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Dec 23

Excalibur #16 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

EXCALIBUR vol 4 #16
“They Keep Killing Braddocks”
by Tini Howard, Marcus To & Erick Arciniega

COVER / PAGE 1: Rogue, Meggan, Rictor, Jubilee and Gambit in Otherworld.

PAGE 2. Breakfast with Rogue and Gambit.

Rogue is summarising the “X of Swords” crossover.

We’ve heard mention of the Marauder bringing in goods from outside Krakoa before. Why you can’t just go through a gate to get them is never entirely clear.

PAGE 3. Jubilee and Rictor.

Shogo is (or so Jubilee assumes) upset at no longer being a dragon, now that he’s outside Otherworld. It’s a very mild parallel to Rictor and Rogue.

Of all the members of Excalibur, Rictor was the one closest to Apocalypse, who left for Arakko at the end of “X of Swords”. Apocalypse is emphatically not dead, but Rictor as acting as if he was – as hammered by the parallel with Rogue in the previous scene. Rictor is acting as if he’s been dumped, but also as if he’s a cultist after the cult leader has disappeared.

PAGE 4. Recap and credits, in the post-X of Swords format. The title, “They Keep Killing Braddocks”, refers (I assume) to the Avengers episode “They Keep Killing Steed”.

PAGES 5-6. Excalibur gather at the Green Lagoon.

The Green Lagoon bar was introduced in X-Force and has appeared in various Krakoa-era X-books.

Gambit has referred Betsy’s case to X-Factor. As seen in their own series, X-Factor’s role on Krakoa is to verify that somebody is really dead, in order that they can be resurrected without raising awkward questions about duplication. As Gambit points out, even if the way is clear for her resurrection in that sense, Betsy died in Otherworld; a key plot point of “X of Swords” is that mutants who die in Otherworld are corrupted upon resurrection, and essentially start life afresh as a new version of themselves. But apparently Gorgon was going to be resurrected after his death in Otherworld, so the Krakoan policy seems to be to resurrect anyway and see how it turns out.

The Blob is regularly seen as the barman in the Green Lagoon, but his role in this scene also harks back to the Age of X-Man: X-Tremists miniseries, where he and Psylocke had a romance of sorts in X-Man’s pocket universe. He’s shown here with the moustache that he had in X-Tremists.

Rogue and Gambit clearly don’t care that much about Apocalypse’s departure; Rictor’s defence of him, and apparent incomprehension of how they could feel otherwise, is decidedly cultlike. As Rogue points out, even if you buy into the general desirability of Apocalypse’s plan, he pursued it in a totally manipulative way with no regard for requesting Rogue’s consent. Though Rictor doesn’t point this out directly, Apocalypse also kept banging on about Excalibur being his coven. Rictor strongly wants to continue his mentor’s work; the team’s complete lack of interest is an obstacle to that. (Note, though, that later in the issue he manages to get the team to work together on a spell without really explaining to them what they’re up to; their higher level of trust in him may make up for his lack of manipulative skill.) Gambit at least shows some sympathy for how Rictor is feeling.

PAGE 7. Data page. X-Factor aren’t willing to certify Betsy as dead, essentially because her apparent death in issue #14 was weird, surrealistic, and magic-bound and they’re just generally not sure what was going on. They want “experts” to investigate further – which turns out to mean Excalibur.

I’d really like to see the back of these pseudo-handwriting fonts being used for signatures. It feels a bit tacky.

PAGES 8-9. Excalibur meet X-Factor.

The X-Factor members (left to right) are Aurora, Northstar, Daken, Prestige, Prodigy and Eye-Boy. Polaris is missing, for some reason.

I’m honestly not sure what Rogue means about Betsy “being on the other side of the X-Men”. Maybe it’s an Americanism.

PAGES 10-14. Excalibur arrive in Avalon.

Or what’s left of Excalibur, at any rate. As always, the gateway opens into Jamie Braddock’s throne room. There are ruins visible in the background behind Jamie, so evidently there’s still a bit of rebuilding to be done after the war with Morgan le Fey in the early issues of this series.

Jamie still has Mr Sinister’s cape, which he traded for a horse in Hellions #5. It’s lying on his throne through most of the scene.

Maggie Braddock, who debuted in X-Men Gold Annual #1 a couple of years ago, is a super-intelligent toddler with the mind and mannerisms of someone older. Rictor asks why she doesn’t turn into a dragon like Shogo. He seems to assume that Shogo’s transformation would happen to any child, for which he has no real evidence. At any rate, if it’s something to do with innocence and a fantasy-based mindset, then Maggie’s unusual mental state would probably explain it.

Meggan is referred to in this scene as Gloriana, which was the name she took in Captain Britain and MI-13 #14; it never really seemed to stick. As she acknowledges, despite her court title, she’s not really a sorceress; she does, however, have some degree of magical affinity as part of her powers. It’s therefore unsurprising that she would feel empowered in Otherworld. Rictor seizes on it as some sort of evidence of a meaningful connection – he seems rather keen to ascribe great significance to the fact that “mutants rule Avalon”, but in practice that just means Jamie.

The “awful woman” who “might come out of her citadel” is Saturnyne. She was also presumably the one who told Jamie not to “muck about in reality to find Betsy”.

PAGES 15-16. Excalibur visit the site where Betsy died.

The duel took place in issue #14. Meggan seems to get quickly carried away with the rush of energy to the head. Rictor attributes this to her being “both mutant and faerie” – I’m not sure any story has gone so far as to claim that she’s literally half-faerie, though her powers have always been somewhat in that direction.

Rictor’s book is Apocalypse’s grimoire, which he’s evidently taken for himself.

PAGE 17. Jamie visits Rictor.

In Hellions #5, Sinister told Jamie that in exchange for letting the Hellions into Avalon, “I will allow you one visit to Bar Sinister, where you’ll be provided with a black market clone of your choosing.” Sinister had in mind that Jamie would want a spare body for himself, but he didn’t actually make that a condition of his offer. Instead, Jamie asks for a clone of Betsy. Sinister accepts that as a valid request, though seems understandably confused about why Jamie would want one. Jamie seems to think this will help bring Betsy back, but it’s not altogether clear what he has in mind – perhaps that her spirit is still out there and simply needs a host body waiting for it.

Jamie kindly returns Sinister’s beloved cape.

PAGES 18-21. Excalibur try to summon up Betsy’s spirit.

Rictor’s approach to combining mutant powers here has obvious parallels to the idea of combining mutant powers that we’ve seen with the Five in various titles, and the Six in S.W.O.R.D.. He’s effectively saying that mutant powers are indistinguishable from magic and that a mutant coven is along the same lines.

Rictor’s approach doesn’t work, but he does manage to conjure up a bunch of Captain Britain Corps members, all of them alternate Betsies. Easily recognisable from previous issues are the Violet Swan, Britannica Rex (the dinosaur), and Captain Baboon.

PAGE 22. Data page; an extract from Apocalypse’s grimoire, with Rictor’s annotations. He seems convinced that he can “lead this”, though that feels ambitious from what we’ve seen to date.

PAGES 23-24. Betsy wakes from a dream.

Betsy’s consciousness is in a world where she appears to be the queen, and she appears to have Angel as a partner. Psylocke and Archangel were a couple of much of the 90s, but of course that was Kwannon as Psylocke.

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: THE THIRD.

Bring on the comments

  1. Evilgus says:

    You know what – I enjoyed this. Less of the rushed tics of Howard’s earlier writing. But I wonder if that’s as the world is built up is now that much clearer? Easier to follow the jumps between locations following X of Swords.

    I’m liking the world building, and we’re at the point where teams crossover into each other’s books. I like the feeling of a cohesive world.

    Also, lots of attention given to characters and relationships. I like the handwave allusion to Jamie previously resurrecting Psylocke; and I don’t mind Meggan being half mutant half faerie. Just put it to bed she keeps her in the x-fold.

    Interested where we go next. Pretty art room One niggle: shouldn’t Maggie have pointy elf ears?

  2. Daibhid C says:

    Regarding the title, my first thought was the Torchwood episode “They Keep Killing Suzie”, but obviously the Avengers ep came first. Closer to home, I believe there was an X-Factor story called “They Keep Killing Madrox”.

  3. Zoomy says:

    My mind immediately thought “Torchwood” too 🙂

  4. Rybread says:

    As an American, I also had no clue what Rogue meant by “being on the other side of the X-Men”.

  5. Daibhid and Zoomy, it’s very possible that the title is a reference to the Torchwood episode, because that was also about the team resurrecting a fallen team member.

    (The Avengers episode is about creating doubles of Steed, but it’s almost certainly where Torchwood got its episode title.)

  6. DannytheWall says:

    I thought Rogue was talking more about herself “being on the other side of the X-Men.” It could refer to her time with the Brotherhood, but more likely could be the time she was missing after the Siege Perilous and lost to the Savage Land for some time. Thus, Rogue is saying she knows what it is like to be missing and presumed dead.

    That said, I’m still following this series more for the characters and on simple momentum. Tini Howard’s plot/scripting is still very weak– each page reads more as if it’s stream of conscious than the product of any tight plotting or coherent vision of these characters. “Let’s do this thing! But we can’t. Except we do! But, oh no, twist! We can’t.”

  7. Col_Fury says:

    My brain went to a play on “the other side of the pond,” but then I thought, wait, it’s “across the pond,” but even then I was like, that doesn’t make sense.

    I have no idea what it’s supposed to mean, but DannyTheWall makes a good argument.

    Oh yeah, like Rybread I’m an American. 🙂

  8. Mikey says:

    Rogue throwing tantrums and storming out of rooms. Ugh.

    I hope there’s a cast shake-up and she ends up in a better book.

  9. CJ says:

    I’m another American who’s never heard of “being on the other side of the ___”. No clue what it means. I came here expecting it was something from the UK!

    I thought Rogue may have been referencing her past as a villain, but apparently Betsy would “understand” that so that can’t be it since she’s never been one.

    I liked the bar scene, but still struggle to understand why Rogue, Gambit, and Jubilee are in a book about magic.

  10. The Other Michael says:

    This depiction of Rictor feels completely at odds with literally every way he’s been portrayed since his introduction. He’s a mutant with earthquake powers… not an earth elemental/druid or whatever. So unless Apocalypse–pardon me, +*@!A!@*+ manipulated his power set in some way, it doesn’t feel like a natural development of the character.

    But then again, ***A*** as a sorcerer and mystic is completely at odds with 30 years of portrayals as well.

    It’s like Tini Howard wants to tell a very certain story and will bend the characters in whatever ways necessary to justify it.

    What’s weirder is that you already HAVE an immortal mutant mystic on tap… Selene, and she comes with ties to someone with an even better claim to elemental powers–Magma.

    Imagine if you replaced #A# and Rictor with Selene and Amara. And maybe replaced Jubilee with Pixie, another character with more legitimate ties to Otherworld, mysticism, and magical hijinks.

  11. Evilgus says:

    @OtherMichael, that’s a good catch on Selene, Amara and Pixie. But I guess a simple reason is that they aren’t as prominent as Apocalypse, Rictor and Jubilee…?

    That and you end up with two Meg(g)ans who are faerie related and semi Welsh…

  12. Thom H. says:

    “Imagine if you replaced #A# and Rictor with Selene and Amara.”

    I would consider reading that book. And it would give Magma some much-needed depth of character to interact with Selene again.

  13. Luis Dantas says:

    Has Selene been healed from her need to feed from other people’s lifeforces somehow? I don’t think she works very well as a protagonist otherwise.

    Of course, there are ways to gloss over that in the current setup, what with Proteus getting a regular supply of fresh cloned host bodies and all.

    IIRC she has been used for a significant period of time as a villain in the Captain America book recently. Maybe the character is simply unavailable.

  14. Luis Dantas says:

    @EvilGus: now I am picturing a crossover with Miss Martian of the animated Young Justice show. First season.

  15. Chris V says:

    Luis-I seem to recall that Marvel announced that the Coates Cap run is taking place before Krakoa.
    So, Selene went from working in the Trump administration to living on Krakoa.

    Selene was given a position on Krakoa of monitoring Krakoa’s feeding, to make sure he wasn’t feeding too much on the mutant population.
    Krakoa is only allowed to feed so much on each mutant living on the island.
    I think Selene (and Emplate) were given this role on the island due to their mutant powers.
    I believe it was stated that the same protocols are being used to control Selene and Emplate’s mutant powers.

  16. Taibak says:

    How does that work, exactly, with Emplate? I mean, he has to drain actual bone marrow. Does he just, like, take a little bit at a time when he shakes hands with someone?

  17. Chris V says:

    It’s my assumption that they’re actually sacrificing those random no-name background mutants to feed Selene and Emplate.
    Xavier figures that they’ll get around to resurrecting them in about twenty years, so that’s all right.

  18. David says:

    I was also confused by what rogue meant. It sounds like it’s referring to a shared past outside the X-men? Really vague.

    “Psylocke and Archangel were a couple of much of the 90s, but of course that was Kwannon as Psylocke.”

    I’m confused by this remark. It was Betsy who dated Warren, not Kwannon. She was still dating him as recently as Uncanny X-force.

  19. Adam says:

    It was a little awkwardly phrased but yes, I’m pretty certain it was a reference to their shared experience being villains. It would have been better to say they were “on the wrong side of the X-Men,” much as someone can be on the wrong side of the figurative fence, gun, etc.

  20. David says:

    That’s what it sounds like, but Betsy has never been a villain, unless there’s something I’m forgetting. And it doesn’t quite make sense in context either.

  21. Paul says:

    Tsk, of course you’re right. Betsy is the Psylocke who dated Angel, at least per current continuity; I don’t really think of her that way because the established history for many years was that ninja Psylocke’s mind was a mixture of both, and so I tend to think of Reborn Betsy as a hard reboot to the Australian era.

    Regarding Selene and Krakoa: We’ve been told explicitly that she’s on Krakoa and one of several power-draining mutants who are meant to be keeping an eye on Krakoa. It’s in a data page somewhere. She’s *also* one of the Power Elite in Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Captain America arc, which is very, VERY long, involves Captain America spending an extended period on prison, and hasn’t been acknowledged in any other book. My working assumption had been that the Power Elite arc took place somewhere before Krakoa. However, Captain America #23 (added to Unlimited this week), says outright that the defeated Selene will be handed over to the Quiet Council, so apparently she was off being a Captain America villain at the same time as she was living on Krakoa. This might be something the X-office choose to quietly ignore, since Selene seems to kill a number of humans in that arc, and so she ought to be going the way of Sabretooth. It would have made life simpler if she’d been defeated in Captain America and then headed to Krakoa under the amnesty.

  22. Si says:

    They seem to be playing very loose with the shared universe theme lately. Off the top of my head I can only think of Broo being in two different comics at once, but there’s others I’m sure.

  23. David says:


    That makes sense. I did some googling to confirm the dates- the body swap originally happened in 1989 (circa UXM #255), and Kwannon died in 1994 (XM #32). Upon her death, with help from Matsu’o, Betsy’s and her memories were finally sorted.

    I guess Betsy kept Kwannon’s martial arts skills because of muscle memory? It’s kinda senseless, but I think she’s meant to be distinctly Betsy after that initial five year period. Overall, her characterization was so bland during that time it ultimately didn’t matter much, except she was kind of absolved her of responsibility for trying to seduce Cyclops.

  24. Dougie says:

    Betsy was a villain twice–the first time as Mojo’s thrall who controlled the Wildways, a TV series that lured in children (and eventually the New Mutants), and the second time as Lady Mandarin.

  25. Paul says:

    But those are both mind control stories. They’re not very convincing parallels with Rogue’s experience of actually spending a significant part of her life as a villain.

  26. MasterMahan says:

    I imagine the vampire types are being handled the same way Proteus is – by growing extra bodies for them to snack on.

    Then again, this is Krakoa. It probably wouldn’t be too hard for Selene to find mutants who would consent to some partial life-draining, or even lethal draining.

    Emplate would have rather more difficulty finding someone.

  27. Nathan Mahney says:

    With Rogue and Betsy, perhaps it’s not so much about being a villain as it is about having extended periods where they weren’t fully trusted by the X-Men. It took a while for Rogue to be completely accepted, and the team was a little edgy about Betsy for a while after the Lady Mandarin transformation.

  28. Chris V says:

    I don’t remember anyone showing the slightest upset at Betsy’s transformation.
    She did have Logan to support her claim with the rest of the team.
    Still, that was the strangest part of the transformation. It was as if everything went on exactly as before as if Psylocke wasn’t in a different body now.
    It seemed like it should have been treated as a much bigger deal.

  29. Paul says:

    The X-Men do express some doubt about who this woman is when she shows up in X-Tinction Agenda, and Jubilee consistently distrusts her throughout the Claremont run (though she hasn’t joined the X-Men yet). It all seems to get forgotten about in the gap before the 1991 relaunch.

  30. joshua corum says:

    Well, I continue to hate this book. At least the art is good (even if the costume designs are wretched)!

    I really like all of the characters — as they were previously written, at least. The original Excalibur series was a particular favorite so having to see Brian (what the hell is that new costume?), Meggan (who hasn’t been written well in ages), and even Jamie written so poorly, it’s galling. Especially after MI:13 offered such fresh, welcome takes oh so many moons ago.

    As noted by other commenters, the whole-sale changes made to Rictor and Apocalypse helped to obscure but just how little the rest of characters in the book resemble themselves. It’s clear that Howard has a story she wants to tell, damn continuity or character to the pit.

  31. sagatwarrior says:

    It would seem that although the writer is using the Excalibur name, it bears little resemblance to the original title. Its very weird seeing the X-Men interact with Betsy’s brother and sister-in-law (outside the Phalanx Covenant crossover). It was as if they didn’t exist to them before. Also, does anyone know if they every show Brian’s reaction to Betsy’s transformation?

  32. Taibak says:

    sagatwarrior: Not really. The closest we get is Excalibur #55 (the no cover issue) just after Brian and Betsy have a sparring match. They have a slightly awkward conversation about how much the two of them have changed over the years, but otherwise he doesn’t seem to bothered by it.

  33. GN says:

    I am sure that most people have noticed this, but there were some errors in the December X-Book publishing list printed on the back of the books published this month. Instead of being published last week, X-Men 16 comes out this Wednesday, the fifth Wednesday of the month. Wolverine 8 (not listed on the publishing list) also comes out this Wednesday. It will be a double-sized issue because it is also the 350th issue of Wolverine overall.

    Besides that, there seems to be some new publishing restrictions in place to reduce the number of books Marvel puts out each month. I can’t be sure, but it probably has something to do with the pandemic. Hence, some books will be skipping months.
    The X-Books that seem to be affected are:

    Cable is skipping December 2020 (so the Cable 7 issue that was due last week will come out next month instead).

    Children of the Atom is skipping January and February 2021. The first issue will come out in March 2021 despite being solicited for January 2021.

    Marauders will be skipping March 2021.

    New Mutants will be skipping March 2021.

    Wolverine will be skipping March 2021.

  34. GN says:

    Paul > Why you can’t just go through a gate to get them is never entirely clear.

    I’m just speculating here, but Marauders 1 first introduced us to the idea that Kate was smuggling goods to Logan in Krakoa. The other books then expanded on this so that the Marauder was now regularly smuggling / bringing in goods from the outside world to Krakoa. Marauders 3 introduced the idea that some gateways, like the one in Central Park, have been fenced up and turned into a military checkpoint. Mutants were still allowed free access, but they were asked if they had anything to declare upon arrival.

    I think the idea here is that the treaty signed by most nations with Krakoa allows for the free travel of mutants through the gateways to and from their nation, Krakoa. However, a Krakoan gateway, while unconventional, is still a foreign point of entry like an airport or a dock or a border. The host nation still has the right to apply customs procedures and monitor the import and export of goods through the gateways. A passport is unnecessary as the ability to pass through gateways makes one mutant and therefore, Krakoan. Obviously, this only applies to major nations and not gateways in abandoned places like Genosha or lawless places like Bagalia or Madripoor. The Marauder is used to move goods because it does so illegally without passing customs.

    If this is not the case, then perhaps the Marauder is used because it can move things in bulk. Instead of making frequent trips to purchase goods, everyone’s orders can be made with the Marauder and the goods can be delivered directly to the mutant houses.

    I think the problem with this issue in general is the lack of stories that depict Krakoan diplomacy (in terms of trade) as the effect of the Krakoan medicine on the global pharmaceutical industry is also not well established. Obviously, the military / defense aspects of Krakoan diplomacy is covered thoroughly between X-Force and issues like X-Men 4 and X-Men 11. The book where mutants interact most closely with humans in trade terms is Marauders. If Gerry Duggan is not interested in exploring this stuff, then our best option is to wait for the X-Corp book, which will most likely delve into this stuff.

    Paul > Of all the members of Excalibur, Rictor was the one closest to Apocalypse, who left for Arakko at the end of “X of Swords”.

    This Arakko issue is seriously bothering me. I am not blaming you here, Paul, I’m talking about the recap in this issue that claims Apocalypse went back to Arakko and the part in New Mutants 14 where Karma says that the daemons the X-Men were fighting were Arakkii.

    This is either a case of me misunderstanding X of Swords: Destruction or a case of the editors not having enough time to edit the Reign of X books properly. I’m leaning towards the latter because there is a laundry list of errors (wrong names, spelling errors, contradictory captions) in X of Swords, far more than the errors that were in House of X / Powers of X. I think that editorial is overworked.

    In any case, my interpretation of Destruction was that Apocalypse followed (the remains of) his family back to Amenth, where they would rule over the Amenthi daemons. The mutant island Arakko, along with millions of Arakkii mutants, was teleported to Earth-616, where it presumably merged with Krakoa. Now, none of this has actually been seen in any of the Reign of X books so far, though to be fair none of them have provided an establishing shot of Krakoa yet. Hopefully, this week’s X-Men 16, which looks to be an epilogue of sorts to X of Swords, will clear things up on how the new Krakoa-Arakko nation works.

    This interpretation of events does fit with what Rictor is lamenting about in this issue. The Dryador Gate connects Arakko to Dryador in Otherworld. With Arakko now in Earth-616, Amenth is effectively unmoored from Otherworld. There is no direct path from Krakoa to Amenth anymore, hence Rictor being unable to connect with Apocalypse. With regards to Excalibur’s plot, there are potentially three gateways from Earth-616 to Otherworld now:

    a) The Avalon Gate from the Braddock Lighthouse in Britain to Castle Camelot in Avalon.
    b) The External Gate from the Eternal Caldera in Krakoa to the grounds beneath Starlight Citadel. (Potentially Closed)
    c) The Dryador Gate from Arakko to the Dryador Rift in Dryador. (Potentially Closed)

  35. GN says:

    Paul > I’d really like to see the back of these pseudo-handwriting fonts being used for signatures. It feels a bit tacky.

    Yeah, I’ve never liked them either going back to the report signatures in X-Factor 4. If there is someone in the X-Office good at signatures, perhaps they could sign the names on a piece of paper. The signatures could then be scanned and incorporated into the data pages where needed.

    Paul > I’m honestly not sure what Rogue means about Betsy “being on the other side of the X-Men”. Maybe it’s an Americanism.

    As DannytheWall, CJ, Adam and Dougie have mentioned above, my assumption when reading this was that Rogue was referring to times when she and Betsy have been against the X-Men (not necessarily enemies). With Rogue, it is obvious that this was the period when she was with Mystique and Destiny in the Brotherhood of Mutants. I’m not familiar enough with Betsy’s history to say what this could refer to with her.

    Paul > As always, the gateway opens into Jamie Braddock’s throne room.

    Seeing Brian, Meggan and Margaret together with Jamie in the throne room made me finally understand what Tini is doing with the Braddocks. She has been shuffling the Braddock family members through different status quos throughout Dawn of X and now, post-X of Swords, her goal becomes clear: she is positioning the House of Braddock as the royal family of Avalon.

    The eldest sibling, James Braddock Jr., is the King of Avalon.
    His younger sister, Elizabeth Braddock, is the Crown Princess of Avalon and serves as Captain Britain 616 (a knight of the Starlight Citadel, tasked with defending the Multiverse).
    The youngest sibling, Brian Puceanu-Braddock, is the Prince of Avalon and serves as Captain Avalon (a knight of Avalon, tasked with defending the other-worldly realm of Avalon).
    Brian’s wife, Meggan Puceanu-Braddock, is the Court Sorceress in Avalon.
    Brian and Meggan’s daughter, Margaret Puceanu-Braddock, is also a Princess of Avalon, presumably next in line to the throne after Betsy and Brian.

    Of course, the natural progression of this story is that the Braddocks will come into conflict with the previous royal family of Avalon: the House of Pendragon. King Arthur Pendragon’s disappearance is a story thread from Excalibur 1 that has still not been followed up on, so this conflict will presumably come up when we do get back to that.

    Paul > Rictor asks why she doesn’t turn into a dragon like Shogo. He seems to assume that Shogo’s transformation would happen to any child, for which he has no real evidence. At any rate, if it’s something to do with innocence and a fantasy-based mindset, then Maggie’s unusual mental state would probably explain it.

    I initially thought this as well, that Margaret’s high intelligence prevented her transformation, but then I had second thoughts when I read the “Father, may I go play now?” panel, which then cut to Brian and Jamie’s faces and stayed there. It is possible that she can transform, but due to her high intelligence, she is able to transform back and forth, even within Otherworld. It is less likely, but also possible that it could have something to do with the fact that she is mutant but Shogo is human.

    Rictor is definitely wrong in his assumption that all children become dragons when they enter Otherworld. If that were the case, children would be banned from entry, as dragonfire has been established as very dangerous. It is more likely that Shogo became a dragon because he was thinking of dragons as he stepped through the gate in Excalibur 2.

    If Maggie can transform, it would be redundant to have her become a dragon as there are already two dragons in this series: Shogo and Captain Plumdragon. If I were to guess, she might transform into a griffin, as Tini seemed to be setting up the griffins as a Braddock symbol back in Excalibur 13.

  36. GN says:

    Paul > PAGE 17. Jamie visits Rictor.

    I do believe that this is meant to say Jamie visits Mister Sinister.

    Paul > Easily recognisable from previous issues are the Violet Swan, Britannica Rex (the dinosaur), and Captain Baboon.

    There is also Captain Plumdragon, whom I believe is the large purple dragon in the background. She was also seen in the background of the Captain Britain Corps splash page in Destruction.

    Paul > Rictor’s approach to combining mutant powers here has obvious parallels to the idea of combining mutant powers that we’ve seen with the Five in various titles, and the Six in S.W.O.R.D..

    Paul > It’s not very clearly explained, but the idea seems to be that Jean telepathically combines Black Tom’s powers with Sage’s programming capability to regain control of the plants for real, but this all seems very hand-waving.

    The ‘combining mutant powers to achieve a feat greater than the sum of its parts’ thing is definitely a major theme of the entire Krakoa era. Besides the Five (mutant resurrection circuit) and the Six (uni/multiversal far-retrieval circuit), which are formalised groups, there have been temporary mutant circuits being explored in the other titles:

    House of X 4: Professor X, Beast, Trinary, Storm, three of the Stepford Cuckoos, Jean Grey and Monet formed a circuit that allowed the Krakoans to observe events and communicate through interplanetary distances.

    X-Force 10: Jean Grey, Black Tom Cassidy and Sage formed a circuit that can hack the Muerte Verde network and destroy the malignant plant-life. I think that the ‘mutant technology’ thing is the explanation you were looking for back in the X-Force 10 annotations.

    X-Men 11: Magma, Iceman and Magneto formed a circuit to produce metal shards that were used to defeat the Cotati.

    New Mutants 14: A bunch of two-mutant circuits (Mirage/Magik, Wolfsbane/Magik) were seen when the New Mutants were demonstrating synergy to the younger mutants.

    There have also been a number of mutant-Krakoa gestalts being explored. In Moira’s ninth life, Krakoa/Cypher was a seemingly perfect gestalt that worked very well. In X-Force, the Black Tom Cassidy / Krakoa gestalt is functional for island defense but Tom’s mental state is slowly destabilising. In New Mutants, the Mondo / Krakoa gestalt is very dysfunctional, making both partied uncomfortable.

    X-Men 11 also mentioned that a Mutant War College, where offensive and defensive mutant circuits can be explored amongst the adult mutants, will soon be established with Bishop as its head.

    Paul > The Krakoan reads NEXT: THE THIRD.

    Queen Elizabeth the Third! This is no doubt some alternate Earth where the Braddocks became the royal family of Britain, and Betsy 616’s mind/spirit has ended up here after her body got shattered. This will likely continue the themes explored in Excalibur 10 of Betsy’s divided loyalties to Britain and Krakoa, and much like Excalibur 10, I think Tini Howard is smart to explore them in alternate realities to avoid the disruption of the status-quo in Earth-616 Britain so that other Marvel stories (The Union, for example) can still work.

  37. neutrino says:

    So none of Excalibur have any guilt about initiating the events that led to Rockslide’s death?

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