With Rictor in his clutches, Apocalypse must survive long enough to begin the ritual he has waited on for eons.
Excalibur #12 splits the remaining roster in three, with the primary focus being on Apocalypse and Externals. I’ll own my own bias, in that the Externals are one of the parts of X-Men canon that make me scratch my head. And this issue has continued to add to that trend. The Externals are utilized to further expand the Mythology of Mutants and Magic in a way that took me a few tries to follow. Once I was able to put aside what I thought I knew and stop asking questions (“Where did that dragon come from? Since when did he have THAT power!?), the issue fit in the theme Excalibur has been consistent with since the first issue.
Initial confusion aside, Tini Howard writes good morally grey characters. Saturyne delves into her motives, showing she is not just some two-dimensionally villain. While we don’t receive answers to questions raised in past issues, we are at least shown that those questions aren’t forgotten. Meanwhile, we get a further look into Gambit’s motivations as he finds himself forced between two forces that he doesn’t trust.
Marcus To and Erick Arciniega provide stellar art, creating panels that are enjoyable. The battles are fluid and vibrant and easy to follow (dragon and all). In contrast, the quieter moments between Rogue and Gambit, while still nice to look at, show limited changes of expression beyond stony-faced and annoyed- forcing the dialogue to do the heavy lifting in the scene.
Excalibur #12 (Howard, To, & Arciniega) delivers a fun story- assuming the reader is able to leave their preconceptions behind.
Excalibur #12: He Did WHAT!?
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 6.5/106.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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