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A tower. A mission. A gathering of armies. Swords will be drawn in the first epic crossover of the astonishing Dawn of X! Wolverine, the X-Men, Cable, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, the New Mutants, the Marauders, the Hellions and the rest of Krakoa’s residents will all feel the effects — but which ten mutants will wield the blades? Weapons both new and familiar are drawn f A tower. A mission. A gathering of armies. Swords will be drawn in the first epic crossover of the astonishing Dawn of X! Wolverine, the X-Men, Cable, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, the New Mutants, the Marauders, the Hellions and the rest of Krakoa’s residents will all feel the effects — but which ten mutants will wield the blades? Weapons both new and familiar are drawn from their scabbards as the X-Men prepare to do mythic battle against a truly daunting foe! Jonathan Hickman and his fellow visionary creators — who have painstakingly put all the pieces into place during Dawn of X — join forces to smash the board! Collects: X of Swords: Creation (2020) #1, X of Swords: Stasis (2020) #1, X of Swords: Destruction (2020) #1, X-Men (2019) #12-15, Excalibur (2019) #13-15, Marauders (2019) #13-15, X-Force (2019) #13-14, New Mutants (2019) #13, Wolverine (2020) #6-7, Cable (2020) #5-6, Hellions (2020) #5-6, X-Factor (2020) #4.


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A tower. A mission. A gathering of armies. Swords will be drawn in the first epic crossover of the astonishing Dawn of X! Wolverine, the X-Men, Cable, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, the New Mutants, the Marauders, the Hellions and the rest of Krakoa’s residents will all feel the effects — but which ten mutants will wield the blades? Weapons both new and familiar are drawn f A tower. A mission. A gathering of armies. Swords will be drawn in the first epic crossover of the astonishing Dawn of X! Wolverine, the X-Men, Cable, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, the New Mutants, the Marauders, the Hellions and the rest of Krakoa’s residents will all feel the effects — but which ten mutants will wield the blades? Weapons both new and familiar are drawn from their scabbards as the X-Men prepare to do mythic battle against a truly daunting foe! Jonathan Hickman and his fellow visionary creators — who have painstakingly put all the pieces into place during Dawn of X — join forces to smash the board! Collects: X of Swords: Creation (2020) #1, X of Swords: Stasis (2020) #1, X of Swords: Destruction (2020) #1, X-Men (2019) #12-15, Excalibur (2019) #13-15, Marauders (2019) #13-15, X-Force (2019) #13-14, New Mutants (2019) #13, Wolverine (2020) #6-7, Cable (2020) #5-6, Hellions (2020) #5-6, X-Factor (2020) #4.

30 review for X of Swords

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tiag⊗

    X of Swords started out really strong, the first half of the book was really good, and it looked like we were heading towards a massive war between Krakoa and Arakko, the stakes were extremely high, we got introduced to every sword, and then... the story takes a huge shift in direction and ends up with something entirely different. Maybe it was me and I just didn't see it coming, time will tell, but at least the last issue delivered my expectations, with a freaking epic finale illustrated by Pepe X of Swords started out really strong, the first half of the book was really good, and it looked like we were heading towards a massive war between Krakoa and Arakko, the stakes were extremely high, we got introduced to every sword, and then... the story takes a huge shift in direction and ends up with something entirely different. Maybe it was me and I just didn't see it coming, time will tell, but at least the last issue delivered my expectations, with a freaking epic finale illustrated by Pepe Larraz, in fact, most of the book was really good artwise, except for Mahmud Asrar, his art looked pretty poor to be honest. Instead of expecting a massive war event like I did, you should think of X of Swords as an new take on the story of Apocalypse and his family, as well as a prelude to the new Captain Britain Corps, I'm sure we gonna hear a lot more from Otherworld and Arakko.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    Despite my feelings about Hickman’s bowdlerisation of the X-books, this particular crossover wasn’t too awful. There were as many things I liked about it as there were things I disliked, so the story averaged out OK. The art was largely pretty good. My next book: Atlantis Attacks Despite my feelings about Hickman’s bowdlerisation of the X-books, this particular crossover wasn’t too awful. There were as many things I liked about it as there were things I disliked, so the story averaged out OK. The art was largely pretty good. My next book: Atlantis Attacks

  3. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    This is a review from reading it in singles. My opinion/rating might change when I revisit it collected (which will probably be next year) Firstly, this being 22 issues over a number of different books almost put me off. I know X-men cross over stories have done that before, but this was my first time actually being invested in the current X-men title (because Hickman) so I had decided if I wanted to go all in or not So I decided to go all in And for the most part I really enjoyed it! It does lose This is a review from reading it in singles. My opinion/rating might change when I revisit it collected (which will probably be next year) Firstly, this being 22 issues over a number of different books almost put me off. I know X-men cross over stories have done that before, but this was my first time actually being invested in the current X-men title (because Hickman) so I had decided if I wanted to go all in or not So I decided to go all in And for the most part I really enjoyed it! It does lose it a bit in the middle, the tournament takes a turn that’s a bit...well, it’s no Kung-fu tournament, I’ll say that. But overall I’ve really enjoyed the story X-men is such a big brand within Marvel and this recent relaunch spearhead by Hickman has been great (for me at least), I think this story works because all the books have a destination point, of sorts

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lemmerman

    The hordes of Arakko are on their way - but to trample Krakoa, they must pass through Otherworld, and the Lady Saturnyne has something to say about that. Instead of all out war, she proposes a contest. To the winner, the spoilers. But first, the competitors must assemble their swords. X Of Swords is a 22 issue crossover, with something like 6 of those issues being over-sized. It's an ambitious project, with a huge number of people involved to make sure that the moving parts come off right. You'd The hordes of Arakko are on their way - but to trample Krakoa, they must pass through Otherworld, and the Lady Saturnyne has something to say about that. Instead of all out war, she proposes a contest. To the winner, the spoilers. But first, the competitors must assemble their swords. X Of Swords is a 22 issue crossover, with something like 6 of those issues being over-sized. It's an ambitious project, with a huge number of people involved to make sure that the moving parts come off right. You'd think it'd fall apart under its own weight, but aside from a little misstep, it's actually surprisingly cohesive all the way through. The first half of the book, the assembling of the swords and the niceties that Saturnyne forces the X-Men and Arakko's swordsmen to go through is great. The way in which the swords are assembled is varied and clever, and draws on all of the involved X-Men in some unique ways. Then throwing them all together in a big mix gets the blood pumping before the tournament begins. That little misstep I mentioned is the tournament itself - the third quarter of the story gets bonkers fast, as what we thought was just a swordfight turns into something else, with more and more ludicrous contests and score rulings making things seem overly padded and daft. It all pulls itself together for the final quarter though, with the last three issues or so being a truly perfect endcap to everything that went on in the rest of the book. I was very pleased to see that most of the books involved in this crossover didn't lose their individuality as the story went on either - issues of Marauders focused on Storm, Cable's solo issues were about him, etc. So even though there were a myriad of titles swept up, they all still felt important without just becoming Part X of 22. The artwork was all phenomenal as well - most of the artists assigned to each X-book showed up, while Phil Noto even pulled double duty and pencilled some additional issues as well. The three book-end issues were Pepe Larraz in all his glory, who really has become the era defining artist for Hickman's X-epic. X Of Swords isn't perfect. But given all that it is, and all that went in to make it, it's also far better than it has any right to be. It flags a little around the midway point, but it recovers nicely and manages to be entertaining and easy on the eye almost all the way through.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Brian Garthoff

    While X of Swords was always going to live in the shadow of House of X/ Powers of X, I think it also fell victim to its own hype. Other than pulling from all the Dawn of X titles into one 22 chapter silo it is essentially an elongated role call, a series of oddly goofy trials, and an Apocalypse side story. There’s a tremendous emphasis on Otherworld, Lady Saturnyne, and it almost begs the question of whether or not X of Swords is really more of an Excalibur event than a large bridge across all t While X of Swords was always going to live in the shadow of House of X/ Powers of X, I think it also fell victim to its own hype. Other than pulling from all the Dawn of X titles into one 22 chapter silo it is essentially an elongated role call, a series of oddly goofy trials, and an Apocalypse side story. There’s a tremendous emphasis on Otherworld, Lady Saturnyne, and it almost begs the question of whether or not X of Swords is really more of an Excalibur event than a large bridge across all the current X-men stories. And a lot of it felt tacked on, they started X-Factor right before the event to pull in a few characters from that, tossed in one issue of New Mutants so they could grab Magik and Cypher. In a way, what X of Swords was best at was halting the momentum on each X-series for a very meandering “supergroup rock album of an event” that just makes me want to get back to what I was reading beforehand. Now that it is finished, X of Swords certainly had its moments, but it also has stretches that are dull, the swords are kind of a prop and seem completely unnecessary to the whole thing, and it is just nowhere near the level of Xmen magic that you want Hickman & Co to deliver. If you’re super into Excalibur maybe you’ll feel differently, but I am pretty underwhelmed with what transpired over 22 issues, not counting the 2 preludes that came before it. The X titles just read better individually, and without swords.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scratch

    This event was a colossal waste of time. It interrupted storylines to provide us with a pointless "contest of champions." The underlying conceit of this event was that the X-Men would each carry special swords to fight other mutants wielding special swords. There were multiple issues of filler, because this event did not deserve 22 installments. Then, when the actual contests came about, there was very little actual sword fighting. The entire premise was flimsy. We had a random group of X-Men sen This event was a colossal waste of time. It interrupted storylines to provide us with a pointless "contest of champions." The underlying conceit of this event was that the X-Men would each carry special swords to fight other mutants wielding special swords. There were multiple issues of filler, because this event did not deserve 22 installments. Then, when the actual contests came about, there was very little actual sword fighting. The entire premise was flimsy. We had a random group of X-Men sent to fight mutants we had never heard of before this event, wielding --mostly-- swords we had never heard of before this event. A Wakandan sword was contrived because, well, doesn't it just seem like those African people should have a sacred sword hidden away somewhere? I can honestly say I am not sure we saw anyone actually use said sword, but, okay. Similarly, we watched Saturnyne sculpt a sword from the material of the Starlight Citadel with her bare hands. A sword we had never heard of before this event. ... A sword that then served no purpose in the plot. My biggest complaint is what I brought up in every review of each individual issue: SATURNYNE DOESN'T HAVE ANY POWERS. She was an ordinary human from Earth-9 who got swept up in Captain Britain's adventures in the 80s. She is not a mutant. This particular version of her is not a sorceress, although alternate reality versions of her have been magic users. It was essential to her character that she worked her way up to a position of importance working with Roma and Merlin at the Starlight Citadel based on her own merits. When she and Captain Britain fought the Fury, a terrifying techno-organic character more threatening than Doomsday, who literally slaughtered an entire world, Saturnyne could only participate in the fight by shooting a massive 90s-style gun. Now, she is replacing Merlin and Roma as the Omniversal Majestrix. Writers looked her up, saw that she had this job of multiversal importance, and then just... assumed? They seemed to have made assumptions throughout all 22 issues of this event, and NOT A SINGLE FUCKING CHARACTER COMMENTED ON THE FACT SHE DISPLAYED POWERS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER? Writing is dead. Continuity is dead.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Subham

    It started off really well but took so much of time to get going and the first 11 parts were just them collecting swords and then when you expect the battle to start, its the same old story of what happened to Arakko through different lenses and then the competition becomes goofy and silly and the point system is weird, there is no actual sword fight. When we reach the near end, there is one good issue with the X-Men where Cyclops has to decide to take the X-Men into Otherworld and rescue the mu It started off really well but took so much of time to get going and the first 11 parts were just them collecting swords and then when you expect the battle to start, its the same old story of what happened to Arakko through different lenses and then the competition becomes goofy and silly and the point system is weird, there is no actual sword fight. When we reach the near end, there is one good issue with the X-Men where Cyclops has to decide to take the X-Men into Otherworld and rescue the mutants, that part was great and the fight between Apocalypse and Genesis/Annihilation and how it ended abruptly was weird really, but then again the ending promises some big things ahead for Otherworld and the X-Men have to recover from this loss, overall an underwhelming event and could have used with less tie-ins, and focus on just the main X-Men writer Hickman. It became a case of too many cooks in the kitchen but well the fallout seems promising!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jan Potměšil

    Good.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Malum

    A hard one to rate. This book made me literally roll my eyes and groan in exasperation, and yet I couldn't put it down. So, first the main things I hated. The plot revolves around finding ten champions and having them get ten magic swords so that they can compete in a life or death tournament. That by itself is really dumb and sounds like the plot of a video game. But, what's worse, when the tournament starts the swords don't matter at all. The book turns into a comedy where, instead of sword fi A hard one to rate. This book made me literally roll my eyes and groan in exasperation, and yet I couldn't put it down. So, first the main things I hated. The plot revolves around finding ten champions and having them get ten magic swords so that they can compete in a life or death tournament. That by itself is really dumb and sounds like the plot of a video game. But, what's worse, when the tournament starts the swords don't matter at all. The book turns into a comedy where, instead of sword fighting, they mainly have arm wrestling matches, drinking contests, dance offs (I'm not kidding, either), and other stupid shenanigans. There are some sword fights here and there, but mainly the first half of this huge event, where these swords are all anyone talks about and risks everything to get, are pointless. They have a throwaway line where they handwave this by saying that the swords are really just keys to the tournament, but it doesn't really sit right with me. I expected sword duels and got riddle contests and spelling bees (again, not exaggerating). The swords were a macguffin used solely to pad this thing out to bloated proportions. Another mild annoyance is that all of the big SHOCKER reveals could be seen coming from a mile away (view spoiler)[like the big bad turning out to be Genesis. You can figure that out within the first few issues of the event without having to rub two brain cells together (hide spoiler)] . Finally, we are only about 15 issues into these new X runs and we already have a huge status shakeup. I generally like the episodic nature of modern comics vs the one-off, monster of the week nature of older comic books, but I would much rather have one issue stories than changing the established lore every single year. But once I got past those frustrations, this event was really fun. I loved the art, the characters, most of the single issues, and the action. Even some of the stupid contests ended up being interesting (like the staring contest with Wolverine. Again, you think I'm kidding about these stupid contests but I'm really, really not). Despite my problems with this, it was charming enough to force me to like it. Just go into it with the right expectations.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Yep, I will wonder until the end of his run on the X Books how many, if any, of Hickman's changes last. Until then I'm along for the ride, even after the skepticism I had about this story arc when it was advertised. Among other things Hickman has done well is that he managed to take a threat from the debut issue of New X-Men decades ago and turn it into a viable supporting character of its own. Then he adds, because I feel like using this term, a dark side version of Krakoa in Arrkko that has be Yep, I will wonder until the end of his run on the X Books how many, if any, of Hickman's changes last. Until then I'm along for the ride, even after the skepticism I had about this story arc when it was advertised. Among other things Hickman has done well is that he managed to take a threat from the debut issue of New X-Men decades ago and turn it into a viable supporting character of its own. Then he adds, because I feel like using this term, a dark side version of Krakoa in Arrkko that has been stranded in another dimension? Said counterpart had been sealed away because of threats from it and the other dimension, and as I write this I think Hickman could write a comics adaptation of the end times going on in Stross' Laundry Files series. In some ways Apocalypse does resemble Stross' Bob Howard in that Apocalypse is doing what he believes is the right things regardless of how much damage his actions does to him or others. Never did I think I could become engaged in this, IMO, pretty lame villain as a main character in a story. Hell, they even managed to redeem Scott Summer a little bit. That alone is nearly award winning. Toss in the creation of double digit new characters, some of whom appear to be sticking around for awhile, and there is a lot happening here. Enjoy the moments Storm and Magik receive. Plus, Hickman created a new status for the Captain Britain Corps, showed Saturnyne to be possibly The master manipulator of the Marvel Comics Universe.

  11. 4 out of 5

    David Akeroyd

    Even better than House of X and best crossover I've read in ages. Even better than House of X and best crossover I've read in ages.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tom Ewing

    X Of Swords is that rare thing, a crossover where the side books are vital to the story. Not in terms of plot - the 22(!) chapter format makes it look like everything is going to matter, but there’s so much misdirection in play that almost none of it does. Instead the side books here are crucial because they get to keep their tone. The stuff which sticks with me from this very long story - the stuff which meant I enjoyed it despite its glaring flaws - are the two-part Otherworld dinner in Maraude X Of Swords is that rare thing, a crossover where the side books are vital to the story. Not in terms of plot - the 22(!) chapter format makes it look like everything is going to matter, but there’s so much misdirection in play that almost none of it does. Instead the side books here are crucial because they get to keep their tone. The stuff which sticks with me from this very long story - the stuff which meant I enjoyed it despite its glaring flaws - are the two-part Otherworld dinner in Marauders, the side quests in Storm and Cable, and the Hellions’ ridiculous Suicide Squad style raid into Arakko. By letting those chapters play to their writers’ and characters’ strengths they bring the crossover to life and stop it becoming the slog it so easily could have been. What about the flaws, though? A lot of the criticism of X Of Swords centres on that misdirection - the nature of which would constitute a big spoiler*, so let’s just say some of the assumptions every character in the first half of the story makes about what’s coming up in the second turn out to be wrong. I think it works, but I can also see how people NOT reading this as a collection would feel that they’d been tricked into buying a lot of padding. But for me the crossover just about justifies its length and weird structure. No, the flaws are more to do with something that’s been a lurking issue since day 1 of the Hickman X-era, the threat of the data page tail wagging the story dog. A lot of the time in X Of Swords it feels like co-writers Hickman and Tini Howard are writing a tabletop RPG sourcebook first and then letting the comic illustrate it. There’s a ton of worldbuilding by info dump in X Of Swords that feels designed to indulge Hickman’s fetch-quest approach in this area: ten swords for the X-Men, ten all new opponents to introduce, and hey, THEY all have a sword to introduce too, and then there’s the ten kingdoms of Otherworld... I hope you’re taking notes at the back there! In a sense this is justifiable. If Otherworld is going to keep being prominent in Marvel stories then it needs some fleshing out. Ditto for Arakko if it’s going to be part of the X Status Quo in future. But it makes for lumpy, un-resonant storytelling. At one point there’s a splash page reveal when a character arrives in - dun-dun-DUN - Sevalith, and surely the intended reaction wasn’t a sigh and a “wait which one is that again?” The sourcebook style of data pages is one way they can be misused. The other way is how they often work in Excalibur- as way of explaining what just happened when the actual storytelling was too cryptic. And since X Of Swords is springing out of Excalibur story threads, and Tini Howard is co-writing, the problem recurs. It’s especially aggravating when one of the main antagonists is Saturnyne, whose motivations for... well, most of what happens - are left cosmically vague. A lot of the reason the Marauders issues are so good is that Gerry Duggan gets to write Wolverine as the why-are-we-even-in-this-crossover guy: his frustration is at least partly the readers. In the end X Of Swords works, just about. The bookend issues have enough excitement and solid payoffs to elevate the padding. The Marauders and Hellions issues are excellent. The new status quo complicates the Krakoan setup in ominous ways (though this isn’t made clear until the post-crossover issue of X-Men). The art is varied and strong throughout. It’s the best Apocalypse story since the big one (this is not a hard bar to clear). It is a good time - it’s just there’s rather a lot of it. *here instead is a Small Spoiler: The X-Men finally get to save the world by means of a dance-off, and they didn’t get Kieron Gillen to write it. For shame, Marvel. For shame.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nick Hayes

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The endless eternity of lockdown has at least given me a lot of time to read comics, something I previously hadn't indulged in beyond a few graphic novels. Since I have a lot of time to read, this has led me to binge reading a chunk of marvels back catalogue. One thing I have noticed is that regardless of which series you're reading at any given time, it's inevitable that some sort of crossover event will occur - some sort of big in-universe event that crosses the stories of multiple series. Som The endless eternity of lockdown has at least given me a lot of time to read comics, something I previously hadn't indulged in beyond a few graphic novels. Since I have a lot of time to read, this has led me to binge reading a chunk of marvels back catalogue. One thing I have noticed is that regardless of which series you're reading at any given time, it's inevitable that some sort of crossover event will occur - some sort of big in-universe event that crosses the stories of multiple series. Sometimes these seem to be handled with almost petulant resignation by some of the writers and make the barest attempt to link up, while others are clearly much more thought through. X of Swords is the first big crossover event in the X-men's latest set up, and I am happy to say it is very much in the latter category. I'd actually read a few issues of this previously, mainly in the newest Excalibur series and one brief interlude in the new X-factor series (both very much worth checking out if you're into those kind of things). I didn't realise that it was quite such a big event - it turns out it covers 22 issues, which would explain why I didn't really know what was going on. I found the entire series at a big old discount so I bought it, and I'm glad I did. Being able to read the whole storyline as one work made it (unsurprisingly) feel a lot more cohesive, and you can see how all the different issues fit together (also, it means you don't have to be simultaneously reading about 5 or 6 different comic series). Ultimately, the premise is that in order to avoid an interdimensional war, the mutants must participate in a tournament consisting of a series of challenges and duels, which in turn are being manipulated by their organiser, the somewhat motivationally ambiguous Saturnyne. One of the things about the series I enjoyed most was seeing Apocalypse as a protagonist - as someone who grew up with the X-men in the 90s I knew him only as a villain, so seeing him on the other side was quite an interesting experience. Seeing Saturnyne, who throughout most of the story was an unflappable chessmaster realise she has screwed up her own game is also quite satisfying. Much of her reasons for manipulating the tournament was to get the former Captain Britain (Brian Braddock) back and as her consort, Captain Britain's position currently being held by his sister Besty (aka Psylocke, sort of). Despite all her machinations, she fails to achieve this, which is quite satisfying given what she puts our protagonists through. X of Swords has definitely changed my view on crossover events - previously I had not read one as a whole cohesive story, getting only bits and pieces of them. With the next big marvel crossover event coming up, The Hellfire Gala, I'm definitely now a lot more interested in branching out. I have fallen to the forces of commercialism. Curses.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Dinges

    This is X of Swords in its entirety. Like the rest of the line since Hickman took the wheel, it's a flawed, but mostly successful story. The story takes place over 22 issues. A jaw-dropping number, to be sure. Unlike most events, this doesn't really qualify as a crossover. With most events, you get about 6-8 issues of primary plot and a host of tie-ins that may contribute to the story but are largely ancillary. X of Swords is an ambitious undertaking in that the vast majority of the 22 issues mak This is X of Swords in its entirety. Like the rest of the line since Hickman took the wheel, it's a flawed, but mostly successful story. The story takes place over 22 issues. A jaw-dropping number, to be sure. Unlike most events, this doesn't really qualify as a crossover. With most events, you get about 6-8 issues of primary plot and a host of tie-ins that may contribute to the story but are largely ancillary. X of Swords is an ambitious undertaking in that the vast majority of the 22 issues make up one narrative through line and feel mostly essential to the final destination. It's a credit to the editors, writers, and artists that the story feels of the same piece and not stitched together despite the varying creative teams attached to the individual issues. If you are up for the investment in time and money, you'll probably find something to like here if you are an X-Men fan. X of Swords brings in most of the fan favorites and then some. The narrative is pulling in the same direction but there is some storytelling diversity among the individual issues. (view spoiler)[ My big complaint with X of Swords is that the contest Hickman and company spend more than 12 issues (!) building towards is quite anticlimactic until the final few issues. This was intentional. I did chuckle a bit at the subversion of the expectations and choice to shift from such a dire tone as the contest actually began. Having said that, it left me with the feeling that the contest itself was filler to stretch between the first 1/2 of the event and the final 2-3 issues. I think the ending saved the story, but it's certainly not a 22-issue tour de force. (hide spoiler)] I read the issues as they were released on Marvel Unlimited, so there is certainly something to be said for the ridiculous cost to admission for those who didn't. I can't say I'd be thrilled at having to buy 15 issues of something I might not have been reading to get the full story in a way that's even more obtrusive than normal comics event storytelling. The format has its merits, but should be used sparingly or it will surely lead to even more cash-grabs. X of Swords is ambitious, well put-together, and, largely, a good X-Men story. The current lineup of X writers, artists, and editorial has proven to know what they're doing and if you like the X-Men I'd recommend picking this up (but probably while it's on sale).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Clint

    An ambitious, fun, regularly spectacular-looking crossover event that surprised me most of all by making me really care about what was happening amidst its apocalyptic stakes. The premise suggests several sword duels to the death, which sounds like it would quickly get monotonous and also bump into the constraints of any Big 2 comic event to not actually kill off half the stars of the series involved. Instead, Hickman and the other series’ writers built this crossover from two equally entertaini An ambitious, fun, regularly spectacular-looking crossover event that surprised me most of all by making me really care about what was happening amidst its apocalyptic stakes. The premise suggests several sword duels to the death, which sounds like it would quickly get monotonous and also bump into the constraints of any Big 2 comic event to not actually kill off half the stars of the series involved. Instead, Hickman and the other series’ writers built this crossover from two equally entertaining halves. The thrilling first half chases down the swords needed for the competition while providing interesting background on the opposing team from Arakko. The back half twisted my expectations with an imaginative and varied format for the competition that made me tense in anticipation, thrill at certain outcomes, and laugh a ton. I love that there’s actually subtle foreshadowing and payoffs that avoid the unearned deus ex machina that this sort of event tends to use to wrap up a blockbuster climax. There’s also some actual consequences, most interestingly in the form of new relationships or new dynamics to old relationships, though there’s also an obligatory handful of cast absences going forward that will presumably return at some point. Even the past unevenness of a few of the individual series is handled well, with artists swapping across titles, adding art I loved to series I’ve been cooler on (like Phil Noto drawing Excalibur!) Excalibur is still the weakest series here, which might seem like a problem given the event’s heavy tie to Otherworld happenings, but I found it surprisingly easy to invest in the emotional stakes of the story and characters without really caring about Otherworld or Captain Britain stuff. The similarly just-okay-so-far X-Factor only gets 1 of the 22 issues. Beyond those, I really looked forward to each issue of the other series involved (Wolverine, X-Force, Hellions, Cable, X-men, New Mutants, Mauraders, and the three event one-shots) and the slightly different tone and casts they all offered. And now I’m already looking forward to the first wave of trades for Reign of X in a few more months!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Luke Stacks

    Mostly good art (there are a few clunky fill-in artists) with a fun, dopey premise. In order to stop an extra-dimensional invasion, Krakoa's mutants must collect a bunch of powerful swords and enter a contest of champions. This story has three main positives: 1) Collecting the dumb swords is super fun, and involves some absolute highlight stories for Psylocke and Storm. Even Wolverine's is somewhat decent. 2) Apocalypse gets an extreme makeover as a tragic family man and it totally works without Mostly good art (there are a few clunky fill-in artists) with a fun, dopey premise. In order to stop an extra-dimensional invasion, Krakoa's mutants must collect a bunch of powerful swords and enter a contest of champions. This story has three main positives: 1) Collecting the dumb swords is super fun, and involves some absolute highlight stories for Psylocke and Storm. Even Wolverine's is somewhat decent. 2) Apocalypse gets an extreme makeover as a tragic family man and it totally works without invalidating anything we've already learned about him. 3) We get some brief but very enjoyable scenes of a healthy and assured Cyclops, just doing the best for his family regardless of the costs. After all the rotten things he's been through, it's good to see him doing so well. However, some parts I didn't enjoy so much: 1) Hickman's humor bounces right off me, especially during a contest that we're assured has life-or-death stakes. 2) The story is highly dependent on our interest in the Captain Britain mythos. I have to admit mine is a little rusty, but the story struggled to independently characterize Saturnyne and the ten regents in ways that felt fully fleshed out. You probably needed to read the most recent Excalibur series to feel on steady footing, and I did not. This was especially an issue with the ultimate resolution of the final battle. 3) This is related to both of my previous points, but the actual contests subverted expectations to such an extreme degree (and not in a clever, there-all-along fashion) that it amounts to malpractice. If you're making a 22-issue series about swords, I would hope for more than one good fight using them (Storm's fight, for the record). 4) Moira's absence was *not* palpable. There was no indication whatsoever if X of Swords fit within her complicated plans for the future, unless it was buried at less-than-a-wink level. Given that her machinations have powered the previous year of the X-titles, I'm really curious and would have appreciated a sign that my attention to this matter was being rewarded.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Matty Dub

    This is a hard one to review. I think it’s important to mention I had access to the whole event and so I wasn’t subjected to the weekly wait which I can only assume enhanced my experience greatly. This is big and for the most part very entertaining. I didn’t feel any bloating since most of the issues that didn’t really drive the narrative forward were very fast reads and were usually followed by good issues. For the first half this is very much a 5 star event, despite not feeling like a classic H This is a hard one to review. I think it’s important to mention I had access to the whole event and so I wasn’t subjected to the weekly wait which I can only assume enhanced my experience greatly. This is big and for the most part very entertaining. I didn’t feel any bloating since most of the issues that didn’t really drive the narrative forward were very fast reads and were usually followed by good issues. For the first half this is very much a 5 star event, despite not feeling like a classic Hickman event (I’m still waiting for that one). The stakes are high and the buildup is tense and had me super excited. Also worth noting is that even the X-series I don’t usually care for were great in this event, everything felt natural moving from their regular narratives into this story. With the exception of one uncharacteristically bad issue by Asrar (X-Men #15), this book is gorgeous to look at. The visual storytelling on display is stunning and if I’m honest, those Larraz issues make the event worth the price of admission alone. Now the bad. Saturnyne and her whims, her silly contests that make absolutely no sense half the time cheapened everything, made the tension disappear and really turned the whole thing into a farce. The issues where that takes place is where the bloat is. When the rules of engagement are set by her at the beginning, you except something that looks a lot more like the ending of the event and a lot less like her juvenile whims displayed from part 13 to 21. That crap sucks but it’s not enough to drag this book below 4 stars. The characters are all voiced super well, I almost always had fun while reading it and every X-book was good for the duration of the event. *edit* I forgot to say are much I appreciated the work done on Apocalypse. He’s one of my favorite villains and this story added so much quality backstory to him and it all lines up super well with his known history. 👌

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Lawson

    Okay. I read every Dawn of X trade going into this. Everything. So this huge collected 22-chapter crossover was very much a test as to whether reading every X-book coming out is worth it and having read everything directly preceding X of Swords I often had no idea what was happening and only very rarely could grasp why something was happening. Like, the whole thing, I still don’t understand why. You can tell me the Twilight Sword of the enemy split so and so in two over and over I still don’t tot Okay. I read every Dawn of X trade going into this. Everything. So this huge collected 22-chapter crossover was very much a test as to whether reading every X-book coming out is worth it and having read everything directly preceding X of Swords I often had no idea what was happening and only very rarely could grasp why something was happening. Like, the whole thing, I still don’t understand why. You can tell me the Twilight Sword of the enemy split so and so in two over and over I still don’t totally get who the enemy is or where they come from etc, etc. One thing reading comics, particularly the work of Grant Morrison, has taught me is that sometimes you have to take a staring at face value. Sometimes a statement is an answer and invites no further questions beyond the speculation of your own imagination. Sometimes “the sky is red” means the sky is red, y’know? So with that in mind there were plenty of occurrences here that I tried to take at face value, that I tried to accept as answers to themselves, but nah man, nah. But I had fun, and while reading all the other Dawn of X stuff didn’t help me understand anything I do thing reading all the other Dawn of X stuff was the only reason I was able to have fun. Big ups in particular to the two Hellions chapters of the crossover, which were excellent. And big ups to every time a great artist draws an awesome page of a team of psychos I never met in my life and then the next page is a breakdown of each psycho with a brief bio that’s just real grade-A imagination fodder. Anyway if whatever the hell Otherworld is, and I’ve read two trades and a 22-chapter crossover on it and I still have only the loosest sense of that, could never come up again I’d be totally fine with that no big deal. But this was fun, and I think just the right amount of material to sate my X-thirst until the next wave of collections come out in August or whenever.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Christian Zamora-Dahmen

    Two stars the first half. Four stars the second one. This was an odd event. It involved too many issues and wasted half of them on this search for these swords that had very little to do with the characters and ended up adding nothing to the main plot. It’s evident Tini Howard has her thing about fantasy and stuff, which is fine, but she forced these ideas into a story that didn’t really had a place for most of this stuff. Also, this first half was plagued with a serious narrative problem: “tellin Two stars the first half. Four stars the second one. This was an odd event. It involved too many issues and wasted half of them on this search for these swords that had very little to do with the characters and ended up adding nothing to the main plot. It’s evident Tini Howard has her thing about fantasy and stuff, which is fine, but she forced these ideas into a story that didn’t really had a place for most of this stuff. Also, this first half was plagued with a serious narrative problem: “telling instead of showing.” Every issue had these huge text descriptions of the worlds, their leaders, their hierarchy... when the story was actually about something else. They were part of it, of course, but none of that information mattered in the end. Not in a way that it got built into the story. That was a distracting waste of space and momentum. The second part was odd in a different way. The battles were something different than what we were thought to believe. For starters, the swords didn’t matter at all. And it became a bit corky at times, but that’s okay, I can roll with the punches. As a whole, I expected way more of this event. I could feel that Hickman was not that involved and the lack of his guiding hand was way too obvious. On the other hand, Tini Howard got a lot of room, but you have to take a look at her Excalibur issues before this event, and you get the idea how she approaches these stories. So, for me, it’s a mixed bag. There were some beautiful moments, lots of wasted time, and most of the first half could have been one single issue.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    I read the much-anticipated big X-event of 2020 on the Marvel Unlimited comics app which let me get all set up with the necessary lead-ins. The most important being one of my favourite reads of last year, House of X/Powers of X. While lots of the mutant books have dealt with challenges faced by the mutants, this is the first real threat against Krakoan dominion. Before we go into the event, here's what I recommend reading of the new series as a lead-in to this main event: -X-Men -Excalibur -Maraude I read the much-anticipated big X-event of 2020 on the Marvel Unlimited comics app which let me get all set up with the necessary lead-ins. The most important being one of my favourite reads of last year, House of X/Powers of X. While lots of the mutant books have dealt with challenges faced by the mutants, this is the first real threat against Krakoan dominion. Before we go into the event, here's what I recommend reading of the new series as a lead-in to this main event: -X-Men -Excalibur -Marauders (my favourite of the new status quo) X of Swords pulls on one of the threads from Hickman's big relaunch: the separation of Krakoa and Arrako. Primarily, this series zeroes-in on Apocalypse's long history with the realm and his familial ties to the mutants left behind. The main event is framed as a tournament of swords between ten mutants of Krakoa and ten of Arrako to be settled on the shifting ground of Otherworld. Hijinks ensue and the series actually has a pretty whimsical bent during the competition. Occasionally it'll veer into the more serious, but it saves the real dramatic moments for the last few issues. It is a good collection of comics with some tie-ins that could have been cut (Hellions, I'm looking at you), but doesn't get near the heights achieved by Hickman's Hox/Pox. Glad to have read this and I'm very excited to see where the world goes next!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marek Michalak

    This set of stories, as read in single issues of various X-men comics, was my second attempt to get into what Hickman is currently doing with the "X titles". And it, once again, left me cold. The story starts off strong in the first half, only to get very muddled in the middle and by the end, left me not caring. It, to me at least, shows that there are way too many mutants around for any writer to attempt a cohesive and interesting story. Most of the original X-men are sidelined here, left with This set of stories, as read in single issues of various X-men comics, was my second attempt to get into what Hickman is currently doing with the "X titles". And it, once again, left me cold. The story starts off strong in the first half, only to get very muddled in the middle and by the end, left me not caring. It, to me at least, shows that there are way too many mutants around for any writer to attempt a cohesive and interesting story. Most of the original X-men are sidelined here, left with not much to do (like Jean grey and Cyclops, wandering around some of the issues with not a very strong reason behind it). Also the MacGuffin of the story - the big tournament, a fight of the champions of two worlds - attempts to be so clever it actually waters itself down, making the stakes of the story much less exciting. The only thing I actually liked was the arc written for Apocalypse, as it got interesting, personal and actually went somewhere. I also enjoyed much of the art and some of the first few issues regarding gathering the individual swords. But that's about it. I got into the new X-men because of Hickman, but now I'm just no longer interested. Shame.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    The layout of this event at times frustrated more than it satisfied. However the moment I have been dying for finally occurred near the end. (Hint: it involves the use of the name X-Men) So at the end of the day what are we left with? Did we finally get the great Apocalypse epic (that actually included Big Blue)? Yes. Sort of. I feel like we had it more hinted than displayed. Rereads could help. I hope there is a lot more to come. Was it the great Otherworld story I hoped? It was better than what The layout of this event at times frustrated more than it satisfied. However the moment I have been dying for finally occurred near the end. (Hint: it involves the use of the name X-Men) So at the end of the day what are we left with? Did we finally get the great Apocalypse epic (that actually included Big Blue)? Yes. Sort of. I feel like we had it more hinted than displayed. Rereads could help. I hope there is a lot more to come. Was it the great Otherworld story I hoped? It was better than what Excalibur had done leading up to this, but still feels like it did not go the full monty. Was it the next stage of Krakoa we’ve (I say we like I know other people reading this...) been waiting for? There was a few steps toward where I hope to be. I do worry that Hickman and crew have made far too large an ark to sail the mutants to publishing paradise. And of course whenever Hickman is not writing the story lacks (for some more than others). I still don’t think that I will know until this is all done how I feel about the new X-world.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Luke Pope

    The Hickman issues (X-Men#12-15, and the three X of Sword Specials, Creation, Stasis, and Destruction) are excellent. The tie-in issues by other writers, though, all fall incredibly flat. For starters, the Hickman issues are the only ones that actually fulfill the promise of the tournament arc. All others, for some bizarre reason, choose to opt instead for a surreal magical game, discarding every rule the built up until that point. Thus, all tension is eradicated, as there are no real stakes any The Hickman issues (X-Men#12-15, and the three X of Sword Specials, Creation, Stasis, and Destruction) are excellent. The tie-in issues by other writers, though, all fall incredibly flat. For starters, the Hickman issues are the only ones that actually fulfill the promise of the tournament arc. All others, for some bizarre reason, choose to opt instead for a surreal magical game, discarding every rule the built up until that point. Thus, all tension is eradicated, as there are no real stakes anymore, at least that we are privy to, and the buildup is meaningless (and kinda inconsistent with what follows). I would advise skipping this book and reading strictly the Hickman single issues, or perhaps wait for the trade that collects them in the main series and get in single issues the three event specials.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fernando Rezende

    I really don't care about what people may say, I loved this from start to finish! The first X-titles crossover after Hox/PoX and it nails it. Some may say it's a bit inconsistant in some times, but that's not a big deal. After all, it has multiple writers and that implies that the writing style will change and etc. Some people will propably say that this was suposed to be a swordsmanship tournament event, but that's also wrong. All the time tarot cards are shown throughout the book and that's the I really don't care about what people may say, I loved this from start to finish! The first X-titles crossover after Hox/PoX and it nails it. Some may say it's a bit inconsistant in some times, but that's not a big deal. After all, it has multiple writers and that implies that the writing style will change and etc. Some people will propably say that this was suposed to be a swordsmanship tournament event, but that's also wrong. All the time tarot cards are shown throughout the book and that's the focus. Even the name "X of Swords" (that reads Ten of Swords) is a reference to a tarot card, so it is obvious that this is the focus. And like tarot cards, this event is unpredictable, that's why I loved every single moment of it. Well, that all being said, I need to say that I am eagerly waiting for the next phase of the X-titles: Reign of X! In Jonathan Hickman a.k.a. "Lord of X" I trust!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Duvall

    Marvel just can’t help themselves when it comes to overstuffing the X-books. The entire first half of this 22-issue crossover is all about different characters obtaining swords. Between that and a couple issues in the second half that feel like filler/excuses to sell some extra copies of lower-selling X-Men series, I found myself thinking maybe 12-14 issues would’ve reined in this story to its benefit. As padded as X of Swords is, though, it ends up pretty satisfying. It’s really nice to see the Marvel just can’t help themselves when it comes to overstuffing the X-books. The entire first half of this 22-issue crossover is all about different characters obtaining swords. Between that and a couple issues in the second half that feel like filler/excuses to sell some extra copies of lower-selling X-Men series, I found myself thinking maybe 12-14 issues would’ve reined in this story to its benefit. As padded as X of Swords is, though, it ends up pretty satisfying. It’s really nice to see the X-Men event books move away from the “mutants are on the verge of extinction” plot. And though the subversion of what most readers probably expect in the second half is a bit jarring at first, I ended up appreciating that it went in a stranger direction than simply having a string of fights. When it does get to that big ending battle, though, it makes good on the payoff.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Theo Kallström

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Read everything except for the Excalibur and Cable issues. Interesting crossover event, feeling refreshingly small-scale compared to Empyre and War of the Realms. The art is great throughout, while the story focuses on the search or the swords during the first half and the tournament itself during the second half. It never felt truly epic until the final issue. I like the focus on Apocalypse and his family, but the Otherworld/Arrakko backstory stuff felt a bit heavy at times. Other than that I f Read everything except for the Excalibur and Cable issues. Interesting crossover event, feeling refreshingly small-scale compared to Empyre and War of the Realms. The art is great throughout, while the story focuses on the search or the swords during the first half and the tournament itself during the second half. It never felt truly epic until the final issue. I like the focus on Apocalypse and his family, but the Otherworld/Arrakko backstory stuff felt a bit heavy at times. Other than that I felt that the different titles were well utilized, with the Storm/Wakanda issue, the feast issues and the Wolverine/Hellions issues being particular highlights.

  27. 5 out of 5

    TV’S Kevin Lanigan

    Sweet holy hell. The chef’s kiss of chef’s kisses. Just absolutely floored by what they were able to pull off here across so many writers, artists, and characters, and make it all lead up to a remarkable, smashing whole. What I thought would be an “anime tournament arc,” Mortal Kombat style fight list became a funny & deeply emotional piece of epic fantasy. The Marvel event since at least Secret Wars, and the best X-Men event since at least Second Coming. Cannot wait to read this all in a tasty h Sweet holy hell. The chef’s kiss of chef’s kisses. Just absolutely floored by what they were able to pull off here across so many writers, artists, and characters, and make it all lead up to a remarkable, smashing whole. What I thought would be an “anime tournament arc,” Mortal Kombat style fight list became a funny & deeply emotional piece of epic fantasy. The Marvel event since at least Secret Wars, and the best X-Men event since at least Second Coming. Cannot wait to read this all in a tasty hardcover.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Josue Rodriguez

    What starts off as a magical, exciting event involving many characters I love and enjoy, rather quickly transforms into a weird, farcical, crazy adventure. I don't mind a fun tale at all but the tonal shifts had me wondering what I should take seriously and what to brush off with a chuckle and the balance between the more fun parts and its more emotional serious one is non-existent. I've been following the storylines (all of them) since the start of House of X, this follow up event pales in compa What starts off as a magical, exciting event involving many characters I love and enjoy, rather quickly transforms into a weird, farcical, crazy adventure. I don't mind a fun tale at all but the tonal shifts had me wondering what I should take seriously and what to brush off with a chuckle and the balance between the more fun parts and its more emotional serious one is non-existent. I've been following the storylines (all of them) since the start of House of X, this follow up event pales in comparison in almost every way.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    I love Hickman. And I am also loving what he is bringing to the X-Men's corner of Marvel comics. However, I felt this event was middling and very convoluted for what I felt it was going to be. The art was sublime. The the characterisation of certain mutants were great. I just wish it spent more time breathing between all that was happening. Just kept falling into the next and then the next and so forth. That being said, I do look forward to see where Hickman and rest if the team of creators working I love Hickman. And I am also loving what he is bringing to the X-Men's corner of Marvel comics. However, I felt this event was middling and very convoluted for what I felt it was going to be. The art was sublime. The the characterisation of certain mutants were great. I just wish it spent more time breathing between all that was happening. Just kept falling into the next and then the next and so forth. That being said, I do look forward to see where Hickman and rest if the team of creators working on X-Men take us.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Rylan

    This was a hefty read, originally X of Swords was intended to be 12 issues but covid hit and for some reason they thought adding 10 more was a good idea. I think they should’ve stuck with 12 the story is way to drawn out and unnecessarily confusing at times. I will say I am a sucker for tournament arcs so I did enjoy the story for the most part and Storm was an absolute badass in here I love seeing her get some spotlight.

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