Excalibur #2 Review

Writer: Tini Howard

Art: Marcus To

Release Date: November 20th, 2019

Price: $3.99

As Betsy Braddock has taken the mantle of “Captain Britain”, she and her team make their way to the lighthouse with hopes of setting up a gate and saving her brother, Brian. I wonder what dangers lie ahead? Let’s find out!

I’ll be completely transparent. I’m not an Excalibur expert. Not even close. I literally know next to nothing about any version of Excalibur. And like many others, I was very confused by issue one of this series. As the DoX books have gone away from legacy numbering, because what happened in the past seemingly doesn’t matter, there were several instances of things that happened in the past that made it really hard to understand for new readers. Editor’s notes would have been helpful. So it wasn’t really a “fresh start” as far as I was concerned. With that being said, the premise of this series has intrigued me since it was announced. I’d consider Excalibur always the X team on the outer edge of the X books. That appeals to me. I love the big heroes like Spidey and Thor as much as anyone, but am drawn to the somewhat lesser-known characters that don’t have a book consistently. Moon Knight, Silver Surfer, Spider-Woman, Dracula, etc….So, the characters and series on the outer edges are my jam.

My hope of issue two of Excalibur would be that I wouldn’t be confused nearly as much and that I’d start to get a sense of who these characters are, and what exactly they’re doing, or attempting to do. Let’s dive in and examine Excalibur #2 a bit more!

We open with a scene from the Fourth Century B.C.E. Two twin mutants drown as Apocalypse watches and allows it to happen. He remembers the location of their drowning. I’m taking this as the location of the “lighthouse”. I then turn the page and immediately in my head I hear “sailing takes me away to a place where I’ve always heard it could be”. This is because we have most of the Excalibur team on a boat sailing towards the lighthouse’s supposed location. Betsy Braddock looks great in her new Captain Britain costume. They reference the original lighthouse that has been destroyed. This would have been a perfect spot for an editor’s note. I have no idea what’s being referenced, other than what is said. I have Marvel Unlimited and would love to read up on the previous lighthouses destruction. I shouldn’t have to know 30 years of Excalibur history or have to use Wikipedia to figure this stuff out. I read comics because they remind me of the joy I had reading them as a kid. I want to be told a story a complete story (Batman 😡), and I shouldn’t have to literally do research on the internet to figure it out. Is that asking too much?? Come on Tini, I desperately want to like this book!!

Then the famous Marvel roster/recap page.

A couple of things here. First, why the “sour face” for Captain Britain? I mean she’s just become Captain Britain!! No need to be such a Debbie Downer. Also, Hickman’s insistence in X-men that Apocalypse be now known as “A” didn’t make it to Tini Howard. Perhaps it got destroyed by the coffee spill on all Tini’s notes from a while ago. Either way, I’m glad he’s going by Apocalypse in Excalibur because we all know that no one is calling him “A”!!

As we move along in the story Gambit seems to take offense at the light-hearted nature and jokiness onboard. Rogue is in her “flower type” state and he’s obviously concerned. We even get a cringe-worthy exchange from Jubilee and Kate about Rogue looking like a princess and if anyone has tried kissing her yet? Really?!?! Nothing like a forced nod to the “parent” company. I even checked out Disney Plus to see if I’d find Rogue in the “princess” category. No luck

From here on out the pace picks up a bit. The boat is quickly attacked by some sort of sea creatures. They’re after Betsy so she jumps off the boat to lure the creatures after her. The rest of the group meet up with Betsy on higher ground away from the creatures. The lighthouse is “missing” although they’re in the right location. The group is then met by a group of green cloaked people that think of Betsy as a protector of sorts. They allow the group to see the location of the lighthouse as it rises in their midst. It’s not clearly said but I’m assuming the gate is at the lighthouse location as well. Rogue is perched atop the whole unit in her flower state.

A lot of questions are then asked. Questions about the lighthouse, Morgan, and Rogue to which Betsy replies “I don’t know” to all of them. At this point, I’m seriously about to just give up. My only solace is that Betsy is right with me in not knowing anything!!

Jubilee then has a nightmare. A bad one, which causes her to leave, and returns later with Shogo. I didn’t hear Christopher Cross in my head and it’s revealed she used the gate to go retrieve him. We never see the gate though, so that added to my confusion.

Betsy finds that the Coven Akkaba are the enemies of the green cloaked people. As the Coven appears so does a “force ghost” for lack of better terms of Apocalypse. He and Betsy banter about this and that. Betsy doesn’t want his help but Apocalypse says she needs to go save Brian, and that Apocalypse will protect the lighthouse. In the midst of all the arguing, Shogo disappears as a giant dragon appears!! To be continued…

So, as issue two ends I’m actually not as confused as I was after the first issue, but that’s not saying a whole lot. We know that Brian needs to be saved, and Betsy needs to get to Otherwold to save him. And speaking of Brian, check out this variant. I think that the Druidic tribes are somehow linked to the two twin mutants that died at the beginning of the issue. We know that the Coven were once Apocalypse’s servants. I’m also thinking that Apocalypse has some interest in Sogo. What exactly remains to be seen. And we’ve also now got a giant dragon for our heroes to deal with!

With that being said, I feel like Betsy on the roster page.

I’ve got a frown on my face and I need Tini Howard to turn that frown upside down!!

Final Thoughts:

Coming at this from the perspective of a new reader, which I am, I’m left with too many questions and kind of lost honestly. I really want to like this series. Unfortunately, it’s extremely hard to right now. I’m hoping it improves. Quickly.