DAVIS, Alan. Excalibur Visionaries, volume 1. 232p. MARVEL COMICS, July 2009. ISBN: 0785137408
So there was a time when Nightcrawler and Shadowcat got their butts kicked by an evil mutant team called the Marauders. This was during the Morlock Massacre storyline. Kitty wasn't even really hurt; she was just trapped in a phased state and couldn't resolidify. I'm pretty sure Kurt was in a coma though. He gets the prize. Anyway, they both were sent to Muir Isle to get better. Xavier's friend Moira MacTaggert (isn't that such a great name!?) made it her business for them to get better. But while they were recovering, the X-Men fought an evil creature in Dallas called "The Adversary" who apparently killed them on national television (he did, but this multiverse guardian named Roma resurrected them at the end of the Fall of the Mutants storyline). Obviously, the X-Men have lots of storylines.
Somehow, Rachel Summers had also been separated from the X-Men before they ended up in Texas. She later rejoined Kitty and Kurt in Scotland. They met with a UK superhero (and the brother of one of their fallen comrades Psylocke) named Captain Britain. The group also attracted the attention of a shapechanging empath named Meggan with a mysterious past. Together, the five formed a group known as Excalibur. While this trade isn't the origin of the team, it is arguably the twilight of the original series. With Alan Davis drawing and writing it, he tied up many of the dangling plotlines left open in the first several issues. I also learned that Rachel met up with the group while she was on the run from Mojo, which I guess is why she wasn't with the other X-Men when they were "killed." It also explains how Roma was the one who ultimately manipulates the team into forming to combat an unknown threat.
This collection includes the introduction of several characters who were intended to be new additions to the team. All of them were kind of unique and interesting. There was Kylun, a warrior who is from our world but was raised on an alternate one to be an extreme warrior. Cerise, an interdimensional alien who could create hard light constructs. Feron, a mystical descendant of a powerful sorcerer who is brash and impulsive. And finally, the mutant Micromax who could change his shape at will. The latter is introduced as more of an annoying obstacle for the team, as he is employed by the government and butts heads with them on a few early occasions. Ultimately, though he helps the team in their battle against the evil Necrom, who both Kylun and Feron are destined to defeat albeit because of much different reasons. Davis's departure from the book essentially meant the demise of these characters; I think only Micromax has been used in current continuity, and sparingly at that.
Excalibur originally had a cute, lighthearted tone that was preserved when Alan Davis wrote this series of issues. In a way, this is kind of their loss of innocence. When Scott Lobdell took over the book, he began writing them as a much darker team, focusing primarily on the original team members. I always found this kind of sad, because the team here had a lot of potential for being great. And Excalibur always had this kind of quirky otherworldly-ness that did set it apart from other X-Men books at the time. It's sad that it became just another X-Men title to Marvel Comics, then was eventually canceled. The series was sort of revived by Claremont again a few years ago, but lacked all the things that made this version of the team great. Unlike other vintage titles, this one is still available (ya know, if your best friend Scott B. isn't holding it hostage) so grab it while you can!