“The Eye of the Beholder”
Writer: Michael Higgins
Pencils: Ron Lim
Inks: Joe Rubinstein
Colours: Glynis Oliver
Letters: Augustin Mas
Editor: Terry Kavanagh
It’s out with the Claremont/Davis, in with the Higgins/Lim with Excalibur #20, “The Eye of the Beholder,” a flashback issue we’re charitably describing as “What If Excalibur was Set in the Silver Age?” Literature professor and recovering Gambit fan Dr. Asha Jeffers joins Anna, Mav, and Andrew to talk villains of the week, a suffusion of thought bubbles, Meggan’s hairy elbows, Kitty and Rachel’s witchy date, and Demon Druid’s luscious locks. Plus, we check in with the team’s sexy pajamas, Asha gives a hard yikes to Brian/Courtney, and Anna’s latest attempt to defend Nightcrawler goes horribly wrong.
This episode has an enhanced video version! Watch here:
Some of us had a decidedly pessimistic view on this fill-in:
“This isn’t the old Excalibur you knew and loved. This is a cover band. It’s all the things you know and love about Excalibur on the surface, with all the underlying character dynamics and tensions and complexities and nuances stripped away.” -Andrew
On Silver Age references:
“This felt like someone doing an impression of Claremont. It also felt like someone doing an impression of Silver Age Marvel. Everyone says what they’re feeling in thought bubbles.” -Mav
On Brian’s redemption arc:
“As a postcolonialist, the idea that Captain Britain’s main character trait is that he sucks is kind of appealing. But I was a bit surprised that was the case?” -Asha
Revisiting Kurt as "nice guy":
“I think it’s important when we talk about the ‘nice guy’ trope that we don’t just apply it to anyone who has an unrequited crush. It’s certainly possible to have that pining that coexists with friendship in a way that doesn’t feel manipulative.” -Asha
On queer coding:
“Kitty and Rachel are having a night on the town. They try a bar called ‘The Witchery,’ which they expect to be one thing, and turns out to be filled with creepy dudes. It kinda seems like they were looking for a certain type of bar. And this isn’t that certain type of bar.” -Anna
On the heartbreaking significance of Meggan rejecting Kurt:
“We haven’t seen this dynamic with Meggan and Kurt before, where we see her being afraid of what he represents for her. Here, he’s presented as a fear of something she might become, or something she might already be.” -Anna
On new (unfortunate) dimensions of Brian/Courtney:
Asha: “I assumed, from this issue, that Brian and Meggan aren’t in a serious relationship?”
Mav: “Oh no- she’s his live-in girlfriend.”
Asha: “That’s a hard yikes.”
Want more Asha Jeffers?
Check out her chapbook of travel poems, Mundane Majestic, which she guarantees brings some laughs (and we agree!).
And as usual:
You can find Anna on Twitter (@peppard_anna) and on her podcast with Andrew and Michael Hancock, Three Panel Contrast (@3PanelContrast).
You can find Andrew on Twitter (@ClaremontRun).
You can find Mav on Twitter (@chrismaverick) and on his podcast, VoxPopcast (@VoxPopcast).