I really like Marvel’s Excalibur. Well, I really like bits of Marvel’s Excalibur. Namely any issues that have the involvement of either Alan Davis or Warren Ellis. There’s some real bleak periods, particular the section between the time when Davis was writing and Ellis took over. But the gap between Davis dropping out as artist and him returning to take over the comic contains a lot of odd stuff. Three of those odd issues are Claremont’s then swan song on the title – a story called Girls School From Heck.
It is possibly the most Chris Claremonty Chris Claremont comic in the career of Chris Claremont.
Part 1 alone contains the following:
- Gender-switched Heroes
- Margaret Thatcher being mind controlled by Mesmero
- The gender switching, bondage gear wearing Nigel Frobusher version of the Vixen.
- Teenage Kitty Pryde being held and kissed by the headmistress of the all girls private school she’s been enrolled in (this may be on artist Ron Wagner, as the dialogue doesn’t match the picture.).
- The School is a St Trinian’s parody.
- Courtney Ross (really her facist extra dimensional double Sat-Yr-9) spying on Kitty playing hockey. This is following up an old subplot where Kitty was being groomed by Courtney. For what, we never really found out. Of course it was full of lesbian subtext in Claremont’s hands, less so under Davis. Maybe someone realised it was coming across a little creepy having an adult appear to be trying to seduce a teenage superhero?
- Kitty’s clothes getting torn playing hockey.
Part 2 adds:
- Gratuitous swimwear scene with Nightcrawler and Rachel
- Excalibur being mind-controlled
- Kitty doing martial arts.
- Use of obscure Chris Claremont characters, here it is Major Debra Vavara Levin and a Russian spy who apparently we are supposed to recognise, but doesn’t get named (it’s Colonel Alexi Vazhin apparently). Also: they show up solely to foreshadow a story in a different comic.
Part 3 adds:
- The recurring Dr Who reference that is Brigadier Alysande Stuart.
- The creepy incestuous Nazi twins known as Fenris.
- Meggan transforming into a ludicrously jacked body builder version of herself.
- People walking in on other people undressed (in this case Meggan and an American Football team).
I’d forgotten those last two were Claremontian tics until going through this again. The most obvious example of the jacked up transformation is the barely comprehensible Polaris loses her powers storyline that happened in Uncanny X-Men.
These are pretty mediocre comic books, no where near the lows the book would reach, but following the initial Claremont/Davis run, they were not good enough.
Finally, if you want to check out a blog dedicated to investigating one specific tic/fetish of Claremont, I recommend Chris Claremont: Mindcontrol Central, where you can learn just how much Chris Claremont loves mind control. This post is amateur hour compared to what’s going on over there.