Everything That Happened Today in 'X of Swords'
Spoiler alert! Witness the fallout of 'Hellions' #5, 'New Mutants' #13, and 'Cable' #5!
Warning! This article contains spoilers for today's HELLIONS #5, NEW MUTANTS #13, and CABLE #5, so read on at your own risk, frantic ones!
Just a few weeks ago, the X-Men were on top of the food chain. But since X OF SWORDS began, the mutant nation of Krakoa has been on the defensive.
Apocalypse’s children, the original Horsemen, have declared their intention to march through Otherworld to destroy Krakoa and its citizens before conquering this world. Additionally, the Resurrection protocols that allowed mutants to cheat death have proven to be ineffective on anyone who gets killed in Otherworld. If the ten champions of Krakoka fall to the Arakkii in the fight to come, then it will be their permanent demise. They won’t be coming back from that.
If that sounds tense, rest assured that the situation became even more so after this week’s three X OF SWORDS installments. Now, the mutant nation is facing a war on multiple fronts, and the price of defeat may be astronomical...
It started in HELLIONS #5, by writer Zeb Wells and artist Carmen Carnero. The team of mutant misfits, including Havok, Psylocke, Wildchild, Nanny, Orphanmaker, and Greycrow were not named as Krakoa’s champions. But Sinister came up with an idea to put them into a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. He proposed that his Hellions enter Otherworld and sabotage the Arakkii before they can assemble their ten swords and champions.
As desperate plans go, it’s not bad. Regardless, the Quiet Council also saw it as a way to rid themselves of Sinister once and for all. By near unanimous decree, they ordered Sinister to accompany the Hellions on what they assumed would be a suicide mission. But Sinister had a surprise of his own: illegal clones of his own back on Bar Sinister. In fact, one of the Sinister clones may have taken the journey in his place.
Meanwhile, Empath's resurrection threw another wrench into the plan. The Hellions openly loath Empath, and none of the other mutants on Krakoa like him either. Empath quickly figured out that Greycrow killed his last body, and he held on to that card until he was able to blackmail the team. When the Hellions were cornered on Otherworld, Empath refused to turn the hostile crowd to their side unless he had permission to make Greycrow into his “pet.” Out of desperation, Sinister went along with it, and Greycrow was forced to become much “friendlier” to Empath. More disturbingly, the Hellions went along with it. Because if their mission is discovered, Krakoa’s champions may forfeit the tournament before it begins.
Next, writer Ed Brisson and artist Rod Reis’s NEW MUTANTS #13 was a more introspective chapter that focused on the fourth champion of Krakoa: Doug Ramsey. It’s been an open secret for some time that Doug’s best friend, Warlock, was joined with him as his artificial arm. However, Saturnyne’s prophecy specifically called for both of them to take part in the tournament, with Warlock as Doug’s blade. With the exception of Warlock, no one believes that Doug is up to the task...not even Doug himself.
Krakoa made two attempts to keep Doug on the island, in part because Krakoa will not have a voice in Doug’s absence. Exodus made a more violent attempt, and suggested that he would kill Doug to prevent his departure. Only the interference of Warlock and Krakoa forced Exodus to back off.
For her part, Magik tried tough love with Doug by putting him through a crash course in swordplay. Magik remembers Doug’s death in FALL OF THE MUTANTS, when he was killed in part because his powers of language aren’t always useful in battle. Over the course of the issue, Doug was able to use that ability to read Magik’s body language. He even showed real improvement. That gave Doug a boost in confidence, and forced Magik to bring him down to Earth. The Arakkii are a warrior race who have fought every day of their lives in the darkest parts of Otherworld. Against an enemy like that, Doug can’t hope to win. The best he can do is try not to die and stay close to Magik when the fighting begins...
Finally, CABLE #5 by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Phil Noto made things even worse. Remember when Saturnyne left a mental message in X OF SWORDS: CREATION #1 that led Cable, Cyclops, and Jean Grey to the Peak? It turns out that may not have been meant to help the mutants. The former headquarters of S.W.O.R.D. was powered down and abandoned for a reason. And almost everyone on board was slaughtered by a brand-new threat.
Jean encountered the lone survivor, and she soon learned about the Vescora, an alien race that acts like a virus given humanoid form. They want to "cleanse, dissect, and learn.” But if that’s not alarming enough, the survivor told Jean that the Vescora are “enemies that are not bound to our laws of physics." They invade, replicate, and move on. Under normal circumstances, the Vescora would be an extinction-level threat just by themselves. In the middle of a war with the Arakkii, their arrival is a recipe for disaster.
Cable was able to remove the Light of Galador from the Peak’s engine, and once again depower the station. However, the portal to the Vescora’s realm remains, and it looks like it was created from the bodies of the Vescora themselves. At best, this is only a temporary solution for a problem that may soon get out of hand.
Following their ordeal on the Peak, Jean and Cyclops seemed uncharacteristically calm and collected. Cyclops even assured his son that “we’re gonna be okay.” Somehow, that wasn’t very convincing. As for Cable, he took his place as the fifth champion of Krakoa.
Read these mighty mags for yourself at your local comic shop now!
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