The magical side of mutantdom gets a revamp with some big potential consequences in this week’s Excalibur #1 from writer Tini Howard and artists Marcus To and Erick Arciniega.
With new status quos for the entire Braddock family and a new villain for mutants on the rise, here’s how it all went down.
Spoilers ahead for Excalibur #1.
Excalibur #1 opens with a mystery – a strange Krakoa gate has opened between Avalon/the Otherworld (home of King Arthur and the source of Britain’s magic and Captain Britain’s power) and the mutant island, but from the Avalon side.
In fact, the plant grows directly in Morgan le Fay’s scrying pool. Acting as Queen Regent while King Arthur himself is missing from the Otherworld, le Fay appears to a group of druids who call on Avalon’s magic, ordering them to kill all “witchbreeds” – an archaic Marvel Universe term for mutants, which originated with the 1602 limited series – saying she’ll cut off their access to magic until the gate is closed.
Meanwhile, at the Braddock family estate, Betsy Braddock prepares to venture to Krakoa, saying goodbye to her brother Brian/Captain Britain and his wife Meggan. She arrives on Krakoa to find that her other brother Jamie – a reality altering mutant villain – has been resurrected. Betsy arrives in the egg chamber to help Goldballs – now going by “Egg” – clean up Jamie’s mess, as he’s trashed the chamber. They fight over whether he should see Brian, but Apocalypse interrupts them. He’s noticed the Otherworld gate too, and wants Betsy to enlist Brian to investigate.
Betsy travels back to his estate to find Brian in his Captain Britain gear – he’s been summoned to the Otherworld by Morgan le Fay. Betsy accompanies him, but le Fay orders Brian to capture her as the first mutant to die in service of destroying the mysterious Krakoan gate.
Back on Krakoa, Apocalypse enlists Rogue (and by extension Gambit) to help disrupt the gate, also calling on Trinary and Jubilee, who was the last person on Krakoa to speak to Betsy, to retrieve her from Otherworld, since the gate itself is magically sealed from the Otherworld side.
In the Otherworld, Brian is under Morgan le Fay’s thrall, since she controls his power source. Subverting him into a black knight, le Fay orders him to capture Betsy. But at that moment, Rogue disrupts the portal and Apocalypse psychically empowers Betsy to use her psychic blade to break the gate’s magical seal. As she shatters the barrier, Brian begs her to take the amulet that empowers him, thrusting it into her hands.
Arriving back on Krakoa, Betsy has become the new Captain Britain, empowered by the amulet her brother, now trapped under Morgan le Fay’s power in the Otherworld, once wielded. But there's a cost - Brian is trapped in the Otherworld, and the magical backlash of closing the portal has left Rogue comatose in a cocoon of the strange Krakoa flowers from the portal.
Elsewhere, the leader of the druids that were visited by Morgan le Fay slays her coven – and joins the Coven Akkaba, which may take its name from the Apocalypse worshiping Clan Akkaba.
The story continues in November 20’s Excalibur #2.