The beginning of Excalibur #10 out this week from Marvel Comics might leave even the most devoted reader wondering, “Wait. Did I miss something?”
When we last left our heroes, they were exploring Otherworld and had been attacked by the forces of Queen Satyrne. However, as this issue starts, our heroes find themselves back in Britain, which has apparently been bombarded by Krakoan missiles. As Britain prepares to go to war with Krakoa, Betsy Braddock (Captain Britain) finds herself caught in the crossfire between her two homelands, as a citizen of Krakoa and as the sacred defender of Britain.
But all is not as it seems. While it was obvious to most readers that making Jamie Braddock king of Avalon and giving him free rein may not have been the best idea. Nevertheless, we discover that the reality-warping mutant has played a hand in the disjointed-feeling narrative, and it may make way for some changes for the mantle of Captain Britain.
Tini Howard crafts an interesting reality-altering tale, while providing some handy exposition for how “pocket realities” work.
She is assisted in this story by artist and color artist Marcus To and Erick Arciniega, who have a knack for giving things a “mystical aura,” a benefit in a series that plays with the tropes of the fantasy genre. Additionally, as Jamie continues to break reality, the art and use of the gutter is able to brilliantly capture the fracturing of reality.
Many artists have different ways of portraying multiple realities or the splitting of reality in comic books. Through the line work, To and Arciniega are able to capture this not only the breaking of reality but the shuffling of each Excalibur member into an alternative dimension where they each serve as founding members of a new Captain Britain Corps.
Excalibur isn’t necessarily the strongest of the X-titles, but it continues to provide unique storytelling potential in Betsy’s struggle establishing herself as the new Captain Britain, the machinations of Apocalypse, and the Krakoan impact on Otherworld.