After looking at hundreds of comic book covers, it becomes quickly apparent that not every cover is 100% original. Whether done intentionally or even underhandedly, there’s something about uncovering these “swipes” that adds a new element of fun to reading and collecting comics.
Although the cover to Excalibur #49 credits Neal Adams (the cover artist of X-Men #56), it’s also a nod to X-Men #135. That issue is part of the Dark Phoenix Saga and the story featured in Excalibur #49 heavily involves the Phoenix Force. I think the most interesting part of this cover homage is that the Excalibur logo is destroyed here by Necrom and actually replaced in the very next issue with a new logo.