Yes, it wasn't quite the Excalibur that most people had hoped for, but ultimately I do still believe that before a series of unfortunate results derailed it Claremont had a very distinctive plan for the book. Those early issues actually read pretty well, and the Hellfire Club strands he was bringing over to the book (from similar ongoing plots in his Uncanny X-Men and Xtreme X-Men runs) actually showed a lot of promise.
For those who may have forgotten, the regular artist for the first year of the book was Michael Ryan. I had previously known of his work from his tenure on Bob Weinberg's Cable run (Which still remains my own personal favourite run of Cable's original series) where he did some great work. Art Deco style future landscapes. Those three creepy sisters. Cable reuniting with his 'sister' Rachael Summers.
In particular I was always impressed by how he drew long-haired female characters, that art deco styling very much in play. Something I was looking forward to seeing applied on New Excalibur. Especially on Dazzler, for example. Or Meggan Braddock (née Puceanu).
Of course, when New Excalibur kicked of, that wasn't ever the case. All the female characters on that book very much had short hair (I can still recall the Dazzler fans screaming blue murder about that. No. Really.) and Meggan wasn't on the team, having been sucked off into another dimension at the end of House of M. We would eventually see her return to the Marvel Universe during Paul Cornell's Captain Britain & MI13 but it was certainly intended to have happened sooner. It's going back a while, but I certainly do remember X-Men Editor Nick Lowe having mentioned in an interview online that the intention had always been to bring her back onto New Excalibur, while the series was still going. They just ran out of time.
But he did then offer up some Michael Ryan concept art.
While clearing out my old PC the other week (A machine which only boots one time in five, but which I've kept around purely because it holds our Master iTunes library) I came across that image, remembering that back in 2008 I had intended to post it up. Better late than never, eh?
I actually really like this design. At the time Meggan was a character who had really been stuck in that same leotard for most of her existence in American comics. A change was long overdue. Ryan's redesign here stays true to the essence of her classic costume, but gives her a bit more individuality. The boots and the almost frock coat like central part of the costume also finally makes her look a bit more grown-up. Too many writers seem to want to keep Meggan as this odd, naive child from Claremont's original Excalibur run; a phase she grew out of quite some time ago, now.
I also kinda like the Celtic braids.
Sure, I also like how Meggan turned out as Gloriana in Captain Britain & MI13, for different reasons, but if this is how she'd turned out back in 2007 I'd have been more than happy.
This weekend, for the mindless fun of it, I decided to try and see how this design might actually look following the suggested notes for colouring on Ryan's design. Here's what I came up with.
Firstly in a more traditional green and yellow:
And in the also suggested green and white:
I actually find myself preferring the white, to a degree. Green and yellow are much more 'Meggan's colours', but I don't know....
Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments field.
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