X-MEN: X OF SWORDS - CREATION #1
The wheel of fortune turns. The unfortunate fall. A sword against the darkness. The children of Apocalypse have returned and with them, destruction...
Here we are at the beginning of this massive event. The foreshadowing is done and now “X of Swords” is upon us. The title of this issue is “X-Men: X of Swords – Creation” #1 and that’s what writers Tini Howard and Jonathan Hickman do in this massive opening chapter that thrums with tension, action, and foreboding as the dark clouds gather for the newly-founded nation of Krakoa.
The issue is very much about placing the relevant pieces in their places on the board in preparation for a game of chess as well as giving readers a road map for what lies ahead. What’s so thrilling about it is it’s done in such a stylish and grandiose way that one loses track of exactly how simple and straight forward the idea is and that’s the beauty of this opening issue. Howard and Hickman find an interesting balance in the world-building through the writing as the issue feels very much like it’s found a very good space to exist between Hickman’s more general, less personal style and Howard’s more intimate and interpersonal style. In between this building and setting of the board is a heady mixed balance of grand moments of wild sci-fi in some of Hickman’s X-Men issues and the kind of wild magic and mystic based moments we have had in Excalibur– as well as positively Shakespearian melodrama which makes for an absolutely exhilarating read.
The personal touch with the characters is not lost during this opening salvo. I’m pleased to say that several characters from the O5 including Warren (who has an exceptionally strong exchange with Apocalypse), Jean, and Cyclops, characters like Polaris and Alex through Generation X in the form of Monet, to the next generation like Rockslide and even kid Cable all feature and are very well-written and voiced and in fact, even the less-featured characters in a huge cast with maybe the exception of Unus who really gets the short end in this issue are exceptionally well-presented. The pivotal characters for me of this issue are Apocalypse, Saturnyne, and Apocalypse’s children. Saturnyne is very much at the center of it all and shows herself to be truly formidable right from the beginning to the last pages and it is she who guides things along this issue.
For me, as formidable as the mutants involved in the story are, most of them feel very much not in control of any of it aside from the team of Cyclops, Jean, and Cable, who move in almost deliberate counterpoint to the chaos unfolding around the combatants in Otherworld, and really the last panel is truly a gasp-worthy moment for me as a huge sci-fi fan. I am avoiding spoilers as best I can but really the term “Raise Your Sword” is going to have an additional and completely new meaning for everyone by the time they read that last page. The bottom line is, the writing really lives up to the scale that the hype surrounding this massive first event of the new status quo has promised in the best way possible and I came away from this opener thinking only one thing: “Hot Damn. This is going to be superb” as the issues delivers in its promise with a slew of action, death, destruction, betrayal, hope, drama magic, angst, and humor.
I’m reluctant to talk about the art because it’s very hard to without sounding like some screaming ultra fan. Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia are in my opinion the most formidable combination of an artist and colorist working anywhere in the industry at the moment. There is such a positively magical synergy between line artist and colorist that every panel from the most mundane to the most spectacular is a visual treat. There are jaw-dropping scale spreads as well as close-up tightly paneled personal moments in the art to brilliantly imagined angles and dynamic action shots all the time and the issue never feels static for even a single panel. I have several favorites in terms of characters and how they are drawn but my favorite has to be the Summoner. Larraz manages to inject an absolutely glorious androgeny into the look of the character who has several really outstanding and shocking moments in this issue while Gracia’s colors are lush, rich and a perfect complement to the detailed line work. Apocalypse has to be mentioned too and there are several tight panels of his head and face that are incredibly striking.
Added to all this are several data pages which present everything from technical information to the clever use of the Tarot involving the character Tarot (haha) to maps of realms and breakdowns of leaders of those realms so that data page fans will be exceptionally well-fed.
X-MEN: X OF SWORDS - CREATION #1 is a gloriously well-constructed opening chapter to such a large-scale event that really showcases the talent on the book with a setup piece and an exceptionally large cast that has everything from jaw-dropping large-scale action to positively Shakespearean drama that will shock, surprise and take your breath away!
X-MEN: X OF SWORDS - CREATION #1: Our Sins Find Us Out
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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