Writer: Tini Howard
Art: Marcus To, Erick Arciniega, VC’s Ariana Maher, Tom Muller, Matthew Wilson, and Mahmud Asrar
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
Release Date: February 10th, 2021
Everything isn’t as cut and dry as we may have expected after the last issue of EXCALIBUR. We did get Betsy Braddock back… kind of. Physically, she’s here. However, her team senses that something doesn’t seem to add up. Let’s dive into this week’s EXCALIBUR #18 by Tini Howard to see if her team can find out what’s going on with Captain Britain since her return.
If you’re interested in this comic or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
Readers, Tini Howard utilizes this issue by splitting up the team to explore some possible avenues as to what’s going on with “their” Captain Britain. And readers, I don’t know what Howard is doing differently, but I’m loving the direction of this series now. Maybe it’s the heavy focus on Betsy Braddock? Maybe with Apocalypse out of the way, the premise and direction are more clear? Or, maybe it’s the focus on the entire Braddock family, including the Monarch, that’s piqued my interest? However you slice this pie, Howard has taken the mess of confusion that was EXCALIBUR before X OF SWORDS and has redirected the ship masterfully.
Now, with all of this said, I’m still not excited about Rogue or Gambit in this series. Frankly, the only characters I would be okay with keeping are the Braddock’s and possibly Rictor. Otherwise, I’m holding out hope that Howard has a strong shakeup on the horizon. Nevertheless, there’s just something about Howard’s take on Gambit and Rogue that rubs me the wrong way. Howard portrays Rogue as overly sensitive, pushy, and weak, which in my opinion she’s not at all. Furthermore, Howard’s Gambit comes across as a heavy dose of Cajun hospitality. Gambit is supposed to be charming and mysterious with a self-assurance that naturally emanates from his personality. That’s simply not this Gambit. Instead of fixing the character portrayals, it’s probably easier to move to just move on and put Gambit and Rogue somewhere else.
Howard isn’t the only thing amped up since the conclusion of X OF SWORDS. Marcus To’s illustrations have been extremely vibrant and have provided EXCALIBUR with a perfect rhythm and an engaging balance. To’s linework is sharp, distinct, heavy, and dark. His style is more bold and stimulating than before which captures the reader’s eye, particularly with the drastically bright color changes. Furthermore, To’s art team has flourished in these last two issues which have been ironically more Betsy-centric. Truthfully, To appears to naturally excel when drawing female characters. That being said, look no further than these most recent EXCALIBUR issues to see exactly what I’m talking about.
Howard now has a focus and a theme that I feel wasn’t there before. Additionally, the series is easier to understand with a plot that’s truly gripping with little to no plot holes. Betsy and the rest of the Braddock’s have become front and center in this series, which appears to be the key to this series success. That said, some of the character’s personality traits and virtues don’t entirely line up with what I feel are true representations of their character. Truthfully, the best fix may be to cut them out of EXCALIBUR entirely and continue to focus on the bread and butter (the Braddock’s). Overall, the story is interesting, contains elements of mystery, and refreshingly easy to follow. I’m genuinely excited for the next issue of EXCALIBUR and it’s been a real long time since I’ve said that. I highly recommend giving this series another try if you put it down. Give it a look, have a great week, and God bless!
If you’re interested in EXCALIBUR #18, click HERE to get a copy! If Tini Howard’s EXCALIBUR run is something you’ve really quite enjoyed, click HERE to get related trades and comics. Additionally, if you’ve been really digging Hickman’s X-MEN, click HERE to get your hands on related Dawn of X trades, volumes, and issues. And finally, if you’re looking for something else to read, check out my Amazon Online Comic Shop by clicking HERE. Thank you all for the read and continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.
Check out our other Reviews HERE
Check out our other Previews HERE