I genuinely love it when I get my mind changed when it comes to pop culture. We all form our opinions about the books we read or the movies we watch, and it’s hard to love everything. That was the case for me with the X of Swords event going on this fall, which as I’ve said previously has veered closer to fantasy, which is a genre I’ve never really enjoyed.
Though I’ve always been open to what Jonathan Hickman is doing with the X-books, which he oversees and serves as the guiding light, but I wasn’t immediately engaged with this contest of champions-type story. You can read some thoughts on that here. However, as the series has progressed, there have been issues that have put the emphasis on character development rather than story beats (read about that here). This past week saw the regular Marvel X-books take a break, with a one-off issue putting the focus on the other side of the X of Swords story.
X of Swords: Stasis #1
Writers: Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard
Artists: Mahmud Asrar, Pepe Larraz
In this issue, part 11 of X of Swords, we get a close-up look at the various champions of Arrako who are set to go up against the X-Men in the tournament masterminded by Saturnyne. While we don’t go deep into their characters (which could wind up problematic as we head into the second half of the story), we do get to see how they become swordbearers, and get some entertaining interactions between this particular rogue’s gallery. The X-Men aren’t ignored, mind you, as they make their way to Otherworld in advance of the contest. Howard and Hickman walk the fine line of Stasis being a filler issue and one of consequence, and ultimately I think that it lands on the side of the latter, especially when it comes to forwarding the character of Apocalypse, who has been a large part of not just X of Swords, but of Hickman’s new vision of X-Men as well.
As we head into the second half of the X of Swords, I find myself more engaged than I was at the beginning, and that’s obviously a good thing. Even more, I don’t have a clue what the end result could be for the story, and when comics can surprise you, you know the creators are doing something very, very right.