Saturday, 23 March 2013

Excalibur #11: At Least We've Still Got The Omniverse

Excalibur is based on the Marvel UK stuff, of which I know little beyond which I have read on Wikipedia. As I understand it, a key element of it, introduced by Alan Moore, is the omniverse and the responsibility of the "Captain Britain Corps", consisting of multiple alternate versions of Captain Britain, for maintaining it. One of my favourite little examples is Captain Airstrip One, who is from a world similar to that of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four 1. Yes, he might be a participant in one of the most brutal regimes in fiction, but he's still your colleague. So you can see that Excalibur semi-cooperating in a swap of Lightning Force for Moira and Callisto back isn't quite so terrible. Excalibur, bless them, find this appalling, especially when it comes to Evil!Nightcrawler.

Invariant across timelines.
In Britain, of course, the authorities have had a long tradition of dealing with general weird crap, and we have this all be managed by our first predecessor to MI-13: the Weird Happenings Organisation. It's led by Brigadier Alysande Stuart (no relation to the Lethbridge-Stewart appearing in Uncanny #218, I take it), and her brother Alistaire, their scientific advisor. They have a headquarters under the Tower of London, which Doctor Who will borrow back as an idea in 2005's Christmas Invasion (and again in 2012's Power of Three, which featured a Kate Stewart, chief scientific advisor to UNIT.)

Incidentally, I have failed to post about the Nazi train so far. It swapped with a real train in a tunnel under freak circumstances involving Widget, which is why Moira and Callisto are stranded. This Nazi train is from "Reichsrail Englande", which is terrible German (they want Reischsbahn, and that's ignoring the extra 'e' which also makes its unwelcome appearance in "Hauptman Englande"). But that's not even the funny part - the Nazi British Rail has somehow managed to also devise the British Rail double-arrow logo, which was created in our timeline in 1965. And why not. It's a design classic, after all, much better than those Dutch or Polish or Swiss rip-offs, and I'm glad it remains part of our signage even though British Rail is now but a distant memory.2 Slightly disappointed they didn't try and swastika-ise it, though.

The swap is made, but Widget freaks out and there is an explosion and all the player characters vanish. Oh noes! I have a feeling we're about to get the prototype for Exiles.


"Thames River". I don't care that it's the editorial voice reflecting U.S. usage. The name of the thing is "River Thames". If you call it "Thames River" you are wrong. Just as wrong as I would be if I started calling those watercourses either side of Manhattan the "River Hudson" or (even better) the "River East".

1. When other kids were reading comics, I was reading George Orwell. And by that I don't just mean Nineteen Eighty-Four and Animal Farm. Sure, I enjoyed those. In fact, I liked them so much that I decided to read all his other books. The school library had Down and Out in Paris and London, Keep The Aspidistra Flying and The Road To Wigan Pier, which a 12-year-old me somehow managed to get through (when she wasn't reading Peter David's Star Trek novels, or Tolkien's History of Middle-Earth). It's a shame they didn't have Homage to Catalonia, I didn't read that until much later. In 33-year-old me, well, I recognise a certain pattern of intensity in reading projects.

2. Bet you didn't expect to read about the privatisation of British Rail on a blog about the X-Men, did you?

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