Mid November 1989
In a Nutshell
Technet rescues Jamie Braddock from Doc Croc.
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciler: Alan Davis
Inker: Paul Neary
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Terry Kavanaugh
"The Secretary": Tom DeFalco
Upon the arrival of Nigel Frobisher, Gatecrasher briefs Technet on their latest mission: rescuing Jamie Braddock, the brother of Captain Britain, from Doc Croc. Though most of Technet feels the mission is beneath them, Gatecrasher insists they must do it, as they're stuck on Earth until they fulfill their previous contract to capture Phoenix, and the team teleports away. Elsewhere, Excalibur, on a world where Europe is an untamed frontier, is chased back to their train by angry natives. On Earth, Technet storms Doc Croc's citadel. Gatecrasher discovers Jamie, bound and insane, but is gassed by Doc Croc. On another Earth, Shadowcat, Meggan and Nightcrawler rescue their teammates from a group of monsters. Back in Africa, Gatecrasher experiences a vision of Jamie's crimes in Africa.
Gatecrasher snaps out of it, and Doc Croc says she needed to learn the truth about the man she's trying to rescue. Elsewhere, Excalibur arrives on an Earth that seems to be their home, but Meggan and Phoenix's powers synch up again, causing Phoenix to inadvertently charge Widget and send everyone off to another reality once more. Technet, along with Jamie and Doc Croc, teleport back to Technet's Brighton pier. Jamie attacks Technet, believing everything to be a dream he's experiencing, and easily overpowers them. Meanwhile, Excalibur arrives in a war-ravaged world where Meggan is the only survivor. Back on Earth, Jamie, having used his powers to make Technet think they've accomplished their mission, is approached by Nigel, who makes him an offer: dominion over half the world. Elsewhere, Excalibur lays dying, their train destroyed, in yet another strange reality.
Firsts and Other Notables
We get our first significant introduction to Captain Britain's (and Psylocke's) older brother, Jamie Braddock, in this issue (though he has of course appeared previously in Captain Britain's solo series), a mutant with the ability to warp reality (which he perceives as strings he can manipulate) and who, at least for the moment, appears to be insane.
Doc Croc, an old Captain Britain villain who was holding Jamie, also appears in the series for the first time.
A Work in Progress
Phoenix and Meggan continue to randomly sync up with one another, to the point where Phoenix accidentally charges up Widget and triggers another jump away from their home reality after doing so.
Nightcrawler notes that in all the worlds they've traveled to, they've yet to encounter one with a Phoenix counterpart on it.
In this issue, we quickly see Excalibur travel through a few different realities. One where America is the traditional power and Europe more like the American West...
another set in a world seemingly influenced by old Universal monster movies...
and one in which Meggan is Captain Britain, and the majority of the world has been destroyed...
before the last page shows a seemingly dead Excalibur, their train destroyed, on an unknown world.
Structured such that Technet becomes the protagonists of the story while Excalibur is relegated to the subplots, in breaking from the usual format, this is perhaps the best installment of "The Cross Time Caper" yet. Technet themselves are hardly the most compelling of characters (Gatecrasher has a bit of personality, but everybody else is pretty much just a colorful look and unique power), but the break from the usual "Excalibur runs around a slightly-askew version of England" routine is refreshing, and the subject of Technet's adventure automatically makes it more interesting. Even having only the vaguest idea of what he's done and will do (which is the case for me), Jamie Braddock is instantly an intriguing character, due to his relationship to one of the series' main characters, his seeming insanity, and for the extent of his reality-altering abilities. At the end of the day, there's simply something striking and unsettling about the image of the insane Jamie, wearing a diaper with his head cocked to the side, and it carries this issue.
Knowing there are approximately 112 more chapters to this story takes some of the fun out of Excalibur burning through a bunch of realities in short order as, in the space of one or two pages scattered throughout the otherwise Technet-focused issue, they bouncing from one reality to another (including a brief return to their home reality); it reads like Claremont & Davis are preparing for the story's finale, but we know that isn't yet the case. But that's a problem for future issues; for now, this is simply a fun diversion from the usual format, one which introduces a significant character to the series and is much more enjoyable than any Technet-centric story as any right to be.
Tomorrow, a new creative debuts on Wolverine #17. Next week, Uncanny X-Men #255 and New Mutants #83.