This week’s Excalibur #5 from writer Tini Howard and artists Marcus To and Erick Arciniega sends huge ripples through Krakoa - potentially altering two members of Excalibur forever.
With the Otherworld encroaching and the team fractured, Apocalypse takes the opportunity to enact his hidden plan – but the consequences are farther reaching than he seems to have expected.
Spoilers ahead for Excalibur #5.
As Otherworld monsters invade London, Captain Britain flees back to the Lighthouse to gather her forces. Meanwhile back at her destination, Excalibur rallies around Apocalypse, who claims that a ritual he was planning has begun too soon thanks to the opening of the Otherworld portal - and that he must act quickly using the crystals Rictor and Gambit stole from Earth.
But Gambit reveals he knows a secret – Apocalypse is the one who put Rogue in a coma to begin with, as part of his hidden “ritual”. But Gambit has been working with Prestige to get inside her mind and wake her up, leading Gambit and Apocalypse to fight.
Apocalypse defeats Gambit but discovers that some of the crystals - bones of ancient mutants infused with their power - have apparently been rendered inert. As Apocalypse panics, the now-awakened Rogue comes at Apocalypse full force, vowing to avenge both herself for Apocalypse’s machinations as part of his ritual, and her husband Gambit for Apocalypse injuring him.
But Apocalypse doesn’t fight back – he allows Rogue to absorb his power, reasoning that his own ancient bones - his literal skeleton - can fulfill that material part of his ritual with the Otherworld gate. He orders Rogue to kill him – and she apparently does.
Apocalypse’s seemingly-lifeless shell collapses before the Otherworld gate. Whether he can be resurrected remains to be seen – but his death has one other potentially longer-lasting effect.
Rogue is reborn with Apocalypse’s unique physical markings – along with his memories and potentially his powers. This would be similar to how she absorbed then-Ms. Marvel Carol Danvers powers and memories for a ime.
Though the other members of Excalibur are stunned, Rogue reveals that Apocalypse’s plan all along has been to seize the throne of Otherworld from Morgan le Fay.
The story continues in January 22’s Excalibur #6.