X of Swords is turning into a bit of an anti-climactic affair. While I enjoy fake-outs and character moments, this event is a talkfest that doesn’t go anywhere (I also say this as someone who has read ahead).
This issue starts interesting enough, showing the consequences of Wolverine’s assassination of Lady Saturnyne at the end of the last issue. We learn that Arakko has invaded Earth and overcome the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Readers are treated to an image of the Sanctum Santorum before seeing Dr. Strange’s burning body get thrown out the window. As the action then turns to focus on a crucified Wolverine, we learn that this is a vision Lady Saturnyne shows Wolverine about the future consequences of his actions, had his attempt to kill her been successful (which it wasn’t).
Attention turns back to the feast at the Starlight Citadel, which is not without some funny interactions. Still, for having set up the forces of Arakko to be an overwhelming, menacing threat, they lose their sense of menace as this series goes on.
If one were to compare this event with Hickman’s first event from his Avengers run, Infinity, this first big X-event certainly falls short of action and menacing villains (even though it had the potential to start off strong).
Perhaps, Hickman and company are setting up something else as a part of their storytelling long game. There were many ideas laid out in House of X/Powers of X, ideas that have only barely been explored in the first year of the Dawn of X (Arakko was only one of those ideas). Throughout this series, there have been hints about the possible reconciliation between Krakoa and Arakko, with one of the sword bearers of Arakko, Redroot, discussing the merits of Krakoan society with Death. Maybe there is a major shift in the status quo about to be established.
Or maybe there’s an editorial mandate to stretch out Hickman’s X-run as long as possible (and who knows how the recent revelation in Fantastic Four #26 that Franklin Richards is no longer a mutant may affect his run).
In any event, this is the fourth issue in a row of this series, which seemed to be setting up an epic and violent tournament between Arakko and Krakoa, that has turned into an on-going talkfest.
I’m a fan of Hickman and the X-titles’ potential, but Hickman and the X-team need to pick up the pace a little bit and provide some payoff.
Marauders #15 is available now!