New Excalibur #7

Issue Date: 
July 2006
Story Title: 
The Price of Friendship!

Chris Claremont (Writer), Christopher Yost (dialogue), Michael Ryan (Penciler), Rick Ketcham (Inker), Pete Pantazis (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: 

Juggernaut saves himself and Nocturne, who possessed him from the cave-in. At the prison, the other members of Excalibur are still under attack by Black Air, Black tom Cassidy and Shadow Xavier. Dazzler mysteriously comes to life again. Joined by Juggernaut and Nocturne, they manage to turn the tide. Wisdom considers sacrificing Sage to prevent Black Air’s escape with the Shadow X-Men, but refrains from doing so despite her urging. Sage fights and seemingly destroys Shadow Xavier in her mindscape. Black Air manage to escape with the shadow X-Men, but leave behind Xavier, who is actually the important one. Left behind, Black Tom takes a hostage, but Juggernaut manages to talk his former friend and partner into giving himself up.

Full Summary: 

The remains of Sheperd’s Cross Railway Station. Moments before, the wreckage collapsed on Juggernaut and Nocturne. Led by Alice Connery, the rescue workers are frantic to try and dig them out, when suddenly the ground shifts beneath them and with a roar the Juggernaut emerges.

However, tentacles emerge from the hole and try to drag him back. Cain grabs a bolt of metal for leverage, but so strong is the force of the tentacles that the metal gear breaks. Cain manages to get some leverage and furiously tears out the tentacles, shouting that nobody stops the Juggernaut!… followed by an anticlimactic so there.

With the immediate danger over, Nocturne emerges from his boy, which she had possessed before to save herself. The experience apparently wasn’t a pleasant one for Juggernaut as he is about to zone out. TJ takes off his helmet and begins to slap him, as she shouts at him to pull himself together. The possession was too light to do him any harm, she screams. Cain finally stops her slapping him, apparently back to himself. Relieved TJ hugs him and he jokes that she packs a mean wallop for such a little girl.

Outside her Majesty’s Prison Wormwood Scrubs, where Dazzler lies slain at the hands of Black Tom Cassidy, while Pete Wisdom lies unconscious, Captain Britain is battling Black Tom’s mechanic-organic tentacles and Sage is struggling against being possessed by evil Xavier. All the while, Black Tom crows triumphantly, wondering what else could a man ask for from life.

And Dazzler begins to breathe, while Captain Britain is tossed against the hovering prison transport that crashes as a result.

Tom laughs and Dazzler’s eyes begin to move as she realizes that she is alive… and that this is getting ridiculous.

Agent Scicluna of Black Air demands that Tom secure the stasis modules carrying the Shadow X-Men. Tom tells her that this is the part that makes it all worthwhile… apart from the money that is. He assures her the caper is in the bag, but she might want to check Wisdom…

Kicking Wisdom, Scicluna announces he should quit faking unconsciousness. Learning Black Air’s plans won’t do him any good. She’s always one step ahead of him and, of course, there is the fact that he is going to die now…. The next moment she is hit by Dazzler’s laser beam.

Ali follows that move up by kicking Black Tom to the ground, promising to shove his cane up his… She never finishes her sentence as Tom uses his cane to fire energy at her, which she barely evades. Keeping Tom busy, she orders Wisdom to help Brian. That creep is hers. Pete agrees and suggests she leave something of Tom for questioning.

Wisdom addresses Brian, telling him the vines are heading for the transport. Busy battling them, Cap suggests Wisdom do something about it. Throwing hot knives at the vines Wisdom mutters that this is what he got the heroes for, actually.

Cassidy seems to feel the backlash of Wisdom injuring the vines and Dazzler gloats. The next moment, Scicluna attacks from behind but Alison headbutts her quickly. Angrily, she announces she has had enough of being beaten up and killed. Countering her attack with a judo throw, Scicluna retorts that she is in for a disappointment, for both things are about to happen to her again. Cassidy fires at her, but Ali manages to deflect the blow with a light shield.

The reflected energy hurts the tentacles holding Captain Britain, enabling him to break free.

Sage, in the meantime, is struggling for her very soul against Dark Xavier, who is looking forward to making her his pet. Telepathically, he begins to pull back the layer of her experiences and on the astral plane she changes to Tessa of the Hellfire Club and finally to the young armed girl in Afghanistan who found the crippled Xavier. Shadow Xavier urges her to join his darkness, telling he she was born to it. Like calls to like. Grinning ferociously young Tessa points her gun at him, announcing that he should know that in her head one plays by her rules. She fires.

Back at the prison, Wisdom forces some tentacles to back off, but is getting exhausted. He looks at the vehicle’s tank leaking petrol. One hot knife and both Shadow X-Men and vines are taken care of in one big boom, he muses.

From within the vehicle, Sage has second-guessed his plan and urges him to act on it. The prisoners mustn’t escape. He agrees that it would be the smart play but instead attempts to free Sage, announcing she is worth more than his urge to blow things up. Don’t the X-Men always say there is another way? Maybe the more upbeat members, Sage remarks wryly. Now, she tells him. He sighs.

That moment, reinforcements arrive, as a plane flies above the prison and Juggernaut jumps from it with a war cry. He is dumped straight on the tentacles, causing them damage and as a result Black Tom pain. Worried, Dazzler hesitates and Black Tom uses that hesitation to hit her, viciously adding that he hopes to one day have the opportunity to kill her again. With that, he flees.

The next moment, Juggernaut is at Dazzler’s side, asking if she is ok. She assures him that she is but regrets Black Tom getting away again. Hearing that his former partner and long-time friend is here Juggernaut tells Captain Britain to look after Sage and Wisdom. He should leave Cassidy to him.

In the meantime, Black Air have used the confusion to load the Shadow X-Men into their stealth vehicle. They are still shy one member but Sciculna figures they can’t take the risk anymore and orders them to leave. Cassidy has fulfilled his usefulness to Black Air. Tom swears as he sees them abandon him. As he hears Juggernaut shout his name, he runs.

A little later, Cain bursts through the door of a small house to find Tom inside, having taken the woman who lives there hostage. He threatens to kill her. Cain urges him to give up. This is the end of the road. Not hardly, Tom scoffs, predicting that he and the young lady are going to walk out without Cain stopping them.

Cain hesitates. He recalls the death of Sammy Paré. Furious, he reminds Tom that the boy couldn’t possibly hurt Tom, nevertheless he killed him without a second thought. Tom makes excuses, claiming he wasn’t in his right mind then. And is he now? Cain asks pointedly. Did he get better?

Swearing, Tom orders Cain to look at him. He woke up on M-day and was himself again, human once more. Cain assures him he is glad. Tom goes on ranting that the life before was like some kind of dream. Sammy ain’t wakin’ up from it, Cain reminds him. It wasn’t his fault, Tom shouts. Maybe, Cain accedes, but a stand-up guy looks at his deeds and decides for himself where he is accountable and where he isn’t.

Tom asks whether he figures he has the right to judge him, now that he is on the side of the angels. Cain retorts that he figures that, due to their partnership in the past, he owes Tom the chance to make the decent call. Personally though … he kinda hopes Tom stays stubborn. He’d like to hear his bones break the way Sammy’s did. He’d like to make Tom scream the way Sammy didn’t.

The hostage pleads. Cain continues that Sammy was just a kid. And Tom and Cain for all their faults used to be better than that. Sweating, Tom wishes he could explain. Cain says he is willing to listen if Tom lets the girl go and gives himself up.

A little later, Cain leads both of them outside where the police and the rest of Excalibur are waiting. So they don’t get to beat Tom up, TJ asks disappointedly. Smirking, Dazzler suggests there is always a next time. Cap just advises them to be nice. Somewhat to the back stand Wisdom and Sage, who is now prominently displaying her old eye tattoes again.

Pete marvels at Juggernaut playing hostage negotiator and admits the team didn’t do half bad. They need to do better, replies Sage with a stony face and continues that Black Air’s execution was poor. The one they left behind was Shadow Xavier and he was the one that really mattered. What’s the deal with him, asks Wisdom. Sage assures him Xavier won’t bother them again. He’s history.

Nevertheless, Shadow Xavier seems to slightly smile…

Characters Involved: 

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

Scicluna (agent of Black Air)

Unnamed Black Air agents

Shadow Xavier

Black Tom Cassidy

Alice Connery and other rescue workers

Unnamed hostage

on the astral plane:

Sage at different stages of her life

Charles Xavier

Shadow Xavier

Story Notes: 
Issue Information: 
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