Weird War III begins with an utterly distasteful and graphically illustrated sequence of people being shepherded into a sealed chamber and then burned to death. It’s intended to shock, and a more competent writer than Michael Higgins might have subsequentlysupplied the emotional gravitas that tied into a coherent plot. Instead it’s Rachel Summers having a bad dream as Excalibur then wake up on a world ruled by the Nazi Red Skull where Professor X uses mutants for genetic experimentation.

With the premise established we can be thankful that Weird War III merely devolves into an uninspired superhero story. Representatives of the world have been seen before in Two-Edged Sword, but with the presence of Nazi characters all that was required to indicate the moral bankruptcy of their society. It’s revealed that this Earth is merging with that occupied by Excalibur, and entirely arbitrarily (ie when it serves Higgins’ plot) some people may wear Nazi uniforms, but are in fact the benign versions of their identity.

The mundane nature of the story isn’t helped by Tom Morgan’s art, which is unpleasantly stylised, features very basic backgrounds and looks dashed off, a speculation solidified by an additional pencilling credit for “Justin Thyme”, revealed to be Chris Wozniak.

At every stage the story reaches a dramatic turning point the path that immediately comes to mind is depressingly always the path taken. Nazi X-Men? Who’d have thought! Wow! Professor X can read minds. Is that Hitler at 100? Indeed it is. It all leads to Phoenix explaining the plot and a comedy ending so feeble it defies belief. Wretched, truly wretched. This is more easily located as part of Excalibur Classic vol 5.