X-Calibre #1

Issue Date: 
March 1995
Story Title: 
The Infernal Gallop

Warren Ellis (writer), Ken Lashley (penciler), Bud Larosa, Tom Wegrzyn, Phillip Moy (inkers), Richard Starkings / Comicraft (lettering), Joe Rosas (colorist), Digital Chameleon (separations), Suzanne Gaffney (editor), Bob Harras (editor in chief)

Brief Description: 

Magneto has ordered Kurt Wagner, aka Nightcrawler, to find his way to Avalon. A woman there, named Destiny, is the key to finding out the truth in the words from Bishop. But only one person knows Destiny, and that person happens to be Kurt’s mother, Mystique, who ferries refugees to Avalon. Kurt secretly meets Warren Worthington, who runs the night club Heaven in the remains of New York, and learns that he will have to meet with a John Proudstar to get a fare to Avalon. At a church called Ghost Dance, Nightcrawler finds this Proudstar and again uses force to gain the information he needs. However he begins to doubt his mother, as both Angel and Proudstar claimed that Mystique dumps many of the refugees in the freezing sea after stealing their possessions. One of Apocalypse’s spies learns of the plan, and he decides to send the Pale Riders, consisting of Damask, Danielle Moonstar and Dead Man Wade, after Nightcrawler to find out Avalon’s location. Meanwhile a new refugee called Switchback arrives in Antarctica, being the sole survivor of her trek. Cain Marko leads her to Avalon, which is located in the heart of the Savage Land. Destiny welcomes her, but from shaking hands with Switchback she receives a vision of fire and destruction.

Full Summary: 

The story starts off with a young mutant from Detroit, going by the name of Switchback, on a ferry in a dark cave. Reaching land, she runs into her guide to the promised land, a monk named Cain Marko. Trudging days into a swamped area, Switchback remember her journey to this place. During the long trek from America, all her companions were killed, even her lover Gary drowned and she was the sole survivor to make it to Antarctica. Her guide doesn’t speak much during their long walk and finally they reach their goal, the haven paradise of Avalon, secreted deep in the Savage Land.
New York City, or what’s left of it. In the nightclub of Heaven, Warren Worthington has a private meeting with Kurt Darkholme, aka Nightcrawler. Warren is needed by Kurt to get him out of America and into Antarctica to meet up with his mother. Asked why, Kurt explains that Magneto has ordered him to find a woman named Destiny who happens to know his mother. They need Destiny to corroborate a story, and as Destiny is residing in Avalon, Kurt has to travel there. Kurt’s mother has been ferrying refugees to this Avalon for years. Warren insults her, saying that she takes all these refugees possess and dumps many of them in the freezing sea to die. Angrily Kurt punches Warren and demands the travel arrangements. Wiping blood from his jaw, Warren tells Kurt to seek Proudstar at an abandoned place called Stark Holding.
Over at Magneto’s stronghold, Magneto gets an earful from Mystique, talking to her via video comm-link. She wishes not to go to Avalon but Magneto tells her that is it not a request and that she WILL meet her son. She tries once more time to get out of it but Magneto informs her that if she does not help out then not only will he divulge her location to Apocalypse, but also he will be the one to tear her limbs off. Magneto reminds her that she is the only person who knows what Destiny looks like, so he needs her. Reluctantly Mystique agrees and tries to make the best of it, after all she can look forward to seeing her son again.
Kurt arrives at Stark Holdings and sees people dancing around a bonfire. A man walks up to Kurt and introduces himself as John Proudstar. He informs Kurt that they are in the Ghost Dance, a church, the first link of the Infernal Gallop. Kurt cringes at the notion of a church. Asking about the dancing, Kurt gets educated that the dance, which once was a dance to God to wipe out the white man, is now used for the erasure of Apocalypse. Kurt comments on of the stupidity of it all, only to find out that Proudstar knows his last name. The crowd gathers around Kurt, and Proudstar explains that they know his mother and don’t like her, and neither do they like him. Turns out, Kurt’s mother charges a hefty fee for dropping people off at Avalon. John points at Kurt while further slandering Mystique. Annoyed, Nightcrawler grabs a hold of the finger and ports off with it. He further defends his mother and calls the “Infernal Gallop” vermin. While Proudstar is holding his bleeding hand in agony, Kurt demands to get on the next transport to Antarctica unnoticed. Neither one recognizes an eavesdropping indian woman dressed in red.
The woman heads to Apocalypse’s citadel where she is stopped by one of the Madri. She creates an psionic arrow and kills the guard, then proceeds inside the citadel. Turns out the eavesdropper is Danielle Moonstar, a servant of Apocalypse. Apocalypse orders her to cease the killings, or she will be the next to die, and then listens to her report. Danielle tells Apocalypse what she has learned at the Ghost Dance. Apocalypse orders Damask, Dead Man Wade, and Moonstar, the Pale Riders, to follow Kurt.
Leaving Manhattan is a submarine labeled the “Excalibur”. Going through the poisoned Hudson for the Arctic, nearly a hundred refugees are in the bay, including Kurt. He wonders how much of the stories about his mother are true.
In Avalon, Cain introduces Switchback to his “sister”, but she tells Cain to stop calling her that. She lets Switchback know that if she refers to herself as Switchback then she is Destiny. When they touch hands, Destiny screams out in pain that all she can see is the burning and the Apocalypse of the land.

Characters Involved: 

Magneto, Nightcrawler (both X-Men)


Cain Marko


John Proudstar
Damask, Danielle Moonstar, Dead Man Wade (all Pale Riders)


the Madri

Story Notes: 

Nightcrawler had some bad experience with the christian church in his youth and despises religion.
Nightcrawler is referred to as both Wagner and Darkholme.
Dead Man Wade is the AoA version of Deadpool.
The main Marvel Universe’s counterpart of Damask was only introduced after the Age of Apocalypse crossover. She is Ms. Steed, the Black Queen of the british branch of the Hellfire Club.

Issue Information: 
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