Rating: 4/5 – The best LOOKING X-book of 1988.
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Shawn Hoklas.
Reading this first issue of Excalibur was an absolute joy in that I’m not as familiar with this team of characters as much as I am say the X-Men or X-Force. It has a great roster of characters that include Captain Britain, Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler and Phoenix. These interesting and unique characters are brought together in their own series by long time X-Men writer Chris Claremont, and all masterfully drawn by the great Alan Davis. It’s a fun first issue that feels a bit more quirky than the related mutant titles. Although there are some serious issues the team has to deal with, it felt lighter in nature which gave it that fun feeling. Having Nightcrawler and Meggan on the team add a big part to that light hearted feel.
What’s been a staple of Claremont X-books for years is the large amount of concurrent plot lines that run for multiple issues in his titles . That’s stays true here. Claremont introduces at least 4 plot lines that I assume will carry on in future issues. The first being and what takes up the majority of this issue, is the threat of the warwolves looking to recapture Phoenix. She had escaped from Mojo in the previous Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn book from 1988. Having not read that issue didn’t leave me confused as to what was going on within this issue, but it does make me want to track this one down to get a better understanding of just how this team came together. In addition to that story, Nightcrawler and Meggan are setting up the new headquarters within a lighthouse, which leads Nightcrawler into a different dimension, and Captain Britain visits a bank where he catches up with a previous love. Like I said…lots of branching storylines.
Alan Davis from the front cover to the back cover pinup of Phoenix produces some amazing work. Each panel is full of characters and Davis gives each one of them the same amount of effort and detail. And because of the multiple storylines, Davis is stretched. Aliens, superheroes, monsters…it’s all here and Davis is at the top of his game making it all look so easy. Along with Paul Neary on inks and Glynis Oliver on the colors, it can be argued that this was the best looking X-book on the stands at the time. Also, Captain Britain and Nightcrawler have some of the best character designs so when on page, they truly stand out.
I enjoyed this first issue so much it has me looking to track down their first appearance, as well as subsequent issues. I’m excited to read this series, while at the same time a bit sad that I didn’t follow this series when it was coming out. The good news…these back issues are extremely affordable and readily available.
Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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