Excalibur (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
April 2001
Story Title: 
Destiny’s Children

Ben Raab (Writer), Pablo Raimondi (Penciler), Walden Wong & Pablo Raimondi (Inkers), Dave Kemp (Colorist), Tom Orzechowski (Letterer), Brian Smith (Assistant Editor), Ralph Macchio (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor in Chief)

Brief Description: 

Brian learns that his father is in fact not alive, but what he sees is computer-generated recording that his father had made many years ago, knowing that Brian would come. After learning interesting facts about his father’s past, the computer gives Brian back his long lost powers, and Brian claims the Sword of Might for his own – that is until Roma arrives and attacks him. Roma captures the sword for herself, she then reveals herself to actually be the sentient computer built by Brian’s father to look after him – Mastermind! Meanwhile, Meggan, Psylocke, Black Knight, Captain UK and Crusader X discover an army of thousands before finding the real Roma held prisoner. They begin to free her until they are attacked by several of Mastermind’s warriors, who reveal themselves to be the Warpies, seeking revenge for what Black Air did to them, and the Warpies manage to take the five super heroes down.

Full Summary: 

Otherworld, the nexus of reality where science and sorcery exist as one and war ravages this once glorious kingdom. Warriors guard the castle of the deceased super wizard Merlyn, the castle since become overtaken by his daughter Roma, apparently gone insane. Five cloaked figures walk up the long staircase leading to the heavily guarded castle. The monstrous guards look confused as hundreds of rocks suddenly move from the ground around them up into the air, and in the form of a hand, the rocks smack down on the guards, knocking them out. The five reach the top of the stairs – they are the allies of Brian Braddock, formerly England’s greatest super-hero, Captain Britain. Together, they are the Omniverse’s last hope.

The attack came from Brian’s twin sister, the mutant ninja X-Man Psylocke, gifted with telekinesis, which she used to defeat the guards. Brian’s best friend, the handsome Dane Whitman, the current Black Knight asks if the creatures are dead, to which Betsy replies that ‘their days of slaughtering heroes are over’. One of the three surviving members of the Captain Britain Corps, Bran Braddock, better known as the rugged Crusader X mentions that he doesn’t fancy skulking around without the element of surprise on their side. He is about to say something else when he is cut off by Brian’s serene wife, the powerful faerie Meggan who exclaims ‘We’re all dead’.

Psylocke and Meggan take of their hoods as Betsy tells her sister-in-law to have faith, for with an X-Man, an Avenger and two Captain Britain Corpsmen at her side, ‘victory is a forgone conclusion’. The Black Knight agrees with Betsy, reminding everyone that they have all faced worse and survived, before asking what their next move it. Meggan approaches the giant door and states that their next move is to get into the castle, find ‘that witch’ responsible for the destruction of Otherworld and take her down before she can harm the rest of the universe. Betsy jokes that her sister-in-law is sounding ‘all Wolverine’ and asks Meggan when she got so tough – “bub”. Meggan replies that she wishes it was just her empathic abilities responding to all the death and destruction, but the truth of the matter is Roma has messed around with Brian and herself so many times, she is ‘bloody well sick of it’. ‘I rather do sound like Wolverine, don’t I?’ Meggan jokes quietly as she places her hand inside the much larger hand print that seems to be the key to the castle.

The final of the five, Linda McQuillan, also known as the sardonic Captain UK reminds her allies that with the Captain Britain Corps all dead, the five of them are the last hope against Roma and her hordes. Bran tells Linda that as soon as Brian returns from finding the Sword of Might, Excalibur, then they can give their enemies the proper thrashing that they deserve for what they have done to the rest of the Corps. Captain UK mentions that she feels something familiar about the warrior creatures, and Meggan agrees. Meggan picks up the hand of one of the fallen creatures to copy it, and she uses her metamorphic powers to change her hand accordingly. Placing her changed hand into the imprint, the huge door opens and with their hoods back on, the super heroes enter the castle, and walking down a corridor they come to a huge courtyard – where thousands more warriors have assembled.

Across the courtyard in another part of the castle, Roma stands on a balcony and cries down to her “children” informing them that she has the first stone to be laid in the foundation of their new kingdom – the genesis of a new legacy – the Amulet of Right! Trying to rally her warriors she asks them if they remember those who tried to destroy them, cutting them up and throwing them away as if they were nothing more than ‘rancid meat’. The warriors all cry ‘Yes’ and Roma asks if they can ever forget the fear as they were being held down beneath the machines and dissected, torn limb from limb and body from soul. ‘No’ the warriors cry back. Roma tells her army that only one thing stands between them and their destiny – Excalibur, but reveals that by tomorrow, the two talismans will be united, which will lead to a new era, where they will never need to live in fear of any creature ever again. And a presumptuous Roma cries ‘The cosmos shall be mine!’

The warriors all cheer at Roma’s words as Meggan tells her friends that none of this makes sense, as when Merlyn died he left Otherworld in Roma’s care, and that she has always been its most ardent defender. Crusader X proclaims that the only thing Merlyn passed on was a legacy of deceit and manipulation, to which Captain Britain could certainly attest to, as Bran knows Brian has had his fair share of headaches thanks to Merlyn. Dane asks if ‘daughter dearest here’ is picking up where Merlyn left off, and someone mentions that ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. Betsy declares that it is high time they cut the tree down, and the five begin to leave – but not without being seen by a Warpie.

Meanwhile, in the Forest of a Thousand Sorrows, the now free from his obligation former guardian of the Sword of Might, Sir Benedict stands beside the Black Knight’s horse, the winged Strider. He wonders if Brian has been burned alive after walking through the firewall, or is about to face the greatest challenge of his life – and Benedict doesn’t know which is the worse fate.

The handsome Brian Braddock – formerly Captain Britain of Earth 616, England’s’ greatest super hero – stands in shock at the sight of his father – who is supposed to be dead. As Sir James Braddock approaches his son, Brian asks him if he isn't dead, to which Sir James replies that he is dead, and what Brian is seeing is in fact a computer generated solid light projection imprinted with psionic engrams of Sir James Braddock that were activated by Brian’s arrival. Brian informs his “father” that he has come seeking the Sword of Might – but the computer already knew that and was expecting Brian for quite some time now. Brian is surprised that his father already knew long ago Brian would come for the sword, and the computer tells Brian to ‘believe it or not, but some things in this universe are written in stone’ and that this began several millennia ago.


To safeguard the infinite realities from evil, Merlyn the god-wizard, founded an elite cadre of heroes – the Captain Britain Corps. There was no greater force for good in all the Omniverse and no greater hero than the legendary Corps member Sir James Braddock. He was a scientist, warrior, philosopher and strategist, all these attributes made him the ideal candidate to embark on the sacred quest that would shape the future – the quest to sire a savior, to father a king.

A genetically compatible mate for Sir James Braddock was found in Brian’s mother – Elizabeth, from the world known as 616. James and Elizabeth had their first child – Jamie, but Jamie’s twisted soul was devoid of anything remotely resembling the divine spark. Not so within Brian and his twin sister Betsy though, for the moment they both came into this world, it was apparent they were destined for glory.

In the caves beneath Braddock Manor, Sir James created a surrogate father to watch over Brian – Mastermind! Mastermind was a hyper-sentient techno-organic super computer, programmed to help Brian fulfill his own destiny. With Sir James Braddock’s quest fulfilled, he died – leaving Brian to become Captain Britain.


Bewildered, Brian asks the computer if Mastermind did not actually kill his parents like he thought – but they committed suicide? “Sir Braddock” tells Brian that while James Braddock created the Mastermind Matrix, it in turn saw to James’ euthanasia – logic simply dictates that Brian’s father programmed it to do so. Brian recalls that there was simply a glitch in the Matrix and he corrected it himself – ‘or so the computer had you believe’ says the hologram. Brian walks up to the original Captain Britain Corps costume suspended in the center of the cavern and asks why his parents would have such a thing happen, to which the computer tells Brian that only he himself can answer that question.

Brian touches the costume and states that he did not come to look for answers, but to help those in need. “Sir Braddock” reminds Brian that he came seeking Excalibur, and truth – which is precisely what he has found. ‘Do with it what you will’ he adds. Grabbing his “father’s” hand Brian asks what would happen if he was not worthy, and as they hug, “Sir James” tells Brian that he simply is as much as he believes he is. A red glow seeps from “James Braddock” and clasping his “son’s” back tells him that he is Captain Britain, the sword and Excalibur. The glow begins to fill the cavern as the computer hologram tells Brian to wield his power wisely where lesser men would do so foolishly, to use it not to hack, but to heal…and “Sir James” disappears as if he was never there, filling Brian Braddock energies, returning to Captain Britain his long lost powers.

Outside the cavern and across the bridge, Sir Benedict and Strider hear a scream coming from Brian. Preparing to do something, Benedict is stopped by the arrival of Roma who tells Benedict not to fear, as Britain’s troubles will soon be over, and she knocks Benedict and Strider out with her powers before walking across the bridge, declaring that soon too her troubles will be gone.

Meanwhile, back at the castle, Meggan halts the others from their trek, her empathic abilities taking over, she manages to whisper that she feels horrible pain nearby. Captain UK asks where and keeling over, Meggan points to a wall in front of them. The wall is smashed to bits seconds after by Captain UK as she provides a “doorway” for them, and entering the building, five are shocked to see a woman suspended in a power-inhibiting dome, even more surprising, is that the woman is – Roma? Meggan takes to the air and asks if Roma is trapped here then whom it is outside. The rugged Crusader X proclaims that it must be a trap and asks Psylocke if she can read her mind to find out. Betsy informs Bran that she doesn’t have telepathy anymore, to which Linda suggests that it is ‘the devil we know versus the one we don’t’ and going by the state that this Roma is in, believes her to be the real deal and supposes they should get her out.

The Black Knight rushes up to the imprisoned Roma with his sword ready to cut her out until a group of beings appear behind him – and one of them shoots Dane down, preventing him from rescuing Roma. Betsy turns to face their assailants. Captain UK goes to aid Dane as Betsy says ‘who in the world –’, cut off by the Warpie who overheard them before, he jibes Betsy by telling her that she must be able to remember them – ‘yer old mates…the Warpies!’ ‘The who?’ says Dane as he gets to his feet. Linda informs Dane that the Warpies are mutated children from an alternate reality, who unfortunately became the by-product of a madman’s desperate bid for power. Continuing, she says that they were rescued and brought to 616 by the Resources Control Executives (R.C.X.) when the Warpies’ reality was destroyed. Jokingly, Meggan adds to the side that ‘the W.H.O.’ was the Weird Happening’s Organization, which came after the R.C.X. which superseded S.T.R.I.K.E, ‘but that’s another cock-up entirely…’

The scorpion-like Warpie declares that they were Warpies once - before Black Air took them and tortured them and changed them. Attacking Crusader X with its sharp talons, the Warpie declares that now they are Warriors! Another Warpie blinds Dane with some light power as a female Warpie traps Psylocke in her tentacles. The twin Warpies unleash their power which knocks Meggan and Linda back across the room. In an unusual move for the usually calm Meggan, she yells at the Warpies and asks them how they can do this, reminding them that Captain Britain has saved their lives, taking them in and giving them a home. ‘Is this how you repay kindness, you ungrateful sods?’ The large tar-like Warpie grabs Meggan by her head and uses his power to change her shape – into the freakish creature she once used to be what feels like a lifetime ago. Distraught, Meggan asks him what he thinks he is doing, and begs him to change her back to beautiful like she used to be. ‘Please!’ she screams, unbelievably upset. The scorpion-like leader of the Warpies runs up to Meggan and knocks her out, calling her a ‘Cow’ and telling her to ‘shut it’.

Back in the Forest of a Thousand Sorrows, within the cave, Brian has changed his clothes and put on the original uniform of the Corps. He reaches to the Sword of Might, which stands guarded in fire, and he cautiously reaches for it. Upon successfully grabbing it, it becomes bonded to him, the power surging around his eyes. He turns around swiftly when the supposed Roma walks up behind him and says ‘Magnificent, isn’t it?’ Brian holds the Sword of Might steadily in front of Roma as she reveals it was ‘Forged in the fires of creation. Tempered by the power of the universe’ she adds that ‘to wield Excalibur is to hold the hand of God itself’. She asks Brian if he truly believes himself to be worthy of such an honor, for ‘such is not the province of mortals’.

Roma’s voice begins to change, sounding more like a computer, she tells Brian that the minds of mortals are too slow, that their vision is too limited, and she raises a hand to Brian, using her powers she knocks him across the room. She proclaims that Brian has no conception of the knowledge and complexity of cause and effect of which she is part, for he has lost sight of the purpose, he is distracted. ‘I have been sent to tutor your haphazard minds’ says Roma as she picks up the Sword of Might before her form fades and changes – revealing beneath it that of Mastermind! With possession of both the Sword of Might and Amulet of Right, the sentient computer Mastermind declares that he has assumed control!

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain



Black Knight III
Captain UK

Crusader X
Sir Benedict

Computer generated image of Sir James Braddock

Mastermind II



In Flashback

Sir James Braddock

Elizabeth Braddock

Brian & Betsy Braddock as babies

Merlyn P>

Mastermind II

Story Notes: 

The first Mastermind is of course Jason Wyngarde, now deceased [Uncanny X-Men Annual #17] and formerly of both the original Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and the Hellfire Club. The Third Mastermind is one of Wyngardes’ two daughters, Martinique Jason, while the other daughter, Regan Wyngarde, goes by the alias of Lady Mastermind. None of the Wyngardes have anything to do with Mastermind II other than the codename.

Psylocke’s recounting of the Warpies’ origin faulty. They were not children from another reality, but children from this one, who had been mutated in the wake of the Jaspers’ Warp. This story, however, perpetuates a continuity mistake. There shouldn’t even have been any Warpies left for Black Air to experiment on, as in the wake of the collapse of Otherworld’s energy matrix [Excalibur (1st series) #50], the Warpie all slowly returned to their powerless, human state [Excalibur (1st series) #61-65].

Issue Information: 
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