X-Men comic events tend to not be small, and also tend to shake up the whole line to very dramatic degrees. Fall of the Mutants set up the Australia Arc and ultimately lead to that team going through the Siege Perilous. Inferno killed off Madeline Pryor, de-aged Illyana Rasputin, and sent Nathan Summers into the future to become Cable. X-ecutioner’s Song unleashed the Legacy Virus. And the most recent one of these has been X of Swords.
In particular, X of Swords is our first big event miniseries exclusive to the X-Line since House of X/Powers of X. Yes, the X-Men took part in the Empyre event, but they basically operated on the periphery – and even the setup for their tie-in (Scarlet Witch tries to do right for the mutants by resurrecting the murdered mutants of Genosha, only for them to show up as zombies) is rendered moot by Krakoa.
In any case, considering the way the status quo was set up, and the ray of sunshine that Krakoa is compared to the dark and morose story that was the 616 side of Age of X-Man, I was a little apprehensive. We’re in a good place, why couldn’t we stay here for a while.
Good news – they’re going to stay there for a while.
It does start moving in a potentially ominous direction with the inciting event being a team of Mutants going through a portal to Otherworld with Apocalypse and Summoner to find out the state of Arakko and rescue Unus the Untouchable (who was sent ahead off-panel to scout), the sibling island of Krakoa, where a whole bunch of mutants were in the ancient past. However, Summoner betrays the party, and in the process, Rockslide is killed, permanently, setting up that if you die in Otherworld, you die for real.
Consequently, when the main thrust (no pun intended) of the event was set up, with 10 mutants from Krakoa going up against 10 opponents from Arrako, in a contest organized by Omniversal Majestrix Opal Luna Saturnyne, I suspected that at least one or two mutants weren’t coming back alive. I became more concerned when one of the mutants was Doug “Why did you buy me a Chiaotzu T-Shirt” Ramsey.
Indeed, while there is a fair amount of weight and gravitas in the story, I’d compare X of Swords much more heavily to something like the Cross-Time Caper from Excalibur Vol. 1. The involvement of Saturnyne helps to bear this out – and indeed the biggest repercussions of this story lie more on the new Excalibur book, with the revived Captain Britain Corps (based around Betsy Braddock) – among other things, with the perhaps sole exception of two members of the Council having stepped down.
In all, this is very well done, with some very great art, and I absolutely enjoyed every issue of this story.
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