Comic Book / Excalibur

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A Marvel Comics Super Team, where the X-Men franchise intersected with the Marvel U.K. imprint.

After the Mutant Massacre storyline left the X-Men broken, injured members Shadowcat and Nightcrawler were sent to Muir Island in Scotland to recuperate. As a result, they weren't with the X-Men when the team sacrificed their lives to defeat The Adversary on national TV during The Fall of the Mutants arc, and like the rest of the world, didn't know the X-Men got better afterwards. Chris Claremont and artist Alan Davis decided to use this opportunity to put the characters into a new team that incorporated the British characters Captain Britain and his Magical Girlfriend Meggan, who had little U.S. exposure at that point but ties to the X-Men through Cap's sister Psylocke.

So Phoenix (Rachel Summers), who had previously been lured to a parallel dimension by X-Villain and Large Ham Mojo, escaped to Muir Island shortly after the X-Men's "deaths" with Mojo's Warwolves hot on her trail. Obstructive Bureaucrat Saturnyne also decided that Phoenix was a threat to all reality and sent a group of interdimensional bounty hunters known as the Technet to capture her. Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler, Cap and Meggan are soon brought into the fray, banding together to rescue Rachel while reminiscing about the X-Men and deciding to keep Xavier's dream alive, thus founding the team.

Then the quirky metal creature and living portal known as Widget found them, and the team was thrown into a series of interdimensional wacky hijinks across The Multiverse for some time. The series started in 1988 and lasted a good decade. For a while, it was known as the weird and comedic X-book.

But no team with Mutants can ever stay light-hearted for long in the Marvel Universe, so they eventually returned to their angsty X-Roots and eventually became just another mutant book. Since then, the team has broken up and reformed a couple of times, with different membership each time. Currently defunct, and the Spiritual Successor Captain Britain and MI13 (even featuring the actual Excalibur sword) was also cancelled after 15 issues.

No relation to the short-lived Excalibur title that followed Professor Xavier's adventures on Genosha (aside from Marvel and/or Claremont wanting to keep the name in print). Captain Britain and the Black Knight also show up as playable characters in Marvel: Avengers Alliance along with some of the mutants in Excalibur, and MI13 and Faiza also get mentioned.


These comic series provide examples of:

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    General Tropes 
  • British Accents
  • Britain Is Only London: Averted. For starters, Excalibur's headquarters is Cap's lighthouse, located on the western coast of Britain.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: The Crazy Gang and their creator, Mad Jim Jaspers.
  • The Commissioner Gordon: Inspector Dai Thomas. His relationship with superheroes was extremely strained due to the death of his wife in the wreckage of a super-fight (he nearly crossed the line to Inspector Javert) but in the end did come to find some respect for Captain Britain.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Pete Wisdom started off as a jaded, cynical Deadpan Snarker. During Tieri's short run on New Excalibur he became the butt of the humour. In the Wisdom miniseries and Captain Britain and MI: 13 he gets a few snappy lines but for the most part he seems to be playing Straight Man to the weirdness of the rest of the team.
  • Death Is Cheap: Well... it is a comic book, after all.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Crazy Gang.
  • Fisher King: The exact nature and extent of Captain Britain's ties to Britain varies with the writer. In one of Chuck Austen's comics, Captain Britain was beaten up and this caused earthquakes in Britain. This never happened before or since.
    • When he's (temporarily) killed during Secret Invasion, it's said that everyone in Britain felt it.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: There have been many, over the years. Meggan's heroic sacrifice was especially sad, because it was in a tie-in book for the House of M crossover where she saved the whole universe and nobody read it. At least she's finally back now, after bringing some hope to Hell for good measure.
  • Multinational Team: The original team had Captain Britain (English), Meggan (British/Fey, raised by Gypsies), Nightcrawler (German), Shadowcat (American/Jewish), Lockheed (alien dragon) and Phoenix (alternate future American). Other line-ups also included Colossus (Russian), Douglock (American/techo-organic alien), Wolfsbane (Scottish), Black Knight (American), Feron (alternate universe Fey), Cerise (yet another alien race), Pete Wisdom (English), etc. There's also the constant presence of the extradimensional robot Widget.
  • My Local: The team would often go there to celebrate after a win. Or commiserate after suffering a beating.
  • Oddball in the Series: This series was not only Lighter and Softer than the other X-related titles, took place on a different continent altogether (Europe), and had many non-mutants on the roster (a rarity for X-teams), but it features somewhat obscure Marvel UK characters that had little to nothing to do with the X-Men, and the stories were mostly sci-fi and fantasy when most X-titles focused on whatever mutant hysteria was going on at any given time.
  • Poor Communication Kills
  • Progressively Prettier: When Nightcrawler first appeared in X-Men he was short and creepy looking. When he was moved to Excalibur, Alan Davis purposefully drew him standing at six feet tall and modeled his facial features after Errol Flynn. Sure, he was still a blue elf but he was noticeably more charming-looking than his earlier Dave Cockrum incarnation. Other artists have followed suit for the most part.
    • When Rachel Summers first appeared she was a skinny tomboy with a crewcut. When she joined Excalibur she was given a very well-developed build and a skintight costume that didn't leave much to the imagination. Justified since her transformation happened while she was in Mojoworld, a place known (among other things) for reshaping people into attractive movie stars.
  • Team Title
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Captain Britain (and the entire Captain Britain Corps).

    Original Series 
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Magical Computer that used to live under Captain Britain's ancestral home.
  • Alternate Company Equivalent: Excalibur was pretty much Marvel's answer to Justice League International, another Lighter and Softer book that also placed a greater emphasis on humor.
  • Another Dimension: It almost seemed like the original Excalibur team were hopping into another dimension every other week. More cynical readers might speculate that this was because the book was usually written by Americans who didn't know anything about the UK, and this was the easiest way to hide that fact (not entirely true, considering that co-creators Chris Claremont and Alan Davis are both British-born, and though Claremont's family moved to America when he was a child, Davis is a lifelong resident—not to mention the fact that Claremont was a co-creator of Captain Britain in the first place). That said, The Multiverse was already a well-established feature of Captain Britain stories—one of which first coined the now-ubiquitous "Earth-616" as the designation of the "prime" Marvel Universe—and it was shown early on that Brian was only one of a dimension-crossing corps of near-infinite Captain Britains. Even with a long storyline explicitly involving parallel realities—"The Cross-Time Caper"—Excalibur really spent no more or less time on Earth-616 than Cap himself did in his previous solo adventures.
  • Bounty Hunter: The spectacularly incompetent Gatecrasher and her Technet.
  • Chased by Angry Natives: One of the many worlds we get a glimpse of in "The Cross-Time Caper" arc was an Europe colonized by the Native Americans making it, essentially, this world's Wild West. We see Excalibur chased by angry warpainted British "braves" wearing bowler hats and swinging umbrellas.
  • The Chessmaster: Merlyn. And his daughter Roma. But mostly Merlyn. Roma is a Chessmaster to most characters, but to Merlyn she's just another pawn.
  • Chess Motifs: The Hellfire Club, as usual, have ranks named after chess pieces. Also, Merlyn and Roma have a chess board that they place crystal figures of other characters on. When Merlyn returns from his fake death, he places a figure of Roma on the board to point out that even his own daughter is merely a pawn, not a player in his game.
  • Dirty Mind-Reading: Being a telepath, Rachel catches... interesting thoughts from an alternate Nigel Frobisher. We never find out what the exact thoughts were, but they were bad enough to make Rachel furiously tar and feather Frobisher. When Brian is intrigued by the situation, she projects the thoughts in his mind and his temper slips as well.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: In the Inferno tie-in, Kitty needs to answer a call of nature while being carried by Meggan across the Atlantic. They spot a freighter and land on it so she can go to the restroom, but the place is disgustingly filthy.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Subverted. Rachel Summers eventually ditches her original spiked red bodysuit (which was based on her Hound costume) and settles for the blood-red ensemble of Dark Phoenix. But she's not pulling a Face–Heel Turn; she just prefers these colors over "Light" Phoenix's costume. In her words, "[Dark Phoenix] might have been a threat to the universe... but she had great taste in clothes!"
  • Evil Mentor: Courtney (actually Sat-Yr-9 in disguise) to Kitty. Subtly at first, as she appears nothing but friendly and well-intentioned, but her lessons gradually grow more obviously evil.
  • Evil Sorcerer: Gravemoss and Necrom both count.
  • Expy: Brigadier Alysande Stuart of W.H.O. (do you see what they did there?) was a Gender Flipped version of Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stuart from Doctor Who. Her brother, Alistaire, was W.H.O.'s "scientific advisor"; the same role the Doctor had at U.N.I.T.
  • Eye Scream: A heroic example occurs when Necrom attempts to lure Kylun into a trap with an image of his girlfriend, previously killed by Necrom. Kylun isn't fooled, and as Necrom is sneaking up behind him to drain his life he lashes out with one of his magical swords, slashing Necrom across the face and putting out one of his eyes. The sorcerer sensibly flees the battle.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Very early in the series, almost the whole team was flipped with the Crazy Gang, using a device invented by Tweedledope: Captain Britain with Tweedledope, Meggan with the Knave, Nightcrawler with the Jester, and Phoenix with the Executioner. (Presumably, the villains intended to flip Shadowcat with the Red Queen, but she escaped.) Cap was able to somehow access Tweedledope's skills to use the device and reverse the effect (after the usual misunderstanding fight, naturally).
  • Fun with Acronyms: Most of the fictional government agencies had one of these. Sadly.
  • Future Me Scares Me: When Daytripper is pulling Captain Britain from the timestream, Rory Campbell catches a glimpse of Ahab (the slaver of mutants who tortured Rachel and kept her as one of his Hounds in her original timeline) and, recognizing him as his own future self, started to fear ever going down that road.
  • Giving Them the Strip: In "The Cross-Time Caper" arc, Shadowcat and Phoenix (temporarily de-powered) are bound upside-down in a slaver ship. Kitty shows off her ninja skills (last seen in the Kitty Pryde and Wolverine mini-series) to slip out of her boots, freeing herself. Rachel comments that she couldn't do that even if she knew how, since her costume is literally one piece of leather going up to her neck. Kitty replies that she could probably still pull it off, if not for embarrassment.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Plenty! There was the R.C.X., the Weird Happenings Organization, the Department of Unknown and Covert Knowledge (don't... uh, don't think too hard about that one.), S.T.R.I.K.E. and Black Air.
  • Government Conspiracy: Black Air.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Colossus, who previously had a Face–Heel Turn following his sister's death and joined Magneto's Acolytes.
  • Kill and Replace: Poor, poor Courtney Ross. It does not pay to be the exact physical duplicate of a ruthless otherdimensional dictator.
    • Also the Warwolves - extradimensional creatures who could suck out a person's ... let's say Life Force, leaving just their empty skin, then put on the skin and pass as the person (despite being shaped like quadrupedal animals in their natural form). At one point they scour the globe to find exact lookalikes for the other X-Men so they can impersonate them.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: During the team's stay in New York after the events of Inferno, we see a couple named Lois and Clark.
    • Later on, during the Cross Time Caper storyline, Brian and Kitty are accosted by a pair of cops calling themselves the "Dirty Angels".
  • Lighter and Softer: This series was originally conceived as being more lighthearted than the various X-books that were being published at the time, which were pretty dark and to prove it they took the most "fun" members of the X-Men (Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde) and basically wrote the team around them.
  • Lighthouse Point: Their base of operations, since it was the convergence of all realities.
  • Ms. Fanservice: When she disappeared in Uncanny X-Men, Rachel was a stick-thin tomboy who usually wore gym clothes. When she reappeared in Excalibur, she was built like a porn star (perhaps literally - she got her new body in the Mojoverse after all) and wore a skintight, stiletto-heeled, spike-studded, red leather catsuit when on duty, and as little as possible off duty.
    • Lampshaded at one point when she and Kitty go shopping, dissatisfied with the conservative suit and pumps Kitty picks out for her she uses her powers to re-arrange Kitty's outfit to resemble something Rachel normally wears. Kitty immediately thinks that she looks like a hooker.
    • Meggan had her moments too. Frankly, most women drawn by Alan Davis do, though Davis actually drew Kitty to look like a young girl.
  • Not in Kansas Anymore: In one issue, Colonel Novikova says something along those lines when she and Nth Man get dimensionally swapped with Rachel and Nightcrawler.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: Issue 18 takes place in a world focused on a continuous Global Grand Prix. We're also introduced to two female police officers, the Dirty Angels. If that wasn't enough anime parody, the art style shifts to a manga-ish state. The weirdest part? The story concludes in the next issue, which goes back to the usual comic book style.
  • Public-Domain Character: There are a lot of references to Arthurian myth.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Superpower Lottery: Phoenix outpowers everyone else (combined) by quite a bit, and for that matter outpowers most of the Marvel Universe, being the human host to a Cosmic Entity; she gets psychologically damaged or written out to compensate.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Nightcrawler went from the dorky and silly fun member of the X-Men to the leader of the European equivalent of The Avengers. He even formed former enemies The Technet into his own personal "N-Men" complete with X-Men-inspired uniforms. And most of that he did with his leg broken.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The original line-up inverts this, having three girls and two guys (and Lockheed).
  • Was It All a Lie?: Kitty's reaction after "Courtney Ross" is revealed to be evil Sat-Yr-9, who previously befriended her during Kitty's Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • Wedding Day: Captain Britain and Meggan. Even the Crazy Gang was there. (As guests, mind you; they weren't evil anymore by then.)
  • West Coast Team: When Excalibur found out the X-Men were still alive, they decided to remain together, having bonded over time, and styled themselves as the X-Men's European branch.
    • For all intents and purposes, they were also the British Avengers (not those ones), partly because there were no other super-teams who could play that part, and partly because mutants were less controversial in Britain than in the U.S. at the time (just like Canada, one suspects that the British took whatever superheroes they could get).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Feron the sorcerer accidentally turned himself into a waterfall, and his disappearance went uncommented on until the book's penultimate issue, five years later.
    • In more of a "What Happened To Our Dramatic Reveal?" vein, the moment when Excalibur found out the X-Men weren't dead went completely unrecorded, as it became more and more awkward to explain why the X-Men hadn't been in touch with them. Eventually the writers were forced to admit, in the letter column, that Excalibur did in fact know, and they'd been in touch via phone.
      • The fact that the X-Men probably waited longer than they should have in letting their teammates know they were indeed alive was later explained as why Kurt, Kitty, and Rachel stuck with Excalibur as long as they did due to hurt feelings.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Kylun, a huge sword-wielding badass raised in an alternate reality, has the mutant power of...perfectly reproducing any given sound. Fortunately, he doesn't really need a mutant power to kick ass.
  • Whip It Good: The whip was the Weapon of Choice of Miss Steed, the Black Queen of London's Hellfire Club.
  • Whole Plot Reference: In the "Girls' School From Heck" three issue mini arc, Kitty finds herself enrolled at a boarding school where all the other students are troublemakers to such a degree that no other school will take them, an outcast at first she starts bonding with the students after a particularly violent field hockey match, and then goes on to band the various cliques together in an outrageous scheme to save the school when it's threatened to close because of financial complications. Why does that sound familiar?

    New Excalibur 
  • Aloof Big Brother: Sir Percy is a major Jerkass to Dane when the team travels to the past, bordering on Big Brother Bully. Turns out it's because he's afraid of the Ebony Blade taking Dane over the way it's taking over himself and did a number of previous Black Knights.
  • Becoming the Mask: Sage tries to infiltrate Albion's organisation, which she succeeds at, only to become her false identity. Things go horribly worse from there.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: A swordfight between Sir Percy and a bar full of angry peasants in Issue #10.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • The Shadow X-Men, versions of the original team who were brainwashed by the Shadow King.
    • Albion, for Captain Britain. He's an alternate version of Brian Braddock who comes from a Crapsack World, and was given the same choice as Brian, but chose the sword instead, which Merlin allowed for his own reasons.
  • Hollywood Atlas: Chris Claremont is English, but he hasn't been back here for about thirty years, so his portrayal of the UK is mostly based on the Hollywood version, or else painfully out of date. Whereas Frank Tieri tended to assume that the UK is exactly like America.
  • Kudzu Plot: See The Chris Carter Effect.
  • In-Name-Only: This team consisted of a few returning Excalibur characters, a whole bunch of Chris Claremont's personal favourites, and a few Excalibur villains (most of them were sad victims of Villain Decay and/or Badass Decay). And they made so little use of the setting that it could easily have been set in New York or California without changing any of the content.
  • Off with His Head!: Sage, overtaken by her cover identity, beheads Dark Cyclops.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Dane towards Sir Percy due to being worried about the latter's behavior and suffering from a bit of Broken Pedestal, to the point where even Merlin calls him on it.
  • Take a Number: An issue has Kitty Pryde getting 10^23 from the dispenser — which is probably a reference to Avogadro's Number.
  • Tall, Blond, and Snarky: Sir Percy, though he does soften up somewhat eventually.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Dazzler keeps finding herself dying, then coming back to life. Exactly why is never explained.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: A lot of plot-threads go unsolved.
  • You Already Changed the Past: When the team has to travel back in time to save Camelot. Bonus points for the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere coming about because Pete Wisdom tried seducing Guinevere himself.

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