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X OF SWORDS Aftermath: Unreliable Narrators, Religion, and Prophecy in X-MEN #14

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X of Swords has relied on several twists and unreliable narrators in its telling.

First, Summoner misled Apocalypse and the X-Men about his intentions and the fate of Arakko. Then Apocalypse’s children, the original horsemen, claimed that their mother Genesis, Apocalypse’s wife, had been killed, which readers then discovered was not true at the end of X of Swords – Stasis #1.

With each new telling of Arakko’s history, parts of the story that have been told have been misleading. With X-Men #14, Genesis provides us with the whole story, about her ongoing battle with the Amenthi forces, about her defeat of Annihilation, and about the Amenthi helm that drives her to conquer Krakoa.

One detail we learn from Genesis’s account is that Amenth has bred mutants with their own demonic forces (a possible allusion to the chimeras that House of/Powers of X pointed to?) from which has emerged a group of Amenthi Summoners who work with their Arakko Summoner fellows to build and man prisons for mutants in Arakko. Even though the Amenthi Summoners are products of demonic breeding, the prose page reveals that the Arakko Summoners may be the more insidious. As the text says, “the latter [reveal] the corruptive nature of that station and their undying allegiance not to the Golden Helm or the mutant state, but to the expansion of their own power and twisted religion.”

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One is reminded of the Black Swans who appeared in Hickman’s Avengers run, the followers of a religion of destruction, whose own agenda often made them an untrustworthy ally to hero and villain alike. Religion, myth, and creation/apocalypse are big parts of Hickman’s writing, and the Summoners appear to be a “return to the well” thematically for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Summoners play a role throughout the remainder of Hickman’s run on the X-titles.

To that end, X of Swords will more than likely end with the reuniting of Krakoa and Arakko, with the mutants of Arakko, including the Summoners, being integrated into the life of Krakoa, changing it forever. There is some indication of this reunion in the prophecy of Idyll, the last late prophet of Arakko: “Only under the black moon will the two become one. A white light will judge them, and a red land will see them split forever.”

Whatever the black moon is, it probably refers to the islands’ merging after the “white light” judges them (probably Saturnyne). However, there is some foreboding here, with the promise that “a red land will see them split forever.”

Who are the two that become one? What exactly is split forever?

We will probably have to wait until the end of X of Swords to find out.

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Matthew Brakehttps://www.popularcultureandtheology.com
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.

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