In the latest issue of Excalibur, we are given little narrative to move the story forward, but a large amount of world building and mythos, building upon Captain Britain and Apocalypse.
As Rogue was placed in a coma upon the first issue, we see the team sailing with Kate Pride as the seek out the Lighthouse of Captain Britain, only to find it burnt by Morrigan’s followers.
Luckily for the team, they gain a new ally and lighthouse, thanks to Druids that can only be seen by Britain and Apocalypse. In the storyline, we’re first introduced to the Druids by Apocalypse, as he calls them children of his. Soon after, we see that only Britain on the team can see them as they rebuild a lighthouse to protect Rogue and offer sanctuary to the team.
We also see as Apocalypse appears, that the team is having to fight on two fronts; the otherworld for Braddock’s brother and to cure rogue and stop the lighthouse from being destroyed again.
In the Otherworld, we are met with Morrigan and her armies, while the lighthouse must contend with Morrigan’s modern day followers and witches who use their power to carry out her will.
As an act of kindness, Apocalypse looks to protect the druids and Rogue at the lighthouse, as he views them as his people and won’t let anything bad happen to human-kind. This act is initially met with distaste by the group as a whole, but ultimately, they allow it as they must save Braddock’s brother quickly.
Another important plot point we see is everyone going through struggles in their own way. Jubilee struggles with her son being taken by Apocalypse and then disappearing. Gambit struggles with his wife being in a slumber that nobody knows how to cure, and Betsy Braddock struggles with saving her brother from Morrigan’s control.
Each character is given some kind of conflict to be resolved, and while Jubilees appears to be easiest, her son might very well have turned into a dragon or been eaten by one. It’ll be interesting to see where Tini Howard goes from here, as she builds more upon the world of Excalibur.
As an author, she did a decent job in the first issue by giving the audience a story that introduced the audience to the heroes and villains of the series, though Jubilee’s reason for joining the team was random and unnecessary.
In this issue, we’re given more conflict and world building tools through what’s going on, on two fronts; which lends itself to stronger storylines as the series progresses.
Another enjoyable aspect of this latest issue was a few of the color choices and art designs done by Marcus To and Erick Arciniega, especially during the dream sequence.
As the team rests in the lighthouse to recoup, Betsy has a dream with Apocalypse, a fire fox and fruit. During this vision, we see brighter colors and a palette that makes the panels look like they were drawn and colored by a different person. The stark contrast from the rest of the issue was welcomed and makes it feel like you are reading into a different timeline at that point.
Whereas in my recent Teen Titans review, the colorist chose to use red borders to symbolize a change in point of view, we see a different color palette here as a means to symbolize a dream vs. the real world.
Overall, while not a strong story driven narrative, this issue did give more world building and was stronger than the previous issue of Excalibur.