X-MEN: X OF SWORDS DESTRUCTION #1 (part 22 of 22)
Annihilation has refused to accept defeat and has unleashed the demon hordes onto the field of battle! The Krakoan champions are hopelessly outnumbered but the cards have been dealt and they must ALL be played...who will win, who will lose and who will survive the final confrontation...
If it’s a spectacle you were waiting for XOS Destruction delivers that and the melodrama in spades across its 44 odd pages…
We get a glorious final battle that really reminded me of the battle of Helms Deep in Lord Of The Rings with several breathtaking moments that focus on particular characters from Saturnyne’s ultimate plan coming to fruition early on but not quite in the way
she thought to the “The tenth Sword would descend from Heaven” to ultimately the actions and decision by Apocalypse that seals everyone involved’s ultimate fate. Pepe Larraz does it all in this issue from close-up panels to giant massive scale monsters, intense close-quarters combat, and once again the combination of Larraz and Marte Gracia on colors is an exceptionally potent force that literally has to be read and experienced to be believed. If this book did not have a single word written in it, it would still be a thing of glory and when combined with the writing is a final issue worthy of the moniker finale.
This last chapter ties several dangling plot threads together as well as showing us what more of the tarot cards meant in a closing act that while full of action drives home what X Of swords has been all along and that is the story of the trials and tribulations family has to face to be healed. This was always the story of one character in particular and if you go back and read this event from the beginning it becomes clear despite the very brilliant misdirection of the quest for swords, the competitions in all their weird and wonderful glory, and even the machinations of Saturnyne… this is the story of family and the lengths one will go to protect those families be they of blood in Apocalypse’s case or the larger family of mutantkind.
X Of Swords Destruction despite its title meant to instill excitement and a little fear too (which is understandable from a marketing perspective) is in fact a tale about both destruction (of old ways like Saturnyne’s new corps and the inevitable rift now created in the leadership of Krakoa) but at it’s heart it is very much the story of healing. It’s about a broken family coming back together to ultimately be healed at great cost, I mean we even had two full issues of the awkward family dinner several issues back even though it cleverly focused on the dynamics of some of the more periphery participants.
If we look at the character-driven focus outside of Apocalypse and Saturnyne there isn’t a lot of interpersonal moments between characters as the issue focuses on the spectacle of the final confrontation, if anything it’s Cable and Cyclops that enjoy some good dialogue while Jean is at the forefront of a moment of Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia Splash page glory.
The world-building continues even at the very end as we actually get to see some of the consequences of the outcome of the final battle and what it means for certain individuals and Kingdoms of Outworld (I would read an Outworld anthology series in a
heartbeat, just putting it into the universe Marvel)
There’s a certain wistfulness that comes with final issues especially if like me you have enjoyed this event overall and that wistfulness is captured at the end of the book through the character of Saturnyne which reminds all of us that the outcomes of great struggles are not always what we want… but then again if everyone got what they want at the end of every story there would be no more stories and Howard and Hickman certainly leave a berth wide enough for future storytelling should anyone seek to pick up the threads they leave at the end of this issue. What I like about the end is that despite the questions it leaves unanswered, it feels like a very natural ending… like it fits, that it was meant to end as it does, maybe not how many would want, but in a way that is perfectly line with the tone of the story that was told.
X OF SWORDS: DESTRUCTION #1 is a fitting final chapter filled with the spectacle of any great finale from start to finish but never loses sight of what the story has ultimately been about: Family.
X-MEN: X OF SWORDS DESTRUCTION #1 (part 22 of 22) : Winners, Losers, Survivors
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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