It seems poignant Excalibur opens on a chaotic and violent British people who are not happy when you have the Tories winning an election that has set the world into a shock. Where do we go from here? How do we move on? These are ideas Betsy is dealing with as folks are not happy a mutant is their great protector from Overworld. There’s a shift in the world and a shift in this series too. Excalibur takes a pause this week, resets, and goes headfirst into a new adventure now that Rictor is on the team. Tini Howard and Marcus To continue to do a great job in giving us a different kind of X-Men story while building towards what has to be a confrontation between Betsy and Apocolypse. In this fourth issue, the enemies are coming for Betsy who is now Captain Britain for the UK even if some mutant hating folks don’t like it.
This issue is also a slight swing away from the first three since Gambit takes a bit more of a focus. He’s still pacing around Rogue who is trapped under glass like Sleeping Beauty. His frustration comes out when a group of mutant haters outside the queen’s palace throws a bottle at him which leads to some fighting back in his defense. This is, of course, a bad decision with cameras running and Betsy taking on her new role. Soon this “team” is back together and planning on how to save Rogue which sets in motion the second half of the book.
The series continues to add fun wrinkles to each character while in the heat of battle or debate. We see it with Rictor later in the book when bad guys are influencing him. We see it in Betsy’s reaction to a group that disagrees with her being Captain Britain. Marcus To continues to give us insightful and well placed facial expressions to keep us invested in the character’s emotional stories. To and color artist Erick Arciniega are doing a fabulous job on monsters and costuming, the latter a key element when there’s a lot of talking, and the former important as splashy and shocking moments of monster reveals are key to amping up the drama in the story.
It’s nice to see the story move forward so quickly, too. After the battling in Overworld going on, we’re now shifting focus on Rogue as well as the complexities of the family now that Jamie Braddock is flopping around Krakoa. Props to Tini Howard who continues to get these characters like Jubilee’s emphatic defense of another character, or Rictor’s naivete. All the while Apocolypse is looming with his plans that you know come from a dark place.
Excalibur continues to be a rich character story woven into magic, action, and a bit of politics too.
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