We head back to Otherworld to check up on Betsy Braddock and her knights and it seems they’ve a bit over their heads. After a strong issue #1, Knights of X floundered a bit for me regarding the follow up.
My overall observation is that this is a very busy comic. There is a lot of dense lore and many background characters. Knights opens at Merlyn’s court, and he is clearly displeased that the mutants are still present in otherworld. Merlyn banishes Mad Jim Jaspers from his council for being a mutant and name-drops Chekhov’s Absolon Mercator that we had all forgotten about since X of Swords. We then cut to Betsy of Earth-616 forming a circuit with several other Captains (including the Violet Swan) and Rachel Summers in an effort to contact Krakoa. After discussing the Siege Perilous with the Quiet Council, the 10 knights split up with some going to assist Jim Jaspers at the Crooked Market and some helping Betsy deliver Shogo to Roma. Because yeah, Shogo is there. Still without a mother, although we did get to see Jubilee worry about him from the Quiet Council chambers.
From there, the team that went to drop off Shogo goes to check up on Sheriff Whitechapel (the hot not-Kate Pryde lady sheriff in a red coat) from where she’s being held captive with her posse as bait for Vescora (the parasitic interdimensional aliens, also from X of Swords). The Sheriff flirts with Betsy but refuses rescue, opting to stay and defend her home from the alien hive mind. Back at the Crooked Market, Gambit bribes an old woman with pop-tarts and she leads them to where the few mutants that Merlyn has not captured are hiding. After the furies appear and start attacking the gathered mutants, they reluctantly rescue Jim Jaspers. The issue concludes with Betsy’s team crossing into Sevalith, being watched by the blood-drinking citizens.
As I said earlier, there is a lot going on here. The pacing is rather rushed in places, and you have to be completely engaged with every single word in order to not miss anything. The plot threads can be quite complicated, but the payoff feels rewarding, at least what we’ve gotten so far. I do think there will be payoff for all of the seemingly random bits of plot that are being dropped, it’s just hard to see how when we only have two issues.
A high point in this issue was definitely the small moments we got between the side characters. Gambit and Meggan sharing a moment reflecting on missing Rogue gave a softer side to the rougher persona that Gambit has put on. Shatterstar and Mordred’s enthusiasm in battle was a fun change of tone without breaking up the action. There were few quieter moments between Rictor and Shatterstar in the background and some meaningful glances and touches between Rachel and Betsy. Less action-packed moments helped this issue feel like this is a team of people who actually like each other and not just randomly assembled characters.
The cliffhanger was definitely enough to get me interested in the next arc. Re-visiting the original horseman of Death and exploring Sevalith makes the story feel like early 2019 Excalibur again, with a sort of D&D campaign feel.
Bob Quinn’s art still shines as the high point of this series for me. His dynamic style and bold characters feel perfect for the adventuring and swashbuckling that the knights engage in. Carrying Arciniega’s colors over from Excalibur helps the story feel cohesive, yet unique enough to have started a new chapter. The action doesn’t seem like it will stop any time soon, and I’m holding on for the ride.
And did we all notice that Askani name-drop?
Images via Marvel Comics
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