Issue Date: November 2006
Story Title: The last Days of Camelot – part 2
Staff: Frank Tieri (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Rick Ketchum (inker), Pete Pantazis (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)
Excalibur is to travel back with the help of the Lady of the Lake. In spite of Wisdom’s protests, the rest of the team ignores him (and his leadership role) and take the trip through time. In the past, Percy and Dane Whitman are again in different bodies and the team learns that they moved back in time to shortly before the attack on Camelot. After they save Merlin’s life and chase away the dragons that attacked him, they inform the king of the imminent attack. Arthur decides to have a feast in honor of their guests. In the meantime, the scouts sent to find the dragons’ lair are dead.
So let me see, Pete Wisdom ponders, not quite seriously. This friend of Captain Britain, what’s his face…? Dane Whitman, the Black Knight, Brian Braddock interjects. Right, Wisdom continues undeterred. He’s been possessed, by the original Black Knight fellow… Sir Percy, Brian adds. What a name, Wisdom mutters derogatively. Anyway, he continues his exposition. Sir Percy claims he’s somehow come into the future because Camelot, Camelot, mind you with King soddin’ Arthur and Merlin and bloody swords in stones has been destroyed before its time.
He’s got it, Brian agrees entirely without irony. And they are the only ones who can save it, continues Pete, but to do that they’ve got to go back through time. That would stand to reason, wouldn’t it? Brian agrees. Oh, and one last thing, Wisdom sighs, they literally have to go jump in a lake?!
They are voluntarily doing what people tell one to do when they want you to sod off. The rest of the team just stares at him and Cap explains patiently that this lake is the lake, as in “Lady of the”… Oh why didn’t he say that before, Wisdom retorts with a wide grin. Everything makes perfect sense now. But, calling Cap “Mr. McFly,” since he is such an expert in time travel all of a sudden, does anyone who ends up in this lake suddenly go Sherman and Peabody? Why are they so bloody special?
Cap retorts that Wisdom is just being a jerk now. Obviously, the Lady is opening a magic portal through the lake especially for them. Obviously, Wisdom repeats with sarcasm. And they’ll obviously end up in someone else’s body like Percy did, right? Like some prince with a big castle and an equally huge harem. Wisdom goes off on a tangent, quite liking the harem idea, but, of course, it could go totally differently and…
With another sigh, Cap reminds him that he explained this before. Sending someone into the future is harder than sending them into the past. They’ll be in their own bodies. He urges Wisdom to trust him. He has plenty of experience with that sort of thing. He has plenty of experience with friends going daft and believing they are possessed by Prince Valiant rejects? Wisdom asks, deliberately misunderstanding.
Drawing his sword, Sir Percy, still in Dane Whitman’s body, icily informs Pete that he has had enough fun at his expense. He may not know this Prince Valiant but he does known when he’s been insulted. Holding his blade to Wisdom’s throat, he suggests that maybe it is not necessary for all of Excalibur to make the journey in one piece. Help, Wisdom asks feebly. Crazy person with energy-absorbing blade here…
Juggernaut pulls Percy up by his jacket telling him to keep yer chainmail on, Braveheart. Petey may be a moron, but he’s their moron.
Pete thanks him and Nocturne urges Pete to come on. They used to do this stuff all the time when she was with the Exiles. Where’s his sense of adventure? Not to mention his sense of romance, chirps Dazzler. Arthur, Lancelot, Merlin… to actually get to meet these people face to face? She can’t wait to get there.
Pete holds his head in exasperation, calling them all lunatics and moaning for a cigarette. Calmer, he announces that he is playing his “team leader “ trump card and pulling rank. They are not going.
The others look at him wordlessly, before beginning to laugh loudly. They turn away and walk into the water, as Dazzler suggests he can stay here and play leader and they will send him a postcard from Camelot. There’s gotta be one with Merlin in a bikini saying, “wish you were here,” Juggernaut adds.
Hello? Team leader here! Wisdom shouts enraged and orders them to stay only to be summarily ignored by everyone with the exception of Sage who has remained behind. At least he can count on her not to get sucked into all this madness, he complains. Fortunately, she is far too intelligent a woman to allow that to happen, unlike the rest. He really can be such a bore, she simply announces before walking towards the lake.
Wisdom shouts they can all sod off. He isn’t jumping in after her. This is a new suit. Sage carefully takes off her glasses and then throws him in.
Moments later, they arrive in the past, the castle of Camelot towering over them. Reluctantly, Pete admits that he was wrong. First time for everything. Still ruined his bloody suit, though, he mutters, sarcastically thanking Sage who ignores him.
Dane Whitman, himself once more, stumbles for a moment. Percy’s out of his system, he realizes. The next moment, he finds the Ebony Blade and Excalibur are gone as well. Not quite, another voice announces as Sir Percy joins them in full Black Knight regalia. He explains that, since there can be only one version of the sword in one time-period the Lady’s magic has seen them returned to their rightful owners. Arthur has Excalibur and the Ebony Blade is back with him. Where she belongs, he adds with a smirk.
The Lady of the Lake mentally interrupts Percy, pointing out that she sent him further back in time, one day before the battle for Camelot. Donning his mask, Percy runs towards Camelot quickly, announcing that they have to hurry. The wench might have actually given them enough time to prevent it… the assassination of Merlin.
He and Dane run towards a precipice. Near them, they see an ancient wizard in flowing robes, battling dragons. As Percy springs into action, he explains that, before Camelot was attacked, Merlin was murdered, presumably as he was the biggest threat. Ignoring Dane’s warning, he lashes out at one dragon with his Ebony Blade. He barely manages to ricochet the fire blast the beast spits at him, but falls, stunned. Standing between the fallen Percy and the monster, Dane grabs the sword and whirls it around, using its energy-absorbing proportions as a shield.
The rest of the team catches up with them. Dragons? This is what this is all about? an unimpressed Cain Marko scoffs, attacking the green dragon up front, only to have the beast grab him with its claws and toss him to the other dragons who use their tails to throw him far away. Pete begins to bellow an order only to be interrupted by Captain Britain, who orders Sage to get Merlin to safety and Dazzler to run interference with one dragon, while he will take Dane’s dragon and Nocturne and Wisdom handle the rest. He notices Wisdom just standing there and sharply orders him to help Nocturne. Wisdom throws him a filthy look. Walking towards Nocturne, who is tossing energy balls at the purple dragon, he mutters, Never mind a cigarette. It’s times like these I need the whole soddin’ carton.
Sage helps Merlin to stand up as she remarks that dragons are ordinarily solitary creatures. These dragons aren’t normal, are they? Merlin agrees.
Standing close to them, Dazzler (busy repelling the green dragon with a laser) geeks out over being in this time period and meeting Merlin, until Sage gently suggests she get his autograph later. Amused, Merlin calls her Madame Tessa and suggests she let the girl have her fun. She allowed him to regain his strength, after all. He begins a spell against the dragon. Confused, Sage asks if they have met. Before this very minute, Merlin enquires, no.
Then how’d he know…? The wizard looks at her with an amused smirk. Madame, please, I’m Merlin.
With his spellcasting and the members of Excalibur using their powers, the dragons are soon driven off. However, they’ll be back by that time the next day, a recovered Percy grimly predicts, and they’ll have many more with them. They must notify Arthur at once.
Dane extends a hand, intending to help him up. Instead, Percy brutally hits him and takes back his weapon. Coldly, he orders Dane to never touch his sword again. Told you he was nuts, is Wisdom’s only comment.
Later at Camelot, Percy and Excalibur have finished their report to King Arthur himself. Percy ends it with announcing that the next day by this time Camelot will be destroyed by an army of dragons and all of them will be killed. What does the king suggest be their first course of action? A feast, of course, his monarch announces, leaving Percy nonplussed. Touching his shoulder, Arthur asks what they are supposed to do. Camelot is blessed with the finest defenses available in any kingdom. It is not as if they can improve on them… especially not by the next day. They cannot ambush their would-be attackers either, for their location remains a mystery – even to Merlin. He has already dispatched his finest scouts in hopes of uncovering their lair. All they can do is wait, welcome their new friends in proper fashion and hope they are truly the saviors Percy claims them to be.
Later that night (with all of Excalibur now dressed up in medieval fashion), Alison dazzles the knights and ladies of King Arthur’s court with a rendition of Soft Cell’s hit “Tainted Love.”
Juggernaut sighs forlornly, causing Nocturne to acidly remark that something must be wrong with him. He hasn’t eaten, hasn’t drunk the beer and not even Ali singing can cheer him up. What’s up? Cain admits that he feels troubled about the reduction of his strength. It’s starting to get to him and, even worse, it’s starting to hurt the team. TJ helpfully points out that he is still the toughest guy in the group. Except for Cap, she mutters.
On TJ’s other side, Brian Braddock asks what’s wrong and Nocturne tells him Cain is just not feeling like his old self, before jealously muttering it’s better than watching him moping about the divine Miss Thang all the time. She observes that Ali seems to be having a great time. Brian retorts that it’s not every day one gets to cavort with actual historical legends like Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere.
Glancing at Arthur’s queen and his first knight, TJ asks if Brian has ever considered telling Arthur that those two are going to go all Desperate Housewives on him. Brian admits that he considered it. But he’s always taken a kind of Star Trekky “don’t screw with the locals” kind of policy when dealing with this stuff. Didn’t they have a similar policy when Nocturne was with the Exiles? Not really, they used to screw with the locals all the time, Nocturne retorts and they both laugh.
Brian turns to Dane sitting to his other side. The former Avenger intently stares at his predecessor Percy, who – more relaxed now – is talking to Merlin. With a smile, Brian remarks that Dane is a borderline stalker now. Not amused, Dane explains that Percy was never like that in all the times they had contact before. Admittedly, he was a ghost those times, but still…
Brian suggests that maybe this is what Percy is really like. He thinks that Dane is worrying too much over someone not living up to Dane’s image of him. Dane reports that it’s not that but rather the Ebony Blade. Sometimes having it can be a little… intense. Brian suggests Dane talk to Merlin about Percy and Dane admits this is a rather good idea.
Wisdom asks Dane to pass the wine and returns to his discussion with Sage, who remarks that it would be great to just stay there. While she cannot believe she is actually saying this, she is finding disconnection from her computer to be somewhat… liberating. Welcome back to the real world, Pete jokes. Maybe that’s it, Sage muses. That this is not the real world. In a land of dragons, giant ogres and Lord knows what else, mutants aren’t even on the radar. No mutant-hunting robots, no M-Day, no anti-mutant bill… and no indoor plumbing, Wisdom reminds her and suggests she try a cold ceramic pot at three in the morning, then tell him how liberated she feels, before laughing raucously.
More wine? he suggests, after composing himself. Back to her cool collected self, she informs him icily that his pitiful attempt to get her drunk in order to seduce her is as transparent as his jokes are hideously unfunny. Wisdom is not in a mood to give up though.
Alison, in the meantime, regales the king and queen with tales of her early career including her roller skates gimmick. The king laughs out loud. Later, Merlin commends for him trying to keep up the mood for everyone and keeping the people calm despite his worries over the next day. He knows him to well, Arthur admits sheepishly. Merlin is about to assure him that nobody else has noticed the ploy when he trails off. He explains that he senses that one of the scouts has found the lair of the dragons. Then there is a cause for celebration, after all, the king exclaims. No, Arthur, there is not, his mentor replies somberly. Elsewhere, the scout, a dead man, sits on his horse.
Captain Britain, Dazzler, Juggernaut, Nocturne, Pete Wisdom, Sage (all Excalibur)
Dane Whitman / The Black Knight
Sir Percy of Scandia / the first Black Knight
Guinever, Lancelot and other knights and ladies of Camelot
The “Mc Fly” remark refers to the character Michael J. Fox played in the three “Back to the Future” movies.
Mr. Peabody is a fictional dog who appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s television animated series Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show (collectively referred to as Rocky and Bullwinkle). Peabody appeared in the segments entitled Peabody's Improbable History. Peabody appeared in these segments alongside his adopted boy, Sherman. Peabody, who was a dog, decided to adopt Sherman so he'd have some company in his life. In the series, Peabody constructed for his and Sherman's use a time machine, which Peabody and Sherman would use to travel back in time to witness various historical events. However, on each visit, they would discover that things didn't happen the way they were supposed to and would subsequently wind up working to fix whatever the problem was (using Peabody's great intellect to do so), so that history would be accurate.
Prince Valiant is a classic adventure comic series by Hal Foster, depicting the life of a prince in King Arthur’s service, starting from his early life, when he learned at the side of the great knight Gawain to his later life as a fully-fledged knight, husband and father.
Braveheart is an epic American motion picture released in 1995 loosely based on the life of William Wallace, a national hero in Scotland. Sir William Wallace (c.1270–23 August 1305) was a Scottish knight who led a resistance to the English occupation of Scotland during significant periods of the Wars of Scottish Independence.
Desperate Housewives is a popular Emmy award-winning American television series that began airing on ABC in 2004. Set on Wisteria Lane in the fictional town of Fairview (license plates show the motto "The Eagle State," but no state name), the series tracks the lives of five women, following their domestic struggles while several mysteries involving their husbands, friends, and neighbors unfold in the background. The tone and style of the series combine elements of drama, comedy, mystery, thriller, farce, camp, soap opera and satire. TJ's remark was probably specifically referring to the character Gabrielle Solis, who in the first season cheated on her husband with her youthful gardener.
The Lancelot – Guinevere affair and it being a cause of Camelot’s downfall is considered a staple of Arthurian tales, but wasn’t actually a part of the Arthur myth from the beginning. It was first mentioned in the French Prose Lancelot from the early 13th century.
The “Prime Directive” in the Star Trek universe is the rule that federation officers are not to interfere with native cultures of other worlds. Not that this ever bothered Captain Kirk…
Captain Britain was hurled through time during his Britanic period. But while he met a reborn King Arthur in Otherworld during the time when he shared adventures with the Black Knight (Hulk weekly UK #2-63), he never actually journeyed to the Camelot of the past, so he never actually could have warned Arthur about the Guinever-Lancelot affair.
This Issue has been reprinted in:
New Excalibur Vol. 2: Last Days of Camelot (Trade Paperback)
Issue Summary written by: Ruth