And because I ship Professor X and Magento shamelessly, more so when it comes to their hot, younger versions in the X-Men: First Class film, I'm of course deliciously and disgustingly excited to read Chris Claremont's 2004 series Excalibur III which had nothing to do with the original Captain Britain material it was originally about. Rather, this is the story where Prof X and Mags "eloped" to Genosha so they can re-establish its sovereignty and civilization once again. They are joined by Callisto and a delightful gang of teenage mutants and a couple of idealists who want to make a difference. But because this is the X-Men and Claremont we are talking about, such a nice premise is misleading and deceptive. And because this is Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr we're talking about, of course the issues are bound to get crazy, cheesy, emotastic and kindda-sorta homoerotic depending on how you interpret some scenes.
Known as Volume III, this version of Excalibur is something I've been dying to read because its basically a love letter to the fans of the ever-enduring core relationship between the aforementioned bookend-soulmates. The four-issued story arc Forging the Sword is collected in this first volume which feature tremendous amount of Cherik scenes that make my shipper heart suffocate in the syrupy thickness of my disastrous obsession for these two dorks.
Allow me to state this once again: Cherik is the oxygen, drugs and food that sustain my saddest nights on this planet and I will inhale, snort and devour it any goddamn chance I get.
In Excalibur III, Genosha has been decimated horrendously and it's presently in utter shambles while its mutant citizenry is clamoring for survival, searching for a leader to govern them. Unfortunately, Unus the Untouchable appointed himself as that.There was also a Magneto imposter walking around for a while, causing havoc in New York. This first issue, Paint It Black, opens with Charles Xavier soliloquising about his decision to leave the X-Men behind so he can go to Genosha, knowing they will survive without him anyway. Now Charles runs away to Genosha and takes the corpse of the poser-Magneto with him so he can meet up with the real Erik who apparently faked his own death and has been hiding from the world since. I suppose they're both in Genosha to make amends with its people because they are considered the leaders of the mutant revolution no matter how much their views and methods clash. It's therefore a personal failure and injury to see such a civilization like Genosha become a wasteland because they were unable to save it. Now they feel obliged to fix that mistake together. So--if you think about it--they're keeping this all in clandestine mode, so neither the X-Men nor the Brotherhood know their whereabouts. BECAUSE THEY FUCKING ELOPED, OKAY?
You see, Charles Xavier and Erik (Magnus) Lehnsherr never had what any of us might call a 'conventional' relationship. Their mutual understanding from the beginning becomes a rather complicated rivalry in the next decades to follow where they constantly find themselves fighting on the opposite sides of a war neither of them would compromise for--not even for the sake of salvaging their friendship. It seemed at first--from the moment they realized they were both mutants--that their first meeting was destined to happen; only to ultimately lose each other in the long run once it became clear that their ideologies would keep on clashing when it came to establishing and fighting for mutant rights. That was the deal breaker that prevented them from joining their forces and building a future.
The second issue of Excalibur III is entitled With A Little Help From My Friends gives us the opportunity to read a lengthy heart-to-heart discussion between Charles and Erik. I'm so deliriously happy that Erik has opened to Charles so readily in just a span of pages for this second issue. To reveal his vulnerability (his hopes and insecurities) like this just shows how far Erik has fallen and how much he intends to pick himself up and change for the better and with the help of the one person who will never fail him. "The past cannot be changed" is true, and that much applies to their relationship as well. Long ago when they have chosen sides, it was also by fighting against each other. There is an ocean of violence between them since and now it's time to do things differently--to establish a new mutant community in Genosha together--and that's the whole reason why they're there now. Look, I know I kept joking about them running away to elope because they're so in love since I started reviewing this series, but you know what? WHY CAN'T IT BE BOTH ANYWAY?
Why can't Charles and Erik be in love all this time so they eloped AND also choose Genosha to start a future together because it's the place that they know they can restore and protect because its citizens need two outstanding leaders to whip it back into shape? These two men have shared a connection that continued to exist even in their darkest moments. Their trust and intuitive understanding of one another's faults and desires had made them seek each other throughout the years even when it is impossible to work out a compromise where their separate ideals can benefit from. And after decades of trials and errors, they finally arrived in the same page.
How can you not be moved to tears as I am, you cold-hearted non-shipper?!
The third and fourth issue continue the tradition of Charles and Erik caught up in so much drama whilst still finding ways to open up to each other, trying to be totes BFFs again while ignoring the electricity of unrequited love and unconsummated sexual tension between them. Here are some of the highlights of the first volume of this series that threaten to obliterate my ovaries.
These include Cherik having a meal during sunset and Charles checking out his 'body':
Erik not giving a fuck what people think about his relationship with Charles:
Other fun-filled honeymoon-ing activities such as Cherik scuba-diving:
Erik losing his shit because of the smallest things such as Charles mentioning his ex, Moira, which made Erik rather possessive:
And we also have Cherik confessing how much they need each other and how much they want their marriage to work this time:
It's what's written in the stars.
Now here be the blurbs with links to individual issue reviews:
ISSUE #1 --> In which Charles hallucinates Moira with quite the cleavage, Unus is a jerkwad, and Erik wears the world's dorkiest orange sweater.
ISSUE #2 --> In which Cherik have their first date, talk about their feelings and regrets, and get sorely interrupted with the appearance of Callisto who complains about the make-up-break-up-make-up arrangement between Charles and Erik that is seriously starting to piss off everyone
ISSUE #3 --> In which Cherik spent some time underwater to locate a mysterious coffin while everyone on ground are fighting the bad guys
ISSUE #4 --> In which Charles and Erik once again prove they are better united than apart and where they confessed how the survival of Genosha and the survival of their relationship depend on compromise and cooperation this time around.