Destiny of X marches on in Knights of X #1, the first issue of the sequel series to 2019’s Excalibur, Tini Howard returns as writer, joined by artist Bob Quinn, colourist Erick Arciniega and letterer VC’s Ariana Maher for the next chapter in the story that began in Excalibur, a series which saw Betsy Braddock (formerly Psylocke) take on the title of Captain Britain.
The issue opens in Otherworld, the wheel that the multiverse spins on, war-torn. We are met with a tale very familiar to mutants and x-fans alike: a mutant child being hunted by looming robots bent on eradication. But this is different; the robots aren’t sentinels, they’re the Furies, classic Excalibur foe, and they are working for Merlyn. That’s also not just any mutant child, it’s Joshua Englehard, also known as the Jersey Devil, a character who was first introduced by Vita Ayala and Rod Reis in New Mutants #16. Englehard moved to Krakoa after being kicked out of his home and sparking rumours of Jersey Devil sightings and now has snuck his way into Otherworld where he maps out the land for Krakoa.
At the end of Howard’s Excalibur run with artist Marcus To, the villainous Merlyn had ousted the Omniversal Majestrix, Opal Luna Saturnyne, from her Starlight Citadel and has sent his forces to occupy the other courts of Otherworld to hunt down the witchbreed, aka mutants. This is a classic X-Men story and this team tells it well. Hated and Feared. That’s the title of this issue. Hated and Feared. We know this all too well. Even in the age of Krakoa and mutant sovereignty, the gene freaks are still being eradicated.
While Marcus To’s art was undeniably great on Excalibur, Bob Quinn’s style is a bit grittier and will work in tandem with Ariana Maher’s stylistic lettering if this book does indeed walk a darker path than its predecessor. Quinn brings life to Howard’s story in such a captivating way that doesn’t leave you missing To’s art from Excalibur.
Howard seems to be taking this cast in a different direction. While Excalibur did deal with Otherworld, it also had political themes and touched on mutant magic via the immortal mutant Apocalypse. Knights of X appears to be leaning more heavily into the drama of Otherworld, made apparent by the quest given to the Knights by fair court leader Roma Regina. Alongside the Arthurian mythos being explored, it’s clear that Howard and Quinn will be examining the age old mutant plight. The juxtaposition of legends and the mutant metaphor will make for a deeply interesting series, and I personally cannot wait.