All the pieces are coming together, for Saturyne, but not in the way she might want.
This was, easily, the best issue of Excalibur that Tini Howard has written. When I say this, understand that this isn’t a compliment. All of the flaws of Howard’s writing are in evidence here, in full measure, pressed down and running over, but the pacing is better, so they’re less noticeable than they have been.
Opal Luna Magastrix’s motivation is muddied and, frankly, unbelievably stupid (did she really organize this whole mess to get into Brian’s pants? Really? She’s never been that desperate, or idiotic, before) and I fail to believe that even her supreme horniness could excuse putting the multiverse at risk. Howard has no idea how to write straight women. She exhibits as much contempt for them as the most stereotypically tone-deaf cis het man. But what else could one expect from a writer who took one of the few high-profile canonically-Bi characters and hooked her up with a middle-aged spy who is best known for…. sleeping with a literal teenager.
It was nice to see Betsy again, but honestly if the best work that Tini did with her character was a five-word authorial insert, well, it’s no wonder the series has floundered as badly as it has.
Unlike previous issues, there were a few things that worked. The pacing, as I said, was spot-on. Doug’s love for Bei (and her live for him) was spot-on for what we know of both characters. Tini can write young men. She just can’t handle married ones. Or anyone else.
The action flowed and the story unfurled. There actually appeared to be stakes for once. I cared about the characters. This would be faint praise for any other writer, but it is positively stellar given my expectations for a story by this author. The plot moved forward. There were stakes. Occasionally, it is possible to care about the characters.
Now. For the art.
The reason that this issue worked as well as it did was that the art really flowed. Faces (and there were a variety of them, this time) showed expressions which were appropriate for the emotions the characters were experiencing. Different characters had different body typed (Bei, for example, was large as well as merely being tall) and action scenes were well rendered — they were eventful without devolving to chaotic inscrutability. Part of this was due to the coloring, which was vivid and, frankly, gorgeous.
All in all, this was a satisfactory penultimate issue to a rather mediocre event.
A satisfactory penultimate issue to a mediocre event.
Excalibur #15: Pieces on the Floor
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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