A major figure on Krakoa just proved to be the key to restoring Captain Britain, but a powerful villain has made their way to Krakoa in the process.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Excalibur #19 by Tini Howard, Marcus To, Erick Arciniega & VC’s Ariana Maher, on sale now
The efforts to restore the Captain Britain of Earth-616 have resulted in some surprising revelations in Excalibur. And while the magical X-Men’s mission might finally have taken a step forward, it has also resulted in some potential new chaos for Krakoa.
In Excalibur #19, Captain Britain has finally been restored on Krakoa, but Excalibur has unleashed Malice onto the island in the process.
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Following the events of X of Swords, the biggest casualty on the X-Men’s side seemed to be Betsy Braddock’s Captain Britain. Although her body returned to Krakoa, her mind was seemingly corrupted in some mysterious manner that possessed her body. Meanwhile, Betsy’s actual spirit was shot across the multiverse, even briefly possessing the body of one of her other multiversal counterparts. The task of trying to bring her back to the Marvel Universe eventually falls to Kwannon. The assassin’s impressive telepathic abilities and deep, complicated relationship with Betsy allowed her to force the malevolent entity and then reach through to Betsy’s spirit in Otherworld, guiding her back to her body. This effectively restores Betsy and allows the gate from Krakoa to Otherworld to remain open.
However, there’s a serious complication. As Psylocke returns Betsy to her body, she mentions an entity that she had to force out of Betsy’s body, but doesn’t identify it. Once Betsy is restored, she spits out a distinct pendant, a black band holding up a human face. Betsy recognizes what has happened, just as Rogue is able to force out a malevolent blue spirit that quickly blasts through the Krakoa Gate before anyone can catch it. Rogue reveals that the presence that was possessing Captain Britain and then herself was actually Malice, and that now she’s made her way to the island nation of Krakoa, she could possess any other mutant.
Malice was introduced in 1986’s Uncanny X-Men #210 by Chris Claremont and John Romita Jr. As a purely psionic and malicious being, Malice is able to spread like a malevolent spirit, possessing others and commanding their bodies. She was one of the Marauders who took part in the Mutant Massacre, even used the opportunity to become bonded with Polaris for a time. Although Malice was seemingly destroyed by Mister Sinister at one point, she was eventually able to re-emerge in the present-day. After encountering the X-Men shortly before the “Dawn of X” era, she was seemingly destroyed once and for all by Chamber. However, it appears that Malice was able to survive in at least some form.
Malice being on Krakoa is a serious complication for numerous people that could prove to be a very dangerous wild card to introduce to the nation. Malice could try to reconnect with Polaris, who has taken on a far more important role on the island as one of the chief members of X-Factor. Or she could target Havok, another mutant she has bonded with in the past. Havok’s volatile space on the island could only be escalated by Malice’s influence. She could seek revenge against Chamber or could look for her former master Mister Sinister, giving the dark-minded scientist a potential way to turn anyone on the island into a sleeper agent. Malice could come across the likes of the Shadow King and assist him, or she could even just move into hiding and bide her time for an opening.
While it’s good that Excalibur is at least aware enough of her presence to warn the rest of the island, this means there’s a real threat hiding in wait somewhere on Krakoa. Cnsidering the overall telepathic weaknesses of the island’s defenses, she might be able to do some real damage before she’s caught, which underscores how vulnerable to psychic threats the X-Men’s home still is.
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