After reading the latest issue in the X of Swords (STASIS), I came to the conclusion that some big things are in store for this Hickman universe. A few of my friends, including Dan from Comic Chop News, predicted the 'twist' at the end of this issue, but it got me thinking that it might be fun to speculate on how this event series might end up reshaping the mutant island nation. Therefore, I am launching this speculative look into the future and making some predictions. Let's see how accurate I can be!
Winners and Losers:
We are going to have a Ten vs Ten tournament so it stands to reason that there will be some winners and losers. Nine of our mutant friends (I'll count Brian Braddock I suppose) have followed Apocalypse into Otherworld to fight to the death and, as we know, dying in Otherworld comes at a price. Any mutant who is resurrected after losing in this tournament won't be the same character we remember. Instead, they will be an amalgam of all the other possible versions of that character from across the multi-verse. Consider this to be the Hickman reboot for any mutants he'd like to reshape. SO then, who do we think will win, and who will be 'reshaped'? Here is a list for you along with their chances of winning (High, 50/50, or Low).
Apocalypse: chances of survival - Low
I believe that this series is setting us up for the end of Apocalypse as we know him. This is his swan song, as it were, and he will either come out of this event totally changed or he won't come out at all. I will be sad either way but at least he's getting a cool send-off.
Wolverine: chances of survival - High
Come on! It's Wolverine! I know he has many great iterations (Old Man Logan is cool) but they won't completely reshape one of their most popular characters. I think Logan is about as safe as they get.
Betsy Braddock: chances of survival - 50/50
I give Betsy a 50/50 because she's been reformed so many times already that this might be a great way to streamline her persona/backstory. I know she has recently become Captain Britain and the star of Excalibur but that story has also nearly run its course. I would say that either Betsy or her brother will die. I just can't decide which one.
Brian Braddock: chances of survival - Low
Ok, I pick Brian. Truth is, once his sister took over as Captain Britain and his brother became King, Brian became useless.The former Captain Britain has historical value but not much else. I think he's the safer bet to lose and be 'reforged' into a new character. Plus this would create more drama for his sister if she survives. Also, he's the only Non-Mutant. Can he even be resurrected?
Cypher/Warlock: chances of survival - Low
They have definitely hinted at how valuable he is to Krakoa and how bad at sword fighting he is. They also showed us a mutant who can talk to Arrako on the other side (in the STASIS issue) so it's not as if he cannot be replaced. I believe he and Warlock will be severely changed or perhaps even melded after their loss so I can't see Doug making it out of his battle alive.
Storm: chances of survival - High
No way do they kill Storm. She is about as safe a bet as Wolverine in my opinion. She's a great and beloved character who is supremely powerful and always rises to a challenge in battle. She is a lock to win her fight.
Kid Cable: chances of survival - Low
Besides being labeled, The Fool in the latest issue (it was his Tarot card), I think Cable as a young kid is starting to wear thin. I can totally see Hickman using him as an example and melding together all our versions of this time traveler into one form. It would be a bold move and an exciting one. I personally am not a huge fan of kid Cable so I hope this is correct.
Magik: chances of survival - High
Illyana is such a cool character and one of the best sword fighters in this event. I doubt she will lose and to reinvent her would be a shame. She has a great design and backstory so I can't imagine Hickman is interested in reforming her in some way. I would say she's about as safe as Wolverine.
Gorgon (Tomi Shishido): chances of survival - Low
The truth is I barely know this character. I remember him from the early Wolverine comics but I haven't kept track of him and he's beginning to feel like the ultimate Red-Shirt on this team. Half the time they don't even reference him. He's a cool character with some fun powers but I could also see him as fresh meat to demonstrate how tough their opponents are. Sorry Tomi, but someone has to lose.
Saturnyne?: chances of survival - Low
As I understand it, the queen of the Otherworld is a participant in this fight. Perhaps I'm wrong but I couldn't find a tenth champion so I am assuming that she will be involved, beyond merely organizing the event. If so, then I hope she dies because I dislike her faux Emma Frost persona and a reboot would be fun. So, partially due to my own wants/desires, I am giving her lower odds. If I'm wrong, someone please tell me who the tenth combatant is!!
Besides our favorite mutants, how else might this event change the Hickman X-Universe? That brings me to my next category:
I think another part of this event will be a reshaping of the mutant universes. My guess is we will see the reforming of the two mutant islands into one land again. This means a whole lot of new mutants will become members of Xavier's nation. Will these new characters be given the same amnesty as the original mutants? Will they all get along? I imagine this will fuel the next year's stories.
How will this change Otherworld, the nexus for all the Marvel dimensions? My guess is that it won't be destroyed but that the hierarchy that controls it might shuffle. Perhaps Saturnyne or the Braddocks will take a more hands-on role. Or maybe the newly-revealed wife of Apocalypse will take over? Any way you cut it, the universes need Otherworld as a gateway. So how it survives this event will likely be important for Marvel in the future.
The villains we are meeting are the most promising and exciting element of this event for me. We now have a wonderfully diverse new group of villains for the Marvel Universe. Will these ten new antagonists become forces to be reckoned with like Knull or Thanos? Only time will tell for sure, but I could definitely see a bunch of these villains becoming useful characters in other books. First, they would need to defeat one of our mutants, but then they would be primed as a villain for future comics. In fact, killing a beloved mutant would be an excellent way of bringing a new baddie into the 616 (Marvel's primary dimension).
I wanted to say one final thing. Hickman doesn't play by any rules so we need to be ready for some twists that we can't expect. I would imagine that at least one game-changing moment could be awaiting us in the next 11 issues. It could be a death or it could be a significant role reversal of some sort. It's entirely possible that we will see several of these things and I look forward to that most of all.
So there you have it. We have 11 issues of X of Swords in the bag and a ton of speculation still awaiting us. 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.
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