Jesus, remember in Excalibur (Vol. 1) when the Captain Britain Corps was a bunch of limey blokes who hung around Otherworld, a kooky land where magic reigned and Merlin occasionally caused his silly mischief? Yeah well that’s over. This isn’t your parents Otherworld kids! In this new magical realm we have warring factions, a brutal Captain Britain Corp who does just punish criminals but erases them from existence, and a sane Jaime Braddock has more than a little bit of influence. Also Deadpool still has no head following his decapitation last issue. The best part of this issue is that it gave us an update of where some of our ole English favorites are lately.
I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t read the MI:13 title when it was running so I might be a little bit behind on my Captain Britain and Meggan history, but I know all about him ruling Otherworld and her being Gloriana and what not. What I didn’t know was what happened to Saturnyne and Widget in the last bunch of years! Truth be told I only picked up the entire original run of Excalibur (issues #1-70) like a year or two ago, so all the stories involving these two character are relatively fresh for me and it was exciting to see them around again. For Widget it was nice to see him (or, more accurately, her since Widget is technically the spirit of Kitty Pryde from the future, but that’s a much longer story then I have space/time for now) returned to his former floating head form again, and I hope that we see more of him/her before the storyline ends. As for Saturnyne, well I was a bit taken aback by her whole involvement in the situation. I mean, she was always yelling about punishing this one or that one and threatening to erase Earth-616 from the multi-verse, but to be honest they always seemed like idle threats used mostly to motivate Captain Britain or Excalibur into action. Like back at the end of the Cross-Time Caper, after having Phoenix chased across England and the timestream, she clearly wasn’t fooled by a simple “Kitty Pryde” disguise. She chose to let the Phoenix host go free, but yet she’s going to have Fantomex from reality for shooting a kid that MAY have grown up to be Apocalypse? And as for the strange phenomenon of him being the only Fantomex in any reality…well so what? That’s just another trait that he and Rachel Summers have in common. I think there’s more going on here than just his shooting of Apocalypse Jr., and I bet Jaime has something to do with it…
And is it me or did Otherworld suddenly get much larger and more brutal?? In the past, the most we’ve seen of this mystical realm was the Elysium Fields surrounding the Starlight Citadel but all of a sudden we are getting a new look at this ethereal realm complete with evil forests, ram-headed evil mystics, and Besty Braddock siding against her brothers and the entire Corps. On the bright side we also got to see Besty in the guise of Lady Britain, which we haven’t been seen since the late 70’s-early 80’s. I’ve never seen the land of Otherworld take on such a brutal tone and rely so heavily on physical force rather than magic. Even the supposed erasure of Fantomex is uncharacteristically brutal when we’ve certainly heard of characters being “erased” using a spell or some other less violent method. Needles into his brain just seemed to be a be unnecessary in my humble opinion.
Overall this was a great second chapter to this arc. We had some updates on some old favorites, and an expansion on a long standing world not to mention revisiting an old look for a popular character. I am not sure that I like the brutal tone that the writers are giving to this once light hearted and magical world but I still give them lots of points for creativity. I’m also not completely sold on the art; Greg Tocchini’s art rings a bit cartoony for my taste but still, he rendered the character very well. On the other hand, it was nice to see Nightcrawler’s reaction to other people mistaking him for his counterpart softening a bit. He was far too caustic originally so it’s nice to see him relaxing into his new life better. Thus far, I think this arc is off to a great start, and I can’t wait to see what’s going on and if Jaime is secretly still completely insane.