Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Paul Neary (with special thanks to Mark Farmer for assistance)
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Assistant Editor: Terry Kavanagh
Editor In Chief: Tom DeFalco

The trippy adventures of Captain Britain continue in this weird fusing of both Marvel UK and Marvel US.

Let me clarify: by 'weird' I mean that this international crossover is executed astonishingly well. How unexpected is that?

Excalibur follows on from Marvel UK's Captain Britain Monthly, whilst also picking-up the pace from recent issues of Marvel US' Uncanny X-Men. This is surely down to the perfect choice of writer - Chris Claremont. Not only was he the one who'd first created the good Captain, he'd also spent the last decade in charge of the writing on X-Men. Surely his must have been the only name on the list.

(If nothing else, it's easier to follow than CB Monthly...)

Not only that, but British artists Alan Davis and Paul Neary were retained for the mag too, ensuring that the visual tone of the piece, though now colour, remained consistent with the preceding monochrome CB strips. If Davis' work had looked stunning before, then now it was positively psychedelic.

Just look at that cover above!

The Union Jacked Captain has remained somewhat broken by the world, buried with a bottle and Meggan in his lighthouse, and now devastated at the apparent death of his sister Elizabeth. When Meggan vanishes too, it's up to surviving X-Man Nightcrawler to perform an intervention.

Nightcrawler: "What is WRONG with you, man?! Friends are in danger-- among them, the girl you supposedly love--- doesn't that matter... don't you CARE?!"

Captain Britain: "'Course I do. It's just-- what's the point? Save them now to watch them sacrifice themselves later. We're supposed to be heroes-- but we never really make things better. We have no lasting effect-- on people or the world."

Oh yes, that's Captain Britain all right...

What really seems to be unhinging him is his mortality. CB has already died once, and now doesn't know whether the next time will be final or not.

(like any of us do)

I love it when super heroes get depressed. There's a real sincerity about admitting their limitations and being crushed by them, and I can't help but wonder if the Cap's real problem is that he's overthinking the whole thing. He's never going to know what will happen to him when he next dies until he actually does, so maybe he should reign his thoughts in and just get on with the present?

Nightcrawler's attitude seems to be along similar lines, accusing Britain of focusing on his death to the extent of no longer being able to see his life.

By the end of this issue, Cap's had the distraction of fighting another battle, along with the shot of winning it, and though that doesn't answer any of his longer-term worries, it sure does make the present a nicer place.


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