Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Excalibur #4-#5: Excalibur Meet Arcade

Excalibur #4-#5 features Arcade, and despite not being any different to normal, he's understated in it. This is because he has hired Wimbledon F.C. as minions. I think I've got that right, anyway. Arcade's plan is the usual: capture a loved one (in this case Courtney Ross, as Brian's actual girlfriend, Meggan, is powered), and set traps waiting for the heroes to arrive. In this case he's doing it for revenge rather than cash. And he's doing it as a disused steelworks in Strangeways in northern England.

They go stumbling in and there's a new element in an Arcade story as his minions bodyswap with Excalibur. Ray is taken out of action by possession, lest she break the story. (There's some linkage with Inferno setup there, but it's not clear to me what's going on. Interesting fact: she thinks Baby X is called Nathan. She should know, since she was with the team around the time he was born.) Kitty remains free, and is able to convey to Courtney the information necessary to bodyswap everyone back.

And... in the soap opera bits: Meggan nearly manages to seduce Nightcrawler (I'm going to need to carefully examine their next appearances); Saturnyne swaps places with Courtney; and Brian takes some flowers to !Courtney. Kissing happens. Chart might need updating.

Issue #4 wins my prize for best cover yet:

Alan Davis writes about it here, and spoils the mystery. It was just a cheap gag because the first issue was all setup.


Well. Chris Claremont takes several hundred Brit points by having it be a plot point in #4 that Marks and Spencers refused to take credit card payments (that's why Kitty had to use cash to pay, which was subsequently found to be bogus).

I almost forgive him for having Captain Britain say "strewth". Curiously urbandictionary makes the same mistake, and perhaps for the same reason Claremont did. Yes, it does appear in episode 1 of Monty Python's Flying Circus, said by a man from Guildford. But it is put in the mouth of a man who is called "Bruce Foster" and has, for that one syllable he utters, a bad Australian accent.

It is clarified that the lighthouse is on the western coast of England. This consists of two distinct stretches from the Solway Firth to the River Dee; and then from the the Severn Estuary down to Cornwall. My guess would be that it is on this second, south-western stretch, because that would be more Celtic; but somewhere in Cumbria is always an option. It appears to be not that far from a major town. Kitty calls it the "middle of nowhere", but then she is a Chicago girl who spent much of the last year in suburban New York.

There is a real Strangeways, in Manchester, better known as the location of HMP Manchester, and immortalised in the album by the Smiths. But Manchester has never been known for its steel.


  1. she thinks Baby X is called Nathan

    Has the baby seriously not been named yet at this point? I've always read these issues knowing his name, so that never stuck out to me, but going through them again, I'm going to have to pay attention to when he gets named.

    1. This is I believe the first instance of him being given a name... But keep reading. :-)