X of Swords: Creation #1 kicks of the “first” major X event since the line’s revamp. Taking place across the various series and a few one-shots, the story focuses on Otherworld and a threat to Krakoa. The story dives deep into Excalibur lore and history, an interesting direction and choice for a first event. That X-history is weaved in with new deeper takes on characters. This is especially true of Apocalypse a character who has become a center of X-architect Jonathan Hickman’s X-vision.
For those who have read Excalibur’s past series, you might be a bit more excited for the event as it focuses on a threat for Otherworld and the Starlight Citadel, and Saturnyne. The story is a deep cut in some ways to past plot points and concepts that have felt shelved for years but have taken a prominent role in the current X-continuity. There’s so much more to discuss of this, along with news of the upcoming S.W.O.R.D. series, that points to a “mutant manifest destiny.” But, that’s only danced around in this event kick-off.
Instead, we get prophecies and an oncoming hoard with death and destruction. And in many ways, X of Swords: Creation #1 points to the current flaw in Hickman’s vision. With death no longer an obstacle for mutants, there’s little reason to not meet threats with overwhelming force. Any losses can be regenerated and brought back. You might as well send your heavy hitters every time and just subscribe to “shock and awe” to any and all threats. Instead, a small contingent is sent that we know will be overwhelmed feigning a true threat. But, writers Hickman and Tini Howard tease just enough mystery to make things interesting.
A gate must remain open between Krakoa and Otherworld for unknown reasons. The “sword” in the title is the traditional weapon but also points the the heavens with S.W.O.R.D., something we now know will expand mutantkind’s influence and reach. While the hoards march to Krakoa isn’t totally clear. There’s just enough to see what’s next in what amounts to a sword and sorcery/fantasy story meets X-Men plot. While it doesn’t quite excite, it also doesn’t fall flat.
The art by Pepe Larraz with color by Marte Gracia delivers. The design of characters have a nice horror meets Egyptian quality to them. They hearken to Apocalypse’s four horsemen quite well giving us a more traditional take on the Biblical concept. Scenes are packed with battle and action without being overwhelming and the colors add in a nice “death and destruction” quality about them all. The lettering by Clayton Cowles adds to the genre with a style that feels a bit more “fantasy” than other lettering styles and Tom Muller packs in a lot of information with reports and FAQs as been a signature aspect of “Hickman’s run.”
X of Swords: Creation #1 isn’t a bad start to an event. It does beg readers to explore more of the history touched upon, some of which is obscure for newer X-readers. The comic does do a job of catching readers up though. It explains what’s needed but there’s an emotional connection that’s not there. It also shows one of the major flaws with this X-direction, there’s little real threat when anyone can be resurrected and there’s little reason to not send overwhelming force against threats beyond showing restraint. It’s a start to something and what’s teased at the end indicates what comes after may be more interesting than what gets us there.
Story: Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard Art: Pepe Larraz
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Clayton Cowles Design: Tom Muller
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review