As Marvel does its best to return to pre-HoXPoX levels of market saturation, last week had five X-books for fans to choose from, so we hope you applied for one of those DC credit cards. In the event that you didn’t get to read them all, however, no worries. Your favorite weekly X-Men recap column is here to tell you what happened in all of them. Once done, we’ll choose the best one and name it the Wolverine’s Weiner X-Pick of the Week.
This time: Excalibur #5!
Sworn to sell comics for Marvel executives who feared and hated the fact that Fox owned their movie rights, The Uncanny X-Men suffered great indignities, but thanks to a corporate merger and a line-wide relaunch, the X-Men can finally get back to doing what they do best: being objectively the best franchise in all of comics.
EXCALIBUR #5 DX
(W) Tini Howard (A) Marcus To (CA) Mahmud Asrar
The Secret of Rogue’s Coffin!
Locked in her mysterious coffin, Rogue dreams. Meanwhile, Apocalypse performs a ritual, and the throne of power changes hands. The reign of mutantkind reaches the Otherworld at last.
In Shops: Jan 08, 2020
What happened in Excalibur #5?
Last issue ended with Gambit being thrown into an abyss by druids, deep underground where he and Rictor were attempting to steal magic rocks for Apocalypse. The druids accepted Rictor as one of their own due to his Earth-based powers, but they didn’t take kindly to Gambit. Rictor dives into the abyss and saves Gambit, but it’s out of the frying pan and into the fire as monsters from Otherworld begin crossing over and attacking. This is actually a good thing, however, for Apocalypse, as the energies from the crossover can power his spell to give mutants access to Otherworld, so he recalls his “coven” of Gambit and Rictor to the surface.
In London, Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom run from the giant monsters that are attacking there. Wisdom brings Cap back to his apartment and makes a few sex jokes before suggesting Betsy head for the closest Krakoan gate while he stays behind to do Pete Wisdom stuff. Meanwhile, Rogue, who you may recall has been a naked tree coma since the first issue, is now fully clothed and in a dream world where a fiery ghost wolf leads her to a Stonehenge-type rock formation. The stones turn into Easter Island type Sentinel heads and then a giant stone Apocalypse appears, causing Rogue to remember how she wound up here back in issue #1.
At the lighthouse, Apocalypse, Jubilee, and the newly arrived Captain Britain fight off monsters. Gambit and Rictor appear, and Gambit is not pleased with Apocalypse at all. He reveals that the last time he was in Krakoa he asked a telepath to nudge Rogue into waking up, which annoys Apocalypse, who explains that Gambit is messing with his plans and it could kill Rogue.
Gambit is definitely not happy about that, but before a fight can break out, a giant octopus tentacle smashes the lighthouse. But in Rogue’s dreamworld, she starts to put everything together. She can sense Gambit is about to die. She recognizes the wolf as Rachel Summers, who is still going by the name Prestige. She takes a sword out of the Stone Apocalypse’s hands and stabs herself in the stomach, causing blue light to flow out, which creates a throne in the middle of the stone circle. When Rogue sits on it, the sky changes, with two suns and two moons in alignment in the sky, and Rogue is about to wake up.
Back on Earth, Apocalypse beats the crap out of Gambit and then starts yelling at Rictor about wasting some of the power of the magic rocks to save Gambit. Jubilee is all like “what the hell” but Captain Britain says Apocalypse needs to complete the ritual. Apocalypse wonders if he can get the power out of Gambit’s unconscious body, but Rogue is awake now, and after taking a few minutes to get dressed, she grabs Apocalypse and prepares to wallop him. Apocalypse actually encourages her, saying that his bones are even older than the bones that powered the magic rocks and if Rogue takes all his power and his life, it will release the energy and complete the ritual. She does. And in doing so, she learns his plans, not just to stop Morgan Le Fay but to take the throne of Otherworld. Rogue is distraught that she killed Apocalypse, but not as distraught as Gambit who is staring at his wife who now bears an uncomfortable resemblance to Apocalypse. Well, it’s a good thing mutants are into kink now.
Was it any good?
I’ve been on board with this series since the first issue, a big fan of the chaotic pace that seemed to mirror Betsy Braddock’s introduction to Krakoa. This issue tied together everything that’s been happening over the first four. Of all the X-books, Excalibur is the one that best stands on its own in this writer’s humble opinion, telling a unique story informed but not hindered by the main X-Men narrative. Add on top of that the art of Marcus To, a god amongst men, and Excalibur remains my favorite X-book.
Also, we’ve got a blue Rogue. You know where else we had a blue Rogue? In Chris Claremont’s X-Men Forever, of course. Paying tribute to the classics: you gotta love it.
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