X of Swords – April Graphic Novel of the Month

Jonathan Hickman’s acclaimed revival of the X-Men continues in the blockbuster X of Swords. A tower. A mission. A gathering of armies. Swords will be drawn in the first epic crossover of the astonishing Dawn of X! Wolverine, the X-Men, Cable, X-Force, Excalibur, X-Factor, the New Mutants, the Marauders, the Hellions and the rest of Krakoa’s residents will all feel the effects — but which ten mutants will wield the blades? Weapons both new and familiar are drawn from their scabbards as the X-Men prepare to do mythic battle against a truly daunting foe!

Since the smash-hit success of House of X / Powers of X, Hickman has restored the X-Men to their prominent position as one of Marvel’s top franchises. Hs knack for expanding or building on classic mythologies (see his Fantastic Four run) is well suited to the X-Men world, and one of the best parts of his run has been his revival of classic concepts and characters. X of Swords continues Hickman’s revitalisation of the X-books as he – alongside Excalibur writer Tini Howard – teams up with the current creators of the Dawn of X line on another epic storyline.

The series delves further into the history of Krakoa — the living Island from Giant-Size X-Men #1 which has now become the X-Men’s home — with the revelation that it is half of a whole island, having been separated from its other half Arrako in a war involving Apocalypse and his original four horsemen. The machinations that Apocalypse has been partaking in throughout Hickman’s run come to a head as his plans to bring back Arrako come to light. Whilst his attentions may be good, the consequences soon prove to be dire as the X-Men are forced to fight against sword wielding followers of Arrako. It is a story on a grand scale that will thrill X-Men fans of old, particularly those well versed in Captain Britain/Excalibur lore.

The art is also tremendous, with Pepe Larraz building on his stellar work in House of X / Powers of X, continuing to cement himself as one of the top artists working in comics today. His storytelling is always on point and every page will stick out in your memory. He also has a great understanding of the classic designs but is not afraid to put his own spin on them. The art teams on the other X-family titles turn in similarly strong work, with Adam Kubert and Marcus To being particularly great.

This is an epic X-Men story that will appeal to fans old and new. Hickman, Howard and company have put together one of the strongest event comics in recent memory. A worthy follow-up to the events House of X / Powers of X set in motion.

X Of Swords is out 22 April 2021 from Marvel
(9781302927172, h/b, £83.50)

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