Friday, March 20, 2015

X-Men: Excalibur III by Chris Claremont issue #11

Previously in Excalibur III: After finding some solidarity among the select mutants in Genosha who are willing to lend some hand in repairing it, it looks like Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr are accomplishing their primary goal together. But after Charles leaves with Callisto to find more mutants to join their crusade, an upsetting news reaches Erik regarding the Avengers. His own daughter, the Scarlet Witch, is a member of that team, and Erik was forced to reveal himself as Magneto in order to save her especially when he discovered that she was the one responsible for almost killing her fellow Avengers.

After spiriting her away to Genosha, Erik knows he had committed a fatal mistake and a betrayal to what he promised to Charles. Magneto is considered a terrorist, and now that the other Avengers know that he lives when he was supposed to be dead, there is now no way of knowing when they'll hunt him down again and this could only mean that will be following him right into the haven he and Charles had created together only for a few days.

In the last issue, Erik finally decides to face the music and sends a message to fetch for Charles so he explain himself. His long-time best friend and husband of sorts arrives to their house (which Erik surrounded with a force field), and is shocked to learn what Erik has done. This is the first installment of the final story arc entitled The Devil's Own. There is only one Cherik scene for this issue but it would be something I plan on discussing in length later on. Before that, I want to talk about the other percentage that this issue covers which was actually an exciting mix of conflict in New York and Genosha.

The opening pages were set six months ago with Courtney Ross, the new White Queen, and her henchwoman Viper talking about schemes and whatnot. Later in the issue we see the fruition of those plans somehow with the new X-Men led by Angel. Their was a vicious attack and some fight scenes to be had and I could barely keep up because I know that this story might be in direct consequence of whatever is happening in the other titles (most probably in The Uncanny X-Men). Still, it was quite fun to read.

Meanwhile, Callisto, Shola and Karima started talking about Erik expressing some understandable concerns especially now that they are pretty much hiding the Scarlet Witch even if it's as reluctant allies. And then Dark Beast, now all bandaged up and healing nicely, joins the conversation and talks about how impressive and dangerous the Scarlet Witch's powers are, much more so than Magneto's.

He also manages to give this insightful nugget:
Yikes, what a frightening thought indeed. Afterwards, they received news through Broadband that an attack on the X-Men is taking place in New York. Callisto volunteers herself to help out and Shola and Karima also decided that they should assist her. Callisto didn't feel lie asking Charles' permission anyway since they're adults (and she probably didn't want to get between the marital disagreement happening inside the house anyway) so the three of them left Genosha to fight alongside the X-Men, employing the help of the teleporter Hub. This means that the kids are left to watch out after their neighborhood, with the librarian Book and Dark Beast as the only adult BUT DID I NOT MENTION HE IS 'DARK' BEAST? Are they really confident enough to trust him? Also, Unus the Untouchable is still waiting for the right opportunity to be an asshole and try to assert some control again. This should be worrisome but now that I think about it, I'm sure even Wicked and Freakshow can beat him up again. Can't he just die already? He's so useless and boring and I don't care much for him appearing in the issues.

Now let's talk about Charles and Erik.

In the final page of the previous issue, Erik reveals to Charles that he just went out to carry his daughter away, all the while wearing his Magneto uniform, all damnable helmet and sassy cape. Charles, understandably, freaks out a little bit, anxious of the possibility that the Avengers might track Erik down all the way to Genosha, risking the security and exposing everything which would ruin everything they worked for in the last few days. Here is the rest of their discussion about that:

TRANSLATION: "Fucking god, Erik! You always do this every time I don't keep an eye on you. You big queen. You and your rash decisions. And I always have to clean up after you. Is it even surprising why my students don't approve of my relationship with you? You can be truly toxic without making much of an effort of it, do you know that? Is this how it's going to be like from now on? I never should have eloped with you! And stop distracting me by stripping off your costume like that! It's not going to work this time!"

TRANSLATION: "Shut your face! You're the big queen! You may have been a teacher for two decades but you've never been a father. Sure, you had bastard children roaming around somewhere. And let's not even talk about Onslaught because that shit is just too hard to explain to anybody. But the bottom line is that you don't understand how much I feel responsible for another person aside from myself. I was supposed to be there for Wanda and I don't want to make the same mistake again and abandon her when she needs me the most!"

TRANSLATION: "ME? Not understand how to feel responsible for another person? Not being there for that person before when I was needed the most? Not wishing to abandon said person again in a time of crisis? Erik, I MARRIED YOU for those reasons, goddamn you! Also because you're such a bloody fool and I'm a sucker for damaged goods. Whether we want to or not, we're stuck together."
I thought the gesture of destroying the helmet in front of Charles was meaningful and Charles noticeably softened after witnessing that and hearing Erik admit to his failures as a father, and about needing a better legacy. Erik also taking off his costume while arguing with Charles was symbolic too. It meant that he was no longer guarding himself from Charles like before; that he has no need to be Magneto when facing his friend and partner. This was a rather heated conversation but they managed to smooth things down readily which was just nice. That last panel of Erik imploring Charles' help was so sweet and Charles, of course, will try again for Erik. He can never deny Erik of anything, really.

One moment they're screaming their hearts out, exchanging words of frustration and grief, and the next Erik is asking Charles if he's okay because he looks tired and Charles is agreeing to lend Erik with any help he requires for his current cavalry. Some things are just consistent with these two and the one thing that never fails to amuse, move and surprise me is how much patience and love they have for each other that even when they are ready to hate each other's guts and swear each other off, something gives and they eventually make up. I think they realize that neither of them is getting any younger and it'd be wasteful to dwell on their disappointments and wishful thinking about what their relationship is supposed to be about. What matters is that what they have now is always going to be messy, always going to be tested and challenged by other people and by themselves, but it's all going to be worth it because loving someone is supposed to be hard work. And they are old enough to know that there's nothing else in the world they'd rather be doing than fight and improve one another.


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