Excalibur told us "how" X of Swords was happening. Now X-Men #12 tell us "why." X of Swords is upon us!

Review: X-MEN #12 Explains The WHY Of “X Of Swords”

On September 16, Marvel Comics released X-Men #12. This prelude to X of Swords is the last issue that Leinil Francis Yu will be doing interior art for this series (optimistically, we want to say, “For now.”). He is accompanied by writer and Head of X, Jonathan Hickman, colorist Sunny Gho and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles.

spoilers ahead

Writing & Letters


Where Excalibur #12 set up the “how” of X of SwordsX-Men #12 explains the “why” of it through the exposition of the Summoner, who has a deep connection to Apocalypse, Arrako, and Krakoa. Hickman, as usual, sets up an event with brand new players and a deep mythology. This issue is quintessential Hickman, bursting with detail and lore that is bursting at the seams and, at times, difficult to keep up with or keep track of.

Cowles had his work cut out for him this issue, given the expositional nature of the writing. Cowles is able to keep up with the story and avoid crowding the panel with dialogue boxes. If there is any fault with the lettering, it’s to be found in the insanely complex tale that Hickman weaves.

Art & Colors

As noted earlier, this is Yu’s last issue doing interior art for this book, although he will still be doing the cover art. Yu brings his A-game to the comic book, joined by Sunny Gho on colors. As their Apocalypse emerges from the jungle to speak to Summoner, he is a powerful and imposing presence.

Props need to be given to the Excalibur series team for their work on that series. They’ve done an excellent job playing the long game with his character, but it is nice to see Apocalypse take center stage in this issue and be drawn with a less-cartoony look and a less bright color pallet.

Yu will undoubtedly be missed, and his replacement, Mahmud Asrar will certainly put his own stamp on the book.


Hickman and company have put all the pieces in place. They’ve set up the “how” and “why” of the story. Now, X of Swords is finally upon us! Can Hickman capture lightning in a bottle again like he did with his infinity event during his stint on Avengers/New Avengers? We’ll find out!

What did you think of X-Men #12? Are you excited for X of Swords? Tell us in the comments below!

Matthew Brake
Matthew Brake
Matthew Brake is the series editor for the book series Theology and Pop Culture from Lexington Books. He is also the co-editor of the forthcoming Religion and Comics series from Claremont Press. He holds degrees in Interdisciplinary Studies and Philosophy from George Mason University. He also writes for Sequart and the Blackwell Popular Culture and Philosophy blog.
Excalibur told us "how" X of Swords was happening. Now X-Men #12 tell us "why." X of Swords is upon us!Review: X-MEN #12 Explains The WHY Of "X Of Swords"