Tags Matching: Excalibur

Warren Ellis, Excalibur

Been doing what I can to catch up on some comic reading, especially with a couple of stressful weeks under my belt at work and dealing with car problems. One of the books I got to was this, the first collection of Excalibur written by Warren Ellis.

What’s interesting is how much of the Excalibur series is being collected into trades… I think pretty soon you’ll be able to have collected editions of almost the entire thing. Crazy. But back to this particular collection. It’s good. I remember being relatively interested – a decent mix of new / established artists (this one features everyone from Bill Sienkiewicz, Larry Stroman, Terry Dodson, Ken Lashley, and Carlos Pacheco), a fresh breath of air as far as the pacing and writing thanks to Mr. Ellis and the accompanying storylines that gave some pretty stale characters (there’s a reason the X-Men shipped them overseas…) a nice edge to them. Looking forward to revisiting the continued stories in volume 2, it’s been quite a while since I’ve read these books.

That said, these books aren’t without their problems. There’s a certain level of repetition to certain linguistic traits and sayings that make me think that either there was a rush on the book, there was a real editorial focus on Pete Wisdom saying “sod off” and spouting off about ripping someone’s head and spitting down their throat, OR that Warren Ellis was trying to establish this character’s voice in the pre-collection focused era where single issues were the main form and so… you have certain liberties there.

And the aforementioned slew of artists? Although done tastefully, at least in volume one it is a bit jarring as the styles switch frequently and sometimes without any particular reason. Was Ken Lashley slow to produce pages? Is that why we were given a few pages of Dodson work interspersed? I appreciate, however, the direction it took when Stroman came aboard, where they gave him a specific story thread to illustrate, and Lashley another, so that the change of artist acted in accordance with a scene change. Interesting idea that I think must have been established after the inconsistencies early. I believe this was remedied with Pacheco as he comes on full time, and I think that’s when the Ellis era really starts cooking. Not rewriting the wheel here… but also not relying on well treaded roads either.

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Top 100 Summer Comics #30

One of my personal favorite artists drawing a character who despite all sorts of reasons to the contrary that I do enjoy. Rachel Summers kind of sucks, I can be honest. But I was hooked at a young age, so all the backwards time-travel drivel was A-OKAY by me. As for the actual art inside and the story that goes with this one? No memory.

Yet all I really remember was this striking cover. So, let’s just look at this. Bill Sienkiewicz, I salute you. I still remember seeing this book on the shelf, and when I saw this one today, I had to throw it up.

#30 – Marvel Comics Present 36
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Top 100 Summer Comics #36

Sunday, let’s completely geek out for a second. Deep breath everyone, I’ll dive in.

#36 – Excalibur 75

SO… Captain Britain had been sucked into the timestream. I want to tell you about it, but if I do you’ll never make it out of this paragraph. Anyways, Excalibur decides to get him back, and lo and behold, Rachel aka Phoenix aka now known as Marvel Girl (III) sacrifices herself. Why not? She came from one alternate timeline (documented well in Days of Future Past and Days of Future Present) and would be split into two timelines here, one being the version who would inevitably make it back to Marvel 616 (main universe) and the other becoming the Mother Askani, where her half-alternate-universe-brother Cable would be sent after being sent to the future, even though that happened a good 4 years (real time) before Rachel was sucked into the timestream. Eventually, Rachel would be both 1) killed by a young Stryfe in 3000 years in the future and 2) sent into outerspace and is now essentially a X-Space Cadet because… well she’s kind of been boring for a decade.

Enjoy your Sunday!!!

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Arthur Adams, Chapter 3: For the refined reader.

My final post on the great Arthur Adams for today. (hey, I love trilogies.)

When I think of Arthur Adams work in the 80’s, three specific books come to mind. There’s a few others, but these stand out as being the best to me. I love his X-Men work, and the Asgardian / New Mutants / X-Men crossover still resonates… just not quite as much as these three issues.

X-Babies. No, really… this is THEIR story. Mojo Mayhem is a caper to end all capers, and is without question one of the most concise and FUN stories Chris Claremont ever put together. The star of the book outside of the X-Babies? Well, maybe it’s Excalibur, seeing as how this is under their heading? No. It’s Ricochet Rita. Who? Yes. Essentially, the X-Bebs sitter, she is dragged through a quick, fun, and smart adventure that reads both like a out and out adventure as well as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek, we-can-laugh-at-ourselves tale. Give it a shot – I bet you’ll enjoy it.

The story was perfect at the time. Absolutely out of nowhere, the FF go missing and the most unlikely of heroes team up to save them – The Hulk, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Ghost Rider. Looking back, this could be looked at as playing with the same instruction guide that Brian Michael Bendis used to reform the Avengers… aka bring in the heavy hitters! What strikes me most about this issue is how perfect Adams’ Mole Man is. I’m shocked these issues of Fantastic Four haven’t been collected yet.

Days of Future Present. I can rave for days about this, and that if it weren’t for the mixed bag of artists across the storyline that this would be held in a much higher esteem. Starring the deranged, nearly omnipotent Franklin Richards and Rachel Summers, this crossover was equal parts alternaverse adventure and tragic love story. It’s a total shame that Arthur Adams didn’t do all of the art for this crossover, some of the pages he did in this issue are perfect. The splash page that opens the Uncanny X-Men Annual 14 pictured above is still one of my favorite images.

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Alan Davis.

Best known for his work with Alan Moore on Captain Britain and Marvelman/Miracleman, and for his runs on Batman and the Outsiders and Excalibur, Alan Davis is one of my GOAT comic book artists. Everything about his work is perfect. Clean, crisp lines, exciting yet easy to follow layouts… I literally have never seen a sloppy or confusing Alan Davis page. He has a style that combines the best aspects of both sliver and modern comic book art. Just the perfect superhero comic artist.

So, for those of you with the big bucks to spend, here’s something for you to pick up and display on your wall (in a nice frame, obviously) with pride:

And for the rest of us, well, we can just make do with posters.

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