Thursday, January 23, 2020
X-amining Excalibur #89
In a Nutshell
Shadowcat & Wisdom infiltrate the Dream Nails airbase.
Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: David Williams
Inkers: Mike Miller, Mike Christian & Phil Moy
Letterer: Richard Starkings
Colorist: Joe Rosas & Digital Chameleon
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras
After surviving an attempted assassination by Black Air, Kitty & Pete Wisdom return to the neutral ground of the Crown pub. There, Jardin, an old friend of Wisdom's, passes along info that reveals Dream Nails involves aliens. Meanwhile, Amanda Sefton returns to Muir Island, where Rory is in the midst of psycho-analyzing Spoor. In London, after searching his deceased friend's Cully's flat, Wisdom decides the only way to shake things loose is to break into the Dream Nail's base. On Muir Island, Moira discusses the Legacy Virus with Meggan & Douglock. At Dream Nail's, Kitty helps Wisdom infiltrate the base, but their presence eventually triggers an alarm that calls out Black Air troops. They manage to capture Wisdom, and he seemingly convinces Kitty to save herself and escape before they knock him out.
Firsts and Other Notables
This is the issue that really kicks off the Kitty/Pete Wisdom relationship that will run through Ellis' run on the book, with the pair acknowledging to themselves at various times their feelings for the other (and a desire to ignore those feelings/acknowledgements of why the relationship wouldn't work). In the process of setting it up, Ellis does acknowledge the age difference (calling it at least ten years difference, which, depending on what Wisdom's age is meant to be, seems to indicate that Ellis thinks Kitty is older than she is; if Wisdom is mid-30s, that would put Kitty in her mid-20s by Ellis' estimation, aka almost ten-ish years older than she's meant to be at this point).
Meggan & Douglock combine their powers to analyze Legacy Virus data and conclude there is no pattern to who the virus infects and who it doesn’t, which is a “revelation” that doesn’t really go anywhere.
There’s a sequence where Wisdom shows Kitty how to figure out a keypad lock, despite the fact that she could just phase them through the door, despite her having already phased them into the base...and phases them through a sealed door on the next page.
A Work in Progress
Also in the realm of “Warren Ellis thinks Kitty is older than she is”, here, she is openly drinking at a pub with Wisdom, which I don’t think you can do at 16 even in Britain.
The running gag about Moira making crappy coffee continues (is that part of her secret plan?!?); Amanda also expresses concern over Rory working with Spoor.
I’m no psychologist, but I don’t think that’s how therapy is supposed to go.
It’s revealed that Wisdom, for all his snarky crassness, is secretly a softy.
Moira looks at a monitor displaying Legacy Virus victims, but with the exception of Mastermind, they all appear fairly generic.
The Reference Section
Wisdom hangs a lampshade on this story’s X-Files inspiration.
The "Let's Hook Up Kitty & Pete Wisdom and Do an X-Files Riff In the Process" trilogy continues here, and while the plotting of the main story (and it's overall goal) remains a bit dodgy (mostly in the actual "breaking into Dream Nails sequence", in which Kitty both can and can't just phase them where they need to go, depending on the panel), one of the differences between this and Ellis' other "trilogy" becomes apparent in this issue: he is much more comfortable (or willing) to cut back-and-forth between the main plot for subplot check-ins. Whereas the "Soulsword Trilogy" all focused on one plot, with the various cutaways to other events or characters all in service to the plot, this story is structured like more of a traditional comic book story, with an A-plot and cutaways to various B, C & D plots to keep other narrative threads moving forward, however incrementally. Whether that's indicative of Ellis becoming more comfortable with the characters or just having more plot threads to play with later into his run (or entirely coincidental), who knows, but it does help this issue, and the overall story, feel more balanced.
Tomorrow, Cable dives into his past in Cable #23. Next week, Uncanny X-Men #325 and X-Factor #115!
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