understands that, doesn’t she? Peace demands that he return home somehow. He flies away and the team looks after him.

(2nd story)
The members of the Technet find themselves in a strange situation: A muscular barbarian with a helmet that covers his whole face has Numbers, the most harmless member of the group, in a headlock, demanding to know where the rest of the Technet are. Numbers whines that he is only an accountant.

The rest of the team has reached them, though, and Gatecrasher orders the stranger to pick on someone his own body density. Ferro attacks him with his two knives but is tossed away by the stranger. Ready to listen to reason? He asks. He needs to hire them. His princess Flavia has sent him to retrieve the honeycomb nectar, but it is only produced in another dimension which he cannot reach.

Gatecrasher points out they don’t work without substantial pay, but Yap points out that, if they ask for money, he will strangle Numbers and without him they won’t be able to figure out Form 1040. It is close to April fifteenth, she admits and tells the stranger he has himself a deal. Point them towards the right dimension and they’ll find him his nectar.

They teleport away and land in a strange landscape. Small clouds float around them which Ferro recognizes as pollen… worse, ones which are affecting his allergies. They realize that everything in the place is huge in comparison to them.

They find a wall of combs the size of drainpipes. They step inside and find themselves walking in the nectar. Gatecrasher orders Bodybag to store some of this nectar in one of his membranes. Chinadoll suggests they hurry, because where a giant honeycomb is, there are bound to be giant bees… which have just found them (roughly six thousand of them).

Chinadoll uses her power to shrink them down and the bees bump into another and pass on the shrinking effect like a chain reaction, which means they still have to contend with a normal sized swarm of very angry bees that attack them and rooted to the spot by the nectar they cannot teleport away.

Waxwork uses his power to make the honeycomb lose its rigidity. They fall but can finally flee from the bee swarm and, even better, teleport away.

Soon, the Technet present the nectar to the barbarian and get Numbers back. A moment later, a radiant woman teleports in.

The barbarian kneels down and gives her the honeycomb nectar, asking her to keep her part of the bargain and free him from the wretched iron mask. She does so and tells him the nectar is for him. It’s the only cure in the pandimensional multiverse for that skin condition of his. She smears the nectar on his pimples, which instantly disappear. Now they can be married, she explains. She couldn’t stand the sight of him before. Did she really think his acne would improve behind that sweaty iron mask? he asks and then inquires about the next locked part of his anatomy, the iron belt. That can come off after he drops a few pounds, she informs him.

He loves happy endings, Yap announces, while Gatecrasher wonders if they couldn’t have saved a little of that goo to treat the bee stings…

Characters Involved: 

(1st story)
Captain Britain, Cerise, Feron, Kylun, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Phoenix III, Shadowcat (all Excalibur)

Kamendae, Kromm, Longstrider, Quarto (Khaos’ allies)


in Khaos story:
Kamendae, Kromm, Longstrider, Quarto (Khaos’ allies)

Citizens of Irth


(2nd story)
Bodybag, Chinadoll, Ferro, Gatecrasher, Numbers, Ringtoss, Waxworks, Yap (all Technet)


Story Notes: 

(1st story)
The story is to take place after Excalibur return from the future in issue #67 but, as Captain Britain is immediately separated from the team in the timestream and the team changes a lot till he returns, there is actually no point which this story fits into continuity.

Khaos so far has made no second appearance.

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