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Excalibur #9

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Synopsis: “Following a very successful Werewolf hunt, EXCALIBBUR seeks unimpeded passage into Otherworld. But there is a great distance to travel before their dream might become reality…and great danger lies ahead. 

I have heavy interest in horror and science fiction with a touch of romance, such as; “The Howling and a great read from 1940, “Darker Than You Think” by Jack Williamson, along with fantasy, such as; Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings literally intrigues the imagination . Suffice it to say, I’m a huge ‘magic’ guy…and I love “Excalibur”. The exploration of magic through mutantkind/Krakoa’s perspective has been absolutely fascinating and continues to be in this issue.

There’s a lot of content packed into the pages of “Excalibur” #9 and writer Tini Howard is expertly juggling multiple plot points. The team of magic mutants is dealing with a brand-new omniversal threat while their enemies in the Coven Akkaba scheme in the shadows. Furthermore, this issue features three different magic rituals, all distinctive and unique in their own way. One is simply transcribed on a data page and it’s no less engaging than the other two.

A huge strength of this issue is the small character moments found throughout. Tini Howard gives each character a unique voice that is true to them. Apocalypse is a sage mentor and cunning Chessmaster behind the scenes. Saturnyne leaves an impression in just a few short pages while Jubilee is a loving and protective mother to Shogo. Gambit remains distrustful of Apocalypse and lovey-dovey with Rogue while Betsy is still a bit insecure in her new role as Captain Britain.

Though, there are panels throughout Excalibur #9 with a touch of romance, I am disappointed that Rictor is left out. If I did not know Tini Howard’s writing as well as I do, I would be questioning the “purpose” of Rictor without his man, Shatterstar. Howard is providing that touch of romance between Gambit and Rouge. So, why not bring “a touch” of the complicated romance between Rictor and his love? Now, I am not suggesting anything more romance portrayed from other characters. I am just disappointed that there is “less” when it comes to LGBTQ relationships. At the very least, can we please show off Rictor’s personality more within this team?

Artist Marcus To’s contributions to this issue cannot be stressed enough. Art can help or hinder a title and here it definitely helps. There are so many great moments. I personally loved Saturyne and her priestesses, especially how they contrast against Coven Akkaba. One group is menacing and bloody, meeting in shadow while the other is celestial and puritanical all at once. The depiction of Shogo’s thoughts in his dragon form continues to be adorable and Excalibur still looks great in their fantasy-inspired Otherworld duds. The image of Apocalypse looking down from Starlight Citadel’s sky is foreboding while Jubilee has an amazing action hero moment that is explosive, to say the least. With both great writing and art, I have no idea why “Excalibur” wouldn’t be on your pull list.

Final Verdict: 8.5 – Excalibur #9 is pure magic that sparks the imagination!

Excalibur #9 

Tini Howard
Illustrated by Marcus To
Lettered by VC’s Cory Petit
Colored by Erick Arciniega

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Release Date: March 18, 2020