Excalibur (4th series) #5

Issue Date: 
March 2020
Story Title: 
Verse V: Panic on the Streets of London

Tini Howard (writer), Marcus To (artist), Erick Arciniega (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Cory Petit (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Mahmud Asrar & Matthew Wilson (cover artists), Will  Sliney & David Curiel; Philip Tan & Rain Beredo (variant cover artists), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)


Brief Description: 

As Gambit falls down a crevice that opens in the cavern, Rictor drops down after him to try and rescue him. They make their way out of the caverns and find strange creatures from Otherworld have begun to run amok. Apocalypse contacts his allies and directs them a Krakoan portal nearby. In London, Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom try to direct civilians to safety as a hydra breathes fire towards them. Captain Britain and Wisdom seek refuge at Wisdom's apartment, before Captain Britain heads back out to deal with the situation, Wisdom unable to join her as he has Black Air authorities to answer to. Rogue has a strange dream where she follows a fox made of fire to ruins that resemble Sentinel heads. Apocalypse takes over one of the Sentinel heads, causing Rogue to scream. At the lighthouse, Apocalypse and Jubilee are joined by Captain Britain as they battle they creatures from Otherworld. Apocalypse explains that it was Shogo's dragonfire that caused the rift in realities, before Gambit and Rictor join the battle. Apocalypse and Rictor argue over what they think is best for Rogue, whose dream continues as she is presented with a sword, and follows the fire fox to a throne, where she decides that it is time to wake up. Apocalypse and Gambit engage in battle, and Apocalypse is furious when he discovers the energy of some of the crystals has been spent. Rictor explains why he had to use the crystal to save Gambit, so Apocalypse ponders if the energy is inside Gambit. Before he can tear Gambit apart to find out, Rogue arrives and knocks Apocalypse away, before she begins to drain energy from Apocalypse, who tells Rogue to complete the ritual, as Rogue kills Apocalypse. The Krakoan gate changes, and Rogue informs the others that Apocalypse doesn't just want to stop Morgan Le Fay – he wants the throne of Otherworld. The heroes all stare at Rogue as her body appears transformed after making contact with Apocalypse.


Full Summary: 

Deep within the earth of Britain, Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit screams as he plummets from a ridge into an open crevasse, while Julio Richter a.k.a. Rictor shouts '$#&%! I said hold on!' before he unleashes his seismic powers, 'C'mon, Gambit, you mouthy idiot -' Rictor mutter, before announcing that he is going in, and he dives downwards into the crevasse, continuing to blast his power forward, using it to cushion Gambit's fall as his teammate slams against the rockface around him. 'Might I remind you – I could have stayed underground! I was being worshipped! By men with beards -' Rictor exclaims, before deciding no more jokes. 'Can't... quite... just a bit... more!' Rictor groans as he holds up the glowing crystal he was given, which releases large spike forms from the rockface around them, one of which latches onto Gambit's trench coat, preventing him from falling any further, while Rictor lands on another of them. 'I got you!' Rictor tells Gambit. 'Back to the surface!' he exclaims as controls the earth, using it to raise he and Gambit back up to the surface – where they are confronted by several strange creatures, who turn to the mutants.

'What the hell is all this?' Rictor exclaims. 'Oh, yeah. You ain't seen the baby dragon yet. I forgot about that' Gambit mutters, adding that he is guessing it has all spilt over from Otherworld. The strange creatures close in around Rictor and Gambit, who exclaims 'Like we didn't get to have enough fun panicking in the streets of London'. 'Okay, we have one band we listen to in common. I can work with that' Rictor jokes, and as they begin to defend themselves against the creatures, an astral projection of Apocalypse appears before them: 'My coven. Return to me at once... the lighthouse is under siege...' Apocalypse announces. 'I'm coming back to see my woman, not to listen to you!' Gambit responds, before Apocalypse explains that the incoming rush of Otherworld energy allows him to complete his ritual and alter the gate permanently, allowing mutants access to Otherworld.

'Makes sense. Follow-up question: “Coven”?' Rictor replies as he keeps a creature at bay with a wave of seismic vibrations. Rictor and Gambit then turn and run from the creatures, heading towards the lighthouse, as Apocalypse answers Rictor's question by telling him they will talk about it later. 'I ain't interested!' Gambit exclaims. 'And stay the $#%& out of my head!'

In London, civilians run in fear as a hydra looms over them and breathes fire down towards them. 'We have to get back to the lightouse!' Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Captain Britain calls out to Pete Wisdom as she blocks the attack with a psi-shield. 'Ah, well, I've had dates that ended worse' Wisdom mutters as he uses his own hot-knives to counter the hydra's fire. 'What part of this is a date?' Betsy asks. 'The part back there where you let the racist wizards pour you a drink?' Betsy enquires, before she and Wisdom join the civilians in running from the giant monster. 'Mean, girl. Aren't you supposed to be chivalrous now?' Wisdom asks. 'Spare me, Wisdom' Betsy mutters. 'I am a humble citizen of Britain! Isn't it your job to protect me?' Wisdom asks as he starts to climb a fire escape ladder. Betsy knocks back a creature with her psi-shield as she asks Wisdom where he is trying to go. 'That window up there – it's my place!' Wisdom reveals.

'Ugh, I ought to drop you for that' Betsy remarks as she leaps up the side of the building, pulling Wisdom up with her. Wisdom tells Betsy that these aren't his ideal circumstances to bring her back here, either. 'Hurry' Betsy tells Wisdom as he tries to force a window open, then the hydra breathes another surge of flame towards them, so Betsy raises her psi-shield to protect them both. Once inside Wisdom's apartment, Betsy asks him what they are doing here. Wisdom claims that he remembered something, and as they look out over the city, Wisdom reports that he can see a Krakoan gate from his flat, although he isn't sure what it will do to rent prices, it certainly is useful. 'Mm' Betsy replies. 'You can admit I'm clever. It won't kill you' Wisdom jokes. Betsy opens a window and extends her hand, telling Wisdom to climb aboard.

Wisdom smiles and tells Betsy that if she asked him any other time, he would step over his own mother to grab ahold of her, but he will stay here. 'No, you're not!' Betsy tells him. As a creature can be seen flying over the city, Wisdom tells Betsy that she better hurry, whatever that is, it looks big. 'Do I have to make you come along?' 'You're making it hard to say no' Wisdom replies, before explaining that his bosses back at Black Air aren't on Krakoa, they are here, and he really has to stay. He tells her to hurry along. 'I mean it! And save me a mai tai!' Wisdom calls out as Betsy leaps off the balcony, while Wisdom turns to face the huge dragon that has appeared before him.

'Well, damn. And here I thought I was about to wake up' Rogue thinks to herself as she walks through a lush landscape of green sloping hields and clear blue waters. 'Hello? Anyone? Am I dead?' Rogue calls out. 'Is this Hell? Cause it feels pretty real' Rogue remarks, before she hears a 'Yip!' Rogue smiles as a flaming wolf appears beside her. 'Guess not. Dogs don't go to Hell' Rogue remarks as she crouches down and pats the dog. 'Hey there, friendly girl. Feels like I know ya...' she adds, before the dog walks away, so she follows it, 'We going to them stones?' Rogue asks as the dog walks towards some nearby ruins – which appear to be large stone busts of several Sentinels, placed in a circle formation, with a large “X” formed in the grass where Rogue stands. She is about to say something, before shushing herself – something in her head knows she needs to be quiet – even though she hates the quiet.

Rogue remembers what every man in her life has said to her from the time she was old enough to stand on her own two feet: “Girl, you never listen!” - but Rogue just never listened to them. She listens to her heart, to her mind and to the gospel of Miss Dolly Parton. However, Rogue has the feeling that Remy really needs her – so she has to handle a lotta things she hates. Suddenly, there is a whirring sound, and the eyes of the Sentinel statues flash red. Rogue looks concerned as the statues appear to look down at her, then there is a rumbling, and one of the Sentinel statues transforms into Apocalypse. 'That's right. I remember the gate...something hit me. We were tryna get Betsy back. There was a light. It hit me...and I held it. You were -' Rogue recalls, when the Apocalypse statue opens its mouth, and a blue energy blasts out of the mouth and strikes Rogue, who screams.

At the lighthouse, dozens of strange monstrous creatures have swarmed round Apocalypse, Betsy and Jubilee, who blasts one of them with her plasma fireworks. 'Eons of waiting and it's all happening too damn soon' Apocalypse mutters as he grabs a creature and cracks its neck. 'Not yet. Soon. But not yet' Apocalypse adds as he looks up towards a large tentacled creature. 'Apocalypse! What the hell is going on?' Jubilee asks, to which the ancient mutant explains that Shogo's dragonfire melted the reality of parts of that realm, causing a hole through which Otherworld creatures are emerging. 'He's a good boy, and I'm not sorry!' Jubilee retorts as she blasts another creature. Jubilee adds that she didn't know Shogo would do that, and tells Apocalypse to watch how he talks about her kid. 'On the contrary, it is exactly what I needed to make our move against Morgan Le Fay' Apocalypse explains, before thanking Jubilee.

Apocalypse turns as a kinetically-charged playing card suddenly strikes his shoulder. He sees Gambit and Rictor, as Gambit points out that it seems like Rogue is waking up right when he was scheduled to be away from here, and asks if that is a coincidence. 'Conjecture all you like. My plans have been unexpectedly altered' Apocalypse explains. 'You old dumbass – I'm the one who altered 'em!' Gambit declares. '...excuse me?' Apocalypse snaps. 'Just 'cause Bets couldn't get into Rogue's head doesn't mean no one could' Gambit remarks. Gambit explains that he walks out the door of his new place on Krakoa and sees ten telepaths, so he asked a friend to check in on Rogue and give her a nudge. 'You idiot' Apocalypse snarls.

'These are matters of cosmic timing, of the placement and alignment of things that take thousands of years!' Apocalypse exclaims. 'Wait, I thought what happened to Rogue was, like...and accident? Or a mystery or something?' Jubilee exclaims. 'I didn't. I knew it was Apocalypse's doing from the start' Gambit claims. Apocalypse looms over Gambit and warns him that he is likely to kill Rogue with his carelessly prodding around in his matters. 'I hope you're happy' he mutters. 'Oh, I'm about to me' Gambit retorts. 'Trying to get to Hell before your wife, Gambit?' Apocalypse jokes. Gambit scowls as he kinetically charges his own fists, but before he can strike Apocalypse, the huge tentacled creature slams a tentacle against the lighthouse.

Rogue, meanwhile, glows with blue energy and thinks to herself that Apocalypse is going to try to take credit for it – just like a man. Rogue drops down next to the flaming wolf, and begins to put the energy under control, her skin returns to its normal color, while deciding that Apocalypse will try to say that he woke her up when he was good and ready. 'But I ain't a kept woman' Rogue tells herself as she collects the energy around her midsection. Rogue realizes that she has a funny feeling – perhaps women's intuition – that her man is about to die. 'You know what it's called when you're tryna keep track of something and it busts on out and mucks up your plans, right? They call it going rogue' Rogue reminds herself as she looks over to the statue of Apocalypse, which is holding a sword. She takes the sword and plunges it into the energy glowing in her midsection.

The energy then darts towards one of the Sentinel statues situated nearby, and Rogue remarks to herself 'Do y'ever have something make sense, even though it shouldn't? I hate when dreams do that. And then all of a sudden, the dream's tellin' you somethin'. Somethin' you wouldn'a, couldn'a believed if you were awake'. Rogue looks down at the flaming wolf and asks her if that is why she is here, because she is looking out for her. Rogue and the flaming wolf walk down the “X” marking in the ground towards the Sentinel statue which they see has been transformed into a throne-like chair. Rogue tells the flaming wolf that she appreciates her showing up real careful and not frying her brains, and calls her Miss Prestige. The wolf howls, and Rogue smiles, 'What? Rachel ain't a great name for a dog' she jokes.

Rogue approaches the throne, and sits down on it, when suddenly, there is a flare of energy and she is knocked from the throne to the ground. There is a rumbling, and Rogue looks up to the sky, which begins to change – two moons appear, and two suns at the same time. 'World's changing, Rogue. Time to wake up' Rogue tells herself.

The lighthouse continues to stand under the attack of the creatures of Otherworld, while Apocalypse and Gambit fight each other. 'Insolent, ungrateful, wicked boy – I will bury you!' Apocalypse booms as he looms over Gambit then slams him into the ground. 'If I wasn't awake before...I sure as hell am now!' Rogue tells herself as she opens her eyess on the bed of Krakoan flowers where she lays.

As Betsy, Jubilee and Rictor continue to battle the Otherworld creatures, Apocalypse turns his attention from Gambit to a gateway, and notices that one of the crystals powering it has been spent. 'Where is its power? Where is the magic that lies inside it?' Apocalypse snarls as he tears the crystal from the gateway. Rictor goes over to Gambit, while Apocalypse asks Rictor what he has done. 'Hey! I brought you your damn crystals!' Rictor remarks as Apocalypse grabs him by his collar. Apocalypse declares that what he needed was the energy inside of the crystal, and that these magical components are thousands of years old – an irreplaceable and finite resource. 'Remy was falling. I had to catch him' Rictor snaps through  gritted teeth, adding that he thought he was just reaching for them because they're stones, from the earth. 'What did you do to Gambit?' Jubilee calls out. 'He was turning on us' Apocalypse responds. 'Bull!' Jubilee shouts.

Captain Britain tells Jubilee that Apocalypse was right, in that Gambit was distracting him from the ritual – which needs to hurry along. 'Enough talk. I require your ardent defense from these monsters' Apocalypse declares. The ancient mutant glances at Gambit mutters 'Ten-thousand-year-old bones, gone in an accident to save a vagabond'. He then pauses, before kneeling down beside Gambit's body and grabbing his shoulders, wondering if the energy is somewhere in him. An instant later, something swoops down and knocks Apocalypse backwards, away from Gambit. 'You're dead meat!' Rogue, wearing a new costume, exclaims fists clenched, some Krakoan flowers still attached to her body. 'You're perfect' Apocalypse replies, while Betsy looks on, confused.

'What'd you do to Remy?' Rogue asks as she shoves Apocalypse backwards, slamming him against the wall. 'Got him out of our way' Apocalypse responds. 'Our way?' Rogue asks, before she hurls Apocalypse into a giant bird that flies nearby. Apocalypse then falls into the dirt on the ground below. 'You trapped me in a coffin' Rogue calls out as she drops down near Apocalypse and removes her gloves. Apocalypse looks up at Rogue and tells her that he did, but only after she had touched the place where Otherworld and Krakoa connect with her heart and mind and let her gifts draw that power into her. 'Next time you ought to ask' Rogue declares as she places her ungloved hands on Apocalypse's face, and draws energy from the uber mutant. 'Aaaaaah – yes...do it!' Apocalypse exclaims. The grounds breaks up around them, while Apocalypse reveals that the crystals were made from mutant bones thousands of years old.

Rogue grimaces as she continues to hold onto Apocalypse's face, and Apocalypse tells her to keep going – to take his life – to kill him! Apocalypse's eyes roll back in his head, as he tells Rogue to complete the ritual. Energy rises up from Apocalypse and Rogue, and strikes the Otherworld creatures above them, who scream. 'The gate! Something's changing the gate!' Rogue calls out as the circular gate switches shape, into a large square gate, with pillars on either side of it, and a large “X” on top of it – and, a moment later, 'He's dead. Ah...I killed him' Rogue announces. Jubilee and Rictor look on, shocked, as Rogue tells them that she just kept going, 'He said, oh god, he said to kill him -' Rogue utters. Betsy removes her helmet and looks down at Apocalypse's body as Rogue remarks that they stopped the monsters and sealed the rift. 'Whatever energy he needed for his ritual, I got it out of him. It's done'.

Rogue then informs Betsy that she saw Apocalypse's memories and his plans. 'He doesn't want to just stop Morgan Le Fay. He wants the throne' Rogue reports, before notices that Gambit is looking at her strangely. 'Why y'all looking at me like that?' Rogue asks. Gambit, Betsy, Rictor and Jubilee stare at Rogue, who raises her now blue-skinned hands, glowing with energy, her eyes white and with markings on her face she asks 'What's a girl gotta do to get a “welcome back” kiss around here?'


Characters Involved: 

Apocalypse, Captain Britain II, Gambit, Jubilee, Rictor, Rogue (all Excalibur)

Pete Wisdom



Various creatures from Otherworld

in Rogue's dream:

Prestige (as flaming wolf)

Story Notes: 

When Gambit quotes “panickin' in the streets of London” and Rictor refers to them having a band in common, they are probably referring to the Smiths and their 1986 track “Panic”.

Rachel, as the flaming wolf, previously appeared in a vision to Betsy in Excalibur (4th series) #2.

This issue contains a text-only page of some notes of Apocalypse with some information about the suns and moons appearing simultaneously, as well as a text-only page on astrology.

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