Comics
Published October 28, 2020

How 'X of Swords: Stasis' #1 Brings the Enemy into the Light

Spoiler alert! Dive into the mighty midway point of the 'X of Swords' crossover!

In the name of Honest Irving Forbush, beware! This article contains spoilers for today's X OF SWORDS: STASIS #1, so read on at your own risk, frantic ones!

This week, the X-Men crossover event, X OF SWORDS, has reached its midpoint. Over the past ten chapters, the Champions of Krakoa have come forth to defend their mutant nation from the invading hordes of Arakko. Saturnyne, the Omniversal Majestrix, has called forth prophecies to identify ten swordbearers on each side to represent their respective factions.

Wolverine, Magik, Storm, Cypher, Cable, Captain Britain, Captain Avalon, and Apocalypse have already stepped up for Krakoa. In X OF SWORDS: STASIS #1, writers Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard join forces with artists Pepe Larraz and Mahmud Asrar to name the Champions of Arakko.

X OF SWORDS: STASIS #1 variant cover by Junghee Kim
X OF SWORDS: STASIS #1 variant cover by Junghee Kim

But first, they reconfirm that Gorgon is also among Krakoa’s swordbearers. Curiously, both of Gorgon’s blades were named in Saturnyne’s prophecy. But not even he knows what that means...

Before the tournament can begin, Saturnyne summons the leaders and representatives of the kingdoms within Otherworld: Hothive, Avalon, The Crooked Market, The Kingdom of Sevalith, Blightspot, The Floating Kingdom of Roma Regina, The Holy Republic of Fae, Mercator, and Infuri, the Everforg. Not even Saturnyne can discern who or what Mercator’s people are, but she threatens to invade if they aren’t more forthcoming. The beings in Infuri, the Everforg also resemble the invaders at the Peak from CABLE #5. It’s not an exact match between the creatures, but there could be a link between the two.

The Arakkii also attended the meeting...only to announce that they had utterly destroyed Drayador and its people. Readers may recall that X OF SWORDS: CREATION #1 depicted Drayador’s final moments which led to this conflict. And while Saturnyne manipulated Polaris to create a casting circle for Krakoa out of Rockslide’s body, the Arakkii use the corpses of Dravador's people to make a casting circle of their own.

Solem became the first champion of Arakko in WOLVERINE #6 and X-FORCE #13. The rest were named in this issue, including the greedy and lizard-like, Pogg Ur-Pogg, Bei the Blood Moon, War, Death, Summoner, Isca the Unbeaten Mercy, and the enigmatic Annihilation who wears the golden helm of Amenth.

It’s worth noting that the two remaining champions only joined Arakko in battle reluctantly. Redroot the Forest, a female who serves as Arakko’s voice, was upset about the war and violence to come. Intriguingly, Arakko is also female, which makes the island and her voice the exact opposite numbers of Krakoa and Doug Ramsey, AKA Cypher... The island also wept as she told Redroot to fight alongside the Arakkii.

X of Swords Checklist

The only other hold out was the White Sword of the Ivory Spire. Once he was a champion of the Arakkii who led a force into the other dimension to confront the invaders. But now he holds a grudge against his former compatriots for “bowing to Amenth.” He considers them traitors for that, but the Arakkii are able to secure his services as a champion in return for any favor that he requests. That begs the question about what the White Sword wants so badly that would cause him to work with his hated foes to achieve.

At the Starlight Citadel, Saturnyne couldn’t resist playing one more game when Krakoa’s champions arrived. She sent each of them a Tarot card that may have meaning in their immediate future. Captain Britain, AKA Betsy Braddock, was impaled by swords in the 9 of Swords card. This is considered “a bad card,” according to the ancillary section of the issue. It also suggests that the bearer is “ruining yourself with your own fears and nightmares.”

Cypher is presented with the Two of Cups, which seemingly predicts love and harmony in his future. But with who? Gorgon discarded his card, while Captain Avalon, AKA Brian Braddock, received the Knight of Pentacles. That’s a card for “the man has no master plan, but will work for what must be done.”

For Magik, only the Page of Wands will do. That card suggests that she is "arrogant, but a good friend to have.” Sounds right to us. Cable was offended that his card, The Fool, seemed to show him on the Peak. However, “the fool does not know things yet, but he will learn.” As for Wolverine, his card was Strength, as in strength of will, heart, and focus. “This is the one that endures.” If so, why did the card depict Summoner choking the life out of him?

Storm was horrified that she pulled the Death card, which seemed to imply that she may join the enemy. “This is not the card of failure, but of the harvest. The season before can never come again. Metamorphosis.” That’s not very encouraging.

Finally, Apocalypse was angered by his card, The Lovers, which teases a great test where there was once harmony. When he confronts Saturnyne about it, Apocalypse comes face-to-face with Annihilation and instantly realizes who she is: his lost wife, Genesis, and Ameth, joined together as one. When Apocalypse demands answers as to how and why this happened, Genesis simply tells him “survival of the fittest.”

The battle lines have been drawn, and the main event is about to start when the second half of X OF SWORDS begins next week!

Read this ish for yourself at your local comic shop today!

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