While Elizabeth Braddock confirms her citizenship and Gambit fumes, Apocalypse prepares a mission that is, in every sense, underground…
This issue was generally very strong. The story is ramping up in a deeply satisfying way, and the pacing and dialogue are both extremely engaging. Really, I only have two complaints — and I’ve stated the second one three times so far.
I loved the quiet moment between Jubilee and Rictor, when Howard took the opportunity to spell out the tenuous alliance between England and the other nations that makeup the UK. It’s good to see colonialism more clearly spelled out and the themes (of conquest and ownership— of boundaries both enforced and blurred) are frankly vital for this story. It would be nice if she mentioned something about how Wales in particular is still suffering from the effects of British rule, but one can’t have everything. I loved the way that Gambit is very slowly losing his grip — on everything from relationships to rock walls.
I deeply enjoyed Jubilee’s parent-to-parent conversation with Meggan — but it was honestly frustrating to see one of the most powerful elemental mutants (she’s beaten Jamie before, and by herself for God’s sake) reduced to cowering in paradise as she waits for her man.
It’s also a little odd that Maggie looks around two when she was born long after Shogo and he’s still crawling. But that’s a relatively minor comic book time thing and not a true criticism.
For the most part, the voices in this issue were largely on point and the story threads are complex without being tangled.
Now, onto the negatives. The connection between Clan Akkba and the Queen (how, exactly, did Mariana Stern qualify for an audience with the Queen, rather than simply being classified as a terrorist?) was never even perfunctorily explained. And, again, Marcus To’s bland hand at rendering female faces let the whole work down. If not for the length and colouring of their hair, Meggan, Jubilee, Betsy and Rogue would all be totally interchangeable. Luckily, he’s considerably better at rendering creatures. Those shots of the monsters landing on (the usual cliche handful of) British landmarks were deliciously drawn. But, I mean, why bother with StoneHenge when you could plop a Griffin down in Avebury or send a Wyvern out to terrorize the Aberystwyth shore?
But that last point is merely a quibble. This series is becoming a deeply engrossing read.
The energy in this story is really ramping up in a satisfying way. If you enjoy druids and dragons, this book is well worth the cost.
Excalibur #4: The Penalties of Dragonfire
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 7/107/10
Color - 8.5/108.5/10
Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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