By Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia
X of Swords finally arrives week. Much of what has been happening in the X universe has been leading to this, and we see how everything that’s been built up starts falling into place. The Summoner, Otherworld, Krakoa and Arrako. All of these things play an important role in this first issue.
Tini Howard and Jonathan Hickman write the script for this first major issue. Howard and Hickman have been the major architects of the X-Men line since the relaunch, especially the latter. This issue kicks things off with a huge bang. Howard and Hickman give us some background and world building as we see the first horsemen of Apocalypse. They are waged in a war, as usual, and Saturnyne is involved. We are shown the tarot reading from the free comic book day issue, and it makes more sense in the concept of this story now. Howard has been using Apocalypse wonderfully in Excalibur, he has been one of the brightest spots in the book, and she continues to use him well in a leading role this issue. The pages between Apocalypse and the Summoner as they attempt to convince the council go back through his constructed gate are well written and everyone is in character. Magneto is snarky, Sinister is a cocky Jerk, and it’s a wonderful scene. From this point on, things start to pick up. Hickman and Howard give us great little moments between the characters who have accepted Apocalypse’s invitation. A panel between Angel and Apocalypse will make many fans happy. We haven’t seen these two on the same side much, and the page was written nicely. Hickman and Howard give us Action, betrayal and a good Summers family adventure as Cable and his parents look for something to help out in the war. If you’re reading the X-line, you must read this book.
The pencils this issue are handled by Pepe Larraz with colors by Marte Gracia. For an epic story kick off like this, you need amazing artwork. That is exactly what we are treated to this issue. The battlefield and backgrounds alone are awe inspiring, as Larraz builds his world. There is a gorgeous panel in the battle as someone gets slice in half, we see their killer through their separated body parts. These pages couldn’t be as great as they are without the wonderful colors laid down by Marte Gracia. His colors are not too vibrant for the dark tone of the story, they fit just right. He contrast between the green in Lorna’s costume and the black on Alex’s is perfect. Seeing all the different bright colors in the backgrounds, like Jean linking Cyclops and Cable’s minds, Gracia uses a nice pink. As Polaris fire off an energy blast, she’s smothered by a light green glow. The colors and pencils rule this issue and make this an even better book.
Without a doubt, this is one of the finest event kickoffs in recent memory. Howard and Hickman have set this up as an epic battle between good and evil, and I have no idea which side will win. The pencils and colors should wow you as you flip through the pages of this amazing issue. X of Swords Creation will exceed your expectations.