Excalibur (4th series) #16

Issue Date: 
February 2021
Story Title: 
They Keep Killing Braddocks

Tini Howard (writer), Marcus To (artist), Erick Arciniega (color artist), Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Mahmud Asrar & Matthew Wilson (cover artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Jay Bowen & Nick Russell (production), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Rogue is having trouble dealing with Betsy Braddock's death, despite Gambit attempting to cheer her up. Jubilee finds Rictor in a forest, trying to get Apocalypse's book of spells to “talk” to him, while struggling with Apocalypse's departure to the Arakko island. Rogue and Gambit go to the Green Lagooon for a drink, and decide to enlist the services of X-Factor to investigate Betsy's death so that she can be resurrected. Rictor and Jubilee join them, and there is clearly some tension between Rictor and Rogue regarding Apocalypse's departure. Gambit reminds Rictor that Apocalypse chose to leave, before the four are summoned to meet with X-Factor, who inform Excalibur that  given there is no proof of death, they cannot recommend Betsy for resurrection. Rogue is annoyed, but Rachel Summers is able to calm her down, and suggests to her that Excalibur use this time to investigate Betsy's death themselves, and that they should firstly check out the scene of the crime. Excalibur arrive on Avalon where Captain Avalon and Meggan, their daughter Maggie, and King Jamie meet them. Maggie explains that she and her mother have been investigating Betsy's disappearance themselves, and Meggan reveals that she has had a calling to the wild, like a clue, however she has not been brave enough to go on her own, worried that Saturnyne might appear. Excalibur offer to accompany Meggan, and after she farewells her family, she ventures off with Excalibur into the wilds of Otherworld. Jamie has his own agenda though, and passes through the portal to Krakoa wearing Sinister's cloak. Meggan appears radiant as she explores the wilds of Otherworld, locating the site that she had been pulled towards, her contact with that site causes the area around her to glow, and Rictor pulls out Apocalypse's book of spells which he thinks might help. At Bar Sinister, Jamie meets with Mr Sinister, and returns his cloak to him, in return for Sinister creating a new Betsy body. Back on Otherworld, Rictor, Rogue, Gamibt and Jubilee surround Meggan as she levitates above them, glowing, mutant energy flows around them, the group are able to contact the newly reborn Captain Britain Corps, and ask for their assistance in finding Betsy. The Captain Britain Corps agrees to assist, and begin search their respective realms – eventually, Betsy wakes, with Warren Worthington serving her tea in bed, and a portrait of her dressed as the Queen on the wall.


Full Summary: 

Krakoa, where in their beachfront home, Rogue and Remy Lebeau a.k.a. Gambit are having breakfast as the sun rises over the nearby hills. 'Breakfast is served' a shirtless Remy tells Rogue as he places an egg on the plate in front of Rogue and asks 'Cracked pepper for cher? Say when'. But Rogue is distracted, 'Oh. Eh...' she mutters. 'C'mon, I had the Marauder bring us in some real eggs. That “egg plant” was getting' 'em all wrong!' Gambit smiles. Rogue apologizes to her husband as she tells him that she doesn't get it. 'It's over. We gone and done all that fool Otherworld stuff, we paid the toll. Did them deeds, fought them monsters' she remarks while gazing out over the water below their house. 'Whole Captain Britain Corps came back and they're all Betsy now. But not our Betsy' Rogue laments, closing her eyes. Gambit puts his arms around Rogue and hugs her close as Rogue asks 'Ain't it sunk in yet, Remy? She's gone'.

Elsewhere on Krakoa, Jubilee is carrying her infant son, Shogo, through a forest. Shogo is making baby noises, and Jubilee looks down at him, telling him that she knows he misses being a dragon, but that she missed this. She kisses his head and the baby laughs. 'Ah - $#%&! Dammit!' Julio Richter a.k.a. Rictor can be heard shouting nearby. Jubilee sees him and goes over to where Rictor is kneeling in a ditch, hands dug into the ground, and a book open in front of him. 'I knew you'd be out here in the dirt somewhere...what are you doing?' Jubilee asks him. 'I was trying to – ugh. I thought maybe if I focussed somehow, I could open up a way for him to talk to me. But I can't. Rictor replies. 'Who? You mean Apocalypse?' Jubilee asks. 'Buddy, dude... I'm sorry, Ric, he's – he's gone' Jubilee tells her friend as she pulls him in close and hugs him.

Soon, at the Green Lagoon bar, where Fred J Dukes a.k.a. the Blob is cleaning some glasses, while Remy and Rogue sit at the bar counter, and Remy informs Rogue that they have a case with X-Factor to see what they can prove. 'We'll see what they say. I'm hoping it's just what it looks like, right? And they can bring her back?' Rogue replies, realizing that is a weird thing to hope for – hoping that Betsy is just “normal dead” so the Five can bring her back. Gambit reminds Rogue that Betsy would have died in Otherworld, so she might come back all wrong, the way that Rockslide did. He motions to the Blob for two more drinks, and the Blob thanks them for telling him. He adds he heard some stuff about Betsy, but that no one really filled him in yet. 'I'd kind of like to start day drinking myself' he adds. Rogue asks him to have a seat, suggesting he join them for a round. Gambit, wearing a crop top now, revealing his midriff, acknowledges that it is early, but points out that it is a sad day, and that they drink when they are sad.

'Perfect timing' Jubilee calls out as she and Rictor approach the bar. 'Two, please. One for Rictor and one for the lady with a babysitter' Jubilee calls out. Blob looks at Rictor and asks him what he is drinking these days – but Rictor announces that he isn't drinking anything, as it is only noon. 'I'm drinking fer Betsy' Rogue remarks as she looks at her drink. 'Or Apocalypse?' Rictor asks. 'When he decided to show our people our shared gifts? He chose you. Have a little respect' Rictor suggests to Rogue. 'Rictor, we're all a little raw...' Jubilee begins, before Rogue turns around on her bar stool and points out that Apocalypse didn't have the respect to ask how she felt about it. 'But I'm real glad he's happy with his wife now' Rogue adds.

Rictor reminds Rogue that Apocalypse wanted them to learn the greater mysteries of mutantkind before he left, and that he gave them purpose and something to explore. 'Now he's gone, Captain Britain's gone and the rest of y'all are getting drunk at noon!' he snaps.

Rogue scowls and Gambit gets off his barstool and puts an arm around Rictor, reminding him that they didn't lose Apocalypse, that he left. 'Like it or not, he had somewhere else to be. Betsy got swindled by Saturnyne – she deserves justice. But he chose to go' Gambit explains to Rictor. Rictor looks at Gambit and asks him why Apocalypse started all of this if he wasn't going to finish it. 'I dunno, brother' Gambit smiles, before they hear the telepathic voice of Rachel Summers in their minds. She asks the four, who collectively go by the team name Excalibur, to return to the Boneyard, as their report is ready.

Soon, at the Boneyard, the home and headquarters of X-Factor, where twins Jean-Paul and Jeanne-Marie Beaubier a.k.a. Northstar and Aurora, respectively, Daken, Rachel Summers a.k.a. Prestige, Trevor Hawkins a.k.a. Eye-Boy and David Alleyne a.k.a. Prodigy stand in front of a console which displays an image of Betsy Braddock. After reading out X-Factor's report, Northstar asks if there are any further questions. 'Yeah. I got one. You blowing us off, Northstar? Inconclusive? I might as well have gone to some backwater human PD if I wanted this kinda nothin'!' Rogue snaps, folding her arms, she accuses X-Factor of blowing them off with this. Northstar's arms are folded, too, and he tells Rogue that he doesn't care for cops, and he would thank her to remember that. 'Was there something else you needed?' he then asks.

'Betsy Braddock's gone! Why don't y'all care!' Rogue snaps, clenching a fist, while Gambit looks on, concerned. Rachel steps between Rogue and Northstar as she tells Rogue to go easy on Northstar, and reminds her that X-Factor provide investigative services – finding bodies and tracking evidence – but in this case, in their capacity as X-Factor, they can't even tell if Betsy is actually dead. Rachel reports that she scanned everyone present at the tournament and they say what everyone saw – there was no body – and she wasn't otherwise injured – there is no other evidence. 'Thanks Rachel. I guess' Jubilee remarks, before Rogue declares that she is not sleeping on this. 'I don't know how many of y'all remember this, but I remember being on the other side of the X-Men. And I know Best does too. It never really leaves ya'. Rogue storms off out of the Boneyard and suggests that if Betsy is out there, then she probably thinks that no one is gonna come for her. 'C'mon, Rach... what would you do?' Rogue asks as Rachel follows her.

Rachel tells Rogue that firstly, she would applaud that speech, then puts a hand on Rogue's shoulder and assures her that no one is blowing her off. 'C'mon, you know I love Betsy. Don't say I don't care' Rachel adds. Rogue turns around and looks at Rachel, who informs her that everyone agrees on what they saw – that Betsy shattered when that sword took its first good hit, and then Saturnyne comes and gets the pieces, the whole Captain Britain Corps comes back. 'The sword and all... seems like it's obvious' Rachel adds. As Remy, Ric and Jubilee gather nearby, Rachel tells her friends that the last place Betsy was seen was Otherworld – a realm of magic. 'And I may be a professional detective...but I'd say we need the real experts to go check out the scene of the crime'. Rachel remarks. 'What experts?' Rogue asks. 'Duh... Excalibur!' Rachel replies.

Shortly, Rogue, Gambit, Rictor and Jubilee step through a portal to Avalon, their costumes transformed into their Otherworld variants. 'Look who it is! Some of Avalon's biggest fans!' King Jamie Braddock calls out from where he sits on his throne. Brian Braddock a.k.a. Captain Avalon stands nearby wearing his new costume, and tells his friends that it is good to see them. 'The mood here has been somber' he adds. His daughter, Maggie Braddock, sits on the steps nearby, while his wife, Meggan, stands nearby wearing a long red dress. Gambit goes over to Brian and puts his hand on his shoulder, telling him that he is sorry, before deciding that his costume looks good on him. 'Captain Avalon. You wear it well'. Brian smiles and thanks Remy, telling him that it is a beautiful kingdom, while Rogue and Meggan hug.

Brian turns to Rogue and tells her that now they have to bring his sister home to it, as it is her kingdom, too. 'Couldn't agree more' Rogue replies. 'That's what brings us to visit' she explains. Meggan remarks that she is grateful, as they are desperate to find answers about Betsy. Jamie sits down on a step next to Maggie and tells her 'I offered to make you a new one', to which Maggie tells him to hush and act his age. 'We've all seen what your mucking about with Aunt Betsy is good for' she adds, before going over to Gambit and asking him if they intend to bring her Aunt Betsy back. 'That's the hope, petit' Gambit smiles. 'Excellent. Mother and I have been working together somewhat in her new capacity as court sorceress to try to investigate Captain Britain's disappearance' Maggie then announces. Rogue smiles and remarks that Maggie is a little spitfire, and reports that they got information, as X-Factor reported back – and Betsy ain't officially dead.

Maggie motions for her mother to pick her up, and as Meggan does so, Maggie remarks 'Ah, excellent. That's a quite useful conclusion indeed'. She then addresses her mother as “Lady Gloriana” and asks her to share her current theory with the court. 'Thank you, my treasure' Meggan replies, kissing Maggie's face. Meggan tells her companions that calling her a sorceress is rather kind, but that it seems she has an undeniable connection to the land here in Otherworld. 'Like I did back home, but... it's stronger. There, it felt like I was trying to get to some world of faerie, on the other side of something...but here it's all around me. I'm steeping in it' she explains. Rictor goes over to Meggan and suggests to her that might mean something. 'Mutants rule Avalon. Maybe you were feeling something always meant to be' Rictor proposes.

'Maybe' Meggan responds, explaining that she has felt this calling away from the castle, towards the wild, towards the site of the duel. She informs the others that she thinks she could find something there – some echo of Betsy, some bread crumb to follow. 'But...I know that awful woman might come out of her citadel if I go alone, and -' Meggan begins, to which Rogue informs her that they will go with her to the scene of the crime, as it sounds like the right place to investigate. She asks her teammates what they think, and Gambit smiles, while kinetically charging a playing card. 'But of course' he agrees. 'I'm in' Jubilee smiles while igniting some of her plasma fireworks powers. 'I'd like to see what we can do' Rictor agrees, pulling his cloak up over his head. Meggan bows before King Jamie and tells him that, with his permission, the court sorceress will be departing on a mission. 'Oh fine, you can go' Jamie frowns.

Meggan and Brian embrace and kiss, as Brian tells Meggan to be safe. He adds that he is desperate to be by her side, but that he can't leave the throne undefended. 'Not only that – you'll need to watch the baby' Meggan smiles, looking at Maggie, who she still holds in her arms. Brian smiles too, when Maggie tells her parents that she dislikes when they discuss her like this. Brian puts Baggie on the ground, as Excalibur and Meggan move towards the portal. Rogue announces that they will investigate and be back, hopefully with some good news about Betsy. Rictor goes over to Maggie and tells her that he has a question: 'How come you're a kid, but when you're here you're not a dragon, like Shogo?' he asks. Maggie looks up at Rictor: 'One thing at a time, druid' Maggie replies. 'First, go find my aunt Betsy!' Maggie calls out, waving back at Meggan as she follows Excalibur through the portal.

Maggie turns to her father and asks him if she can go play now. 'Of course, angel' Brian smiles. 'Don't do anything I wouldn't do, loveling!' King Jamie calls out, smiling. Brian frowns and tells his brother that if his daughter wasn't in earshot right now, he would wipe that grin off his face with his fists. 'Why? Worried your wife is going to catch up with your girlfriend?' Jamie asks, as he walks up to his throne and picks up the cloak he traded from Sinister. 'You're disgusting. I'm not going to dignify that with a response' Jamie retorts. 'Our beloved little sister is missing and you're spinning in your chair like nothing has happened. It's enough to make me regret taking up the sword in your defense' Brian frowns. Adjusting the cloak, Jamie calls Brian a clod, and remarks 'As though if someone isn't picking up a sword and waggling it about, frothing at the mouth, they aren't helping'. Jamie remarks that he was told “no mucking about in reality to find Betsy” and claims that he won't. 'I've got other ideas' he boasts as he steps through the Avalon portal.

Elsewhere, on Otherworld: 'I thought – you said – it was a short walk – from – where the carriage stopped!' an exhausted Jubilee gasps from where she stops on the lush green landscape to catch her breath back. 'It is, lazy! You just got too used to taking the Dragon Express!' Gambit jokes as he follows Rogue down a sloping hillside. Rictor follows them, while Meggan is a few paces ahead, 'Mmmmm! Mmmm! Heehee!' she laughs, enjoying her time in nature. 'Hey, uh, Meggs, not to harsh your good vibe, but... but we're here to find your missing sister-in-law' Rictor calls out. Meggan drops to her knees, surrounded by toadstools, she tells Rictor that he is right, and apologizes, as she explains that being out in the wild of Otherworld like this is the first time she has felt unburdened in so long. While the sprawling Starlight Citadel hovers in the air nearby, Meggan grins and tells her companions that it feels so pure here. She adds that she wished Brian and Maggie were here. 'And – oh! And Betsy! I wish she were here -' Meggan grins.

'Meggan, be careful!' someone calls out as spheres of light begin to glow around them, and a WHOOOOSHH can be heard coming from the ground around Meggan, which seems to transform. 'All right, everyone. We're the experts. Any ideas what this is about?' Gambit asks. Rictor tells his teammates that he thinks he understands, while Meggan laughs. Rictor explains that Meggan is both mutant and faerie, and that Otherworld is her nature, she is connected to this place in a way that empowers her. 'She's literally back in her element' Rictor states. Rogue remarks that she is real happy for Meggan, but points out that they have to know where Betsy is at. 'Can she tell us that?' Rogue asks. Rictor holds up a large book and reports that he has been doing some reading, so Meggan might be able to help. He puts the book down on some rocks and tells the others that he just needs some time to think it through. Gambit notices what the book is and asks Rictor why he is going through those old Apocalypse notes. 'You think this magic doo doo is some kinda cookbook?' Gambit exclaims. 'Dude. It's exactly like a cookbook' Rictor smiles.

Meantime, at Bar Sinister, where Mister Sinister is sitting behind a desk, his feet resting on the desk, he remarks 'Why, that's an awfully slinky little number to wear into this bar'. Jamie Braddock is standing in the doorway, changed out of his elaborate king's costume, he wears a simple tunic that hangs from one shoulder and covers down to his thighs. He wears his crown on his head, and Sinister's cloak as he replies 'On the contrary, mate. I was just thinking I was a bit sick of this old thing myself' to which Sinister replies 'Trends come and go, you know. Style is timeless'. Jamie tells Sinister that he is returning the cloak, but he wants his favor – he is cashing in. 'I'd like a body, please' Jamie announces. 'Whose?' Sinister asks. 'You know whose' Jamie snaps as he removes the cloak. 'Nice body' Sinister responds, before frowning and remarking 'While I appreciate when  someone swims up to my cave and begs mama sea witch for a special something, you're Jamie Braddock. Can't you just make yourself a sister-clone and then go back to trying on loincloths?' Sinister asks. Jamie leans over the desk and reminds Sinister that they don't owe each other a thing, including explanations. 'Give me a ring when she's all cooked' he instructs Sinister, who decides that is fair. Jamie turns and starts to walk away, as Sinister asks him if his accent is fake. 'It sounds fake' Sinister mutters.

'I think I can really do this!' Rictor calls out back on Otherworld. Jubilee tells him that she would love to hear his plan. 'Because I keep wondering if I have to be concerned about this. And I have no idea' Jubilee mumbles. Meggan begins to glow with energy, as she levitates up off the ground. Rogue removes a glove and reports that she is on standby, and if Meggan starts to go nuclear or speaking in tongues or anything, she is gonna wrestle her down. 'Well then, what happens to you?' Jubilee asks. 'One thing at a time, kid' Rogue responds. 'Hey, Gloriana' Rictor calls out  to Meggan. 'Yes?' Meggan responds. Rictor holds out his hands and asks Meggan to take them. 'Betsy was here in this place last. What if she left some sort of imprint?' Rictor suggests. Meggan gasps as she takes his hand, and Rictor explains that he is talking to the ground here, to help Meggan. 'Can you hear?' he asks. Meggan tells him that she can. Rictor extends another hand to Gambit, who asks 'Okay. What do you want me to blow up, ami?' 'Nothing' Rictor tlels him. They hold hands, and Rictor utters 'That feeling. Kinetic energy. What if it was a different kind of energy? Whatever it is that makes our powers?' he asks.

'Like... mutant energy?' Gambit suggests. 'Like magical energy' Rictor explains, telling Jubilee that they need her lights. Rictor points out that there are faeries everywhere here, and suggests that they might be able to help them find Betsy. Jubilee seems to take control of the glowing lights that float around them, and sends brilliant glow of light upwards into the sky – which is noticed by several faeries nearby. The faeries can then be seen dancing in the light, as Jubilee looks over to Meggan and quotes “Let our powers combine”. The heroes all hold hands now as a strange, dark green wave begins to wash over them. 'What is going on? What happened to all that peace and serenity?' Gambit asks. 'Well, fairies are pretty chaotic little $%#& ain't they?' Rogue replies. Rictor tells everyone that this is a lot, and that they are going to have to move quick. He reports that the last element, at least according to the grimoire, is some kind of power conduit. He adds that, ideally, Rogue should be in the center, but that they have to try.

Gambit admits that he doesn't understand this, and asks Rictor what they are trying to accomplish. Strange noises can be heard as Rictor explains that they are looking for Betsy. 'We call on the fairies of Avalon and the earth beneath our feet! We seek one who went missing in Otherworld – one who has served nobly! We seek Captain Britain – we summon Betsy Braddock!' There is a loud rumbling, then a WHOOOOSHH as a figure materializes. Purple hair can be seen flowing from under a Captain Britain helmet. The figure moves forward, surrounded by dozens of other members of the Captain Britain Corps. 'It's the whole Corps... but it worked!' Rictor calls out. Jubilee looks at him and asks him if that's what he was trying to do, to which Rictor replies 'Not quite – but check it out! We completed a spell – without Apocalypse!' Rictor exclaims.

Meggan smiles and addresses the Captains, asking them if they can aid them, as one of their number is missing. Meggan informs the Corps that the missing Captain is from the same reality as she and Exclaibur, but was not restored with the rest of the Corps. One of the Corps who is a version of Betsy reports that they have not yet convened, regarding the disappearance, but that it troubles them greatly. 'And you say she is not here in Otherworld?' the Captain asks. 'No – the fairies told me so' Meggan explains. The Captain suggests that their missing comrade must be in one of their realms, and offers to put the call our and each search for her. 'Tell the others' she instructs another Captain. 'Aye' the Captain confirms. The Captains all depart in a portal, with one of them telling Excalibur to rest tonight, and that their Captain will be among them again soon. Excalibur watch as the Corps vanish.

The Captain Britain Corps begin their search, while, somewhere, a pair of purple eyes suddenly open. 'I am a stranger here – seek serenity of mind – all pain will pass – my physicality is but a vessel – I leave behind a body' she utters. The Captain Britain Corps inform her that her consciousness has been restored. 'Saturnyne? Roma? Merlyn? Who is in charge here? Whom do I answer to?' the voice asks. 'You are Captain Britain' she is told. 'You defend the sovereignty of each individual realm within the Multiverse. You are accountable only to a council of the self. The Starlight Sword is yours to wield'. But the Corps then ask 'But where... is your hand?'

Betsy Braddock sits up in a bed, and pulls the sheet up over herself. A portrait hangs on the wall behind her – it's of her, wearing a regal cloak, carrying a sceptre and with a large crown on her head. A handsome blond man with wings holds a tray with a teapot and cup and asks 'Good morning, darling. Tea for the queen of my heart?' to which Betsy looks at him anxiously and asks ... Warren?'

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Jubilee, Rictor, Rogue (all Excalibur)

Captain Britain II


Captain Avalon


Jamie Braddock

Maggie Braddock


Daken, Eye-Boy, Northstar, Prestige, Prodigy IV (all X-Factor



Mr Sinister




Various members of the Captain Britain Corps


in alternate reality:

Warren Worthington III

Story Notes: 


Betsy Braddock/Captain Britain II was killed in Excalibur (4th series) #14 when she was shattered during the “X of Swords” event.

Apocalypse departed for Arakko following the end of the “X of Swords” event.

Blob's comment about thanking Rogue and Gambit for telling him about Betsy is probably due to the close relationship he had with Betsy during the “Age of X-Man” event.

This issue contains a Proof of Death Report, containing an analysis by Northstar and Rachel Summers that decides there is no proof of Betsy Braddock's  death.

Oddly, Polaris is not depicted with X-Factor, however Aurora is. Aurora is also wearing the X-Factor costume which she has not yet started wearing in the X-Factor comic.

Meggan began occasionally using the codename Gloriana in Captain Britain and MI:13 Annual #1.

Although she is depicted wearing her classic green Excalibur costume on the cover to this issue, Meggan doesn't wear the costume in the issue itself.

King Jamie traded for Sinister's cloak in Hellions #5 during the “X of Swords” event.

Jubilee's line “Let our powers combine” is probably a reference to the animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers, where one of the Planeteers would say that line before they use their magical rings to combine their powers and create Captain Planet.

The Captain Britain Corps was restored to life during the “X of Swords” event.


This issue contains a one-page set of notes from Rictor, who is writing in the Grimoire, and chronicles the spell that he and the otrhers cast on Otherworld.

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