The big event series of Fall 2020 for Marvel is the X-Men X of Swords crossover. Spearheaded be Head of X Jonathan Hickman, X of Swords veers into the fantastical as 10 champions from the island nation of Krakoa are seeking out swords to do battle against the champions of Arakko. Of course, the entire world is at stake.
The truth is, I only kind of understand what I just wrote there. Fantasy is really not my thing, and the quest nature of X of Swords is not hitting me where I’m sure Marvel and its creators would like. Even though I’ve been reading all the current X-books, and enjoying most of them very much, I’m not quite feeling the unity of all the titles and storytelling here. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t worthwhile X-titles that manage to engage even as X of Swords may not.
Writer: Vita Ayala
Artist: Matteo Lolli
Under the excellent writing of Gerry Dugan, Marauders has been one of the most consistently excellent books of the new X-titles, giving us a badass Kate Pryde coming into her own as the Red Queen, even after he death. The latest issue sees new writer Vita Ayala take over the title, and while as a fan I’m going to miss Duggan on the book, Ayala does an extremely good job on their first issue out.
The focus here is on Storm, who must venture to Wakanda to acquire the required sword she’s to use for the upcoming battle. This is no easy feat, as the weapon in question in a revered piece of Wakanda history. The issue details Storm‘s struggle, as taking the weapon puts her in direct conflict with her husband, T’challa and his sister, Shuri.
I enjoyed Marauders #13 as a piece of X of Swords because, while it advanced the larger story, it dealt with themes of family and responsibility and felt more penetrable to me than the overarching narrative with its myths and consequences that are less personnel in nature. While I’ll continue to read X of Swords, as I’m invested in the mutants generally and I’m sure the end result will have consequences for ongoing stories, it’s nice to be able to pick up and an issue like Marauders that manages to feel that it’s driven by its characters and not just a piece of a larger whole.