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Blog of X: X of SWORDS UPDATE!

I can't believe that we are already five issues deep into the X of Swords! And by the end of next week we will have three more chapters as well. This event is running hot and heavy so I am sure there are many of you being lost in the shuffle of magic tarot cards. Not to worry, because the Blog of X is here to keep you caught up and informed. We have had a ton of information given to us since last we chatted so I thought it would be fun to catch up on everything that's occurring in this X-Universe event. I will be going light on spoilers for the three books that dropped this week but I wanted to help out those of you trying to follow along, while also protecting your bank account. I will publish these articles every two or three weeks (whenever I have enough issues combined to talk it up) and try to rank the issues based on several factors (Joy of the Read, Importance to the Event, Quality of Artwork, and Long Term Ramifications). So let's dive in and see where we left off!

X of Swords chapter 2 (X-Factor #4):

I will say that, of the first four issues after X of Swords: Creation, this issue seems the most significant. In fact, for me, it felt like a continuation of the Creation storyline. We learn more about the Ten Mutants versus Ten Horsemen battle that looms in the future and the Ten Swords that will be needed to compete in this battle for Krakoa's future. It was more of a part two to that saga than an issue all on its own. Now, is that a bad thing? Not at all. I think that they used the key X-Factor characters to help continue the drama that Creation started so well that I was drawn into this issue in a big way. The artwork is a little cartoony but it didn't distract from the significant elements in the story.

Apocalypse is mortally wounded, Rictor as well, and Rockslide looks to have been killed before they could even return to Krakoa from Otherworld. All of this happened in Chapter 1, but here in Chapter 2 we see the Krakoa healers and the resurrection team trying to clean up the mess like battlefield medics. Rictor is resurrected after he dies with the healers and appears to be just fine. Rockslide, however, is another matter. He doesn't seem to be the same mutant who died in Otherworld and our heroes soon realize that the stakes of the story just got a lot more serious. If one of them dies while competing in this Ten versus Ten battle in Otherworld, the person that is brought back to life won't be the same mutant we knew from before.

What does all of this mean? It means that Otherworld is truly the hub for all of the Marvel Universe! All the various realities and dimensions connect through this place and when a mutant dies there, their consciousness becomes melded. Resurrecting them then creates a conundrum wherein the person who is brought back to life is a mix of all the alternate versions that exist! Think of it like this, if Spider-Man died in Otherworld and was resurrected, he would no longer just be the Peter Parker we know and love. He would now also be the Tom Holland version, the Tobey Maguire version, the Spider-Verse version, the Ultimate Spider-Man version, and even the Andrew Garfield version (sorry but it's true) all rolled into one being. I think this will be an exciting way to not only keep the stakes of this story high, but also it gives Hickman the chance to reinvent characters he wants to make more interesting. Kill off someone boring or convoluted and bring them back as a wild amalgam of themselves?? Yes please!!!

Joy of the READ: 9/10

Importance to the EVENT: 10/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 8/10

Long Term RAMIFICATIONS: 10/10

X of Swords chapter 3 (Wolverine #6):

I haven't been keeping up with Wolverine so this was a worry for me, but it was unfounded because this is clearly part of X of Swords and it doesn't pretend to be merely a tie-in issue. Wolverine speaks with the island of Krakoa and agrees to compete in this epic Ten vs Ten battle. To do so he needs to collect a specific sword from a sword-making master known as Muramasa! This Japanese artisan has gone missing and the journey of this book involves Logan crossing back through his past relationships in Japan on his way to dealing with the Hand who seem to have captured Muramasa and trapped him between our world and the underworld. We also meet a character named Solem who will be the one fighting Wolverine to the death in the Ten versus Ten battle. Both of them need a Muramasa blade to compete and they are both on his trail.

I don't want to ruin the the backstory for the character of Solem, but I will say that I think he is perfectly crafted. He is definitely a match for Logan and brings a lot of dark humor to the proceedings. He's a wild card, much like Wolverine, and could end up being an important character in the future. This is his first appearance, as far as I know, so spec away if that's your thing. For me, he was a fun addition and their journey to find the sword master was a fun one. The art was great and I loved all of the skeleton Wolverine bits as he journeys through the under world.

Joy of the READ: 9/10

Importance to the EVENT: 8/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 9/10


X of Swords chapter 4 (X-Force #13):

This issue is the part two to the Wolverine issue I just mentioned. Here we have Wolverine and Solem together in the underworld trying to get their sword from this tortured master. The shifting sands of their allegiance was a lot of fun, as was the artwork. I think the team on these two issues tied the story together well and made this into a fun two part story, within the larger X of Swords event.

Solem is fleshed out a bit more, as are his abilities (Wolverine's claws won't be useful against this guy), and the importance of these Muramasa blades. I think he is a cool character and if all of the Ten who end up battling our mutants are as entertaining as this guy, then we are in for something special.

Joy of the READ: 9/10

Importance to the EVENT: 8/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 9/10


X of Swords chapter 5 (Marauders #13):

This issue is really a Storm solo story. She understands that she must participate in this Ten versus Ten battle and, therefore, needs a weapon. She knows that the weapon she needs is actually an ancient Wakandan artifact (a sword known as Skybreaker) that has huge ties to their country, their culture, and their history. Her journey takes us through the ages of Wakanda and into the current era where she must convince T'Challa's mother and sister to give her this blade. Shuri and her mother are reluctant to make such a big decision without their King, who is off doing 'something important'. This leads to a stalemate.

A significant part of this issue involves Storm basically breaking into a secure Wakandan facility and attempting to steal this sword. I felt like it made for an issue that was interesting but less significant to the saga, or even to the Marvel universe as a whole. Like a heist in the middle of a war, it felt a little out of place to me. In some ways, it helped to remind readers of the connections between Storm and the Black Panther (they were married once) but for me it was a surprisingly lackluster issue, considering it involves my favorite mutant. The art was great, especially the way Matteo Lolli combined the past and present together on many pages. It should also be noted that each issue that involves a hero retrieving a blade has also given us the details for that weapon. Just a little something to note since these weapons might have larger significance later on in Marvel history.

Joy of the READ: 7/10

Importance to the EVENT: 8/10

Quality of ARTWORK: 8/10


So there you have it. We have five issues of X of Swords in the bag. Three more will be coming next week (Hellions #5, New Mutants #13, and Cable #5) plus two the week after (Excalibur #13 and X-Men #13). That means it'll be two weeks before I recap this all again for you, my mutant loving friends! At that point I will have five more issues with which to dissect and enjoy! I hope to see you all back here for that.

Here is an eBay affiliate link you 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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