By Tini Howard, Marcus To and Erick Arciniega
With each passing week, Marvel brings us a new X-book #1. This week we get Excalibur written by Tini Howard. The old Excalibur book was never a favorite of mine. It has a place in the heart of many readers, but growing up, I was all about X-Men Blue. With that being said, the cast of this series is interesting, and the involvement of Apocalypse makes it a book that should be on a lot of readers pull list.
Tini Howard is tasked with writing this new and different take on the current crop of X-books. One thing she, and Marvel for that matter, are getting right, is that this is the third book released and it has a very different feel than the other two. Howard focuses on Betsy and Brian Braddock for a lot of the story, which makes sense. However, the first half of the book is a little too slow. Pages are very wordy and the pace is not interesting right off the bat. Once things get rolling, and the pace picks up, Excalibur becomes a more enjoyable read. Howard has a little running gag with Apocalypse where he wants to change his name. It’s funny to see serious characters in slightly comedic situations. Once Howard builds her team up, and the selections feel natural, the book really gets moving. Ultimately, this is a series that will need time to develop. The first issue won’t knock your socks off, but it is an interesting book that will capture your attention and want you to see where it goes.
The pencils this issue are handled by Marcus To with colors by Erick Arciniega. To does good work this issue. His faces, like a smug Jamie Braddock, really sell much of his panels. To makes Morgan Le Fay look devilish as she attempts to get to the bottom of why her kingdom is being polluted. A panel of Apocalypse looking out his window at Krakoa allows To to let us see more of the island, and it’s drawn very well. The colors by Erick Arciniega compliment the pencils laid down by To. Arciniega uses a lot of bright colors, like blue or pink when magic and psychic attacks are happening, and it pays off. The cold blues for panels of Morgan Le Fay show that she is not on the side of the angels. The pencils and colors are some of the strengths in the book. To and Arciniega did a nice job on this issue and I look forward to their growth on the series.
Overall, Excalibur is a decent book. Tini Howard takes her time setting up the plot and making sure the reader knows why certain characters are involved. The pencils and colors add to the reading experience and make the book enjoyable with their clean lines and vibrant panels. If you’re following all the new X-books for the relaunch, Excalibur is book that needs to be picked up.