What is Dawn of X?
There’s no point jumping into X of Swords until at least familiarizing yourself with the current status quo of the X-Men franchise, which is dubbed “Dawn of X.” Suffice it to say, a lot has changed this year since Hickman took the reins. You can check out IGN’s full Dawn of X breakdown if you want all the juicy details, but we’ll try to recap recent events as succinctly as possible here.
Basically, everything Hickman does with the X-Men line hinges on a major plot twist. Moira MacTaggert, previously described as a human scientist aligned with Charles Xavier, was revealed in House of X # 2 to be a mutant. And not just any mutant, but someone with the power to die and wake up in the womb with memories of their past lives intact. Moira is currently in her tenth life cycle, with most of her past lives spent in a seemingly futile quest to keep the mutant from being wiped out by the Sentinels. Sooner or later, each timeline culminates with the creation of the unstoppable Sentinel Nimrod and the annihilation of the X-Men.
Precognitive mutant Destiny told Moira that this cycle will end with her tenth or eleventh life, depending on the choices Moira makes. So faced with what may be her last chance to ensure the survival of her people, Moira launched her most ambitious plan to date. She was successful in rallying Professor X and Magneto to her cause and helped them establish a mutant nation on the living island of Krakoa (the same island that tried to eat the X-Men in Giant-Size X-Men # 1). Between that and finding a way to repeatedly resurrect the dead X-Men, the mutant race is finally on the rebound. But even with most of the world recognizing Krakoa’s sovereignty, it remains to be seen whether the mutantkind can defy fate and finally ensure its own survival.
Box – If this ambitious overhaul of the X-Men lore has you confused and wondering if all the previous stories have been relegated to older timelines, you’re not alone. We still have many burning questions about Dawn of X and the profound implications of this reveal.
Krakoa has already passed his first big test with the assassination of Charles Xavier in X-Force # 1 (he has improved). Now he faces his second test, with Apocalypse rallying the X-Men to defeat an ancient foe from his own past.
The story of the Apocalypse and Krakoa
Starting with House of X and Powers of X and continuing into ongoing books like X-Men and Excalibur, Hickman and his collaborators began to flesh out the shared story between Apocalypse and Krakoa. While we already knew that Krakoa himself is a mutant – a literal living island that can grow, shape, and even communicate with others – it turns out there is a lot more to tell.
Krakoa actually has a sister island named Arakko. The two islands once existed as a single entity named Okkara, which housed Apocalypse, his wife Genesis, and other early mutants. Okkara has been invaded by demonic hordes and split in half by a weapon called the Twilight Sword. Apocalypse and his first horsemen (who are actually his children) fought a long and bloody battle against Annihilation, a god of a realm called Amenth. As Apocalypse succeeded in banishing Annihilation and its hordes, Genesis, the First Horsemen, and the land of Arakko were locked in another dimension.
Genesis has been pursuing this war ever since, even though it turned out to be an impossible challenge. It doesn’t help that Arakko’s greatest warrior, White Sword, betrayed his own people and joined the armies of Amenth. This is because White Sword’s mutant power literally renders him incapable of losing a battle, forcing him to shift to the winning side. Genesis’ only hope now is to send his grandson Summoner to Earth to find his grandfather and provide reinforcements.
As you might expect, X of Swords has been shaping up to be one of the most important stories of Revelation for quite a while. Readers will continue to learn more about his story, his family, and his true motivations for getting started with Xavier and Magneto. As Apocalypse ended his feud with the X-Men after acknowledging that they have grown as strong and fit as he had always hoped for, it is now clear that he also has very personal reasons. to return to Krakoa.
X of swords or ten of swords?
So why is the crossover called X of Swords? While Marvel still keeps a lot of things about this crossover under cover, we do know that swords play a key role in the conflict. The X-Men will need to arm themselves with various powerful swords before they can begin their new mission. These enchanted weapons all have a connection to Otherworld, the realm from which each member of the Captain Britain Corps receives their magical powers and a key part of the Marvel Multiverse. It looks like much of the crossover will take place in Otherworld, as the X-Men are drawn into a war between the invading armies of Amenth and Queen Saturnyne of Otherworld.
Several X-Men already have a long-standing connection with various Power Blades. Magik uses the Soul Sword, a supernatural blade powered by his own soul. Wolverine, meanwhile, appears to be recovering Muramasa’s Blade, a katana tainted by his berserker rage and capable of killing even those with a healing factor. Rachel Gray again carries the Phoenix Blade, a Shi’ar weapon that contained a fragment of the Phoenix Force. Gorgon Godkiller’s sword can be particularly useful, as it has drawn divine blood in the past. Godkiller also has a twin sword named Grasscutter.
Other X-Men acquired swords before the main crossover. For example, Cable now uses the Light of Galador, a weapon dear to the Spaceknights. As this teaser art shows, plenty of other X-Men will be picking up blades for the occasion, even Professor X himself:
We must emphasize that the “X” in the title should be read as ten, not the letter X. This story revolves around ten swords and ten pivotal X-Men, although there are more than ten of each in the story. ‘picture above. It may be that only ten of these swords have the magical power that Apocalypse needs to save Arakko, and the rest are just fun little bonus swords for some extra hacking and stabbing.
However, the title also refers to the Ten of Swords tarot card, which traditionally represents betrayal, loss and grief in its upright position and resistance and recovery in its inverted position. It’s not hard to see how these themes relate to the events of X of Swords. Additionally, tarot card images previously played a key role in Powers of X, all tied to the futuristic X-Men of Moira’s ninth life.
The tarot cards seen above feature Rasputin and Cardinal, two genetically modified “chimeras” mutants from Moira’s ninth life. While the two characters are nothing more than relics of a dead timeline, X of Swords could sort of fit them into this new timeline. There have already been signs that Moira’s tenth life will take the same tragic turn as her ninth, with Mister Sinister paving the way for mutant breeding pits and these creations of futuristic chimeras. We probably haven’t seen Rasputin and Cardinal’s last.
X of Swords: what to read?
X of Swords isn’t structured like most Marvel crossover events. In the case of something like Civil War, Marvel released a core miniseries featuring the rhythms of the main story and fleshed out that story with a number of companion books. But X of Swords is more in the vein of classic ’90s X-Men crossovers like X-Tinction Agenda and Apocalypse: The Twelve. There’s only one story to follow, and it takes place across all of the ongoing X-Men comics in September, October, and November 2020.
X of Swords includes no less than 22 comics. The story begins in the one-shot special X of Swords: Creation # 1 (released September 23), before moving on to ongoing titles like X-Men, Excalibur, Marauders, Wolverine and more. The event will finally end in late November with another one-shot special called X of Swords: Destruction # 1. The recently released Excalibur # 12 and X-Men # 12 also serve as direct prologues to the crossover, as does the Free Comic Book. Day 2020: X-Men # 1. You can see the full checklist and playing order below:
With 22 varied prologue comics and tales, there’s certainly a steep entry price tag to this X-Men crossover. If you’re afraid to dive in or just want to wait for reviews before committing, you might be better off waiting for the X of Swords hardcover collection. This hardcover will be released immediately after the crossover concludes on November 24 and will offer a slightly cheaper alternative to purchasing the individual issues. Other than that, you can still wait six months for these comics to arrive on the Marvel Unlimited digital service.
But however you choose to read X of Swords, it’s clear this crossover will have a profound impact across the lineup and help shape the future of the X-Men in 2021. The X-Men have won a huge victory when they established their mutant nation. , and everything is probably downhill for the mutant race here.
For more on the world of the X-Men, check out how WandaVision’s first trailer references another flagship Marvel crossover:
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by follow @jschedeen on Twitter.