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Blog of X: Ten of Swords ROUNDUP!

Another two weeks have passed, my mutant-loving friends, and I am back to catch you up on all things X of Swords related! This series of articles is written to help those of you who aren't reading the entire saga so that you can decide which issues you want to read. I won't spoil anything but I will instead give you rankings for every issue on several scales (Joy of the Read, Importance to the Event, Quality of Artwork, and Long-Term Ramifications). For those of you reading the entire event I will hope to illuminate details for you, but if I miss anything please leave me a comment and let me know. If you have missed the previous Blog of X installments be sure to check them out! For the rest of you, it's time to dive in!

X of Swords chapter 6: (Hellions #5)

The comedy of Mr. Sinister during the Hickman run has been fantastic and his parts in this issue were a real treat. He is a classic, self-absorbed villain, and he has come up with a wonderfully evil master plan to put these gladiator games out of commission. If the mutants can steal all the swords, before their enemies can collect them, then maybe there won't be a fight after all. It's as devious as it is reckless and I can't wait to see where this takes the story. Plus, watching Mr. Sinister play rock, paper, scissors, versus his clone to decide who will risk their life leading this expedition, was wonderful. I will now and forever refer to that game as 'the Noble Contest'.

As for what this all could mean for the X of Swords event, I just don't know. Is this a wild, off-script story that will have a huge impact, or a lighthearted diversion that won't yield anything valuable? It could go either way. Personally I hope it amounts to more than a diversion because Mr. Sinister is always enjoyable to watch.

Joy of the READ: 9/10

Importance to the EVENT: 8/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 9/10


X of Swords chapter 7: (New Mutants #13)

This was another solid issue by my estimation. I have enjoyed the relationships between Cypher (the mutant with linguistic abilities), his mutant partner Warlock (a living machine who can change his shape), and the Island of Krakoa. In a way, these are three of the most lonely and isolated characters in the current run. They seem to only have one another and, in the case of the island, can only communicate through Cypher. When Cypher learns that he will have to fight in this ten versus ten tournament, he has to see if his battle skills are up to it. Warlock becomes his living sword and warrior-extreme Magik agrees to be his teacher. What results are a number of moments highlighting everyone's concern that Cypher isn't a fighter and will likely die in the battles ahead.

This issue is less important to the saga or to the X-Universe as a whole but it does raise a lot of questions about how life on the island would be different without Cypher to translate. We also get a few 'radical' solutions that could see Cypher being replaced in combat but we will have to wait to see what becomes of all of these powerful moments. I found this to be a sweet and introspective issue that was a nice alternative to the rest of this event.

Joy of the READ: 9/10

Importance to the EVENT: 7/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 9/10


X of Swords chapter 8: (Cable #5)

I was sad to find that the Cable issue was my least favorite of the books from October 14th. Maybe I haven't read enough Cable up to now (which is to say I haven't read any) but this entire issue seemed to just amount to Cable getting his sword back again. For those that don't recall, he used it to power up the S.W.O.R.D. space station just a few issues ago.

This issue focused on the space station and the horror that befell the team of SHIELD agents who had been working there. Issue 5 was something like a weak horror comic, with Jean, Scott, and Cable hustling around in space with monsters, trying to save the day before they are killed. As I read that, it all sounds great, but I suppose it was the lack of creativity in the execution that dragged it down for me, plus it still seems very disconnected from the story at large. It didn't amount to much and I hope for more from this character in upcoming issues.

Joy of the READ: 6/10

Importance to the EVENT: 6/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 6/10


X of Swords chapter 9: (Excalibur #13)

I think it's possible that skipping a few issues of Excalibur (I missed a few right before this event began) is hurting my ability to enjoy this issue. I didn't find myself caring for all the drama between the Braddock siblings and I still dislike the character of Saturnyne, the ruler of Otherworld and Emma Frost's look-alike. I was glad to see the twists in the plot, as characters were battling for titles, weapons, and power, but overall the sibling parts of the story were definitely lacking for me.

Also this issue seemed to have a HUGE moment but then nothing came of it. Without totally ruining the story, it appeared to me that a very popular X-Men character died in Otherworld during this issue. Because we know that mutants who die in Otherworld won't be resurrected as their old selves in the same way, I was shocked that nobody is talking about this. Even the book itself, seemed to forget that this happened and it rushed on with the story. That was a major disappointment and I feel like if they don't address this soon I am going to be even more frustrated. For me, this issue was more of a mess because it spent too much time on the jockeying for power and not enough on the emotional ramifications of the life-and-death stakes in this story.

Joy of the READ: 7/10

Importance to the EVENT: 9/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 8/10

Long Term RAMIFICATIONS: 8/10 (could be more depending on that death)

X of Swords chapter 10: (X-Men #13)

This might be the most significant issue of the five I'm reviewing this week. I love Apocalypse and he is given a powerful story here. As he is struggling to stay alive with the healers, he is recounting the tragedy of the two islands and how they were forced to separate. Remember, he was severely wounded in X of Swords chapter 1, and here in chapter 10 we see that the wound isn't an ordinary one. His mutant abilities seem to be altered by it and he is having trouble healing.

But the joy of this issue is in the wonderfully detailed flashback. We get a deeper view of both the origin for Krakoa AND Apocalypse. In fact, I would argue that this is the first TRUE origin for Apocalypse that we've ever been given. He is a mysterious character driven to cull the weak mutants and create the ultimate fighting force with the best of the best. In this issue, we see why that's the case. I feel like this issue will be one of the most significant ones for a long period of time after X of Swords.

Joy of the READ: 9/10

Importance to the EVENT: 10/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 9/10

Long Term RAMIFICATIONS: 10/10

So there you have it. We have ten issues of X of Swords in the bag. Another vital issue will be coming next week (X of Swords; STASIS #1) so stay ready for big things to come. It'll be two weeks before I recap this all again for you, my mutant loving friends! At that point I will have a lot more issues to dissect and enjoy! I hope to see you all back here for that.

Here's an eBay affiliate link, as usual, if want to hunt for some Hickman keys AND support this blog at the same time.

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.

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