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X-Factor #4/ X of Swords Chapter 2; Prophecy of Swords and Consequences of Otherworld

Alright, right off the bat I have to say this dense twenty-two chapter crossover event did not have me excited. I trust in Hickman, but I was aware that this would dive into the magical elements introduced in Excalibur (not my favorite book) and I was overall, eh.

X of Swords Creation #1 was THICK. After reading it over a couple of times I think I understand what’s going on; still wasn’t totally sold on it.

X-Factor #4 (aka X of Swords Chapter 2) however… Hickman you have me ensnared once again!

The Tournament Has Consequence: I appreciated how this chapter picks up just moments after the conclusion of X of Swords Creation #1. Rockslide is dead. It didn’t have much of an impact on me in chapter one because I, like many, just thought- “Five! Fire up the eggs!” Then this issue threw us our first curve ball…

It turns out that if one dies in Otherworld they cannot be properly resurrected. Since Otherworld serves as some kind of nexus between all realities to die there means that a resurrection would pull a random version from the multiverse OR would be some kind of a collective amongst all of a mutants different incarnations.Regardless of which one, the conclusion is the same- for a mutant to die in Otherworld means they die for real.

Alas, our tournament has real consequence!

Originally I thought this would be a hollow event, but now that we have this Mortal Kombat-like layout for what’s to come I am beyond hyped to get started on reading these battles.

Moira Cameo!: You are not mistaken; this is indeed the first time we have seen Moira since HoX/PoX. It’s just for one little panel in a very ‘Where’s Waldo’ type of situation but it was there nonetheless!

In Moira’s 9th life we learned that the nation Krakoa existed and fell. This was the detail that served as a red herring to make us believe that the 9th life was just the future of the current timeline. In this life not only was Krakoa real but Moira sided with Apocalpyse over Xavier and Magneto.

The end of the 9th life takes place many years in the future while the events of X of Swords are happening months (?) after last year’s mini series. There is no doubt about it; Moira knows of Amenth and knows of this tournament. There has to be an upcoming issue where Magneto and Xavier are going to consult with her to see what information she can provide.

I think at some point Moira is going to have to come into play in order to figure out how to tip the odds in Krakoa’s favor.

The Ten(?): We got prophecies ya’ll! Polaris was able to crack the code on the prophecies that list out the champions that will represent Krakoa in the tournament.

A. Muramasa: Wolverine is in this thing. Of course he is. For those that don’t know the Muramasa blade was forged specifically for him. The blade is red and is made by a piece of his soul, his own blood, and the essence of his very rage…Holy s***.

We don’t have confirmation yet on who will be fighting who, but, if we can use the hardcover art for the volume of the story releasing in January, it would seem he will go against Pogg Ur-Pogg; the giant alligator monster.

B.The Sword of Might: Brian Braddock isn’t a mutant??? Yet, here he is! The Sword of Might is one of the two items offered to a potential Captain Britain. Betsy recently took the other item, the amulet, from Brian while he was under an evil spell (but since returning he has chosen the sword). If the cover art could give us a clue he looks to be facing off against Isca; the one that can’t lose. Oh boy. Regardless of resurrection protocols Brian is a human and wouldn’t have had that option anyway. There’s already another Braddock so I am very convinced Brian ’bout to die.

Grasscutter/ Godkiller: Gorgon wields these both. Each blade was forged at the same time as weapons to support Japanese and Greek gods alike during a war against each other. It’s curious how both weapons created to be enemies are now under the control of the same fighter working in tandem. In the cover art we see Gorgon fighting against Redroot the Forest; still no real info on this one.

Warlock: To be wielded by Cypher, Douglas Ramsey. Or is it that Warlock will wield him? Who knows. In the cover art he is facing against Bei The Bloodmoon. Another character we don’t know much about. What’s curious and worisome about this, with death being permanent, is that Douglas is the only real bridge of communication between the island and the mutants. If he dies, this could complicate things for everyone living there!

Now, I know he’s a Hickman favorite so I want to believe that nothing happens to him. Yet, if we remember the 9th life… We want to assume that Douglas’ eye was acquired after he died naturally of old age, but what if he is killed so brutally that the only real chance of keeping him alive was to merge this one eye to Krakoa? In doing so Krakoa is able to adopt that humanistic form and more directly interact with the mutants! Makes for great storytelling! I’m calling it- Douglas is gonna die!

The Soul Sword: Mah girl. The one and only- Magik. Too iconic a character and too iconic a sword not to be involved. Her blade, forged by her soul through the use of sorcery, is nothing less than badass. The cover art has her facing off against Summoner. I want to believe this will be the case because she was the first to step on her place in the circle, and Summoner is the character we have gotten to know best until this point from the opposing side; his match would seem like the best way to kick things off-and to die by Magik’s blade would taste perfect.

Go for the eyes, Magik!

The Light of Galador: This blade was found by young Cable in the pages of his solo title. I’m not too pumped for this character, but I am crazy excited to see his potential oponent- the White Sword. This guy has the ability to resurrect his army-his literal powers are resurrection! That’s all on that I’m just stoked.

Skybreaker: This one has not been confirmed yet, but we have received enough on this blade to make some strong guesses. This one will be wielded by Storm and this issue confirmed that it’s forged from vibranium! The cover shows her facing off against Annihilation herself! This is another one I really suspect is accurate. Storm’s been building up in the Hickman era and the fight against the main myserious baddy sounds right!

The Scarab: We don’t know anything about this one. My guess it’s the blade wielded by Apocalypse; he’s from ancient Egypt afterall. His opponent my be his son, Death. I find that very poetic; he runs crucibile- this ceremony for mutants to fight for death in order to be reborn with their powers. He is this immortal being representing survival itself. I want to bet this will absolutely be his oppnenent in the tournament.

The Starlight Sword: No information on this sword but I want to believe it will be wielded by Besty Braddock, the current Captain Britain. I Just don’t think she’s going in there with a nameless psychic blade. Cover art would suggest she is going to face off against War. The counterpart to this sword is likely the heavily mentioned Twilight Sword but I doubt War will be the one to use it. Hmmmm…

In case we weren’t paying attention there are ten swords but only nine fighters. Two of these swords are used by the same fighter (Gorgon) meaning there is one champion and one sword missing.

My guess is the final sword will be the Cerebro sword; the device that originally participated in making mutant resurrection a reality. I think it could be a fitting final blade considering what is at stake in this story!

Who will wield it? We don’t know. Logic would say Xavier or Magneto but that seems too obvious and something you wouldn’t leave out of the art…Perhaps it ends up having to be Moira herself?

The opponenet missing is the dark hooded character named Solem. Suprise big bad?

We will see! Three chapters next week! Can’t wait.

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