New Excalibur #5

Issue Date: 
May 2006
Story Title: 
Howling Mad!

Chris Claremont (Writer), Steven Cummings (Penciler), Rick Ketcham (Inker), Sotocolor (Colorist), Tom Orzechowski (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

Before one of the two Warwolves in her flat can absorb her, Sage turns the tide of the battle and begins to turn the process on it. They are joined by Pete Wisdom, and the Warwolves use the confusion to flee. Sage and Wisdom correctly figure that the others may be in trouble and go to join them. At Mike’s Garage, Dazzler and Nocturne are outmatched, but battle bravely. Finally, Juggernaut breaks free and, with his help, they beat and capture the creatures. Afterwards, they are joined by Sage and Wisdom. At Thameside, Captain Britain has to fight an enraged Lionheart, who blames Captain Britain for the destruction of her life. She almost kills Courtney Ross by hurling a propane tank at her car. When Cap decides that the kid gloves are off, Lionheart receives help in the shape of another superbeing who calls himself Albion and who wants Cap dead. He fights Cap to a standstill and simply swats Juggernaut, who is sent to help, aside. Albion flees with Lionheart and, instead of following Cap, decides to help Juggernaut. Later, Cap admits that he wasn’t aware of the problems caused by M-day, but he now realizes that Excalibur is needed more than ever and asks the others to join him.

Full Summary: 

At Thames-Side, Captain Britain urges Kelsey Leigh aka Lionheart that she doesn’t really want to do this. His foe is not convinced.

In Mike’s Garage, Dazzler and Nocturne are doing their best to hold themselves against the Warwolves.

In downtown, London, a Warwolf is in the process of assimilating Sage, or so it thinks. Suddenly, she grabs its arm and it finds the process being reversed. Sage coldly informs it that she has taken its measure and knows how to beat it.

The other Warwolf in the shape of Wisdom’s colleague, Rana, trains her gun on Sage. Still, she is frightened out of her wits, as she begs Sage to stop. She will tell her everything. Sage demands she talk fast.

Nevertheless, the Warwolf is shot thanks to the hotknives of new arrival Pete Wisdom. Sage’s Warwolf uses the opportunity to slam the woman into Wisdom. Both of them crash through the glass door onto the balcony. The Warwolf gathers up its fellow and jumps out, vowing that they will fulfil the contract another day.

Nasty little buggers, those Warwolves, Pete comments. Still gasping, Sage asks if he knows them. All the rage at Regent’s Park Zoo these past few years, Pete explains, since they were captured by the original team of Excalibur. The tabloids loved them, but the exhibit was closed down a few years back and the Warwolves removed to “parts unknown.” Perhaps it is no accident that they attack just as Pete is proposing a revival of the team, Sage observes and suggests they had better warn the others.

At Thames-Side, Captain Britain is still fighting defensively, asking Lionheart to stop it for mercy’s sake. She shouts at him not to use that word. He cannot expect mercy from her. He slaps her sword aside, as she continues that because of him her children believe their mother is dead. And if she reveals the truth they’ll die.

He tries to apologize. She doesn’t want to hear it. She wants her life back. But she will settle for ending his. She brutally slams him into a wall, causing the building do go down around him.

Courtney Ross is trying to get away in her car. Kelsey tosses a propane tank at her, figuring if she shares Cap’s heart, she can share his fate. Cap has freed himself from the rubble at that moment. Seeing the danger, he joins Courtney in the car, orders her to relax her body and covers her as well as he can. The tank hits.

At Mike’s Garage, Dazzler orders Nocturne to get behind her and not look as she blinds the Warwolves with a lightshow. Nocturne tells her that rocks. She uses her acrobatics to topple two Warwolves, somersaults towards the third and then merges with it as she tries to possess it. Moments later, she emerges from the body again, clearly in agony. Her possession trick didn’t work.

Alison fires a laser blast at the Warwolf and informs Nocturne that they have to stop thinking of them as real people. Clever girl, another Warwolf comments as he slashes her back, but too slow.

Who’s too slow? Nocturne asks, as she kicks him away. Still imprisoned in a red crystal-like substance, Juggernaut watches helplessly as the women are cornered by the four Warwolves. Finally, he manages the impossible and breaks loose.

Thames-Side: Lionheart searches the burning wreck, complaining that this was too quick. She wanted him to suffer. Seeing Captain Britain’s crouching still form, she states that Captain Britain is dead and she has her vengeance. Moments later, she tears off her mask, displaying her scar as she cries what has she done? Now she’s a murderer!

She touches Brian’s body to find that he is alive. Courtney as well is unharmed, as Brian protected her with his own body. Cap gets ready to strike Kelsey, who shouts out “don’t!” rather than fighting back. However, it is not she who stops his blow but the hand of a newcomer, a costumed stranger in a golden mask who introduces himself as Albion. He adds that he has come to kill Captain Britain, as he simply tosses him aside.

He informs Kelsey that Courtney is hers. If she truly wants revenge, he can’t think of a better way than to slay the woman who was Captain Britain’s first true love. Is that true? Kelsey asks, as she grabs Courtney. The other woman refuses to answer, but Kelsey can see that she still loves him. That’s as plain as Courtney’s courage. What a waste.

In the air, Captain Britain is waiting for Albion’s attack. They collide in the air above Big Ben, even Juggernaut who has beaten the fours wolves can hear the noise.

In the meantime, Nocturne takes care of Dazzler’s injuries while the singer complains that she is always the designated punching bag. Two fights, two trips to the hospital. They have been joined by Wisdom and Sage, who is watching the fight in the air though her binoculars. She informs the others that Captain Britain is taking on someone his own size and apparently far more power. While they are not even trying to damage the city, the effect on London may yet prove to be devastating, she warns.

Brian demands to know who the other man is, as he throws him down into a construction site. Albion frees himself from the rubble to see that Lionheart still hasn’t killed Courtney. He asks why “this creature” is still alive. Kelsey just stutters. Albion tells her he understands, while he covers her face again with her mask. The nobility of he soul does her honour, but they are at war. This is not the time to yield the quality of mercy. Especially to the likes of her.

Suddenly, they notice a strange glow. Not to far away the others have come up with a plan to help. Dazzler uses her impact beam to steer Juggernaut (and Nocturne riding piggy-back) in the direction of Albion and Lionheart.

Albion observes that the tide of battle is turning. Can’t they take them, Kelsey eagerly asks. Swatting Juggernaut aside into a levee, Albion replies that she is not ready yet. By the time Cain and Nocturne have gotten their bearings, Albion and Lionheart have flown away.

As Cap helps up Juggernaut, the former villain angrily berates him for not following them. He was doing fine on his own. Nocturne chastises him for his attitude, pointing out that even he might drown.

Cap turns to Courtney, glad she is all right. She jokes that apparently even she deserves the occasional miracle. Brian turns back to Juggernaut, explaining that he didn’t follow because that was what Albion wanted. Fighting him one-on-one was hard enough. With Lionheart at his side…? The question is why is Kelsey at his side. Who is he? What is he after? Aside from his death? Courtney asks.

He used to be a halfway decent scientist Cap muses but he has forgotten the first rule of nature: it abhors a vacuum. Sentient life on Earth was evolving. They may have issues with the direction, but it was still a natural process. Then, suddenly, in an instant almost all of the world’s mutants lost their powers. The very genome that created them was erased. Is it any wonder that the reaction may be as extreme? M-day hasn’t made things better for the world. For too man it’s quite the opposite. And he fears that too many will find profit and satisfaction in making things worse.

He can’t be true to his throne in Otherworld by abandoning his responsibilities here. Captain Britain first and foremost is a champion of this realm. But he can’t handle the job alone. He turns to the others – Cain, T.J., Alison, Pete Wisdom and Sage and asks for their help. He isn’t the man or the hero he was. He intends to be better. Now, as before Excalibur stands for an ideal, might in the service of right. “Let’s go do some good!”

“Oh, sure, take all the credit,” Wisdom comments wryly.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain, Dazzler, Juggernaut, Nocturne, Sage, Pete Wisdom (all Excalibur)

Courtney Ross (or Sat-yr-9 posing as her)


Albion II


Story Notes: 

The original Excalibur fought the Warwolves in Excalibur Special edition #1 and Excalibur (1st series) #1-2.

Kelsey Leigh’s story is told in Avengers (3rd series) #77-81. A single mother, she lost her life defending Avengers from the Wrecking Crew. As a reward, Brian Braddock, at the time ruler of Otherworld, revived her and gave her the opportunity to become Earth 616’s Captain Britain, his successor. However, unlike him, she chose the sword instead of the amulet and he warned her that, as a consequence, she couldn’t see her children anymore, as this would otherwise lead to their deaths. A desperate Kelsey later saved him and Meggan from Morgan leFey, but that didn’t change anything.

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