Only two X-books this week. Which was the best, Excalibur #8 or Marauders #9? Read on for recaps and analysis…
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
EXCALIBUR #8 DX
(W) Tini Howard (A) Wilton Santos (CA) Mahmud Asrar
HARK! THE HUNT FOR TRUTH
Excalibur emerges from the woods with a journey before them. Their destination: Starlight Citadel.
In Shops: Mar 04, 2020
What happened in Excalibur #8?
The Marauders quickly subdue Cullen Bloodstone after he attacked them at the end of last issue in the middle of their Warwolf hunt. Cullen wants to discuss the matter over a meal like civilized people. He admits they may have gotten off on the wrong foot and proposes the hunt begin again tomorrow, this time with no one using any powers. Jubilee is outraged, but Captain Britain goes along with it. After everyone heads to bed, Rictor sneaks out for a walk. He needs to touch the Earth to feel in touch with his powers. On his stroll, he comes across Bloodstone on the phone with Coven Akkaba. When Bloodstone notices him, he starts asking about Rictor's personal life and admits that all gay superbeings keep track of each other's love lives. Then he kisses him. Rictor breaks it off and goes to see Captain Britain.
Rictor tells Betsy about the phone call, and she guesses at the kiss. She still wants to wait until morning to play by the rules, but Rictor convinces her they should suit up and go capture the warwolf skulls right now. Rogue squeezes into a Warwolf skin for the hunt, and they head off into the woods. They capture the remaining Warwolf skulls, but Bloodstone hears the commotion and monsters up with the intention of killing them. Rogue, still in Warwolf skin, kicks his ass instead and takes his remaining Warwolf skill. But in the bushes, they find something unexpected: a baby Warwolf.
Captian Britain brings the skulls and the pup back to Apocalypse, where she refuses to let him kill it. Apocalypse agrees to change his plans of exterminating the Warwolf race and use mercy in his spellmaking instead. Betsy gives the puppy to Rachel and teases the launch of X-Factor #1 in April.
Was it any good?
It's nice to have stories that aren't decompressed and formatted to be individual chapters of a trade paperback. Not every story needs to be paced the exact same way. It may make for a neat publishing program, but it also results in formulaic and dare I say boring comics.
Excalibur is not like that. Since the start, this book hasn't been afraid to experiment with the pace, and it makes for a more engaging read over the long term. This particular story consisted of a two-issue visit to Cullen Bloodstone's house which accomplished a purpose (getting Warwolf skulls) while at the same time moving a bunch of ongoing plotlines along. You have the general theme of mutants behaving in very objectional ways, exterminating a race of (admittedly evil) sentient creatures in order to supply their skulls to a genocidal villain for use in magical rituals, though Captain Britain does at least stop short of literally killing a puppy. You have Captain Britain continuing to come to terms with the decisions she'll need to make as a leader, both in taking her team's advice and going out to get the rest of the skulls in the middle of the night and in standing up to Apocalypse over the pup. You had the kiss with Rictor, which beyond its immediate tawdry value (which is always appreciated) also helps Rictor move on from his relationship with Shatterstar.
Sure, we're heading into crossover event territory soon, but for now, this is all I want from an ongoing comic.
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