A member of the X-Men has been named the true heir to Apocalypse and finds himself with a major role in Krakoa.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Excalibur # 18 by Tini Howard, Marcus To, Erick Arciniega and Ariana Maher of VC, now on sale
The X-Men have uniquely adapted to their new status in the world thanks to the creation of Krakoa. And when he settled on Krakoa, Apocalypse doubled down on the mystical side of Marvel’s mutant legacy as part of his service in helping Captain Britain and Excalibur. His lessons could have a serious impact on Krakoa’s future, thanks to someone willing to put himself in his place.
While Apocalypse may no longer be on Krakoa, his recent student Rictor has taken his place as the mutant world’s chief mystic, with Apocyaplse’s secret will shortly before the events of X of Swords making Rictor his heir.
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After arriving in Krakoa, Apocayplse left his evil past behind and became one of the most powerful allies of groups like Excalibur, where he worked with Captain Britain and Jamie Braddock. He even ended up taking the former X-Force Rictor member under his wing, teaching the earth-moving mutant in the ways of mutant magic. Rictor became a true believer in his lessons and was one of the ancient villain’s greatest defenders among heroes. Now that Apocalypse has departed for Amenth with his family, Rictor has been going through its effects, dedicating himself to further study of mutant magic. Rictor has a chance to fully explore what that means after Captain Britain returns to Krakoa. After his defeat in X of spadesBetsy Braddock was not herself, something Rogue increasingly suspects is due to some outside influence.
Taking Rogue to the Grove of Possibilities, Apocayplse’s magical laboratory, Rictor argues that magic could be the key to restoring her. He even argues that mutants have started forming covens, like the Five. He firmly believes that this is the future of mutants and that he has a historically important role to play as a wizard’s guide. It appears that Apocayplse agreed, as the final pages of the issue reveal that Apocayplse wrote a final will before the events of X of spades. In the event of his final death or eventual disappearance, Apocayplse announces that all things that belonged to him now belong to Rictor. The will confirms that Rictor assumes all the responsibilities and elements that Apocayplse had been gathering, with the firm knowledge that Apocayplse truly believed that Rictor would be the perfect figure to carry on this legacy.
It’s a powerful moment for Rictor and it solidifies him as a leading mystical voice for the X-Men in the future. As the testament says, Rictor has an innate connection to Krakoa thanks to his powers, making him vital to the island / Apocalypse directly compares him to Cypher, the only mutant who can actually communicate with Krakoa, in terms of importance. However, this also means that Rictor has inherited the darker aspects of Apocayplse’s work, including the captured Morgan Le Faye and all of his experiments within the kingdom of Avalon.
With diplomatic relations with the Otherworld already stalled, Rictor will have to be careful not to leave Excalibur, and by extension all of Krakoa, embroiled in deadly mystical conflicts. Saturnyne showed how dangerous it can really be during X of spades, and there are many lingering threats within the Otherworld who would relish the opportunity to take down the X-Men for all their worth. Rictor becoming the heir to Apocalypse might be the first step towards creating more mutant miracles, but it is vital that the hero never completely follow the bloody path that his predecessor did.
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