Betsy Braddock, the new Captain Britain, apparently died in Excalibur #14 – but there is no reason readers should believe it.
This article contains spoilers for Excalibur #14 by Tini Howard and Phil Noto.
Marvel apparently killed Betsy Braddock, the new Captain Britain, in Excalibur #14 – but frankly, there’s no reason for readers to believe their eyes. “X of Swords” is the biggest X-Men event since Jonathan Hickman relaunched the X-Men, and it’s certainly thrown a few curve-balls so far. X-Men fans were expecting a series of swordfights, but in reality, only a handful of the grudge matches are actual duels to the death.
One apparent exception was in this week’s Excalibur #14, in which Betsy Braddock’s Captain Britain went head-to-head with Isca the Unbeaten. Marvel had teased that this could well end in tragedy – and they weren’t kidding – because Betsy didn’t last long at all. Isca struck Betsy’s Starlight Sword with her own blade, and it shattered – and so did she. The X-Men watched in horror, and increasing fury as Saturnyne walked over the fragments of Betsy to rub it in. She had objected to Betsy’s becoming Captain Britain in the first place, and she clearly enjoyed the opportunity to demonstrate her contempt for the mutant hero.
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But is Betsy really gone? In Marvel Comics, shattering and fragmentation are typically associated not with death, but with the rewriting of reality. Indeed, no sooner has Captain Britain shattered, then her brother Brian accuses Saturnyne herself of being responsible. “You greedy witch, you’re meddling in your own games,” he roared at her, physically restrained by Wolverine and Cable. “What have you done to my sister?!“
The entire “X of Swords” event is essentially a giant misdirection because the bulk of the duels appear to be nothing more than Saturnyne’s playing for time. She’s personally orchestrated a number of key events, causing Cable to activate an interdimensional portal over Earth and providing the Starlight Sword itself – the blade Captain Britain was using in her battle with Isca. Saturnyne did not actually want Betsy to be the one to wield the Starlight Sword, but rather hoped it would be Brian Braddock, who she has made no secret of being besotted with – in spite of the fact he is a married man. It’s reasonable to assume whatever happened to Betsy was intended for her brother Brian, and that in itself suggests Saturnyne doesn’t intend for this to be fatal.
The X-Men believe Captain Britain to be dead, but this is unlikely to be binding. It’s more reasonable to assume reality has been rewritten in some way, explaining why future covers show Betsy as the apparent Queen of England. At this stage, it’s impossible what game Saturnyne is really playing, or what her ultimate agenda actually is. The X-Men will no doubt learn the truth the hard way.
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