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Excalibur #24

“Tempting Fates”

Writer: Chris Claremont

Pencils: Alan Davis

Inks: Paul Neary

Colours: Glynis Oliver

Letters: Tom Orzechowski

Editor: Terry Kavanagh 

Original publication date: July 1990

Anna, Mav, and Andrew are joined by professor, poet, literary and cultural critic, and friend-to-all-mutants Dr. Stephanie Burt to celebrate the not-so-epic conclusion of the Cross-Time Caper, plus Kitty turning 15 (again). We all swoon hard for an issue in which Kitty goes glam, Rachel becomes Kitty, Meggan becomes Kurt, and Brian… is just kinda there? We also bring to bear multiple gazes on the deeply problematic, but also deeply complex, relationship between Kitty and Sat-Yr-9. 

*Content warning: This episode features discussion of age-gap relationships, grooming, and sexual violence.

This episode has an enhanced video version! Watch here:

On reading and interpretation:

“There’s can be many differences in how we approach the Kitty/Sat-Yr-Courtney plot. One is the difference between people who have the experience of feeling endangered in seduction situations or could easily imagine that, and people who haven’t.” -Stephanie

On Kitty and Courtney/Sat-Yr-9:

“When Courtney offers her the icing, I think that’s meant to be symbolic consent. I think that’s her saying ‘do you want to come along for this ride,’ and Kitty saying yes. Obviously – Kitty is not old enough to consent & metaphorical consent is not informed consent. But I think that’s what Claremont was trying to say.” -Andrew 

On Kitty’s character journey:

“Re-reading this issue, it speaks more than I’d remembered to the liminal space Kitty has spent her entire on-page life occupying, related to – how old is she? Is she a teen? Is she an adult? Does she have peers? Can she have peers? Is she doomed always to be the youngest or the teacher?” -Stephanie

On Kurt’s greatest fantasy:

“Meggan becomes Kurt, not in a seductive, romantic way, but in an active way. She becomes a fencer, who’s specifically a superior fencer because she’s able to save Kurt from the guy he immediately lost to. And I loved that.” -Anna

“If we want to speak symbolically (and we do – we talk about sexual subtext on this show all the time). This is a very intimate moment. The idea that Meggan would participate in Kurt’s fantasy like that, and excel at it, and rescue him with it – I think that’s as close to consummation as we’re ever going to see with Kurt and Meggan.” -Andrew 

More Kurt and Meggan:

“I love the shifting of identities that happens here. Kurt tries to play the traditionally masculine role, and fails. Meggan steps in to save him, by becoming him, and then afterwards, we see Kurt slung over Meggan’s shoulder, with the hugest smile on his face.” -Anna

On Kitty’s new wheels:

“The car scene is everything to me. Kitty’s always just wanted to be treated like an adult. And here’s this worldly woman saying, ‘I know you can’t legally drive, but you piloted spaceships. Just don’t get caught. You’ll be fine.’ It’s someone acknowledging Kitty’s capability, in ways that are very meaningful to her.” -Mav

On Rachel as Kitty:

“Kitty is usually the least traumatized, most able-to-pass person among a room of badly traumatized mutants. I thought Rachel would enjoy dressing up at Kitty, the ‘more normal’ one, just like Kitty has enjoyed dressing up as sophisticated, sexy, grown-up Rachel. But what I’m seeing instead is that Rachel doesn’t believe she can pass. Kitty is the passing mutant. She is the mutant who passes as human. She is the mutant who passes through boundaries. She is the mutant who passes all her classes. But Rachel is a mutant who’s not used to passing. She can’t pass as someone who’s at home in this timeline, she can’t seem ‘normal’ in any way.” -Stephanie 

Want more Stephanie Burt?

Want more Stephanie Burt?

You can find her on Twitter (@accommodatingly), and read an excerpt from her new chapbook, For All Mutants, via ComicsXF, where Stephanie also writes regular comics reviews!

We’d also like to recommend Stephanie’s review of the film Days of Future Past, written in Kitty Pryde’s voice, published by Slate.    

And if you want lots more hours of Stephanie gushing about Kitty in podcast form, you can check out her episode of the Cerebro podcast

And as usual: 

You can find Anna on Twitter (@peppard_anna) and on her podcast with Andrew and Michael Hancock, Three Panel Contrast (@3PanelContrast). 

You can find Andrew on Twitter (@ClaremontRun).

You can find Mav on Twitter (@chrismaverick) and on his podcast, VoxPopcast (@VoxPopcast). 


-GGW Team