It looks like Empyre won’t be the only event that the X-Men will need to be worried about. During the first day of C2E2 2020 Marvel announced a new X-Men event titled “X of Swords.” This new X-Men event will follow the lead of House of X and Powers of X as it will be a 15 issue event. Whether those 15 issues involve every comic book in the current X-Men line or only specific ones. All we know in terms of the comics involved is the fact that Jonathan Hickman will act as the creative lead for the event so we can expect at least X-Men and X-Factor be part of it.
The promotional art that Marvel released alongside the announcement showed most of the major X-Men wielding a sword that relates to their powers. But it looks like this is just a tease because as the announcement reveals there will be ten mutants who will rise up to be representing the “X” in the X of Swords. The full description of X of Swords gives us teases the following:
“Threatened by powerful forces from the unknown, ten mutants will rise up to defend their home. Arming themselves with legendary blades both new and familiar, mutantkind will finally meet its mystical destiny. Impacting the entire X-Men franchise and setting the stage for the future of mutantkind, X OF SWORDS will be a modern X-Men epic that both longtime and new X-Men fans can’t miss.”
While the ten mutants mentioned in the teaser aren’t officially named there are several X-Men who are known sword wielders. The ones that immediately come to mind are Magik and Psylocke. Wolverine has also been known to be a trained samurai with his own special sword that is one of the only things that can kill him. Then there is Nightcrawler who has dual wielded swords in the past.
Another recent addition to sword wielders was Magneto, who created a sword out of the broken Cerebro in X-Factor #2 a few months back. That could mean Charles Xavier or Magneto could be one of those ten mutants as users of the Cerebro sword. This would be a change of pace for the the two Krakoan leaders as Xavier and Magneto have been mostly giving orders and avoiding field work. It could potentially give Hickman a chance to make the new Cerebro sword as having some sort of special properties that are connected to mutant detection or psychics because of how Xavier has used Cerebro.
Outside of that it could really be anyone who could rise up as the leads for X of Swords. The only X-Men who do not seem to be involved in a starring role are Jean Grey and Kate Pryde. Kate Pryde is understandable since the Marauders series is heavily teasing her death in an upcoming issue. So having her part of the promo art for X of Swords may have given that away.
That makes Jean Grey’s absence even more notable. She has been one of the core X-Men seen across multiple titles like Cyclops, Storm, Wolverine, Xavier and Magneto. So not being part of the promo material is odd given her contemporaries placement.
Character absences aside, the other thing that was interesting from this announcement is how Hickman is once again using the “X” as part of the event title. This continues the trend from House of X and Powers of X. The X could mean many things like Xavier’s first letter, X from X-Men or the X-gene that makes people mutants. In this case the “X” seems to represent the ten mutants that will be rising up to be the sword wielders. What clues Hickman drops for the greater narrative he is creating around the X-Men franchise will be something to keep a close eye on.
We are still several months away from when X of Swords begins in July 2020. There are sure to be more things that we will learn the closer we get to the event. Free Comic Book Day in May could be a good time for that given how big of a deal that day is for the comic book industry. We’ll just wait and see what Hickman and company have in store.
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