Writer: Chris Claremont
Artist: Aaron Lopresti
the fanciful England-based X-book that was Excalibur?
do I, so this new volume didn’t seem to be off to
such a bad start when it chose to relaunch the title in
name only, the story following Professor X’s latest
attempt to rebuild the decimated mutant country of Genosha
and bury the body of the fallen Magneto.
anyone who hasn’t been keeping up on the major events
of the X-Men in the last few years, Genosha, former mutant-slave
state turned shining mecca by Magneto, was completely destroyed
by nigh-unstoppable uber-Sentinels. The entire population
was massacred with the exception of a few handfuls of resilient
mutants. Magneto, unfortunately, wasn’t so lucky.
it turned out the Master of Magnetism was alive the whole
time, posing as a mutant pacifist who was saved and recruited
by the X-Men. The details were always a bit fuzzy on HOW
the crippled Magneto was able to drag his ruined body from
Genosha to China, eluding the scrutiny of American spy satellites,
the UN blockade around his island, and the largest army
in the world before setting up a fake identity, backstory,
and scheme to infiltrate the X-Men, corrupt students, and
try to take over the world again. It just kinda made sense
in that Grant Morrison way of thinking.
Magneto got his head lopped off by Wolvie.
THEN the last issue of Excalibur revealed Magneto
to be alive and well in Genosha.
okay. Settle down. Have some aspirin and start reading again
when the hurting stops...
this month’s episode in “The Continuing Lives
and Deaths of Magneto” (now titled Excalibur)
starts us off with an explanation: the Magneto who’d
been posing as Xorn before murdering over 5,000 people in
New York (including Jean Grey) was really an imposter who
at some point told Professor X that his secondary mutation
is to come back from the dead, which is why Charlie’s
been dragging his coffin around the whole time.
with me? Okay.
is shocked, infuriated, and saddened to hear of all this,
amazed that anyone could imagine him as such a soulless
monster. Charles is far more bothered by the exponential
increase in the mutant population and the fluidity of secondary
mutations, but recollections of his work with Moira MacTaggart
only serve to upset Erik again.
then mourns the loss of his mutant city-state some more
and goes on about the struggle he and other survivors have
endured on Genosha and the impossible task that has been
set before them until his thoughts are disturbed by an angry,
be-tentacled Callisto who’s enraged to find Xavier
collaborating with Magneto.
to say I enjoyed seeing Magneto and Xavier having a friendly
conversation, once more. As great as they are as enemies,
being friends after being enemies (after being friends)
gives them such a fascinating, bittersweet bond. Both have
blood on their hands and both realize their failings as
supposed prophets of a new race of man. Claremont brings
these characters to life in a way their Ultimate Universe
and movie counterparts seldom achieve, and it gives me hope
for the future.
man, all these other elements are just killing it. The “hey
everybody, let’s form a team!” aspect is giving
me a toothache and the sheer lack of common sense…
X has better abs here than any wheelchair bound man we’ve
seen in years (though the only other examples of buffed
invalids coming to mind are the 90’s versions of Charlie),
Wicked’s ability to preserve her fishnets in a bombed
out city makes her mutant ability to raise ghosts believable
in comparison, and the way Unus’ permanent forcefield
allows him to not only survive being swallowed by a giant
monster but somehow keep breathing while being digested…
more so since the guy’s named Unus (Unus, for god’s
sake!) and the joke involving him going through someone’s
digestive tract was never carried to its logical conclusion.
Claremont just HAD to keep his tentacle-armed Callisto going,
didn’t he? Couldn’t just let that element of
Xtreme X-Men die, could he?
never a big Callisto fan in the first place, but turning
her into a constant reminder of calamari and Japanese tentacle-porn
was unnecessary. Bringing her to the main cast of this new
book after the one her transformation occurred in was cancelled…
well, that’s just going too far.
the idea of Xorn coming back to life while his head seems
to be coming back to life on its own in Uncanny X-Men…
keep your aspirin handy.
strange, but a lot of the possibilities open to Claremont
with this story have been passed up in favor of making a
pretty standard X-book. The setting, though dissimilar,
lends itself to the same rich tapestry being explored in
District X, only
with the added benefit of Genosha’s checkered past
to dip into.
we look to be going down the same road we’ve traveled
many times before, and that just doesn’t justify creating
a new series. There still might be time to get things on
track, but the conflicts being set up have simply don’t
have the magic the name Excalibur suggests.