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Thursday, June 18, 2020

X-amining Excalibur #93

"The Spire"
January 1996

In a Nutshell
Wolfsbane confronts Reverend Craig

Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Casey Jones
Inker: Tom
Letterer: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
Colorist: Ariane Lenshock with Malibu Hues
Editor: Suzanne Gaffney
Editor-in-Chief: Bob Harras

A recovering Wisdom jokingly imitates Professor X, prompting Moira to haul him inside for more medical tests, leaving Kitty & Meggan to go for a walk together along the island's shore. Along the way, they encounter Wolfsbane, who though she'd spotted some kind of trouble on the mainland. Using her powers, Meggan confirms a fire burning through the forest, and she flies herself, Kitty and Wolfsbane across the water. After Meggan puts out the fire, they discover a young mutant girl at the heart of it, who reveals that she was chased into the woods by the local reverend. Wolfsbane immediately knows who she is talking about, and the women head into town, where Wolfsbane confronts Reverend Craig, her former guardian and the man who led a lynch mob after her. Unwilling to be cowed again following everything she's experienced since joining the New Mutants, she uses her knowledge of Craig's activities to scare him, telling him he no longer has any power over her, defeating him without ever actually touching him.

Firsts and Other Notables
Reverend Craig, the Fundamentalist minister who raised Wolfsbane (then led a lynch mob to try and kill her) pops up in this issue, his first appearance since New Mutants #44.

It is heavily implied her that Craig is Rahne's biological father (and not just her foster father); the text doesn't come right out and say it, but it is accepted canon (such as it is) that he is indeed her biological father.

The issue closes with a team pinup in which the characters appear to have been photoshopped into a picture of clouds.

A Work in Progress
Captain Britain is said to be working on "the Midnight Flit" a smaller version of the Midnight Runner to serve as a hospital ship for Moira.

Meggan powers allow her to sync up with the planet, essentially, and "see" the fire raging on the mainland from Muir Island.

Kitty notes that Meggan, somewhat uniquely for the X-Men, genuinely enjoys using her powers (though Ellis again erroneously refers to Meggan as a mutant).

The Reference Section
The issue opens with a wheelchair-bound Wisdom using Moira's swim cap to imitate Professor X; that much is obvious, but in retrospect, it's also funny that he appears to be referencing Captain Picard (via his "make it so" dialogue), given the two characters have now both been portrayed by Patrick Stewart. 

Austin's Analysis
Wolfsbane has been part of the series' cast for a few issues now, but this issue is really the first time she's been given any kind of spotlight. And given that her principle motivation for joining the cast was driven by a homecoming of sorts - coming back to her native Scotland in order to be with Moira, the closest thing she has to a mother, in the wake of Moira's Legacy Virus infection - it makes sense to have her first spotlight outing focus on Wolsfbane coming to terms with her past, in the form of Reverend Craig. Craig is one of those characters who has made few appearances, but nevertheless looms large over Rahne, the person who imparted her with deep religious beliefs - beliefs which often bring her solace & joy - but which also used those beliefs to justify his abusing her and make her think herself some kind of monster.

Having her come home and confront Craig, telling him she's grown past his capacity to terrorize her, is a great bit of development for the character (which, in hindsight, helps give her relatively brief and otherwise largely-passing tenure in Excalibur a little bit of significance). The whole "Reverend Craig may also be her biological father" thing is a largely unnecessary & questionable development (it makes their relationship far too literal, for one) but that aside, it's much-appreciated to see a character who has gone through some very not-great permutations over the last few years of publication get a bit of positive character development, however minor/incremental.

Next Issue
Tomorrow, Cable battles the Magistrates in Cable #27. Next week, Sabretooth is on the loose in Sabretooth Special #1.

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  1. No wonder the priest was mad: a girl appears wearing a g-string inside the church. As a (formerly?) religious person, Rahne should know better that her attire was not appropriate. Or she simply didn’t care. Of the penciller didn’t care.

    1. I did think it was odd that she walked into the church dressed like that, but then I figured maybe she did it on purpose to get under Craig’s skin. But she also didn’t seem to care in general about anybody seeing them all in costume, so maybe her dander was just up and she wasn’t entirely rational.

  2. Meggan and Kitty both mention that they’re considering new costumes at one point. Meggan gets one when Carlos Pacheco arrives, but Kitty never changes hers (though Nightcrawler does).

    Speaking of Kurt, he says that Beast is expecting a call from him and leaves. What could that be about? Certainly nothing social; they’ve never been on a team together and are casual acquaintances at best. Maybe something Legacy Virus related, but in that case, why wouldn’t Moira make the call?

    1. I'd guess they'll talk about Moira, and her friends' concern over her. That's why Kurt calls to the other expert on legacy virus.

  3. I wonder what brand of double-sided tape Meggan uses?


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