Tuesday, June 30, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: EXCALIBUR #1

EXCALIBUR No. 1 (2019)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Tini Howard
ART: Marcus To
COLORS: Erick Arciniega
LETTERS: VC's Cory Petit
EDITOR: Jordan D. White
EiC: Akria Yoshida a.k.a. “C.B. Cebuski”
COVER: Mahmud Asrar with Matthew Wilson
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Kris Anka; Mark Bagley and John Dell with Israel Silva; Tom Muller
44pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (December 2019)

Rated T+

The X-Men created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

“The Accolade of Betsy Braddock”

The X-Men are a Marvel Comics superhero team comprised of individuals with unique powers and abilities granted to them because they are “mutants.”  Created by artist Jack Kirby and writer-editor Stan Lee, the X-Men debuted in the comic book, The X-Men #1 (cover dated: September 1963).

Since the mid-1980s, there have been numerous X-Men spin-off comic book series.  One of them is Excalibur, which featured an off-shoot of the X-Men based in the United Kingdom.  The series was created by writer Chris Claremont and writer-artist Alan Davis, and it debuted in Excalibur Special Edition #1 (1987), also known as Excalibur: The Sword is Drawn.  The ongoing series, Excalibur, debuted in 1988 and ran for 125 issues, ending in 1998.

Over its six decades of existence, the X-Men comic book franchise has been revived, revamped, relaunched, and re-imagined.  The latest remodeling came via a pair of six-issue miniseries, House of X and Powers of X (pronounced “Powers of 10”), which were written by Jonathan Hickman.  Afterwards, October 2019 welcomed “Dawn of X,” the launch of six new X-Men titles, although all except one bore titles that had been previously used.  The new series are Fallen Angels, Maruaders, New Mutants, X-Force, X-Men, and the subject of this review, a new version of Excalibur.

Excalibur (2019) is written by Tini Howard; drawn by Marcus To; colored by Erick Arciniega; and lettered by Cory Petit.  The new series will feature a new Captain Britain, along with team members:  Rogue, Gambit, Jubilee, Rictor... and Apocalypse.

Excalibur #1 (“The Accolade of Betsy Braddock”) opens in “The Otherworld,” specifically “Camelot.”  The Otherworld is being rocked by war, and Arthur Pendragon is missing.  Arthur's half-sister, the sorceress Morgan Le Fay, has named herself “Queen Regent,” because of Arthur's status and the state of the rest of the royal family.  Le Fay is also incensed that a gateway to Krakoa, the living island and mutant nation-state, has polluted her scrying pool.

Meanwhile, Betsy Braddock is leaving her brother, Brian Braddock a.k.a. “Captain Britain,” and Braddock Academy in Maldon, England, for the mutant paradise of Krakoa.  However, there, she is about to be reunited with an unpleasant family member who has been revived in “The Hatchery.”  Plus, the war in Otherworld is about to force huge changes in Betsy's status quo.

Apparently, Excalibur will focus on the magic angle in the new mutant status quo.  I am interested, but not $3.99 or $4.99 cover price-interested.  There were a few things caught my notice, but half of this comic book was a chore to read.  Honestly, there is nothing about Excalibur #1 that says this series will run longer than twelve issues.  Writer Tini Howard offers a script that seems more like a stumbling of scenes clumsily stuck together.

Artist Marcus To offers pretty if not exceptional art, but his storytelling is clear... or at least clearer than Tini Howard's.  Erick Arciniega slathers on the colors like a drunk trying to paint all the china in a china shop.  Cory Petit's lettering is pretty much a single font that, if read it long enough, could cause the comic book reading equivalent of snow blindness.

Yeah, Excalibur #2 better throw it down for real...

3.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and  syndication rights and fees.


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