Excalibur (1st series) #87

Issue Date: 
July 1995
Story Title: 
Back to Reality

Warren Ellis (Writer), Ken Lashley (Penciler), Tom Wegargyn (Inker), Joe Rosas (Colorist), Richard Starkings (Letterer), Suzanne Gaffney (Editor), Bob Harras (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

With the AOA over, Excalibur are back in the Midnight Runner ands are plummeting towards Genosha after being attacked. But Meggan saves the day by using her elemental powers to restore electricity to the aircraft. On the ground, they soon come by a group of refuge mutates and are soon attacked by human guerrilla fighters. Wisdom is shot at, which Brian saw in one of his flash-forwards – however some of the mutate refugees are actually mutate street fighters, and they attack the human guerrilla fighters. In the battle, Pete doesn’t die, and reveals that he is mutant when he uses his power to save his life. Two weeks later, Governor Jenny Ransome reveals to Brian that the bullets imported to Genosha to deal with the mutant problem may have been designed by his father. At the deceased Professor Moreau’s lab, they hack into the computer, where Douglock downloads information about the history of Genosha, but when they stumble across information about old Moreau’s mysterious benefactor, the computer is blown up – by the Sugar Man, the benefactor himself, who is watching various things all over Genosha. Meanwhile, on Muir Island, Moira is bombarded by faxes from news reporters and the World Health Organization, all who want to know about the Legacy Virus. Moira is not interested in talking to them, as she is more concerned with who leaked the information off Muir Island.

Full Summary: 

(Two weeks ago)

Arriving at the island nation of Genosha, Excalibur’s Midnight Runner was fired at, and the vessel carrying Britain’s greatest super heroes – Britannic, Meggan, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat – as well as the techno-organic Douglock and the agent of Black Air, Pete Wisdom, plummeted towards the ground, until a reality-displacing event caused the world as we know it to crystallize. But the alternate reality is over, which means Excalibur are un-crystallized and are now plummeting straight towards the ground again.

Brian Braddock is at the controls, he cannot pull the ship up because the controls are dead. His lover, Meggan, asks if the generators are actually damaged and whether or not they could pull up if the engine feed was restored to the engines. Brian replies ‘maybe’ after all, the power source is under them and the missile hit them amidships. Meggan asks Brian to show her the power feed, and when he does she asks him to expose them, as she wants to see them. Not quite sure where Meggan is going with this, Brian supposes that it could not make matters any worse, and smashes it open for her.

However, upon seeing the power source he realizes that the cables must have burned up in the initial rush of fire. Meggan tells her lover to ‘hold on’ as she can get to the flames and shove them out of the way. She sees a severed cable and Kurt tells her that if she has an idea then it now would be an appropriate time to share it. The elemental’s eyes glaze over as she informs her friends that electricity is simply looking for somewhere to go, and all she has to do is give it a push, she does so, taking control of the electricity, and the console then lights up.

Someone remarks that the may have power but it is a little late, Kurt has taken control of the console and tries to pull the Midnight Runner up as it continues to fall towards the ground.


Kitty Pryde looks out a cracked window and remembers that Meggan simply convinced the electricity to jump across the gap in the feed cables and the drive systems re-lit, the Midnight Runner was under a lot of stress, but it didn’t crash, it practically scrapped the floor of Genosha as Kurt pulled it up.

Now though, the Genoshan coalition government that was helped to power by the American X-Men requested Excalibur’s help. Excalibur, at the request of British Intelligence, is in Genosha to locate the origin of mutant-specific ammunition used in a new civil war. Kitty thinks that it made sense to help with the root cause, which is the collapsed economy. For Genosha used to use mutants as slave labor, and the new government is trying to find a way back to how things were before that. But everything has gone wrong….

Pete Wisdom walks down the corridor to Kitty and asks if she wants some coffee. Kitty looks at Wisdom and tells him she though he had gone for a cigarette. Wisdom replies that no one is allowed to smoke in the parliament buildings. Kitty thinks that Wisdom is part of the reason everything has gone wrong, as he is an observer for Black Air, a British secret agency. And she doesn’t like him.

Wisdom motions to the coffee he is carrying and asks Kitty again whether or not she wants some. I ain’t spat init or anything, he adds. Kitty accepts the coffee and tells Wisdom that he is disgusting. Wisdom tells her that at least he got her attention, for all this waiting around is killing him. Kitty agrees, and admits that with this and the whole Muir Island thing is making her feel so useless. Wisdom glances away from Kitty and tells her that there are worse things, when Douglock calls to them and informs them that the jeep has arrived and that he wishes to drive.

An old jeep speeds across the ditches and craters of Genosha’s capitol, Hammer Bay, and Wisdom comments that he hopes Doctor Moreau’s lab can clear some of this up. Kitty asks Wisdom if the “worse things” comment he made earlier ties in to what happened when they landed. Douglock smiles and sings “Speed Racer” as Meggan goes eye-wide and thinks that she should never have shown Douglock the television. Wisdom tells Kitty that it sort of does, and reveals that he and Black Air had a deal….

(Two weeks ago)

Excalibur examines the Midnight Runner, Douglock mimicking Wisdom in his pose and trench coat. Kitty asks Kurt what they should do now, and the blue-skinned Excalibur leader sees some movement in a bombed building. Everyone follows Kurt inside and they see huddled together a group of refugee mutates.

These are the end times. This is the Apocalypse, says a mutate, and Brian remembers seeing the very same thing in a flash-forward he had back at Muir Island. Brian points out that all the mutates are starving, and one of them steps forward and proclaims that of course they are all starving, for the fighting prevents food from being brought in. Kurt asks him how bad it is and whether or not they could get them to a safe zone. The mutate bitterly remarks that this is Genosha and as long as there are humans, there are no safe zones for mutates.

Suddenly, a group of armed human guerrilla fighters burst into the building, shouting that the mutates ruined their country, that they are afraid of hard work and cozy up to the coalition government – well, here’s your welfare check! he exclaims and the humans start firing at the mutates. Suddenly, one mutate cries out The bullets – oh God, they’re biting –. Kurt notes that the humans are well-armed and well fed and orders Excalibur to take them down.

Brian Braddock doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry, as even though the flash-forward symptoms of his overfilled memory are narrowing their focus, the focus is narrowed to this very horror, and he pummels through the humans with his super strength. Nightcrawler has a little more direction to his thoughts. Of German origin he was raised by gypsies, and as a mutant he knows about race hatred. It takes him a great deal of restraint and maturity not to teleport the guerrilla’s heads off.

Then the rules change. Excalibur turns their attention to what Douglock reveals is a biologically generated x-ray laser. And several of the mutates strip off their rags, revealing beneath them spandex costumes, and Douglock reminds everyone that Wisdom described them aboard the flight as mutate street fighters who hide among their starving peers.

Kurt doesn’t think anything makes sense in this place and orders Excalibur to take them out too. At the same time, one of the mutates turns to Wisdom – who survived the bullets – and tells him that he looks like a flatscan to him. Calling Pete a racist he tells him to come over and be killed. Wisdom tells the approaching mutate that he doesn’t want to do this, that he is not here to hurt anyone and suggests he go pick on Kitty Pryde.

But the mutate doesn’t stop, and Pete was going to die unless he did something. He had to use his mutant ability and generated a spray of “hot knives”; blade shaped plates of pure heat as hot as the sun from his fingertips. He had to. It was either kill or be killed. Even though Black Air had promised never to put him in a combat situation again, after some…things…he had done in the past. Pete falls to his knees and looks at his hands, mumbling that he never wanted to hurt anybody.


In the jeep still, Wisdom tells Kitty that it is just dumb luck that the mutate survived. So much for being an observer, eh? He adds that it is not like he is doing much observing, for they go looking for the root of the old mutate-based economy, find the oldest mutate on Genosha and try to find out what life was like before the slave system and how it came to pass – only for the mutate to dissolve on them.

Smiling, Douglock wonders if he could get one of these jeeps to drive around in on Muir Island. I’m moving to the mainland exclaims Meggan. Kitty asks Wisdom if he is always this miserable, to which he replies you should see me at Christmas. Wisdom tells Kitty that all they have to show for their time on Genosha is an example of the bullet they were sent to investigate, pulled out of a corpse. He holds up the jar with the bullet in it and adds that all they receive is a wall of silence when they ask where it came from. At least it’s stopped dribbling, he mutters looking at the odd bullet.

Meanwhile, on the Muir Island Research Center, Doctor Rory Campbell walks into the Islands owner, world renowned scientist Doctor Moira MacTaggert and holds up a pile of faxes, informing her that they are from every major news agency on the planet as well as the World Health Organization. Sitting at a about what? Jenny informs Brian that her coalition partner, Philip Moreau is human, and a good man that she loves, but she is a mutate and cannot help but feel differently about some things.

Jenny reveals to Brian that they sent word to Britain that the bullets the human terrorists were using came from there and that they needed help, and she was hoping that Excalibur would be sent. Brian tells Ransome that he knows the X-Men have helped her in the past and that they speak very well of her in particular. Ransome tells Brian that that is not what she meant before revealing that they already know about the bullets, that they are derived from the semi-sentient super hard plastic skin of a London mutant named Pizer.

Ransome continues, informing Brian that twenty years ago Pizer was kept in captivity by the British military and his skin was machined off and converted into bullets after consultation with a famous English physicist – Sir James Braddock – Your father! Brian eyes go wide at this startling revelation and as Jenny asks him whether or not he can stop them he smashes a fist into the jeep, not able to believe that it was his father, even though Sir James was working with the establishment.
Brian glances at the cracked window screen – he remembers this too was in his vision. A broken life in broken glass. A furious Brian tells Ransome that before she soils his father's memory he wants to see proof of this. Ransome replies that it will be at old Moreau’s lab.

Soon, Brian and Ransome drive up to the old lab and Jenny tells Brian that her mother remembers the bullets being used years ago, and that any documents related to that should be in the lab, where Philip is briefing the rest of Excalibur. Brian and Ransome approach Moreau and the others, as Philip explains to them that his father always kept everything of importance in his first lab, here in the family home. But old Moreau had also said the lab was wired to explode upon recognizing intruders and they cannot decode the code in the door lock.

Nightcrawler asks Kitty if she would like to get the door and she replies that she will try, so she phases into the lab and coughs at the amount of dust in the room. She admires the old computer in the lab and sees the explosives hooked up to the door. Kitty phases back into the corridor where the others are and informs them that there are enough explosives bolted to the door to send it exploding up to the moon and that it is all wired to a computerized door lock that she cannot do anything with.

Douglock steps forward and suggests that he reduces his techno-organic form to a configuration able to interface with the door lock, he can talk it into being nice to them. Douglock was successful and the door breaks away, letting everyone enter. Kurt leads the way and comments on how strange he think it is that all the secrets of Genosha, their own little heart of darkness locked up into one tiny room. He asks for some light, and Moreau switches a light on as he enters the lab and looks at his fathers old computers, papers and diaries – all of which date back to the very start of mutate slavery.

Philip picks up a diary and flips through it, God, when I think of what Dad did – Ransome cuts her lover off, trying to tell him it is okay, but Philip tells her that it is not, for one cannot fix something like what has happened here. He tells Jenny that she never said to herself “Your dad created a way to warp mutants into branded slaves, welded to workers uniforms, but it is okay, it doesn’t affect you”.

Moreau looks up at Excalibur and tells them that these papers are only part of his father’s notes and that the rest will be in the computers. Kurt asks if they are not rigged to explode also, to which Kitty figures it is up to her to try again, and being the computer-genius that she is taps into the computer, only to find that the files are code-protected and thinks it might take her days to get into it. Douglock asks if he may help her, and she tells him to grab a chair.

Douglock states that he will actually grab a computer, as it is old and stupid and needs to be coerced for a bit. His techno-organic fingers extend into the computer sockets and in the voice of Moreau’s father he says Voice-file June 28th. My sponsor, S.M., was here again with more details of the Genegineering process. Kitty tells Philip that Douglock just convinced the computers to spit out a gig of voice files, and that all of Professor Moreau’s notes were vocal, which Douglock has downloaded into himself.

Douglock declares that the information he has received implies the late Professor Moreau did not originate the mutate bonding process, that it was given to him. Kitty think that it means Genosha was someone else’s idea all along, but she supposes that whoever that was faded into the background as she cannot find any trace of them in the computer, but what she has found is a notation for bullets imported from Britain for “riot control”.

Kitty tells Douglock that he is pretty good at this, and the techno-organic boy smiles ands thanks her, before revealing that he thinks he has found a name for the “Sponsor”. But the Sugar Man is watching all of this, and think that is quite enough of that and with the click of a button, the computer explodes. Kitty and Douglock are blown back and Kurt orders everyone out as the explosives begin to start catching all around the lab.

Excalibur regroup outside the old Moreau home as Kitty mumbles that the truth about Genosha has gone up in smoke. Along with the truth about the bullets, adds Brian.

Watching from a distance, Agents of Black Air – Threadgold and Scicluna are watching. Threadgold tells Michele that Excalibur look a bit miffed, but nevertheless they did the job that Black Air wanted them to. Scicluna agrees and adds that they have stirred things up, secrets like the mutate bonding process will rise to the surface in time – and Black Air will be there to skim them off!

Characters Involved: 

Britannic, Douglock, Meggan, Nightcrawler, Shadowcat (All Excalibur)

Dr. Moira MacTaggert

Dr. Rory Campbell

Pete Wisdom

Jenny Ransome

Phil Moreau

Michele Scicluna


Genoshan Mutates

Genoshan Human Guerrilla Fighters

Sugar Man

Story Notes: 

This is the first post-Age of Apocalypse issue for Excalibur, continuing on from Excalibur (first series) #86.

Britannic’s flash forward occurred in Excalibur (first series) #86.

The encounter with the old dissolving mutate occurred in X-Men: Prime.

The grotesque Sugar Man is an AOA reject.

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