Comics
Published October 30, 2019

How 'Excalibur' #1 Anoints a New Captain Britain and Her Team

Spoiler alert! Get a full breakdown of all the events in today's new Dawn of X ish!

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WARNING! THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR TODAY'S EXCALIBUR #1, SO READ ON AT YOUR OWN RISK, TRUE BELIEVERS!

Just over three decades ago, Chris Claremont and Alan Davis drew the sword with EXCALIBUR (1988), a unique X-Men spinoff that also revitalized Captain Britain and his place within the Marvel Universe.

Now, as part of the Dawn of X, writer Tini Howard and artist Marcus To have launched a new EXCALIBUR #1. And while the new team doesn’t share any members with the original group, its lore is deeply tied to the legacy of Captain Britain.

Excalibur (2019-) #1

The new Excalibur team features four of the seven members from the X-Men Blue squad circa Chris Claremont and Jim Lee’s X-MEN (1991) run. Even the costumes for Rogue, Gambit, and Jubilee reflect their ‘90s incarnations. But one Betsy Braddock isn’t quite the same woman she used to be...

She’s not Psylocke anymore, and following a brief interaction with Kwannon—the current Psylocke—on Krakoa, she begins a quest that calls into question her identity. Betsy’s journey sends her back to her family, which allows readers to check in with her brother, Brian, his wife, Meggan, and their daughter, Maddie. Unfortunately for Betsy, her other brother, Jamie Braddock, is also back from the dead; Jamie’s reality warping powers and his insanity have caused his family no end of grief. While Jamie doesn’t seem to be inherently sinister this time, Betsy is rightly wary of his intentions.

However, the biggest development for Betsy occurs on Otherworld, when Brian desperately slips her the medallion that makes him Captain Britain. This isn’t Betsy’s first time as Britain's defender, but this may be the time that it sticks. Brian has been bewitched by Morgan le Fay and transformed into her loyal knight. Morgan views Krakoa’s encroachment on Otherworld as an act of war by the mutants.

Back on Krakoa itself, we get to see Rogue and Gambit together for the first time since their ongoing series ended. Surprisingly, it picks up with a continuation of a thread from MR. AND MRS. X #12 (in which they discussed the real possibility that they could have children). We wonder if Nightcrawler could have guessed that his “Make More Mutants” decree would influence his adoptive sister. Rogue’s line about not bringing a power inhibitor to Krakoa also makes us wonder about whether she still has her abilities under control; MR. AND MRS. X #10 finally gave Rogue the chance to reclaim what she had lost in UNCANNY AVENGERS (2015).

The mutant formerly known as Apocalypse also plays a large role in EXCALIBUR #1. En Sabah Nur has taken a Krakoan name (good luck pronouncing it), but his ultimate motivations are his own. It’s also unknown if he played a role in setting up the tensions between Krakoa and Otherworld. En Sabah Nur enlisted Rogue’s help in opening the gate to Otherworld, and he didn’t seem surprised at all when she was ensnared by its magic and put to sleep like a fairy tale princess. Somehow, we suspect that it will take more than a kiss from Gambit to wake up Rogue from her slumber.

Gambit and Apocalypse do have a history together. In X-MEN (2004) #184, Apocalypse transformed Gambit into the Horseman of Death. During Mike Carrey’s X-MEN LEGACY (2008) run, Gambit’s Death incarnation occasionally asserted itself over Gambit’s true self. Perhaps it’s worth noting that we never saw Gambit fully break free of Death. That corruption may still be a part of him. It certainly could go a long way towards explaining his animosity towards Apocalypse.

With the exception of Rictor, this unlikely team has come together to face Morgan le Fay, awaken Rogue, and save Krakoa from Otherworld. Now it’s time for the new Excalibur to see if they can truly function together in the Dawn of X.

Read the issue for yourself at your local comic shop today!

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