Marvel Comics' 'X of Swords' line-wide X-Men event just wrapped this week, and it left some prominent mutants in very different places from where they started. Among the central players whose status quos underwent major shifts is Betsy Braddock, Captain Britain.
In the first fight of the 'X of Swords' tournament, fought between the X-Men of Krakoa and the Swordbearers of Arakko, the unbeatable mutant Isca the Unbeaten literally shattered Betsy into shards of glass with a single blow, apparently killing her. But the magic of Otherworld may have another fate in mind for Betsy Braddock, with Saturnyne, Otherworld's ruler, seemingly caught in a struggle between her own desires, and the power wielded by Betsy.
Spoilers ahead for 'X of Swords'
Throughout 'X of Swords,' Saturnyne manipulates events to some degree, all the while entreating Brian Braddock, Betsy's brother, to reclaim his mantle as Captain Britain and become Saturnyne's lover. But Brian refuses throughout the story, instead taking the mantle of Captain Avalon, serving his brother Jaime, the ruler of the Otherworld territory of Avalon.
As a result of Brian's refusal to do as Saturnyne asks, she doubles down on her hatred of Betsy, rigging the competition so she's forced to fight an unbeatable opponent. When Betsy is shattered by Isca the Unbeaten, Saturnyne implies she's to blame for magically manipulating the fight's outcome. However, it's also seemingly implied Jamie Braddock has used his reality manipulating powers to interfere in the situation somewhat.
This implication bears out later in the story, when the final fight of the tournament becomes an all-out war between the allies of Apocalypse and his wife Genesis/Annihilation. Sensing the fight is getting out of hand, Saturnyne takes the shards of Betsy's being and uses them to cast a spell meant not only to bring Brian Braddock under her control and infatuation but to restore the Captain Britain Corps, the multiversal agents of Saturnyne and the Starlight Citadel.
But things don't go as planned, and when Saturnyne finishes her spell, she has not restored Brian Braddock, but Betsy, by creating a mosaic of her image from the shards – though Betsy remains physically missing from the fight. It's possible that Jamie Braddock's influence is to blame – more on that momentarily.
And that's where Betsy is left at the end of 'X of Swords,' with her ambiguous fate almost certain to inform the opening arc of Excalibur in the just-coined 'Reign of X' era.
"The sword is sheathed," reads Marvel's solicitation for December's Excalibur #16. "The team is left changed in the aftermath of 'X of Swords'... and some things lost cannot be replaced."
That seems a strong reference to Betsy's missing status quo, and the solicitation text for January's Excalibur #17 makes it clear that Betsy's fate is at the heart of the next Excalibur arc.
"Queen Elizabeth III?!?" reads the solicitation, while the cover appears to show Betsy Braddock in royal regalia. "Opportunities and opportunists. Two heads-of-state seek to restore the state of things."
Again, the implication here seems to be a conflict between Saturnyne, ruler of Otherworld, and her vassal, Jamie Braddock, who rules Avalon. With Brian Braddock, Saturnyne's coveted agent, now working for Jamie, could Saturnyne be planning to return Betsy to Jamie in exchange for Brian's service?
The solicitation text for February's Excalibur #18 seems to throw a wrench in the works, adding Excalibur to the mix.
"The woman on the shore!" it reads. "As the Council makes moves to protect mutants in the Otherworld, Excalibur must determine the fate of Betsy Braddock."
This seems to confirm that, whatever happened to Betsy, it's not the same as the effects of death and resurrection in Otherworld.
At the start of 'X of Swords,' it was established that any mutant who dies in the Otherworld is subject to having their personality overwritten when resurrected by the Five, due to the multiversal nature of the Otherworld. But Betsy didn't technically die – at least not as it seems. Instead, it appears Saturnyne placed a spell on her, which may mean that the effects of her return could be wildly different.
So far, the mystery of Betsy Braddock's fate is wide open – but one thing is certain, it will be decided in the next few issues of Excalibur, as the X-Men line enters the 'Reign of X' era.
Get caught up on the ending of 'X of Swords' before the 'Reign of X' era begins.