Writer / Penciler Alan Davis
Inker Mark Farmer
Letterer Chris Eliopoulos
Colorist Dana Moreshead
Cover Dated June 1993
Davis / Farmer’s second to last issue on Excalibur. Such a great cover by them.
There is an ad, on the cover, for Dragon Month, May 1993, that is promoting the new Dungeons and Dragons game. Which the very first comic I ever bought was Amazing Spider-Man 370, and that cover (amongst so many of the other captions) is another ad for Dungeons and Dragons. There are six pages of advertisement for this game. Apparently it is easily to play this version of D&D. I’ve never done it, but it looks fun on Community.
The issue’s title is, Back to the Present. Which is fun.
Issue opens with Kate Pryde, in 2013, connected to a giant machine.
Ahab gives the others in the room a quick rundown on who she is and what events have happened to her. We are given some dates, which is fun as from 1993’s perspective, must have been like forever from then. 1993, so 2013 is twenty years ago, probably explains why Days of Future Past is being revisited again.
October 7, 2005 – Kate is arrested with her fellow X-Men.
October 8, 2005 – (the next day) is sentenced to life in the concentration camps.
Nine days ago, had escaped with six mutants. Five of them are dead, the sixth, Rachel Summers, is still out there.
Professor Quinn, who is an ally of Ahab’s, probably the closest thing Ahab has to a friend in the future. Ahab, is in a flying box, sort of like Captain Pike from Star Trek’s Original Series, but his box gets to float.
Ahab, probably due to his name, has a vendetta that will know no end until Rachel is dead. He is pretty obsess about it.
We are told through these two’s dialogue that footage survived Kate’s bomb at the Nimrod facility. They see that Rachel teleported away and then the building explodes. Tests on Kate reveals that she was exposed to temporal energy. So they know that Rachel is time traveling.
So Kate is being held prisoner, she isn’t talking to anybody.
The bomb may have activated a Nimrod unit, they don’t know. We do know that it did as Nimrod has been a threat to the X-Men for years now. Funny how they being in the future doesn’t tell them that information but they are an alternate timeline, so they wouldn’t know it.
So, Kate Pryde survived the experience but not cleanly. She is suffering from terminal radiation poisoning, which I can understand. Even if she was phasing, being at ground zero of a nuclear attack, there has to be some repercussions.
Ahab and Quinn have tried full mind scans, using the Sentinels, and thanks to Xavier’s training, the results were unproductive.
One of the scientist announces that they are ten minutes away from the procedure. They want to use the energy signature from Kate’s temporal residue to recreate the time jump.
There is some concern that with the energy output, that Kate’s inhibitor collar could malfunction. Another scientist believes it shouldn’t matter as she is as good as dead.
Kate detects that her powers are coming back and uses this as her one last attempt to foil the plans and save Rachel. She is all about saving Rachel. Kate starts to phase and it disrupts the entire process. The machine starts to overload. Then there is a tear in time and space. Which is never good.
Once time heals (?) the year is 2015. Ahab looks like the man we know now, with the peg leg and purple armor. Can’t believe I never put two and two together before with Ahab’s name and peg leg. It wasn’t until I typed obsessed earlier in the post above that it dawned on me. I suppose I took it all for granted.
Kate appears but in the form of the humanoid looking Widget, so now we see what that has been about this entire time.
Kate/Widget is speaking as if she/it is a broken machine. In fragmented sentences. They are trying to figure out what their status is and where they are. There is some confusion in the room.
Quinn, who has also changed his appearance, as he is in a containment suit. Sentinels are also in the room. Kateget absorbs all wave lengths so no scans are able to work on it.
We learn that Widget’s name is … Monitor Unit Five. Sort of like how Robo’s proper name from Chrono Trigger is R-66Y, which yes, I do rename him that when I play. I do the same with Nadia and Glenn. But not Magus, as Janus is a horrible name. Sorry to any Janus(es) out there! Change your name to Magus, like you are suppose to! Funny how with seven characters, four of them have other names. Whereas Crono, Lucca and Ayla only have their one name. But they also are not trying to hide or start life new. Such a great game!
Ahab teleports in, seeking answers. I get the impression that he’s been waiting two long years for any new leads. Ahab reveals that he has dealt with Rachel once already. Which I believe is a reference to the Days of Future Present storyline, I don’t believe they encountered each other again any other time since then. I could be wrong. Ahab gives himself the sweet title of, guardian of time – so it must be from Days of Future Present.
A Sentinel goes to remove Kateget when Kateget loses its mind and starts shouting about how it will be used to get to Rachel. It then disappears.
Ahab heard it state Rachel’s name, and proceeds to create a plan of action to locate the confusing device. He is going to make Rachel beg him to kill her. Which is intense.
The Present. Excalibur is returning from their adventure with the Cloud Nine facility with their time with the resistance group, RCX. They have returned to their base of Braddock Manor.
Poor Kurt and Kitty might be under the impression this is the beginning of a down period after a big adventure, but they will be wrong in thinking that.
Kitty asks why Rachel is feeling down. Rachel hasn’t been to the Manor, she was in a Phoenix coma at the time, so her Excalibur home is the lighthouse. Which is odd as the Manor is so much bigger and not as cold. It is a major step up, in terms of headquarters. So much has changed.
Kitty completely agrees. She looks like Kurt and Kylun (so many K names!) and how they both have new costumes, as their old costumes got ruined in the last story. Rachel is wearing the red version of the Phoenix costume. Which leaves Kitty as the only original member of Excalibur, still wearing the same ol’ costume as from issue one. She claims it is bad for her image. Which is funny as it seems more like that is her style. Pick a new costume, then wear it for five years longer than she should.
I’ve been wanting current day Kitty to get a new costume for the longest time. She looks like she’s wearing the trainee uniform. In her defense, she is the only one still wearing that uniform for the most part.
Rachel and Kitty see Kurt and Cerise, who are enjoying their newly started romantic relationship. Of all of his girlfriends, I may like Cerise more than Amanda. It is a cleaner relationship.
One relationship segues into an older relationship. I see what you did there, Mr. Davis! Brian asks Meggan to wait a minute for him. Meggan was traveling with Kylun to Sat’neen’s grave, the woman he loved that died recently. Brian understands but he wants to talk to her now, as the moment is fresh.
Meggan has been distant to Brian as of late. He worries she is having second thoughts about accepting his marriage proposal. Meggan confesses that she always saw Brian as this big glowing light, but now that his powers are gone, she realizes that it was a big part of what attracted her to him. Literally attracted, like a moth to a flame.
Brian tells her that they are more than how they appear. Meggan counters, and good for her, that she has always appeared to him in this form that he has come to love. Would he love her natural state, the form he originally found her in. He is stunned by the question and doesn’t have a response. Which is the wrong response. He could have said, yes of course. It isn’t like she would challenge him and be in that shape from this point on. She has horrible memories in that form, but Brian – being a dumb man, plays it wrong.
Kitty and Rachel see from a distance that the couple are not having a fun conversation. They are confident that they will work whatever it is out. Then the cutest scene of the issue happens. Feron and Lockheed come around the corner. I feel like I haven’t read anything with Lockheed in it for months! Shame it has it be in a back issue. But that is the nice thing about back issues. He was in that Wolverine issue but that is one new appearance out of thirty he could have, easily, been in.
Feron is mad as the team left him behind in a big mansion with no food. I get the impression he was scared after a while. Lockheed is only happy to see Kitty back. The next three panels are of Lockheed jumping into Kitty’s arms, them hugging and then him wrapping himself around her shoulders, his preferred spot. That is what is happening in the background as Feron confronts Rachel. Rachel no longer has the full Phoenix Force within her. He claims it was his rightful power to have, and not hers to give away. She wouldn’t have given it to him if she could.
She can’t even give up the little power she still has, as she needs it to go back to the future. Kitty corrects Rachel, to take them all to the future. Rachel reminds Kitty that her power only allows her to project her astral self to the future, she needs the Phoenix Force to bring her body along. She doesn’t have enough power to bring a team with her.
2015. Ahab is conferring with the latest Master Mold. Which I suppose would make it the President of the Sentinels. Ahab wants to get a squad together to take out Rachel. Master Mold informs him that they have to eradicate mutants in this time era before they can move on to all other timelines. Which is a super scary thought. Bad enough they took out the Americas and now dealing with the other world nations, who even thought they had plans to branch out to different time periods. Very Terminator!
Ahab doesn’t like the idea of waiting, he wants to strike now! Master Mold informs him that they have too many wars going on right now to spare anyone. They are in Russia, fighting the Soviet Super Soldiers. Asia, fighting the Asian Alliance, and on top of that, there are pockets of resistance in Europe and South America.
Master Mold tries to assure Ahab that they are aware of Rachel’s energy signature, if it shows up, they will take action then. Master Mold continues to prove why it and Sentinels are a threat, as they are cold calculating machines. They have a three stage plan.
Stage One – in 45.7 days (.7 ?) the Nimrod Project will be at production capacity. In 160 days, functional mobilization.
Stage Two – Sentinels stationed in all timelines.
Stage Three – Total mutant eradication.
The stakes are high, ya’ll!
Present Day. Rachel has gathered the team together and has told them her plans. Kate sacrificed everything to give Rachel this second chance and Rachel has finally decided now is the time to do something about giving Kate’s future a second chance. She’s been busy before this. Kitty still wants to bring everybody along with Rachel, even with limited Phoenix power, Rachel can only do so much. Kurt doesn’t like the high level of risk involved either.
Then without much fanfare, Rachel takes a step backwards, and braces herself to travel through time. No machine needed. Then she screams out in pain! It appears as if she is merging with Widget.
2015. Katget is going on still about Rachel having to be free. She is surrounded by the British heroes of the day. These heroes are – Albion, Arthur (a British Iron Man), Dark Angel (the future version), Grace, Killpower and Tangerine. They make up the future version of the RCX, which is good timing as we must met the present versions in the last storyline. See how well planned the Davis run is?
Arthur instructors Tangerine (their telepath – every team needs one!) to scan the machine. Killpower wants to just blow it up, in the future, all robots are evil. It stands to reason. I’m all for it. Dark Angel can tell that it isn’t a robot. She senses a bio-genetic aura. Tangerine goes on further to state that she senses emotions – fear, love and sadness. Also, an all consuming thought to save Rachel. Dark Angel tells them all to step back, as the robot is getting intense.
Tangerine senses a second human soul inside the machine. Just then, Kateget starts shouting, Sentinels! Just then, Sentinels start showing up. Killpower is insulted that only Delta and Gamma classes were sent.
Grace states that they make up Ahab’s retinue. A word I had to look up, meaning advisers, assistants or just people who travel with an important person. Must be a British word.
The Sentinels identify the gathered heroes as members of the resistance group, RCX. The Sentinels were not expecting to actually fight anyone this day. Ahab instructs them to continue to search for the energy readings they are tracking.
Tangerine finally can make contact with Kate’s mind. She gets her memories of her lost teammates, her husband and her babies. Kateget starts chanting about how Rachel must be warned.
Poor Albion, Kateget is far too distracting and doesn’t notice Ahab creeping up on him and is killed. Tangerine gets flung away by Ahab. Ahab finally sees Kateget.
A Sentinel comments on a presence bridging space and time. Those are fancy scanners they have!
The Present. A timequake occurs. An expression I haven’t seen since that storyline in What If? so many years ago. Kurt asks Rachel to stop, she is quick to inform him that it isn’t her. Rachel had only sent her mind ahead, found Kate, and that woke her up.
Kateget appears before them, telling Rachel to trust her, it is Kate. She’s stuck in the machine. She gives them a warning.
Ahab can see Rachel through the timequake. He wants the Sentinels to stabilize the bridge.
Tangerine figures out, once she wakes up, what is happening. She realizes that anyone Ahab hates, must be an ally of hers (the ol’ enemy of my enemy theory at play, it exists in the future – as it should). She begins to attack Ahab’s mind.
Cerise shouts that the interface is stable. Kitty darts through, saving Tangerine. Kateget tries to warn Kitty (she calls her younger self, Katherine) of Ahab’s energy harpoon. Which, of course, he has a harpoon. I read Kitty and harpoon on the page, I think of the Marauder Harpoon and the Mutant Massacre and how he broke Kitty’s powers for a while.
Rachel, in a fit of rage, melts Ahab’s hands. He’s reaction of, not again, is awesome! Once your body has had pieces torn from it, you probably walk around the planet fearing that the replacement parts will follow suit one day.
The Sentinels retreat, they have what they wanted – Rachel and Kateget. The enemies teleport away.
Leaving Excalibur and their new friends the RCX by themselves. Kitty asks Tangerine for help to locate Rachel and her future self. Tangerine explains that there is no helping them. They were sent to Sentinel HQ.
Arthur informs them of the impossible odds. There are millions of Sentinels in their main headquarters. Each one able to defeat their targeted foe.
Kurt tells them that they have fought Sentinels before. Arthur repeats that it is an impossible mission.
Kurt ends the issue with how dire the situation is, they have to either defeat the entire Sentinel army or die trying. They have no other way to get back home.
I am reviewing the next issue, so we will see how that plays itself out!
. . .
I just heard on Uncanny X-Cast 153 that Comic Geek Speak co-host Jamie D died on May 2nd. I really liked him, he was a huge Strangers in Paradise fan as well as a Kitty Pryde fan. Comic Geek Speak has a great salute episode remembering the podcast legend that is Jamie D. I am glad we have well over 1400 podcasts, so his voice will forever live on in our ears.