I’ll admit, when I saw the cover to Excalibur #17 way back in the days of your (when the January solicits dropped), I was immediately hyped for the issue, because… QUEEN ELIZABETH BRADDOCK the third of her name. That excitement only increased with the end of X of Swords, and the last issue’s last page reveal. I’ve been eagerly waiting to devour this issue for months.
Erick Arciniega (colors), Mahmud Asrar (cover), Ariana Maher (letters), Tini Howard (writer), Tom Muller (design), Marcus To (art), Matt Wilson (cover)
January 27, 2021
This review contains spoilers for Excalibur #17
So color me irritated that the issue opened with Peter Winston Wisdom instead of Betsy and Warren sexytimes. Like this might have been the best Wisdom has ever been written, but it’s still Peter Winston Wisdom. But it’s fine, we only stick with him for the first couple pages, and then we get to the good stuff.
And indeed, the Britain for which this version of Elizabeth is queen is a wonderful place (other than the fact that Peter Winston Wisdom is Prime Minister), where mutants have sanctuary. The letter from Queen Elizabeth to Captain Britain lays out this reality as having Britain be the monarchy version of the Krakoan experiment.
As one of the few heteronormative ships I enjoy in X-Men, it’s a delight seeing any version of Warren and Betsy together, and Marcus To draws a fantastically pretty Warren, making it all the better. I really appreciated the way that Tini Howard used this issue to explore Betsy’s past with “out of body” experiences both in her conversation with this Warren and later in the issue with this reality’s Kwannon.
I will say that the scenes back on Earth-616 really just didn’t do a lot for me, but I did very much appreciate Pete Wisdom’s intense discomfort with being on Krakoa. He just couldn’t wait to get off that rock. I feel like I was maybe just too invested in Betsy to really care about everyone else, but also that the other parts of this plot will get developed over the long term. Howard proved that she’s fantastic at the long game and letting it build to a fantastic payoff with X of Swords so she’s earned my trust here too.
Even if it was an alternate universe version, it was also really nice to see Betsy and Kwannon working side-by-side, kicking ass and taking names. That does include a little bit of Kwannon kicking Betsy’s ass though, as she sends her back to Earth-616, after getting extremely offended (rightfully so) by Betsy continuing to bring up her penchant for being stuck in other peoples’ bodies. Kwannon clearly didn’t want to know this, and Betsy just kept yapping. It kind of felt like a dress rehearsal for the conversation that she needs to have with her own Kwannon when she gets back to Krakoa, and if covers of upcoming issues are any indication, it’s one that she’s going to have sooner rather than later.