Back to our (maybe) reality, we catch up where we left off with the team two issues ago in Excalibur #11.
Erick Arciniega (colors), Mahmud Asrar (cover), Tini Howard (writer), VC’s Ariana Maher (letters), Tom Muller (design), Marcus To (art), Matthew Wilson (cover)
August 19, 2020
There’s definitely been some confusion with what’s going on with our mystical X-Men team, so I’m going to do my best to clear it up. Excalibur as a title, and Captain Britain as a character have both always been heavily involved in exploring alternate timelines and realities. The concept of the Marvel omniverse originated in the pages of Captain Britain, and indeed, even the designation of “our” Earth as 616 came from that book. Just because Brian is no longer Captain Britain, doesn’t mean the character has drifted away from that theme.
In this case, the first arc of the book saw reality warper Jamie Braddock imposed as the ruler of Avalon, which may have been (definitely was) a bad idea. On the data pages of Excalibur #10 we got an explanation that he’s causing “incursions” where his attacks on reality are causing it to splinter. After the first one, we were left with two realities: the one we’d been following with the team in Otherworld, as they prepared to lay siege on the palace of Opal Luna Saturnyne; and another in a war-torn London, as the British government had declared mutantkind an enemy of the state. The second, we actually saw him commit, which seemed to result in Betsy’s death and the installing of the rest of the team as Captain Britains in their own right.
That’s where we left the last issue, and Excalibur #11 drops us back in the original status quo. So where were we at the end of issue #9, the last time we saw this reality in detail? Well, Shogo had just been brought down, Jubilee had just exploded, and things were generally a mess. And that’s where we are when we open. Jubilee has been captured, Shogo is down and hurt, and the rest of the team is mounting a rescue mission.
The data page informs us that there are two sects of Priestesses of the Citadel, those of the White and those of the Green. The White are more closely tied to the Omniversal Magestrix, while the Green are more closely tied to the nature of Otherworld. It was the Priestesses of the White who had brought down Shogo, while the Priestesses of the Green now care for him and have sealed Jubilee away for the safety of the realm.
The Priestesses of the Green also have a moment with Rictor that connects him back to •┤Ȧ├• and we learn more of his intentions. The plot he’s been percolating for the entire run of this book ties back to the Externals (or High Lords), and Candra’s life stone. We still don’t know the exact particulars, but we know he needs Rictor because of his power over the earth.
As they set the Krakoan gate at the base of the Citadel, we get a fantastic callback to the Outback era of X-Men and the Siege Perilous (which was given to the X-Men by Roma, a character integral to the story of Captain Britain too… hmmm). There are an incredible amount of parallels between the events of Uncanny X-Men #251 and the events of Excalibur #11. The Siege Perilous, Candra’s life stone, the new Krakoan gate, and Opal Luna Saturnyne’s gem are all ruby in color. The gate that opened in this issue looked incredibly close to the gate that the Siege Perilous opened. Both events involved Betsy trying to convince teammates to go through the portal while she holds the line herself. Unlike the last time this occurred though, Rogue isn’t having it. The only one to go through the gate is Rictor, and it certainly doesn’t lead him to Krakoa like it was supposed to, instead he’s lost somewhere between, but still connected to •┤Ȧ├•.
The issue ends with the long-awaited confrontation between the Omniversal Magistrex and Captain Britain, and much like her brother before her, you can cut the sexual tension between Betsy and Saturnyne with a spoon. As Betsy and Saturnyne away to private chambers, Rogue and Gambit are left to their own devices in the Citadel, and they find a suspiciously familiar red gem.
This series is going full steam ahead into X of Swords and things are just going to get more crazy as we approach the event.