Recently announced as a member of the inaugural class of Marvel’s Stormbreakers, superstar artist Peach Momoko continues to turn out bestselling variant covers for Marvel’s hottest titles. Fans can now see her latest creation, featuring a depiction of Spider-Man’s scariest foe reimagined in Momoko’s trademark style, for Carnage: Black, White, & Blood #1.
Featuring all-star creators such as Donny Cates, Ken Lashley, Sara Pichelli, Benjamin Percy, Tini Howard, and more, Carnage: Black, White, & Blood will present Carnage’s most spine-chilling tales in BLACK, WHITE, AND BLOOD. See Momoko’s cover below and don’t miss adding this latest variant cover masterpiece to your collection when Carnage: Black, White, & Blood #1 hits stands in March.
In the same vein as his iconic Amazing Spider-Man #55 cover, Marvel Stormbreaker Patrick Gleason delivers another stunning cover for the debut issue of Carnage: Black, White, & Blood and Cletus Kasady has never looked more frightening. These striking illustrations have become a major hit with fans, selling out at comic shops across the country.
Featuring all-star creators such as Donny Cates, Ken Lashley, Sara Pichelli, Benjamin Percy, Tini Howard, and more, Carnage: Black, White, & Blood will feature Carnage’s most spine-chilling tales presented in BLACK, WHITE, AND BLOOD. See Cletus Kasady cackle at the horror he’s about to unleash on Gleason’s cover below and don’t miss adding this extraordinary cover to your collection when Carnage: Black, White, & Blood #1 hits stands in March.
This week delivers the conclusion of X of Swords, the sprawling crossover that represented the latest chapter in Jonathan Hickman’s grand vision for the X-Men, and learned that the Reign of X was upon us!
Hickman’s bold take on mutantkind began last year in the critically-acclaimed House ofX and Powers of X and continued in the Dawn of X, ushering in a slate of brand-new X-Men titles that took the comic book industry by storm. Now, the saga continues in Reign of X, a new era encompassing the upcoming story arcs in all your favorite X-titles. The Reign of X will see the forming of new teams, the return of major characters, new threats brought about by classic villains, and more game-changing revelations that will alter the X-Men mythos forever! Check out what’s to come in a mesmerizing teaser image by superstar X-Men artist Mahmud Asrar!
It all begins in December as the X-Men deal with the fallout of X of Swords and look to the future. Here’s what’s to come next month:
Hellions #7by writer Zeb Wells and artist Stephen Segovia will explore the aftermath of the team’s brutal massacre in X of Swords.
Writer Leah Williams and artist David Baldeon continue to investigate mutant deaths and explore the complexities that come with resurrection in X-Factor #5.
Kate Pryde and Emma Frost finally enact their long-awaited revenge on Sebastian Shaw in Marauders #16 by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Stefano Caselli.
Mutantkind sets their sights on the galaxy and beyond in writer Al Ewing and artist Valerio Schiti’s groundbreaking S.W.O.R.D. #1.
An old foe rises in New Mutants #14, the beginning of a wild new era for your favorite young mutants by writer Vita Ayala and artist Rod Reis.
Wolverine reunites with Maverick and Team X in Wolverine #8, a special over-sized milestone issue written by Benjamin Percy with art by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic.
The search for Captain Britain is underway as Excalibur returns to Otherworld in Excalibur #16 by writer Tini Howard and artist Marcus To.
X-Force will stop at nothing to protect Krakoa, even if it means interrogating their own, in the action-packed X-Force #15 by writer Benjamin Percy and Marvel’s Stormbreaker artist Joshua Cassara.
And Cyclops makes a fateful decision regarding the future of the X-Men in X-Men #16, written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Phil Noto.
In Excalibur #13, the “X of Swords” event is back in fetch quest mode, but writer Tini Howard, artist R.B. Silva, and colorist Nolan Woodard bring not one, but two swords to the party along with a lot of Braddock family drama. There’s betrayals, reversals, and it’s a merry old time like an Errol Flynn film with interdimensional doppelgangers and energy blasts. The rivalry between Betsy Braddock and Brian Braddock for the mantle of Captain Britain takes center stage in this issue, and Howard connects the role the Sword of Might plays in selecting a Captain Britain (If you pick it instead of the amulet, you’re too angry and impetuous for the position.) to the story of “X of Swords”. She and Silva show that even with Krakoa/the universe threatened, there is still time for petty disputes and self-doubt.
Other than the two opening issues (X of Swords: Creation, X-Factor #4) and Hellions, most of the chapters of “X of Swords” have followed a formula of a mutant taking possession of a sword that they’ll used to fight the Arakko aka Apocalypse’s kids and having to give up something or learn something about themselves in the issue (Or two for Wolverine) about their quest. Tini Howard and R.B. Silva adhere to this formula, but throw in an Otherworld twist and connect their story to the Captain Britain mythos as well as Opal Saturnyne’s machinations.
Whether or not you’ll like this comic depends on how invested you are in the Braddock family dynamic as well as the Captain Britain mythos in general even though Howard’s data pages do a decent job providing adequate background information on both the Captain Britain Corps and how one becomes Captain Britain. (It’s all a basically riff on the classic choice between Excalibur and its scabbard, which could protect the bearer from all wounds in some of the Arthurian legends.)
As she has done throughout her run on Excalibur, Howard does a wonderful job nailing the bickering sibling dynamic between Brian, Betsy, and Jamie Braddock. Before they end up swinging swords at members of the new Captain Britain Corps and hatching plots against Opal Saturnyne, Betsy and Brian spar a bit about the mantle of Captain Britain. Howard gives Brian a dry wit, and he makes some zingers about Betsy not even living in the U.K. as well as if she even wants the mantle. Betsy fires back with his hesitance to draw a sword even in a good cause like protecting the Earth from Arakko, and Brian’s relationship with combat and swords is a big throughline in Excalibur.
As far as art, R.B. Silva’s action scenes lack a sense of flow, but his facial expressions, cartooning, and use of grids help drive home the dynamic between the Braddocks with Jamie Braddock as a chaotic Omega mutant monarch wild card. He also gets a bit of visual comedy out of Betsy’s strategy to get the Starlight Sword from Saturnyne.
Nolan Woodard uses a pretty intense color palette whenever Betsy Braddock goes into action with her big-ass sword and contributes to the mystical vibe of everything. He also adds some interesting touches that make a Excalibur #13 richer storylike using a glowing, almost whiter-than-white color tone for Saturnyne that symbolizes that she is kind of above it all. Add Tini Howard’s foreboding narration for Betsy, and just like Ed Brisson and Rod Reis did with Douglas Ramsey in New Mutants #13, there’s a feeling that she might not make it out of the tournament despite her considerable skills.
I’m definitely on the fence as far as my opinion of Excalibur #13. It’s not my favorite issue of “X of Swords”, but it’s considerably better than, say Wolverine #6 and X-Force #13. Some highlights are Tini Howard and R.B. Silva’s portrayal of the relationship between Betsy, Brian, and Jamie Braddock as well as the legacy of the Captain Britain Corps, and Nolan Woodard’s heavy metal color palette. Some not-so-great parts are the battle between the Braddocks and the Excalibur doppelgangers even though the character designs are quite fun. It has all the trappings of a “mandatory fight scene”, and I felt less emotionally connected to it than when Betsy and Brian almost came to blows. With their deep personal connection to Otherworld, I’m interested to see how Captain Britain (Betsy Braddock) and the newly-minted Captain Avalon (Brian Braddock) fare in the “tournament” part of “X of Swords”.
Story: Tini Howard Art: RB Silva Colors: Nolan Woodard Letters: Ariana Maher Story: 7.8 Art: 7.2 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
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