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Fatal Attractions Revisited: Excalibur #71

Crossing Swords

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Pencilers: Ken Lashley, Darick Robertson, Matthew Ryan
Inkers: Cam Smith, Randy Elliot, Randy Emberlin, Mark Nelson
Letterers: Bill Oakley, Pat Brosseau, Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Joe Rosas
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Group Editor: Bob Harras
Cover: Joe Madureira and Joe Bennett
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: November, 1993
Cover Price: 3.95

After Nightcrawler confronts one of the Acolytes and–thanks to Kitty–narrowly avoids killing him, the X-Men burst into things, “recruiting” the remanants of Excalibur’s help in a particular task: they want to “fix” Colossus. After an injury he’d suffered, he was unable to revert to human form, and they figure that’s the cause of his ‘defecting’ to Magneto’s camp. If they can heal him, surely that’ll fix him and any brain issue, and he’ll return to them.

The various characters react to stuff–some for, some against. While they do, Cable shows up for Colossus, and winds up confronting Phoenix (Rachel Grey) in a less than pleasant battle. Once Colossus arrives (thinking Kitty wants to return to Avalon with him), the “trap” is sprung and the plan revealed. Though Colossus declares he does not want the help of the X-Men, they “help” anyway, and his ability to shift back and forth between human and metal forms is restored. Though he has a touching moment with Kitty, he still opts to return to Avalon with the Acolytes.

Finally, as all of this has been going on, an idea has been building for Nightcrawler, and he decides that with the “old team” basically no more, he’ll have a “new team,” a new Excalibur, that will operate at Muir Isle with Moira.

After rereading X-Men 25 and Wolverine 75, this issue was a bit of a letdown. I’m probably least-aware of ’90s Excalibur of all the X-teams of the time, at least prior to Age of Apocalypse. Reading this, I had a vague sense of deja vu, that I’d read this before. Yet I can’t honestly say with certainty that I’d read the issue any time before reading it for this posting. I know t was at least a few years after the fact that I even acquired the issue for the first time (whether before or after college I don’t even know at this point). For quite awhile, Fatal Attractions (for me) ended with Wolverine 75.

Story-wise, this is a transition issue–we go from whatever recent stuff’s gone down with Excalibur to the end of the issue setting the stage for a whole new team. And in the middle of it we have Cyclops, Jean, and Professor X thrown in–familiar faces that made this issue seem much more an X-Men issue than it would have otherwise, which also ties it into the events of Fatal Attractions in general. It’s also kind of odd having the sense of continuity that there is here–but then, this was back when such things were important to stories and “families” of titles and not some loose option seen as detrimental to the nature of “the story.”

Visually, the issue is a bit uneven with multiple artists–though it’s not terribly detrimental to the issue. It seems like the various scenes had an artist, so there’s some internal consistency that way. I really like the look of Colossus costume in this issue–one page has a nearly full image of him, and it’s one of the best depictions of the character I can recall ever seeing.

It seems the two main things to come out of this issue are the “new” Excalibur team and Colossus is no longer confined to his metallic form. If you didn’t know he’d been injured, that’s probably not a huge plot point (before this read-through, I never would’ve been able to tell you where or when that little problem was dealt with–I’d once been aware that he was so injured, but never really thought about it much or cared to find out its resolution). That this is the beginning of a new Excalibur team has me interested in seeing that team; if this were a new issue, I’d definitely be back for the next. As-is looking at this nearly twenty years after it came out…I could simply track down the next few issues to read.

This is probably the “simplest” of the covers…it’s bright and colorful, but somehow not exactly my cup of tea, so to speak. The hologram of Nightcrawler is–like the others in this series–not bad, though at least on the copy I read, felt like I have to look at it somewhat from an angle to really get the best 3D effect.

So ended the official 30th Anniversary “event” for the X-Men. I loosely followed the X-books here and there over the next year-plus; it wasn’t until the end of 1994 with Legion Quest and then the Age of Apocalypse that I began a run of following the entire X-Universe.

The Rest of the Stack Catch-Up: TMNT and AvX

The Rest of the Stack logo

The Rest of the Stack is my general mini-review coverage of new comics for any given week. It’s in addition to (or in place of) full-size individual reviews. It’s far less formal, and more off-the-top-of-my head thoughts on the given comics than it is detailed reviews.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted much, so this is part of my “catching up” on the past month and a half or so.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES COLOR CLASSICS #3

I’d forgotten this issue’s story. I guess it had to be somewhere, but my memories of these early issues jump from the turtles meeting April and dealing with Stockman and the Mousers right into what is probably going to be in #4. Yet, we get some pretty important stuff going on here as the turtles find Splinter missing (possibly killed by the Mousers), and actually turn to April for help. We also get the obvious inspiration for “the Turtle Van” (but less commercial). And the issue ends with the introduction of characters that inspired one of the primary characters in the classic cartoon series. The story itself is pretty basic…nothing all that deep, but still enjoyable enough in itself. I really like the art here as it’s just “classic” for me (biased though I must admit I am). The color added blends very well with the original black and white, such that it’s hard to believe this wasn’t a color series to begin with. (7/10)

RAPHAEL #1

Beyond the first issue of the TMNT Color Classics, I wasn’t sure how IDW was going to go about reprinting these issues, and sorta feared the Micro-Series issues would be merged in with the numbering, resulting in TMNT Color Classics being its own numbering that wouldn’t correspond with the issue being reprinted. However, this issue simply reprints the Raphael issue as itself, and I love that. The issue’s story is pretty basic and cliche, lacking much of the depth that we eventually get with the characters. Casey’s introduction here doesn’t work so well for me, but every character has to start somewhere. There’s also some clunky dialogue with Raph that just doesn’t seem to fit ANY version of the character I think of. The art’s classic Eastman & Laird (duh) and looks quite good in this new colored format. (7/10)

AVX #8

This issue is largely focused on Namor, as he lays waste to Wakanda, and the Avengers dogpile him, ultimately learning some useful information about the Phoenix Force and its interaction with multiple hosts. Storywise, this was one of my least-favorite issues–but then, that’s largely because Namor’s one of my least-favorite of the Phoenix Five (coming in just behind Illyana). It’s also increasingly difficult to take the scope of this story serious in the face of ongoing stories in other books seeming to have nothing to do with what’s unfolding in AvX, and that even some of the actual tie-in books are barely pulling a “red skies” level of involvement. The art’s a mixed bag for me, with some of the pages looking good and others just looking horrendous to me. (4/10)

AVX #9

Nine issues in and there’s just enough of a “completist” in me to grin ‘n bear it: I started following this series, and now I want to finish it, just on principle of finishing it–though I dropped all the tie-ins cold-turkey due to frustration at Marvel continuing its cycle of not even letting one event finish before announcing the next, and the spoiling of the end of this series, and Marvel Now… This issue’s another beat-down issue, with the Avengers piling on Colossonaut and Magik, with Spider-Man taking the worst beating of the bunch this time. The art continues to be mixed, with some panels looking excellent while others look generic and a bit rushed by comparison. This is the three-quarters mark of the series, and I’m quite ready to get to the end. (5/10)

AVX #10

Cyclops has shown up to take Hope away from the Avengers, though she makes it clear she does not wish to go with him. Fighting breaks out, and Hope even gets to ride a dragon, before turning her powers on Cyclops with an unintended effect. After the previous issue, the Phoenix Force is all the more concentrated in Cyclops, which makes Hope’s effect all the more meaningful. With the ending of this issue actually pulling me back into stuff and looking forward with interest to seeing how this story’s going to conclude. (6.5/10)

Photos From Home #13

Marvel / Fury Files 3.75″ figures
Hulk; Iron Man; Captain America; The Thing; Colossus (Wolverine & the X-Men 3.75″)

These are several of my favorites from the Marvel 3.75″ figures.  Hulk and Thing seem to me the best value for the price of these figures (though Hulk was a gift from a friend)…these two are relatively huge compared to the other figures in their line. (Ditto Colossus).  Iron Man and Cap of course are represented well here…I just wish I had a Thor to go with them.  Pikachu is left over from a keychain I had in high school…a remnant of my time as a Pokemon fan. (I couldn’t get him to sit in Hulk’s hand to wait for a poundin’).

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