Writer Evan Skolnick
Pencilers Chris Marrinan & Audwynn Newman (pages 15 – 22)
Inkers Mark McKenna, Danny Bulanadi & Keith Williams
Colors Dana Moreshead & Mike Thomas
Letterer Janice Chiang
Cover Dated 1993
There is a second story with the Technet but Excalibur doesn’t show up in that so I’m not reviewing it. Taking a stand!
This is one of those 1993 Annuals Marvel did that introduced a mandatory character, we got Khaos in this Excalibur Annual. More on that at the end of the review.
This issue came polybagged and with a trading card
Nothing states big important new character like this two punch combo! Right now from Mile High Comics, you can own this issue for $3.20!
Inside front cover ad is for the film, Meteor Man. Don Cheadle is also in the film. One of the movie channels has been airing it quite often.
Cerise wakes from another nightmare, she’s been having the same one with various recurring details for seven days now. She is fighting a dark skinned demon with two swords and the ability to fly.
The entire team of Excalibur comes rushing in, so they must make it a priority to wear something sensible to bed in case they either have the entire team standing over them when they wake up or have to make a surprise appearance in their bedroom.
While Cerise is explaining her nightmare, Kitty and Feron exchange dirty looks. It isn’t brought up in the story at all but that’s what they are doing. This is not the last exchange of looks this issue.
After hearing the nightmare, Kitty wonders if Cerise is just dreaming about the team. The dark skin demon, could be Nightcrawler, his use of two swords could be Kylun, and his ability to fly is Captain Britain.
Cerise doesn’t like the idea of having her nightmare dismissed in such a fashion as she can sense where the source of her problems are coming from. Rachel states that she did a scan and she can’t detect any source. This further annoys Cerise as she is leaving in that direction, the team can stay or come along with her.
Sixty odd miles to the north of Braddock Manor, they come across an old castle. There is an odd looking panel of the team leaving the plane, that looks like it is still in the air and everyone is doing the Superman, belly to the ground, flying stance to the reader.
Cerise is leading the team down some stairs. Then she lets out a scream, as some old white wizard fella comes out to greet him. His name is Ghath (yep) and he has been banished from his realm where he is the rightful ruler and is trying to get back there. He’s been trying for seven nights and wonders if Cerise is being bothered by his attempts because she is also from another dimension. Which she isn’t she’s a member of the Shi’ar, so she’s from outer space but not another dimension.
Just then, Khaos comes breaking through the window, shouting that he will kill Ghath this night. He believes Excalibur are Ghath’s minions. Khaos uses a relic, Ibic, to channel his mystical energy that the two of them refer to as, teknomystical abilities.
Khaos does his best against Excalibur. Kurt distracts with his usual teleport and hit technique. Khaos makes the mistake of pointing out what Ibic is, as before, it was only a weird word to say in battle. So now Rachel knows what to target. Once Ibic has been taken from Khaos, he is susceptible to attacks, and Captain Britain punches him out.
Ghath, whose name keeps reminding me of Kulan Gath – so he has that going against him. Ghath apologizes for including Excalibur in this battle. He offers to keep Khaos as a prisoner. Captain Britain tells him that they will take Khaos with them to interrogate and to let him heal. This doesn’t please Ghath, at all but he lets them take Khaos away.
Ghath tells them farewell, he is going to keep working on his portal but he will do it so that it doesn’t bother Cerise anymore. I wonder what the difference in his spell will be, don’t use any references to birds?
Back at the Manor. The team is sleeping, except for Cerise who is standing outside of Khaos’ cell, which really, is a bedroom with a few bars and a door made out of iron.
Khaos wakes, sees he is a prisoner of minions. Cerise explains that that isn’t who they are, they were speaking to someone, then a second person came crashing through, threatening to kill the first person and they were not going to stand by and watch a murder.
Cerise wants to know Khaos story, which he tells, just because he has nothing else to do.
So it turns out that Khaos is actually the hero of the story and Ghath is the villain. Which I like that reversal of the dark being is the hero and the light being is the villain. It is a nice twist with expectations. Weird for it to take place in a comic that already features a dark being in Nightcrawler but assumptions are assumptions for a reason.
Khaos and Ghath are from the planet, Irth (get it?). On their world, the planet is broken up between the light skin people – humans, elves and fairies and the dark skin people – demons, goblins and dwarves. The planet has been at war for centuries. So at one point, the continent Dungertheb is conquered by the goblins. They are quick to make the light beings into slaves.
Ghath, is the human leader to the dark ones, and wants to expand to Terr’va continent, that houses the island of Ameroth (which I took to be the America equivalent). Khaos was born on Terr’va, and adopted by light beings.
Khaos leaves home, finds some friends, and has adventures. Then one day, he learn his true heritage. He is the rightful ruler of the dark beings. So coupled with his light being adoptive parents, he is actually destined to be the ruler of everybody, thus bringing peace to Irth, finally.
Khaos and his team and the army they build, start being able to go on the offense against Ghath. Once they beat him back, they created the capital city of Nottlob and Khaos was the peaceful ruler.
Of course, Ghath keeps leading a rebel group against Khaos. Eventually they capture Ghath, decide he is too powerful and Khaos has two of his friends create a spell that banishes Ghath to parts unknown. Those parts, turns out, are in Great Britain on our beloved planet.
Ghath has been able to attack them from Earth, for the past few days, so Khaos and his people created a second spell to send one volunteer here to deal with Ghath. Ghath scrambled that spell, so that Khaos was the one to be sent here instead. Now Khaos feels that he can never go home.
Cerise tells him that Excalibur will have to be told the story and then the team will aid Khaos in his quest. Cerise then leaves to confront Ghath and figure out what the truth is.
Khaos mentally brings his swords to him and he escapes.
Cerise reenters the castle. She notices all the damage has been fixed. She sees a young man, who is secretly Ghath in his true guise. He knocks her out with a blast.
Khaos is working his way to the castle, now. He is thinking about how he made enemies of the only allies he could have had against Ghath. He sees that Cerise is alive and unconscious. He wonders why she hasn’t been killed yet. Khaos tries to open the door and gets blasted back. Ghath shows up and mocks him for being taken out by such a simple trap spell.
Ghath explains that Cerise’s energy channeling abilities are going to come in handy, whereas Khaos has nothing to offer him. Khaos, is an odd word to keep having to retype out.
At the Manor. Kitty is the first to notice that Cerise and Khaos are missing. She gets the team together to go back to the castle. They get there to see Cerise and Khaos still fighting Ghath, which must have been several hours of battle.
Ghath does even better against Excalibur, he fights cheap with using shields to block all offenses. Then he grabs Ibic and burns a hole around him and escapes through the bottom of the castle. He is going to use the relic to finally go home.
Excalibur and Khaos get down there just in time to see Ghath go through a portal. Without hesitating, they jump through as well – it helps that Khaos and Cerise jumped in first.
Khaos is glad to be home again. He sees some of his friends. They informed him that he has been gone months. Ghath has been there for a few months and has already regained his army and they are about to attack the capital, with ships. So time moves differently here than on Earth.
So we get a battle that is essentially Excalibur versus Pirates, which is pretty fun. Kitty goes around and starts phasing portions of the ships, so that water can seep in. Which is an amazing use of her powers. Too bad we don’t see that more often, but she doesn’t really fight many boats.
Kurt and Kylun get to have a swashbuckling good time!
Rachel is melting arrows before they can reach their intended targets.
Feron is throwing energy spheres that no one on Irth has dealt with before. This is where Feron excels, no dialogue and barely in a comic. He is too whiny of a character for my taste.
Cerise and Meggan are throwing their own energy blasts.
Captain Britain and Khaos fight Ghath. This fight doesn’t last long.
Khaos thanks Excalibur for their aid. The team worries now about how to get home. Khaos explains that leaving was never a problem, it was getting back that was the issue. Before they are teleported away, Cerise kisses Khaos. She still calls it a lip massage. I guess they don’t kiss on Irth, which is weird. I wonder how they do show affection. We saw as Khaos was a boy, that his parents hugged him. Maybe that’s as far as it goes?
Kitty jokes that Cerise has a type. Rachel states that it might not be the man but Excalibur as every dimension has a version. But she doesn’t go on about a version of who or what? So why even speak up, of course, he’s this planet’s Nightcrawler, she likes Kurt and so this guy reminds her of him and she kisses him as she knows it isn’t going anywhere. Also, she may not know that she isn’t suppose to kiss other dudes while in a relationship.
So Excalibur is teleported back to Earth but so is Khaos. He is going to spend the rest of his days trying to recreate Ghath’s spell. I get the impression that it wasn’t the easiest of spells and that guy might still be in that castle to this day!
Cerise gives him an invitation to join Excalibur, but he doesn’t want the distraction. Which is a shame, as I’m sure he would have gone home by now if he was on the team, as that is how it usually works out.
That’s how the story ends, with Khaos flying away and the team watching on.
Back cover ad is for Mortal Kombat, the first game.
. . .
Khaos is another character, I’m collecting all of his appearances of, as he has only appeared in this annual as well as All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A to Z issue 6. That’s his two appearances.
Khaos was one of the forced new character creations of 1993.
Apparently DC did the same in their Bloodlines Annuals of the same year as did Marvel, but not as part of a storyline. These things happen like that I suppose. I do like how somehow the DC Bloodlines trading card set got an ad in this issue.
Brian Cronin did a great article with all of the Marvel characters and the covers to the annuals. I only read the Amazing Spider-Man Annual 27, Excalibur Annual 1, Spectacular Spider-Man 17, and Web of Spider-Man 9, at the time, I didn’t realized it was all new characters. I should have as each annual came polybagged and came with a trading card for the new character. Excalibur, being the only annual I still own from this year.
I was eleven, so I was probably just happy to get a trading card with a comic. I wasn’t thinking of collecting at that point so I didn’t buy two copies or anything silly like that.
The only characters to escape these Annuals are – X-Cutioner, Gen-is, the son of Captain Marvel who had his own ongoing years later by Peter David, which I liked it, Annex, and the most famous is Adam-X the X-Treme!
Excalibur 1 is the only annual I own of this year so this is the only time I get to discuss it.
Tamabone created this nice list of the character’s name which issue they appeared in:
1. Annex – Amazing Spider-Man Annual 27
2. Bloodwraith – Avengers Annual 22
3. Raptor – Avengers West Coast Annual 8
4. Bantam – Captain America Annual 12
5. Devourer – Daredevil Annual 9
6. Dreamkiller – Darkhawk Annual 2
7. Tracer – Deathlok Annual 2
8. Kyllian Kell – Doctor Strange Annual 3
9. Khaos – Excalibur Annual 1
10. Wildstreak – Fantastic Four Annual 26
11. Night Terror – Ghost Rider Annual 1
12. Cu Chulainn – Guardians of the Galaxy Annual 3
13. Lazarus – Incredible Hulk Annual 19
14. Face Thief – Iron Man Annual 14
15. Assassin – Namor the Sub-Mariner Annual 3
16. Darking – New Warriors Annual 2
17. Eradikator – Punisher Annual 6
18. Phalanx – Punisher War Zone Annual 1
19. Genis-Vell – Silver Surfer Annual 6 as Legacy
20. Nocturne – Spectacular Spider-Man 13
21. The Flame – Thor Annual 18
22. X-Cutioner – Uncanny X-Men Annual 17
23. Cadre – Web of Spider-Man Annual 9, a whole team of characters – Dementia, Shard and Vortex
24. Hitmaker – Wonder Man Annual 2
25. Adam X – X-Force Annual 2
26. Empyrean – X-Men Annual 2
There are a few things I really like about this. Some of these names are so early 90s that it hurts. Clearly those characters never had a chance.
Another thing I like is how many monthly comics Marvel had released, 26 titles! That is impressive! Very telling with who was popular enough for multiple series. Of course, Spider-Man and X-Men but also, Punisher had two titles as well.
I also like how you can tell how long a series has been around with how many annuals they have had prior. Though it isn’t a hard and fast rule as Excalibur has been around since 1988 and only got their first annual in 1993, a whopping five years! They had various other specials and such prior to this. Also Annuals were not even an initial release as you minus 27 from 1993, you get 1966 for Spider-Man’s first annual in Amazing.
I really miss Annuals, now that I’m looking at this one. Grant it, most annuals are either part of a mega crossover that isn’t referenced or discussed anymore but at the time, it was a big deal – plus it was a way to tell a bigger story without having to interrupt the main series. Sort of like how miniseries come out of the Big Crossover event as the current writer doesn’t want to stop what they are doing to tie in but Marvel still wants a Spider-Man titled miniseries, that’s what they did with House of M and various other events like Secret Invasion X-Men or World War Hulk X-Men, even Civil War X-Men. The X-Men don’t like playing with others.