Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Excalibur #1-#2: Warwolves

Excalibur had what was basically a Marvel Graphic Novel (complete with more sophisticated colouring) to launch it. I found it kind of dull. For one thing "Some Left Over X-Men, but in Britain" isn't really a premise; not when Uncanny has already demonstrated its ability to shift its setting at a whim (Scotland, New York, San Francisco, Australia, lately.) And the special protectors of the Omniverse (by appointment to Roma) shtick that you can do with the Marvel UK stuff is already being done in Uncanny. What? It's rather haphazard, this integration of Marvel UK with the X-Men...

#1-#2 is much more to my taste, though. Excalibur fight the Warwolves, who never had been properly defeated in that Special Edition. These Warwolves are much better antagonists: they steal skins and can carry on a conversation. They're looking for Rachel still, so Kitty cosplays as her, which leads to all sorts of hilarity. Well, if you think being et by a warwolf and then have it gradually transmogrify into you is hilarious. Which I kinda do.

The Warwolves are rounded up in the end, and are donated to London Zoo. And we also say hello to a significant new character from Marvel UK: Courtney Ross, Brian's ex. I'm surprised how much tie-in there is with the first few issues of New Excalibur there is here (Ross, the warwolves escaping from the zoo): suddenly New Excalibur almost makes sense.


A new regular feature where Abigail notes minor details of Britishness that Excalibur gets wrong and right, to keep that from overpowering the rest of the entry.

A caption has "Fraser's Bank, Thameside", which is much more plausible as a place name than the "Thames-side" it had mutated to by 2005. It still isn't anywhere in particular in reality. Perhaps it's just because "Fraser's Bank, Bankside" would sound stupid, or perhaps it's supposed to be a fictional place.

The backgrounds and locations are fine. The tube station is dead on.

A policeman says "strewth", which appears to be Claremont mixing up his English and Australian slang again. (The policeman could be an Australian immigrant, I suppose. We'll come back to this later for #4.)

The story is partly set at the fictional Hob's End tube station, a reference to the 1967 Quatermass and the Pit film. The plot of that bears a strong resemblance to the 1971 Doctor Who story The Dæmons, also namechecked here with the improbably titled "Loch Daemon".

Meggan suggests watching various television series: Coronation Street, EastEnders, Doctor Who, Star Trek, or Wildways. Ignoring the scheduling issues, if we assume it is set on cover date to the issue (October 1988), then the Who she'll be watching is Remembrance of the Daleks, which is popularly regarded as a good one. It was written by Ben Aaronovitch, who recently wrote the urban fantasy police procedural Rivers of London/Midnight Riot (and its sequels), which you should read. His next Doctor Who was "Battlefield", which is based around Arthurian mythology and inter-dimensional travel, which is a funny coincidence if nothign else. Ben Aaronovitch and Paul Cornell both wrote for the Virgin New Adventures, and Aaronovitch provided Cornell with a nice quote for the front of his London-based police procedural urban fantasy, "London Falling" which you should also read, and is about as different a book as you could get while still having that label. Cornell, of course, will write what is essentially a renamed Excalibur (Captain Britain and MI-13) in 2008. In case you are wondering, yes, there are only actually about 100 people here in the UK. The rest of us are props.

1 comment:

  1. In case you are wondering, yes, there are only actually about 100 people here in the UK. The rest of us are props.

    I KNEW it! :)