Marvel’s most powerful magician slays mutants
Excalibur # 26 reveals that the mutants of Krakoa face a deadly threat in the form of Marvel’s oldest and most powerful magician.
Warning: The following contains spoilers for Excalibur # 26, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
In Otherworld, the wizard Merlyn defeated the mutant team Excalibur and once again established himself as the Omniversal Guardian, watching over the entire Marvel Multiverse. While Doctor Strange is more famous, Merlyn has demonstrated that he is once again the most powerful magician in the universe. Unfortunately for the X-Men and their allies, his first act in his new role is to declare war on the mutants of Avalon and Krakoa, as seen in Excalibur # 26 (by Tini Howard, Marcus To, Erick Arcinega and VCs Ariana Maher).
Merlyn is Marvel’s take on the mythological wizard from Arthurian lore. He is also the Supreme Sorcerer of the Otherworld, the very bond of the multiverse. At one point, he served as an omniverse guardian and was responsible for the security of the entire multiverse. Merlyn’s daughter Roma took over the role after him and has been both his partner and rival in the past. She was aided in her responsibilities by Opal Luna Saturnyne, the Omniversal Matrix, who then served as the Omniverse Guardian prior to Merlyn’s takeover.
At the center of Otherworld stands the Starlight Citadel, a tall tower that serves as a link to the entire Marvel multiverse. It was Merlyn who tuned the different universes to one another and woven them together into a singular matrix, establishing the Citadel. After years of war and chaos, Otherworld fell into disarray allowing Merlyn to march her forces against the Citadel and the mutants within. Otherworld was developed extensively in the recent “X of Swords” crossover, establishing various courts that represent populations and lands that have just been explored, and revealing that Merlyn rules the Holy Republic of Fae. Since then, Merlyn has led a campaign to drive mutants out of Otherworld. The mighty wizard rallied an army and attacked the Citadel, retaking it and announcing his intention to resume his role as Omniversal Guardian. From that position, he has set his sights on Avalon, now ruled by the mutant nation of Krakoa, and has no intention of resting until the recently revealed King Arthur sits on the throne. .
Merlyn’s story is mired in deception, confusion, and mystery. First, there have been many versions of the Wizard in Marvel comics over the years. His early stories reflect the mythology of the magician Camelot, with him performing tasks such as aiding King Arthur, mentoring and confronting Morgan Le Fey, and guiding the Knights on their quests. The current incarnation is a combination of all of his multiversal alternate selves.
This version of the magician has already proven to be extremely powerful. During a first battle against Morgan Le Fay, he threw shooting stars at him from the sky. While in Camelot, he helped the First Dark Knight forge the Ebony Blade from Star Stone, a meteor with unique powers. While Doctor Strange is an explorer of the multiverse, Merlyn is the one who brought the various universes together in the multiverse. He was the teacher of the mighty Morgan Le Fay and faced everyone from the Avengers to the X-Men. Merlyn’s powers are quite different from Strange’s but ultimately enough to make him the most powerful magician in the Marvel Universe.
In the years 2016 Doctor Strange and the Supreme Wizards (by Robbie Thompson, Javier Rodriguez and Nathan Stockman), Merlin is revealed to have been a Wizard Supreme for a time and an old friend of Strange. As a character brought together from all of his multiversal variations, containing all aspects of himself and their subsequent powers and abilities, Merlyn is incredibly powerful.
The Mighty Magician now aims to banish all mutants from another world, but he has yet to reveal his plan to do so. In the recent announcement Knights of X, taking place in the Other World, the mutants will likely rally to survive in the Other World as the formidable magician stalks them.
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