New Excalibur #1

Issue Date: 
January 2006
Story Title: 
Here we go again

Chris Claremont (Writer), Michael Ryan (Penciler), Rick Ketchum (Inker)
Pete Pantazis (Colorist), Tom Orzechowski (Letterer), Deborah Weinstein (production), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

After a lowdown singing job in London, Dazzler runs across a man being chased by people, who seem to be evil versions of the original X-Men. She defends the man who is killed by Iceman, whereas Dazzler herself is given a heart attack by the Jean Grey impostor. Elsewhere, Captain Britain is trying to come to terms with his new situation – being back on Earth and having lost his wife, Meggan – due to a disaster he barely remembers as a dream. He is joined by old friends – his former teammates, Nightcrawler, Kitty Pryde and Rachel Grey – as well as X-Men associates Nocturne and Juggernaut. As the friends exchange information, they are joined by yet another former member of Excalibur: Pete Wisdom, currently of a division of the British Secret Service, who informs them of Dazzler’s death. They examine her and, together, actually manage to revive her. Psylocke, Rachel, Nocturne, Nightcrawler and Juggernaut transport her to the hospital for further care. However, the fake X-Men are watching them and their leader, an evil Charles Xavier, is already planning a telepathic attack. The rest of the group visit banker Courtney Ross – or the woman pretending to be her – as Captain Britain explains that she is really an evil, otherdimensional tyrant, who has killed and replaced the real Courtney. Courtney reacts tearfully, causing some of the others (who were not present when “Courtney” showed her true colors) to doubt the veracity of his tale. Courtney assures Brian of her love and offers whatever help she has to give. After some flirting with an unresponsive Kitty, Wisdom orders the others to suck it up and help solve the case.

Full Summary: 

A small club in London. The audience doesn’t expect much, but they are in for a treat, as Alison Blaire, dressed in her old, skintight silver Dazzler suit, is giving them a performance. It’s a low-rent gig, not her venue of choice, but as a mutant these days she’s glad about any job she gets.

Later, she dresses in biker boots and a leather jacket and takes off her long strawberry-blond wig to reveal her now short pink-dyed hair. From then on, things only get worse, starting from the two punk girls who make fun of her to the club owner, who tries to come on to her, talks down to her about being a mutant and finally pinches her butt. The last thing proves to be the straw that broke the monkey’s back. Ali’s eyes begin to glow, as she informs him that wasn’t very nice. Moments later, the entire building is aglow with her light.

Outside, a startled man wonders what this flash was, but doesn’t really care. He is too busy running for his life. His hunter, a flying winged man in a leather suit is also momentarily distracted by the light show. By the time his eyes recover, his prey is gone.

Ali leaves the club with a grim feeling of satisfaction. She wonders if Wolverine ever has to deal with this kind of stuff. Suddenly, the fleeing man runs into her. He apologizes profusely and runs on. Ali believes him to be a nutcase. When she notices he dropped the papers he was carrying, she calls out after him. Moments later, the masked winged man flies past her, almost causing her to fall again. He grabs the other man, informing him that their master doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Automatically, Ali gets involved, as she fires a photon blast at the flyer’s wings.

Angrily, he turns towards her and she recognizes him as Archangel. She’s totally mortified at the thought of having botched up an X-Men operation. She tells him it’s her and apologizes, wondering at the same time when “Mr. Armani” went all “rough-trade.” Instead of replying he swoops at her. She evades his hand but he hits her with his wing, the force of which throws her into a wall. An artificial claw springs from his arm and he attacks again. Ali grabs the arm with one hand and belts him with the other.

She revs up her motorcycle and tells the victim to jump aboard. They’ve barely driven a few feet when an optic blast totals the bike. Cyclops! Has the entire team gone bad? Alison wonders, as she orders the man to stay low and in the shadows. She’ll cover him. No, she won’t! a new voice informs her, as a big hand grabs her and tosses her into the air. Beast, Ali realizes, wondering at the same time why he is human again. A sustained blast of ultra-dense photons against a wall turns Ali into a living rocket and tosses her back into Beast’s body. She makes sure to fall on him, with Beast taking the brunt of the impact. Impatiently, she shouts at the man to run.

Suddenly, she is in agony, as though suffering a heart attack. Nevertheless, she urges the man to go, only to see him being frozen to ice before her eyes. A smirking, leather-clad redhead remarks she shouldn’t have interfered. Ali recognizes her as Jean Grey. ‘Jean’ mocks that Alison is already dead, but she still wants to play? Bored now. She’s done. And with that Alison’s world shatters.

The British coastline, near a shattered lighthouse stands a man out of place, who once called this his home. Brian Braddock aka Captain Britain once was a champion, not only of his homeland here on Earth, but also of the pan-dimensional realm of Otherworld. He loved and married a woman named Meggan. They hoped to live happily ever after. Now he’s lost them both, Meggan and Otherworld. He doesn’t know how. He doesn’t know why. And so he has come to what was once the stronghold of his team, Excalibur, seeking answers or perhaps a miracle.

An answer comes when he hears the voice of his sister Betsy, aka Psylocke. The twins hug. Overcome with emotion, Brian recalls that Betsy was dead. She got better, Betsy deadpans. How totally X-Men, he retorts. She reminds him that he has done it, too. It must run in the family, he figures. Betsy points towards the Blackbird. She has brought some friends of them both. The X-Men Nightcrawler, Shadowcat (along with her pet dragon Lockheed) and Marvel Girl, all three of them used to be founding members of Excalibur along, with Brian and Meggan, and are thus some of Brian’s dearest friends.

One group hug later, Nightcrawler and Kitty explain that Cyclops sent them to check up on Cap. With all that’s happened with M-day and all, they wanted to make sure he was okay. Betsy asks about Meggan’s whereabouts and Brian turns pensive. She’s gone, he announces simply. Everything was fine and then he woke up and he lived here instead of Otherworld, and he was alone. He had the strangest dream…

Another voice asks if the dream was a bout a chaoswave, a cross-time-tsunami that would have destroyed all creation if it hadn’t been for him and Meggan. Surprised, Brian agrees and turns towards the newcomer. Or newcomers more precisely, who are now exiting the Blackbird. One of them is Cain Marko aka the Juggernaut, former X-Man and former X-Men foe. The other one, the one who spoke, is a girl in her late teens, with an uncanny resemblance to Nightcrawler, Nocturne aka Talia Josephine “T.J.” Wagner. Kurt introduces her as his sort of daughter from another dimension. She is currently stranded in this one. She’s been having nightmares, Kurt adds. Brian replies in surprise that he recalls Nocturne from his dream.

Kitty interjects, suggesting they adjourn to Braddock Manor, as they have a lot to talk about. Not so easy, Brian replies somewhat amused, as his ancestral home is little more than a great big hole in the ground. Nightcrawler begins to argue that it had been rebuilt last time the X-Men were in Britain. He doesn’t get to finish his sentence, as somebody points a flashlight at them. They all look towards the newcomer. Just her lousy luck, Kitty sighs to Rachel, as she recognizes the man – her former lover. She should have stayed at home.

Pete Wisdom, MI-13, the newcomer and onetime member of Excalibur introduces himself to the few who don’t know him, before he needles Kitty, telling her that she is looking uncommonly respectable. Does he sleep in that suit? she shoots back, taking a dig at the fact that, ever since she’s known him, he has kept on wearing more or less identical black suits. MI-13 doesn’t allow sleep, he deadpans. More businesslike he informs them that they are all needed in London. Dazzler’s been murdered.

A little later, they arrive in London, where the police have already discovered Dazzler’s body. She wasn’t killed by the fight she was in, a doctor states. It rather looks like a heart attack.

Wisdom explains that he called the X-Men, partly as a courtesy, as Dazzler had been one of them once, but mainly because of the ice. Nightcrawler points out that Iceman cannot be the guilty party. He is in America and has lost his powers. A copycat then, Wisdom shrugs, as they are about to put Alison’s body into a bodybag. Suddenly, Rachel’s eye flashes, as she shouts that she is sensing brain activity – Alison’s alive!

Captain Britain takes charge: he orders Kitty to phase her hands into Alison’s chest for direct heart massage, whereas Rachel is to sue her telekinesis and jump-start Ali’s central nervous system. In the meantime, he applies mouth-to-mouth. The others watch and pray until, finally, Alison opens her eyes and gasps.

A little later, Betsy telekinetically flies herself and Alison to the Royal Victoria Hospital, announcing she has a casualty. Rachel follows and telepathically debriefs the hospital staff on the situation.

Moments later, Nightcrawler teleports in with Nocturne and a frantic Juggernaut. He insists on accompanying Alison to the cardiac trauma ward, until Nightcrawler talks some sense into him. Cain argues that she might need protection. Kurt agrees, but tells him to walk very softly.

He turns to his daughter, Nocturne, who is expressing some misgivings. She feels something in her head, something familiar, but wrong

The penthouse apartment of Fraser’s bank in the London Docklands, destination of the rest of the group. Wisdom explains that the man that was covered in ice had an appointment with the boss banker, here, Courtney Ross. She probably had him murdered, one of the others mutters as they land on the terrace. Wisdom shoots that theory to hell, pointing out that Courtney has an alibi. Isn’t that what henchmen are for? Cap scoffs. Rules and laws don’t matter to her, Kitty agrees. She makes her own. Courtney, impeccably dressed in a short white business suit, joins them and gently points out that what she had told Kitty was, “People like us, we make our own.” Kitty is far more like her, than she would ever admit.

While Kitty glares at her, Courtney greets them all, and asks them to come in. Captain Britain snarls that this is an act and this Courtney is an impostor. A tyrant from another dimension who killed the real Courtney and took her place. Oh, really? Wisdom asks, somewhat doubtful. Ignoring Brian’s statement, Courtney explains that Roger MacEwan, the dead guy, was a good man. She’ll be happy to give whatever help they require to bring his murderers to justice.

With a tearful look she turns to Captain Britain and assures him of her love. She knows he loves Meggan. Some days she wishes she didn’t care for him. Those feelings led her to decisions she almost always came to regret. She urges them to not allow this to become one of them. She steps inside. Rachel addresses Brian: Is he sure she is a monster?

That went well, Wisdom tells Kitty with a smirk, calling her “petal.” Worth an academy award, Kitty agrees, not impressed. He reaches for her hand. She phases through it and orders him not touch her. Riffing on Courtney’s speech, he asks her if she is afraid of feelings that will lead her to decisions she’ll regret.

Getting more serious, he states that, back at the office, they’ve been hearing things. He works for Intelligence. Isn’t that his job, Kitty asks. Wisdom talks about the current situation, about the masses of depowered mutants. What is going on? Kitty plays dumb. Wisdom warns her. There’s been a lot of bad blood building between mutants and the rest of humanity. If the numbers have changed, there’ll likely be a reaction. Is she game for that? Absolutely, she shoots back. “That’s my girl,” he tells her, coming closer. She’s not his girl, she replies coldly and turns away. Her loss, he remarks, and his regret for letting her go.

His sappy five minutes over, Wisdom orders the others inside. On behalf of MI-13 – the division of her Majesty’s Intelligence Services devoted to superbeings and weird happenings – it’s their responsibility to take the killers down. Turning to Cap, he tells them to suck it up and act like bloody heroes.

From up above the fake Angel is targeting them, awaiting the word that he can attack. Beast demands dibs on Dazzler. Marvel Girl, who has already infiltrated the hospital, tells him Dazzler is hers. She doesn’t die until she finds out how she survived the first time. Cyclops and Iceman are also on the rooftops waiting with Cyclops reminding the others it is not their call. Quite true, their master, a Charles Xavier remarks. First, they must bait the trap. With that, he telepathically attacks Nocturne, who flips in the hospital. With that, he takes over the minds of the hospital staff around the X-Men, waiting for his plan to unfold. The battle has yet to begin, but they are already beaten, he vows.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom (former member of Excalibur)

Marvel Girl III, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat (current X-Men and former members of Excalibur)

Dazzler, Juggernaut (former X-Men)

Nocturne (former Exile and former X-Men in her home dimension)

Psylocke (X-Man)


Lun Opul Sat-yr-9 (in her guise as Courtney Ross)

Roger MacEwan

Evil versions of Angel, Beast, Cyclops, Iceman, Marvel Girl I, Professor Xavier

Hospital staff

Sleazy club owner

Punk girls

Story Notes: 

The series is called New Excalibur to differentiate it from the last incarnation of the title, a series that was set on Genosha and starred Professor Xavier and Magneto. This series is more in line with the premise of the original Excalibur series.

Roger MacEwan was seen running from the threat in House of M - The Day After, where he contacted Courtney Ross.

Dazzler was an unwilling member of the X-Men from Uncanny X-Men #214 to about 251.

Dazzler and Angel actually had a relationship for a brief while in her own series.

Captain Britain and Meggan returned to Earth from Otherworld in Uncanny X-Men #462 to save Earth from a chaos wave. Meggan sacrificed her life to stop the threat in Uncanny X-Men #465. As all of this happened during the “House of M” reality, most heroes – including Cap – don’t remember any of this.

Psylocke died at the end of X-Treme X-Men #2 and was returned to life – presumably by her crazy brother Jamie. She and Brian actually had a reunion in Uncanny X-Men #463, but don’t remember.

Shadowcat, Rachel, Nightcrawler (and Lockheed) alongside Cap and Meggan were the original Excalibur team.

Nocturne is a former member of the transdimensional team, Exiles, and got stranded on Earth 616 in Exiles #48.

Braddock Manor was destroyed in the X-Men’s fight with the Fury in Uncanny X-Men #445-447.

The X-Men later saw it standing again when they visited what they believed to be Brian and Meggan (Uncanny X-men #448), but all of that - including the rebuilt mansion - was only an illusion by Jamie Braddock.

Wisdom and Kitty had an intense relationship during his stay with Excalibur. It ended badly when she broke it off, feeling she was too young.

Iceman lost his powers at the end of the House of M, as well as many other mutants.

Juggernaut is so anxious about Dazzler’s fate, as he is her number one fan (see Uncanny X-Men #217).

The real Courtney Ross was killed and replaced by an otherdimensional double of hers, Sat-yr-9, back in Excalibur (1st series) #5. Considering this “Courtney” acts a lot more helpful than Sat-yr-9 had in the past, the heroes (especially Rachel and Wisdom who weren’t with the team when she attacked them) are understandably confused (not to mention the fact that during the House of M reality she apparently was the “real” Courtney). However, her statement toward Kitty about “making their own rules” (from Excalibur (1st series) #23), proves that she is indeed Sat-yr-9.

The faux Jean Grey’s quip of “bored now,” most likely is an homage to the quip by the alternate reality, vampire Willow from Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.

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