The sword has been drawn and the pop culture reference has been blown on my last mediocre review. But despite that Excalibur is still back to drink tea and kick bottom and there are some very nice bottoms in….
The old book starts in the ultra modern eighties of the Scottish highlands and the new one starts in the dark age of knights and magic. Both are spinning out of some pretty major story lines so to catch you up before we begin; the classic Excalibur are staring down an X-men less world as they’ve faked their deaths and headed to a land down under. The new team however are on top of the world as every mutant is now living on a paradise utopia that has set up magic doorways all around the world. And even beyond.
It seems that their red weed has spread even to the Otherworld and Morgan Le Fay last seen fighting the Avengers and running from a tribe of cavemen. Either way it’s time for a establishing shot of the white cliffs of Dover or the river thames as we jump to the Braddock Academy a secret staging ground for Britians elite, super heroic, fighting, future force. Just off the A414 down London Road.Here Betsy Braddock is back to the English rose she once was and is packing her bags for a trip to paradise. A paradise where Apocalypse, now going solely by the letter A, is trying to educate people about the nature of magic. Eager to crack the doorway he asks Betsy for a token more adapt at passing between the worlds and Betsy is soon on her way back home to ask Brian, who has thankfully lost the terrible hipster beard, if she can borrow his super powers. He decides to cut out the stop over in Mutopia and head straight to the Otherworld himself. Here it’s a fight to stay alive. A fight the rest of the future team get to stand by and watch. Brian is turned into the black knight, not that one, and Betsy is left to hold the mantle of Captain Britain.
Meanwhile in the eighties the team is starting to gel, some a little to closely considering some are the other half of Britain’s mightiest champion, and cracking a few low level thugs before they realise that they haven’t bothered to handle the whole Warwolves issue from Mojo*. Now despite how well I just said they were gelling Kitty has decided to go it alone in tracking them down, or she was just getting jealous of all the looks Rachel was getting in her skin tight, red leather, catsuit, and heels. Don’t worry though for as soon as she finds trouble Excalibur soon finds her. Not that they are really able to do anything as they cart her away to hand over to Mojo or turn into a fancy, if rather tight fitting, suit.
It was interesting reading these two back to back actually. I’m not sure how much was intentional but little things kept cropping up. Sure both teams end book one minus one major player. There of course is the sense that Brian’s absence is going to be a bit more of a major plot point than Kitty getting thrown on the back of the wagon. But the theme of death runs through both. In the old book time is spent to mourn the loss of friends and family while in the new said family is back the same as ever. Likewise while the old book was happy to throw in old faces from the Captain’s past so to is the new one happy to drop in Meggan and baby too as well as what I assume to be a cameo by Pete Wisdom presumably upset that the rumour of him getting a spot in Deadpool 2 turned out false.
Now I know some people have complained that there is only one brit on the team and no faces outside of hers returning from the old days. I think that’s maybe why reading the two back to back worked so well. This is not Captain Britain and MI-13 this is Excalibur and it’s starting back at square one again which is a shame but almost understandable.
As for the new team they seem okay thus far. There is some kind of sense for them all to get wrapped up in this and drafted under the flag of Camelot. Apocalypse is their magic guy. Rogue is needed to depower the shield holding them out. Gambit goes where ever Rogue is ‘cos they’re married now and he’s there to provide some major friction with A and Jubilee is there because she offered to get Betsy a drink from the bar. Okay so they’re not all worked into the storyline.
Both books do seem keen to set things in motion though. Sure there is the obvious cliff hanger of a member going missing but the old team have robot heads in the abandoned factories of Scotland along with their own magic doorways to handle. While the new team have robed cults and the return of Jamie set up to deal with.
I went into this with fairly low expectations. Especially after the last ‘New vs Old’ I ran on here. But so far this is pretty decent. If you’re interested I’d say pick it up and I know I’m going to be looking at getting number two.