Thursday, April 17, 2008

Not Blog Ex?

Wondering just what the heck this is? Head on over to Not Blog X and G Kendall will explain all. At least "all" in the context of 90s X-Men comics.

Excalibur #59
Enter... The Panther
Credits: Scott Lobdell (Script), Scott Kolins (Pencils), Jon Holdredge; Ray Kryssing (Inks), Mike Thomas; Dana Moreshead (Colors), Ul Higgins (Letters).

Kitty Pryde, along with Lockheed, is busy soaking up the sun in Wakanda, having stowed away on Brian's private jet. Brian, along with his "administrative assistant" Meggan, are representing Braddock Industries (formerly run by Jamie Braddock before he went nutzoid) in an internation coalition, which is meeting in Wakanda. Meggan is introduced to T'Challa, the Black Panther, and the technologically advanced people of Wakanda. Going deep inside the strange geological oddity known as the "cold mountain", the Panther introduces the other members of the group: Iron Man, representing Stark International, and Captain America, representing the United States government. As they sit down to a feast (pizza, bizarrely enough), the group is suddenly surrounded by bizarre full sized wooden creatures, with large heads resembling an African tribal carving. The leader of this group is Icon, who has transformed T'Challa's staff into his soldiers. Icon claims to represent the true nature of Wakanda, and the wishes of the Wakandan people to cast off technology and the West. Panther, Iron Man, and Cap spring to action, sealing Brian and Meggan inside a vibranium protection cylinder. Kitty, who had found one of Icon's victims earlier, phases in to get her teammates out. Facing down this "new" Excalibur, Icon bemoans that normally Africa has one superhero, but the day he makes his move, there's whole gaggle of them.

Meanwhile, Nightcrawler and Cerise are planning an evening at the opera, although Cerise still thinks lipstick tastes terrible. Their night out is interrupted when the Knight Errant, who rides on a mechanical flying steed, invades the opera house and shoots an energy blast at a known arms smuggler, and Nightcrawler has to save the man's date before the two heroes give chase.

Continuity Notes
A footnote tells us that Cerise arrived from "somewhere else" in issue #47.

Iron Man is James Rhodes, and is wearing the black and white "War Machine" style armor. Meggan greets him, thinking he is the Iron Man that they previously had adventured with; she takes his ignorance for playing "secret identity." Similarly, Cap notices him drinking a toast, and immediately knows it's not Tony Stark.

"Huh?” Moment
The last page has Black Panther, Captain America, Iron Man, Kitty, and some random, muscular Black woman in a white outfit. I guess it's Meggan or a disguised Brian, maybe? But as it stands the page makes no sense in the context of the issue.

Another Lobdell story, this continues into the next issue as well. It's not bad -- the subplot with Nightcrawler and Cerise is great fun, but I am biased -- and there is some funny bits here and there, but overall, this is a lesser issue. I'm not a real big fan of the Black Panther, so that hurts it, but even beyond that this is not really an Excalibur story. This really is something which would have been better played in Marvel Comics Presents or a Black Panther one-shot. Brian and Meggan are basically there to be reader identification (Lobdell makes a point about how even though they are Europe's premier superheroes, the sight of Cap and Iron Man fill them with awe), which is not really something I am looking for in an Excalibur book. Kollins' art is all over the place; his style has cleaned up significantly since this period. A significant step-down from the previous two parter with the Trolls.

As an aside, I remember seeing this cover for the first time and thinking that Marvel was actually changing the team to this roster, and being insanely angry about it (even as an Iron Fan). Looking back, I have to say: man, I was stupid.

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