Excalibur (4th series) #3

Issue Date: 
February 2020
Story Title: 
Verse III: Three Covenants

 Tini Howard (writer), Marcus To (artist), Erick Arciniega (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Mahmud Asrar & Matthew Wilson (cover artists), Koi Pham & Morry Hollowell (variant cover artists), Jay Bowen (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Rictor is confined to a ground-floor apartment in some sort of housing complex. He tries to step outside, but his powers are out of control and he creates an earthquake. He receives telepathic requests to join other mutants on Krakoa, but he is unable to get to a portal. He reads discussions on the internet about mutants having trouble with their powers, and watches news articles about mutants going through portals to Krakoa. With nothing left to do, he lays down in a box of dirt and covers his head. In Camelot, Queen Morgan Le Fay is still frustrated about the Krakoan flowers that are polluting her realm, and has a discussion via a magic mirror with Marianna Stern of Clan Akkaba. Marianna informs Morgan that the citizens of the realm are yet unaware that Captain Britain is now a mutant. Morgan becomes distracted by the conversation when a large dragon flies past her castle. That dragon is none other than Jubilee's baby, Shogo, who was transformed when they stepped through the portal to Otherworld. Jubilee is slightly stressed about this, but Captain Britain assures her that Shogo is fine. Gambit is still worried about Rogue, while Captain Britain asks Shogo if he saw her brother at Camelot. Gambit argues with Captain Britain before Shogo offers to take them to Camelot. Jubilee is worried about this, but the three ride the large dragon towards the castle, where Captain Britain finds she is unable to read her brother's mind – but thankfully she can read the minds of the guards outside the dungeon, where Brian Braddock is encased in a dark armor and chained up. Shogo drops the Captain Britain, Gambit and Jubilee onto the roof of Camelot, and they battle the guards. Shogo assists them with some dragonfire, before Brian and several other guards in dark armor join the battle. Captain Britain fights her brother and tries to snap him out of Morgan's control, but is not successful. Before Brian is able to harm his sister, Shogo separates them with some dragonfire, and the mutants retreat, flying away on Shogo, while Morgan telepathically speaks with Captain Britain. On top of the Lighthouse, Apocalypse is studying the crystals that empower the Krakoan gates and notes that their power is finite – they need more. He steps through a portal and arrives at Rictor's apartment, where he learns of Rictor's plight and offers to help him. Soon, they are in the Lighthouse, when Pete Wisdom arrives, announcing that the Queen needs to see Captain Britain.

Full Summary: 

A housing complex, where Julio Richter, the mutant known as Rictor, leans against a glass door. Several bottles are stacked across the floor, while pots of dirt can be seen in the apartment. Several computer monitors glow in the dark room, as a voice over a radio can be heard stating that lobbyists want stricter regulations, that they claim that the gates are inappropriate near schools and churches due to reports of some mutants shedding their clothes before stepping into the gates. 'They can do whatever they want once they get to Krak-coa! But in America, we keep our clothes on in public!' someone exclaims. Rictor opens the sliding glass door, while several children play with a soccer ball on a grassy area nearby. 'I'm open!' one of the children exclaims. 'Pass it to me!' another calls out. Rictor steps out onto the grass, one of his bare feet touch the ground – and a rumbling suddenly occurs. 'Whoa!' one of the kids calls out. 'Earthquake!' another shouts.

Rictor quickly steps back into his apartment, while the children, some of whom had fallen over, look over at him. Rictor frowns and touches his head, 'Can't even put my feet on the %$^*#%&* ground' Rictor mutters as he turns to his desk, where two monitors show that he is following various forums and threads about mutant powers. Rictor looks over at his television show depicts a naked mutant running towards a portal. 'Go dude, go! C'mon, some of us can't!' Rictor remarks. His cellphone makes a noise, indicating he has received a notification. 'Rictor' a voice calls out. 'Go away' Rictor mutters. He slams his sliding door closed, and there is another rumbling, while the voice tells Rictor that they are his family. 'It's happening again!' one of the children playing soccer exclaims. 'Let's get outta here!' another suggests. As the voice tells Rictor to come home, Rictor opens the lid on a large wooden box, about the size of a coffin and filled with dirt. 'I can't! Quit hassling me! I just need to go – I just need to go away!' Rictor utters, as the rumbling continues, and he lays down in the dirt-filled box, putting his hands over his head.

Meantime, in Camelot: 'What is that filth still doing in my scrying pool?' Queen Morgan Le Fay demands as she strides through her throne room, and sees some Krakoan flowers in her scrying pool. A soldier follows her and apologizes, informing her that the vines seem to be dying, but that when they fish them out of the pool, more appeared. 'Then bring my my mirror' Morgan snarls, yanking some of the flowers from the vines surrounding the scrying pool. Morgan holds up her mirror and exclaims 'I call through the air and darkness to my servant, Marianna Stern of Coven Akkaba. I command her to approach, mortal and kneeling'. A moment later, Marianne Stern's image appears on the mirror, and announces 'The Coven Akkaba is at your command'. Morgan tells Marianna that she assumes she has not disentangled herself from her witchbreed friend yet, as their weed still grows in her realm.

'Witchbreed? You mean mutants?' Marianna asks. 'As they are called in your baseborn tongue' Morgan declares. 'Take your coven's name – Akkaba' she adds. 'Akkaba was simply a place. The birthplace of one mutant – and a great many humans who cast him out' Marianna explains. Morgan asks Marianna if she thinks that this Apocalypse is the source of these gates in her realm. 'If so, then where is his head?' Morgan declares. Marianna admits that they were unsuccessful in trying to separate him from it, but reveals that she did meet the new Captain Britain. 'Yes, her. I imagine the streets of mortal Albion are in riot over their mutant captain' Morgan smirks. 'They don't know yet' Marianna explains. 'What?' Morgan asks.

Marianna tells Morgan that she wished the transfer of Avalon's super power was front-page news as much as she does, but these days, it is Krakoa that dominates the news cycle. She adds that they may not yet understand the dangers of handing the defense of their nation to a citizen of a different one. 'Make sure they do' Morgan snarls. 'Of course. We plan to inform Black Air and let the truth find those it needs to find' Marianna reports, when suddenly, a large blue dragon flies by Morgan's window, and the Queen turns her attention to it. 'Perhaps if they are sufficiently shaken – if the witchbreed are weakened – we could call on your magics once more?' Marianna asks. 'In defense of the kingdom, of course' she adds. 'You will get what you deserve' Morgan replies casually, her attention still focused on the dragon. 'What in all of Avalon...' she gasps.

At that moment, the large blue dragon descends to a green field, where Jubilee, Gambit and Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Captain Britain are gathered. 'This is gonna give me a panic attack' Jubilee utters. The dragon lands in front of Jubilee, who touches the dragon's face. 'You okay, Shogo? You're sure you don't feel stuck like that?' Jubilee asks her transformed son. Jubilee tells the others that she doesn't get it – Shogo is just a dragon when they are in Otherworld, instead of a little boy? Gambit reminds Jubilee that Shogo is a babe, and fairies love a babe – all that magic and pure imagination in them. 'It seems Remy is... right?' Betsy remarks. 'You gotta say it like that?' Gambit replies. Betsy recalls how Shogo entered the portal to Otherworld and was then transformed into the dragon as she tells Jubilee that Shogo is perfectly okay, explaining that Otherworld does bend to laws of faerie, and as a mortal child, Shogo is extremely powerful here.

Betsy looks at Shogo and adds that Shogo seems to take whatever form he chooses. 'But he's my baby' Jubilee utters, adding that she is pretty sure she doesn't have to change his diapers in this form – which is rad. Betsy strokes the dragon's face and promises Jubilee that they won't put him in any danger. Betsy asks Shogo if he saw the castle on his flight. 'Tell Miss Purple you found her silly old brother in there' Betsy asks, putting her head against Shogo's dragon head. The dragon closes his eyes and makes a slight roaring noise, before Betsy turns back to Gambit and Jubilee and tells them that Shogo saw Camelot, that she can see it through him – Morgan's tower and everything. Jubilee asks if Brian is in there, to which Betsy replies that she can't be sure.

'I'mma point something out to you both. You're worried about ya brother – but he was walking when last you saw him. Jubes, your baby's better'n walking, he's flying' Gambit declares. 'Remy -' Jubilee begins, but Gambit interrupts her, reminding them that they left Rogue sealed up in a box, that she hasn't moved in  days. 'As far as I know she's -' Gambit begins, to which Betsy reminds him that Rogue is a mutant, and that makes her safe in a way that Brian and Shogo are not. 'You're kidding me. Every minute she's back there and we're here, Apocalypse is babysitting her!' Gambit exclaims, pointing a finger at Betsy. Gambit tells Betsy and Jubilee that he knows for a fact they would not leave their beaus with Apocalypse. 'Please, Gambit. We have a duty to the humans we love too' Betsy reminds him. 'So what, Bets? We spend weeks hiking all over fantasy land in these getups in the hopes we level up or something?' Gambit asks. Betsy is able to project Shogo's thoughts – an image of Shogo carrying the three of them across the sky 'He's offering to fly us there' Betsy explains. 'He's what?' Jubilee gasps.

'Shogo, baby, you can put us down if you need. If you see a ballista, steer far away!' Jubilee calls out as she, Betsy and Gambit ride on Shogo's back, as the dragon carry them through the air. 'Please explain to him what a ballista is' Jubilee utters. Betsy assures Jubilee that Shogo is okay, and promises her that he is having fun. 'He's just dropping us off, okay? No getting hurt, Shogo!' Jubilee exclaims. Betsy projects Shogo's thoughts of dragon-Shogo hugging Jubilee. 'Good Shogo. Hug mommy' Betsy remarks, before announcing that Shogo won't get hurt, and that as soon as she is in view of the castle, nothing can keep her from Brian. They approach the castle, 'He's in there' Betsy remarks. 'I thought you can read your brother's mind? Some twin thing?' Jubilee asks. 'That's true. But I can read theirs' Betsy responds as she touches the minds of the guards outside the dungeon.

Inside the dungeon, Brian Braddock is clad in a dark armor, with a grated faceplate over his mouth and nose, as he is strung from the ceiling by thick chains. 'Witchbreed... hear... her... where is she!?; Brian calls out, eyes wide, he throws his head upwards, pulling on the chains that bind him, he shouts 'Bring me... my sister. Bring me the pretender!'

Shogo flies above Camelot, and Jubilee tells him to stay up high, that they will jump down and Miss Betsy will let him know when they nneed him. Several soldiers are on duty, 'Stay stalwart, men!' one of them calls out. 'Your fathers slew dragons and you shall too!' the soldier exclaims. 'Like hell you will – that's my son!' Jubilee snaps as she blasts her plasma fireworks at the soldiers, while Shogo flies away from the castle. 'In and out, extraction-style!' Gambit exclaims as he throws several kinetically-charged playing cards at the soldiers, while Betsy drops towards them with her psi-sword and shield. 'They're witchbreed!' one of the soldiers calls out. 'Stay away from them!' another warns the soldiers. 'Oh, it ain't magic... but he's right, you oughta stay away' Gambit smirks as he kinetically-charges one of their shields.

As she blasts her opponents with more fireworks, Jubilee tells Betsy that she doesn't want to tell her what to do if she had psychic powers, but that it would be useful if a few of these soldiers fought on their side. 'I can't!' Betsy replies. She explains that she can read their surface thoughts, but cannot control them or stop them. Betsy raises her psi-shield to block several weapons that the soldiers try to use against her as she explains that it feels as if the soldiers aren't entirely real – like she is trying to grab a handful of water. 'Damn Otherworld' she mutters, before stepping back alongside Jubilee and announcing that they are getting overwhelmed – which is absurd, as they have a dragon on their side 'I don't want him getting hurt!' Jubilee exclaims. Betsy turns to Jubilee and reminds her that Shogo can breathe fire, that he is covered in scales and the soldiers cannot hurt him. 'We are going to die out here!' she exclaims. Jubilee tells Betsy that she trusts her, and asks her to call Shogo down, then they can get out of here.

'Shogo, we need you darling...' Betsy utters, while holding up her psi-sword – when suddenly, 'For Morgan Le Fay!' a soldier exlaims as he punches Betsy in the back of her head. Shogo hears Betsy's plea, and suddenly returns to the castle. 'Here it comes! Load the siege weapons! On my mark!' one of the soldiers calls out. Shogo begins breathing green fire at the soldiers, while Betsy, Jubilee and Gambit rush towards the dragon. 'Go! Before they hurt him!' Jubilee tells her friends. 'We won't let 'em near 'em!' Gambit assures her. They reach Shogo, and Jubilee tells the others to come on. But a shocked Betsy turns around, wide-eyed, as a voice calls out 'Hail...defender...'. Brian, wearing his dark armor and carrying a large sword stands with several othere soldiers in dark armor, with helmets covering their heads. They hold chains that extend to Brian's armor, and one of the soldiers remarks 'Keep hold tight, men. He's a beast'. 'Slay... pretender' Brian utters.

'Oh my God, Brian... my beautiful brother!' Betsy gasps. 'What have they done to you?' she asks, raising her psi-sword, she runs towards her brother, despite Gambit calling out 'Capitaine, no!' Betsy's psi-sword clangs against the armor of one of the other dark soldiers, while she calls out to Brian, telling him that is not him in there. 'Please, talk to me -' she begins. 'For Camelot!' one od the soldiers exclaims as his sword strikes Betsy's psi-sword. 'Slay...pretender!' Brian utters once again. 'Brian, please!' Betsy pleads, as she brings her blade down on one of the other soldiers, who falls away from Brian. 'Fine, you're right. I'm the pretender. I'm not the real Captain Britain. That's you. Just come back, it's all yours -' Betsy begins as her psi-sword slams against Brian's blade. 'Die, witchbreed!' Brian shouts at his sister. 'And Meggan – and Maggie – and Jamie -' Betsy calls out as she and Brian continue to fight, blade against blade. Brian leers atr his sister, when suddenly, fiery green energy breaks them apart, as Shogo the dragon flies towards them.

'Dragonfire's a hell of a distraction, non?' Gambit asks as he rushes over to Betsy who is now separated from Brian thanks to the flames. The other soldiers in dark armor begin to run, as Jubilee tells Shogo to aim for the walls, not the people. Gambit tries to get Betsy to move, but she resists, not wanting to leave her brother. 'He's Captain Britain -' she begins. 'That's you, Bets' Jubilee calls out. 'That's you now'. Brian stands stoic as the flames rise around him, and Shogo flies away, carrying Jubilee, Gambit and Betsy. 'There's nothing left in him to save, Elizabeth. Take up your mantle' a telepathic voice calls out to Betsy, who goes wide-eyed. 'From one reluctant warrior queen to another' the voice adds. It's Morgan, and as she stands at a window and watches Shogo fly away with the heroes, she raises a wine glass and adds 'Long may we reign'.

On Earth, at the Lighthouse, which is covered in Krakoan flora, Apocalypse looks at a stone formation and decides that centuries of humans learning to pay for their magic has made this experiment a challenge for him – a whole system of promises made and deeds done. He touches the rocks and remarks that each of them will empower the gate into the Otherworld only briefly before sputtering out and becoming useless – a finite resource for a finite people with finite power. He tosses one of the rocks aside, 'Fickle stones. Mutant magic will not fade like this' Apocalypse boasts, entering a portal he declares that he shall need a focus that is superior – and a master of stone itself.

Another portal opens, nestled between some trees, and Apocalypse steps out of it. 'Oh wow, is that -' someone begins. 'Shh, don't stare' their companion interrupts them. Apoocalypse strides across a park lined with trees, and does not make eye contact with the civilians who stare at him. 'Get your stuff, we're leaving' someone calls out. 'Do you have your phone? Take a picture!' someone exclaims. Apocalypse crosses a street, and comes to a building block where several children are kicking a ball around on a grassy patch between the buildings. 'Do you wanna do passing drills again?' one of the kids asks, before another one of them tells them to shush. 'Look' they add, motioning to the approaching Apocalypse.

A short time later, there is a creaking sound, 'Hmmwha?' Rictor gasps as Apocalypse looms over him. 'Hush, young man' Apocalypse remarks. Rictor goes wided-eyed, while Apocalypse informs him that he has come to take him home. Rictor backs away from Apocalypse, 'Krakoa?' he asks, explaining that he told everyone he can't go there, that he is staying here. Rictor tells Apocalypse that he will break in half if he goes there, as his powers are completely out of control. 'I can't even set my feet on the ground outside' Rictor reveals as he slumps over. 'The ground outside and anywhere else is yours to command for miles beneath the soil. You are mutant. It is your gift' Apocalypse reminds Rictor, before realizing that he is afraid. Apocalypse moves closer to Rictor and states that fear is not something they contend with anymore – that the monster, this depression that sits on his soul has no quarter in the high places of their new world – their Krakoa. Rictor looks up as Apocalypse extends a hand to him and tells him 'Come. There is nothing you can break that I cannot fix'.

Soon: '... where is this?' Rictor asks as he and Apocalypse step through the portal back into the Lighthouse. 'It is all Krakoa' Apocalypse replies. He goes over to the rock formation and reveals that, geographically, this is Cornwall, England. 'England? I thought we were going to  the island...like, I'd heard there was a party...' Rictor replies. He walks outside, and looks out over the water that stretches out from the Lighthouse, a reddish color thanks to the rising sun. Suddenly, 'You're not Captain Britain' a voice calls out. Rictor turns to the direction of the voice, 'Yeah, he's a little paler. Who's looking for him?' Rictor asks. 'Her, actually' Pete Wisdom announces, as he holds up his MI-13 identification card. Apocalypse walks up behind Wisdom, who creates his trademark “hot-knives” with his fingers as he introduces himself, explaining that he is an agent of MI-13, a division of Black Air, the British secret intelligence, before declaring 'The Queen needs her Captain'.


Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain II, Gambit, Jubilee




Pete Wisdom

Brian Braddock

Shogo Lee


Queen Morgan Le Fay

Marianna Stern




Story Notes: 

This issue contains a page listing several discussion threads at the forum mutantsunmuted.com.

This issue also contains a memo from the Department to all MI-13 and intelligence partners including Black Air, reporting that recent monitoring suggests activity in Otherworld, and suggests that Otherworld assets are kept under watch, namely Brian Braddock, Elizabeth Braddock, Jamie Braddock, Meggan Braddock nee Puceanu, Morgan Le Fay, Katherine Pryde, Courtney Ross, Rachel Summers and Kurt Wagner. The memo also warns agents about the dangers of Krakoa and not to engage mutants alone.


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