The original Excalibur
Excalibur vol. 1 (1988–98) Excalibur's original creative team, writer Chris Claremont and artist/co-writer Alan Davis, incorporated elements of two Marvel properties: the X-Men and Captain Britain. The X-Men are a group of mutants —evolved human beings born with extraordinary powers— who use their abilities to defend a society that hates and fears them. Claremont had authored their series since 1976, guiding them to tremendous success. He borrowed four characters from the X-Men for Excalibur: Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner), a German mutant who possesses the ability to teleport, becomes nearly invisible in shadows and has a demon like appearance Phoenix (Rachel Summers), a telekinetic and telepathic young woman from a dystopian future Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde), a teenage computer expert with the ability to “phase” through solid objects Lockheed, a small extra-terrestrial dragon kept as Kitty's pet. A Marvel UK property co-created by Claremont in 1976, Captain Britain is a protector of Great Britain, endowed with superhuman powers by the legendary wizard Merlyn. Alan Davis and Alan Moore, during their joint early 1980s stint, established that the Marvel Universe's Captain Britain was one of many from various dimensions and that one of his main roles is guarding the lighthouse that is placed at the convergence of realities. Excalibur, which also featured Captain Britain's emotionally unstable, shapeshifter lover Meggan, first gathered together in Excalibur Special Edition #1 (1988) and were soon featured in a monthly series. With the help of a manic, dimension-hopping robot named Widget, they embarked on a series of wacky adventures through parallel worlds. Davis left with Excalibur #24 (1990), and Claremont with Excalibur #34 (1991) and the series began to lag badly. In addition, various plot points were left dangling and unresolved by Claremont before his departure. A year later, Davis returned to the book as both writer and illustrator with Excalibur #42 and rejuvenated it, returning to the (mostly) lighthearted tone of his original run, while resolving many plotlines Claremont had left dangling. He also added several new members, including the mystic Feron, the warrior Kylun, and the alien Cerise, and also introduced the size-shifter Micromax (in an interview in Wizard #6, Davis said that he was adding four new team members to the team; presumably if Davis's run had not ended prematurely, Micromax would have become a full member of the team during Davis' tenure, rather than the start of Lobdell).
Excalibur team gathering Edit
. Art by Alan Davis. After Davis left in 1993 (issue #67), Uncanny X-Men writer Scott Lobdell filled-in for several months (#68-82). In a jarring transition, Captain Britain was lost off-panel, Meggan was suddenly catatonic from losing Captain Britain, and the newer members were summarily dispatched. In addition, the tone of the series changed as well, from a lighthearted, fun comic to a more grim and depressing series. Marvel stationed the team on the fictitious Muir Island, off the coast of Scotland, and tied the series closer to the X-Men family, casting-off most Captain Britain-related elements entirely, in addition to the characters that did not have close ties to the X-Universe (like Kylun and Feron). Phoenix was disposed of to bring a much altered "Britannic" (a Captain Britain who was altered) back. Lobdell also introduced Douglock, who was eventually revealed to be the deceased techno-organic alien Warlock of the New Mutants, reborn with the form and memories his former teammate, the deceased Cypher, who joined the team. Nightcrawler's former lover, the mystic Amanda Sefton also joined the team, using the codename Daytripper. In 1994, Warren Ellis assumed writing duties (issue #83) and, using his dark sense of humor, helped the book gain its own voice once again. Revisions made in his time on the book included reverting "Britannic" back to Captain Britain once more and adding Pete Wisdom, a cynical British spy who could manifest solar energy in the form of 'hot knives' from his fingers. Ellis made Wisdom the romantic interest of the much younger Shadowcat. At the insistence of Marvel editors, Ellis also added Wolfsbane (Rahne Sinclair), a Scottish werewolf-like young woman from the X-Men spin-off New Mutants and Colossus (Peter Rasputin), a Russian X-Man who could turn his flesh into “organic steel.” Ellis left in 1996 (issue #103) and Ben Raab, his replacement (issue #106), failed to find a voice for the series, often borrowing plotlines from other X-Books. Sales fell and Marvel canceled the series, partially so Nightcrawler, Shadowcat, and Colossus could return to the X-Men. The series ended with issue #125 (1998) featuring the wedding of Meggan and a depowered Captain Britain. Excalibur vol. 2 (2001) In 2001, a four-issue limited series titled Excalibur, featuring Captain Britain, Meggan, Psylocke, Black Knight, Sir Benedict, Captain U.K., and Crusader X, written by Raab, detailed Captain Britain's rise to become king of the extra-dimensional realm of Otherworld. Originally solicited as Excalibur: Sword of Power, the subtitle was absent from the published issues, and, due to an error, the indicia described it as Excalibur volume 1. In addition, the solicited cover to issue #1 featured a new costume for Captain Britain different from the one he actually received in the comic, and the cover was unused. Excalibur vol. 3 (2004)
In 2004, Marvel Comics launched a new ongoing series titled Excalibur, this time dealing with the efforts of Professor Xavier and Magneto to rebuild the devastated mutant nation of Genosha (which was destroyed at the beginning of Grant Morrison's X-Men run). Aside from the name and the writer (Claremont) it has no connection to Marvel's previous Excalibur titles. Other cast members included Callisto, another mutant leader and former member of the Morlocks, and newcomers such as Wicked, Freakshow, Shola Inkosi, and Karima Shapandar. Archangel and Husk also appeared in the series. The grouping never laid claim to the name Excalibur, despite the title of the series. The series' last issue was #14, released in May 2005. Events of the House of M storyline concluded Xavier's and Magneto's partnership. Afterwards, the mutant members of the group showed up in the Son of M series, where it was revealed they had all lost their powers due to the Decimation. However, they used Quicksilver's stolen Terrigen Mist to bring their powers back, which caused them to go out of control, but the effect wore off later, leaving them human. Ironically, issues of Uncanny X-Men during the time of this Excalibur had much in common with the original Excalibur: light hearted stories by Chris Claremont, colorful art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer, characters including Nightcrawler and Rachel Summers, and even a cameo appearance by Captain Britain.
New Excalibur (2005-2007) Edit
The letters page of the final issue of Excalibur (vol. 3) announced a relaunch of the title as New Excalibur in November 2005. This incarnation of the book was written by Claremont. New Excalibur has more in common with the original series than the Genosha-based book had, for it features Captain Britain and Peter Wisdom as main characters and takes place in London. Other characters include the reformed villain-turned-X-Man Juggernaut, the former X-Women Sage and Dazzler, and Nocturne, formerly of the Exiles. As with many of Marvel's late 2005 books, it spun out of the after-effects of House of M. Four issues of Uncanny X-Men laid the foundation for New Excalibur. Captain Britain brought the team together as the new Excalibur in New Excalibur #5, preceding an attack from Lionheart, Albion, and the Warwolves. Later, the team faced an attack by Black Air and Black Tom Cassidy, who was depowered due to M-Day. Black Air retreated after Dazzler, Wisdom, Nocturne, and Captain Britain trounced them. Black Tom surrendered after Juggernaut talked him down and made him feel guilty about killing Juggernaut's friend Sammy Paré. Sage also confronted the Dark Charles Xavier from Shadow-X. They got in an astral fight, where Sage shot his astral form and won. Recently, Psylocke joined New Excalibur and assisted them during an attack by the recently-revived Shadow King who was responsible for the creation of Shadow-X. With Nocturne, Juggernaut, Dazzler, and Pete Wisdom under Shadow King's control, Captain Britain being beaten by his own team, and Sage unconscious, Psylocke faced the Shadow King alone, plunging a psi-blade into Dark Xavier, saving New Excalibur and mysteriously vanishing in a flash of light without explanation. Captain Britain believes her to be dead, unaware that she has joined the Exiles. Since the incident with Psylocke, New Excalibur has met up with a repowered Chamber, visited and saved Camelot (while the Black Knight temporarily traveled with them), and have attempted to help Juggernaut with some recent troubles stemming from his powers that he received from the Crimson Gem of Cyttorak. The series revealed that Charles Xavier was meant to be the Juggernaut. Recently, Nocturne has had a stroke and the team is trying to help her recover. Later on, Albion tells his story to Lionheart. He is a Brian Braddock from another world, where their first World War never ended and he chose the sword over the amulet. He brought his world peace, but people kept starving and dying. When he met an alternate Captain Britain, he moved onto the latter's world and from there began a killing spree on the Captain Britain Corps. He then meets Shadow-X and Michelle Scicluna, a Black Air agent, and they prepare to take on New Excalibur. Rivalry sets them apart though and Sage infiltrates them as Diana Fox. He manages to take down all of England's energy-using objects and conquers it, with Sage developing a new persona, completely subordinate to him They kill both Dark Cyclops and Dark Beast forcing Excalibur and Shadow-X to ally to make what might be their last stand. Dark Marvel Girl, Juggernaut, and Dark Angel create a diversion, at the cost of the latter's life, to allow Dazzler, Dark Iceman, and Pete Wisdom to combine their powers and blind all the captains while Nocturne, who has left the hospital while possessing a captain's body, evacuates the civilians. Captain Britain arrives to face Albion and tries to bring Sage back to normal and the two Brian Braddocks prepare to face off. Captain Britain then defeats Albion, and Dark Marvel Girl finds the device Albion had used and is able to reactivate all of the technology on Great Britain. At the end of New Excalibur #24, Marvel announced that this would be the final issue of this title, with the storylines carrying over into the crossover miniseries X-Men: Die by the Sword. X-Men: Die by the Sword See also: X-Men: Die by the Sword Psylocke and Thunderbird travel to Earth-616 to visit Captain Britain and Nocturne during New Excalibur's victory party. However, during the party Captain Britain is wounded by a strike force led by an armored lady called Rouge. While Betsy tries to care for her brother everybody else tries to fight, even Dazzler and Pete Wisdom who were about to have sex. Realizing they can't win, they teleport to the Panoptichron. There, Dazzler discovers that Longshot, while alive, doesn't remember her and is about to kill herself to ease her pain when Mystiq comes to talk her out of it. TJ happily reunites with her former teammates while Sage is deemed the best option to care for Brian. Meanwhile Cat, using the scanner, realizes that Roma and Saturnyne are in trouble. The Corps then suffers a lot of losses, despite Saturnyne's intervening. While Cat checks on Brian, Blink, Morph, Sabertooth, Thunderbird, and Dazzler join the battlefield. Dazzler battles Rouge-Mort, who has badly wounded Roma, and Longshot gets concerned about her, making both himself and Sage wonder why/how, while Morph battles Jasper by morphing into the Fury but his plan is quickly foiled. Sage, Psylocke, and Wisdom recruit Albion to their cause, who proves to be a match for James Jaspers until Jaspers turns into the Fury. Merlyn then comes to his daughter to finish the job only to be beaten by Psylocke. Cap then makes his move on the Fury and with the help of Blink and Albion vanquishes him for now, leading to Merlyn's defeat. However, this victory comes with a price as Roma dies though not before transferring her knowledge into Sage's mind. Saturnyn then promises to free Albion from jail to lead the Corps while Sage and TJ switch teams with Longshot who now remembers the highlights of his past New Excalibur, now with only four members, disbands after the final battle with Merlyn.
Original team Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn (1987) (also known as Excalibur Special Edition) Excalibur #1–125 (October 1988 – October 1998) Excalibur Classic Volume 1: The Sword is Drawn (November 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1888-8) (TPB; reprints #1–5 and Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn) Excalibur Classic Volume 2: Two-Edged Sword (August 2006, ISBN 0-7851-2201-X) (TPB; reprints #6–11 and Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem) Excalibur Classic Volume 3: The Cross Time Caper Book 1 (February 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2202-8) (TPB; reprints #12–20) Excalibur Classic Volume 4: The Cross Time Caper Book 2 (November 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2203-6) (TPB; reprints #21–28) Excalibur Classic Volume 5 (May 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3122-1) (TPB; reprints #29-34 and Excalibur: Weird War III) Excalibur Visionaries: Alan Davis (June 2009, ISBN 978-07851-3740-5) (TPB; reprints #42-50) Marvel Comics Presents #31-38 (November 1989-December 1989) Excalibur: Mojo Mayhem (December 1989) X-Men Spotlight on Starjammers #2 (1990) Quasar 11 (June 1990) Excalibur: Weird War III (December 1990, ISBN 0-87135-702-X) Sensational She-Hulk 26 (April 1991) Excalibur: The Possession (July 1991) Excalibur: Air Apparent (December 1991) The Mighty Thor 427-429 (December 1991- February 1992) Excalibur: XX Crossing (May 1992) (also known as Excalibur vs The X-Men) Spider-Man #25 (August 1992) Marvel Holiday Special 1992 (December 1992) Excalibur Annual 1–2 (1993–1994) X-Man #12 (February 1996) #26 (April 1997) Excalibur # -1 (July 1997) Limited series Excalibur #1–4 (February 2001 – May 2001) (solicited as Excalibur: Sword of Power, and occasionally called by that name) X-Men: Die by the Sword #1-5 (December 2007 - February 2008) (March 2008, ISBN 0-7851-2791-7) (TPB collects 5-issue miniseries) ]2004–2005 Excalibur #1–14 (July 2004 – May 2005) Excalibur Volume 1: Forging The Sword (November 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1527-7) (TPB; reprints #1–4) Excalibur Volume 2: Saturday Night Fever (June 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1476-9) (TPB; reprints #5–10) House of M: Excalibur - Prelude (August 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1812-8) (TPB; reprints #11–14) 2005—2007 New Excalibur #1—24 (November 2005—2007 ) New Excalibur Volume 1: Defenders of the Realm (August 2006, ISBN 0-7851-1835-7) (TPB; reprints #1–7) New Excalibur Volume 2: Last Day of Camelot (March 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2221-4) (TPB; reprints #8-15) New Excalibur Volume 3: Battle for Eternity (December 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2455-1) (TPB; reprints #16-24) ]Other versions
Lightning Force (Earth-597) From an alternate Earth where the Nazis have won World War II, and led by Hauptmann Englande the Lightning Force team consists of Meggan, Shadowcat, and Nightcrawler. The team first appeared in Excalibur vol. 1 #9. Excalibur (Earth-924) Led by Cap'n Saxonia, the team consists of Hulk, Spider-Girl, Doctor Strange, and Iron Fist. The team first appeared in Excalibur vol. 1 #49 Excalibur (Earth-148) Led by Yeoman UK (Brion Burdack), the Excalibur of Ee'rath featured versions of Thor, Black Knight, and Spider-Man. The team first appeared in Excalibur vol. 1 #1. Excalibur (Earth-99476) The Griswald family accidentally fall through a portal and end up in Earth-99476 where the dinosaurs never died. The Excalibur-equivalent team are able to help them return to Earth-616.