Excalibur #9: Self-Doubt in the Land of Starlight

The Excalibur team make their way to the Starlight Citadel to confront Lady Opal Luna Saturnyne as Captain Britain struggles with self-doubt in Excalibur #9.

Excalibur #9

Erick Arciniega (colors), Mahmud Asrar (cover), Tini Howard (writer), Tom Muller (design), VC’s Cory Petit (letters), Marcus To (art), Matthew Wilson (cover)
Marvel Comics
March 18, 2020

Excalibur looking doubtful on the left side of the Starlight Citadel while Saturnyne looks on ominously on the right

Asrar and Wilson deliver yet another stunning cover for this series, this one perfectly capturing the doubt and worry that the team exhibit throughout this issue. Betsy’s face in particular on the cover emanates the feelings she expresses within. And then on the other side of the cover is the imposing visage of Saturnyne, blended with a starfield and clearly watching everything.

There are several plots at play in Excalibur #9, and to be truthful, at times it felt a little rushed and messy. It’s still a top-tier X-book, but this issue just didn’t quite land with me the way past issues of the book have. Both the inner workings the Starlight Citadel and Cult Akkaba just didn’t seem as fleshed out as I’d like. I do love the idea of using Meggan for clandestine work, though as this issue showed she may not have the fortitude for some of the more intense missions she may be tasked to.

Speaking of Meggan, it’s no surprise that her husband Brian is in a downward spiral, even so far as lurking outside the lighthouse while refusing to engage with his twin. This type of spiral is nothing new for Mr. Braddock, and I look forward to Betsy dropping him in the Channel to clear his head a bit.

As for Betsy, that’s where this issue did shine. We get to see that like Brian, she too is struggling a bit with this new status quo. Betsy knows much about the legacy of Captains Britain, thanks to her rather unique family history, and she knows that the Starlight Citadel was the home base for the Captain Britain Corps. As such, she’s grappling with doubt and insecurity in her new role because Opal Luna Saturnyne has hidden the Citadel from her.

The White Priestesses firing arrows of Starlight

Marcus To beautifully illustrates the issue’s climactic battle between Excalibur and the White Priestesses of Saturnyne, aided by Arciniega’s stunning bright colors. A fight in which both sides are fighting with light-based powers is a perfect opportunity for a colorist to flex, and flex Arciniega does. The weapons of the Priestesses are just gorgeous. It’s also interesting that while the group is referred to by the feminine Priestess, not all members appear to present that way. I’m very curious to see that expanded upon in future issues.

The cliffhanger of the issue seems to be the return of the Corps, albeit in a slightly different form, as Saturnyne summons Captains Britain that are all doppelgangers of the rest of Excalibur. All of them look awesome, especially Rogue with her full facemask and swoopy big hair.

Excalibur #9 may not have been my favorite issue of the series so far, but it sets the stage nicely for the coming arc. Hopefully, things will feel better fleshed out soon enough.

Cori McCreery

Cori McCreery

Cori is a life long comic nerd residing in Northern California. A life long Supergirl and DC Comics fan, she is the DC Comics Beat Reporter for Women Write About Comics.