I don't know about the rest of you, but I am getting very excited for the X of Swords event (pronounced Ten of Swords like a tarot card) that begins this week! Another epic mutant event from the ever-evolving Jonathan Hickman X-universe? That sounds like exactly what I need. If, however, you need a refresher before issue one, then you've come to the right place! Here is a handy guide for what you should know before reading issue one!
What is X of Swords?
This is a 22-issue mutant event, like X-Tinction Agenda or the Mutant Massacre saga from days of old. Yes, that's right, 22 issues! The story will take place in both a three-part series of comics titled X of Swords (with various subtitles like Creation, Stasis and Destruction) and in the regular monthly mutant titles. The issues will include a number on the front cover so that you can tell where they fit in this epic story. I know that sounds like a lot of comics, but the truth is I am already buying several of these titles so, in the end, it was only an additional handful of comics for my personal pull list. It's possible that you will be in the same situation. Titles include: one issue of X-Factor, two issues of Wolverine, three issues of Excalibur, three issues of Marauders, two issues of X-Force, two issues of Cable, two issues of Hellions, one issue of New Mutants, and then three issues of X-Men.
What's important to know before you dive into this saga?
First up, you need to know what's going on with the oldest mutant, Apocalypse. Our favorite blue baddie has been spotlighted in the series Excalibur during Dawn of X, and he will be a big part in this event. He seems to be 'aiding' Betsy Braddock in her journey as the new Captain Britain. In the current storyline, she has taken up her brother's sword Excalibur while her brother has found a new weapon in the form of the Sword of Might. Apocalypse helped lead various battles in this series and even died once when Rogue completely absorbed him, much like she did to Carol Danvers long ago. I will say, "Rogue-pocalypse" was one of my favorite parts, although she didn't last long enough for me. After his resurrection, he was reunited with 'the Summoner'. This is one of the children belonging to the oldest of Apocalypse's horsemen. In issue 12 of X-Men (a very important set up for X of Swords) Summoner and Apocalypse sit together and speak of the history of Krakoa island. Which brings us to my second topic:
KRAKOA and ARAKKO
In issue 4 of Powers of X, we learned a little bit about the history of the island Krakoa, thanks to the mutant Doug Ramsey who can actually speak with the island. Then, in issue 12 of X-Men, Summoner told us even more. So far, we have learned that long ago Krakoa and Arakko were once collectively know as the ancient land Okkara. There were invaders from a dark world known as Amenth who wielded the Twilight Sword. Apocalypse, who was alive at the time, fought the invaders with his original four horsemen. This battle caused the split in the land and the separation of the islands. In the end the horsemen were sealed behind the chasm between the lands as a way of keeping the invaders at bay. Apocalypse stayed with Krakoa while everyone he knew was left behind on Arakko. Then, back in issue 2 of Hickman's X-Men, the islands found one another somehow. They connected once more and, waiting on Arakko, was the Summoner who had come along for the ride. I think Summoner and the two, newly rejoined, islands will be very important. Especially when you note how issue 12 of X-Men ends...
The story behind X of Swords seems to be dealing with warriors from other realms coming to take vengeance on ours. So far we have already seen glimpses of various alternate realms during Hickman's run. Otherworld, as seen in Dawn of X, is the land of Avalon from the comic Excalibur, where Captain Britain is the champion. It exists as another pair of island nations connected to Great Britain, though in an alternate dimension or plane of existence. In addition, we have the current vision of Arakko, seen at the end of X-Men #12. We got a glimpse of the land beyond the chasm where Apocalypse's original horsemen might still exist. Summoner said they had spent ages fighting off the evil of the Twilight Sword. Apocalypse's wife, Genesis, stayed on the other side of the rift to lead the fight (or did Apocalypse abandon her to die?). Recently, according to Summoner, Genesis died and the Twilight Sword achieved victory. In a last desperate attempt to win, the remaining survivors reopened the rift and sent a portion of Arakko through to the other side, with the hope of finding Apocalypse and the mutant army he was supposed to have been building. When he hears all of this, Apocalypse is spurned to organize the mutants of Krakoa for war.
What are all these swords and who has them?
Based on all the artwork I am seeing it seems likely that all of your favorite mutant characters will be getting a sword of some sort. It's hard to know for certain who will have which weapon, since the story hasn't officially started yet. However, in the recent Cable series we saw Cable get a new sword for himself. Also, as mentioned we have the Braddocks, both with swords as well. I'm hearing that the original Black Knight's sword could possibly be making an appearance too. My assumption is that we will see a lot of new weapons forged through the guidance of Apocalypse, most from items rooted in mutant lore such as Cerebro and the Phoenix Force. I saw some websites using the Mark Brooks covers to try and make guesses about who will have which weapons. I won't spoil any of that here since I think it'll be part of the fun in this series, but I will say that it all sounds exciting.
I hope that this bonus edition of the Blog of X was helpful and gets you excited for this event series. I know it's a lot to take in, but some of this you might already have gotten if you've been reading some of these current runs. Like any good event series, you really just have to strap in and go along for the ride.
But don't worry! I will be back again on Friday for our usual Blog of X entry! This week I will review X of Swords #1 (CREATION) and give some theories on where the story might be headed.
Let me know if I got anything wrong or if there is anything more that you can add to this information drop! To get some of the Hickman books for yourself AND support my column, here's an eBay affiliate link for you. Remember anything you buy in the 30 minutes after you click, ensures that I, personally, get a portion of those eBay fees!
Thanks for taking the time to hang out and I hope to see you back here again every Friday for more BLOG of X!!! If you want to get more from the John's Comics with Kids squad just watch for us on Instagram and YouTube.