Welcome to the Marvel Rundown! It’s finally here… the kick-off to the X-event of the year, X of Swords: Creation #1! With its expanded scope and the COVID-related delay, Dawn of X readers like me have been waiting to see what Jonathan Hickman, Tini Howard, and the entire Dawn of X team of writers have up their sleeves for us over the course of the next two months. We’ve got a review of that book and others, all ahead in this week’s Marvel Rundown!

X of Swords: Creation #1

X of Swords: Creation #1

Written by Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard
Art by Pepe Larraz
Colouring by Marte Gracia
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Pepe Larraz and Marte Gracia

I’ll admit… walking into this one, I was almost apathetic about this event. Yes, I’ll read your X-event, Marvel, and I’ll likely buy all installments because you’ve got me brainwashed. I even felt this way after last week’s releases of Excalibur and X-Men; I just didn’t know what to think of this story. I guess I really should have just waited for X of Swords: Creation #1 to arrive, because I’m in for the ride. I seriously can’t wait for the next few weeks of X-Men comics to explode my eyeballs after this explosive opening chapter.

If you, like me, read last week’s X-Men #12 and came away slightly confused, this issue will very much clear things up. I still have some questions, but much of the Krakoa/Arakko business makes much more sense to me now, as does Apocalypse’s role in the story. Surprisingly, there’s an emotional tug at the core of Apocalypse here and it was both refreshing and unexpected. He’s a lot more vulnerable this time around and, interestingly enough, deeply human. He acknowledges the mistakes he’s made over the course of Tini Howard’s Excalibur run, and is ready to rectify them. It’s such a dramatic shift seeing him try to explain himself in front of mutants he’s called enemies for so long.

Have I said too much? Honestly, the benefit of walking into this one blind is that I obviously did not know what to expect. Another huge element of this issue is the return of artist Pepe Larraz to Krakoa. I think it’s safe to say that Larraz and colourist Marte Gracia blew all of us away with House of X last year, and they continue to do so here. Larraz is the master at balancing huge scale with excellent character work, juxtaposing big-screen battle scenes with the intimacy that we come to expect from an X-Men comic. After reading House of X, I came away from it thinking, “Each of those characters has literally never looked better.” The same may not apply with Creation as this is just the starting point, but his take on Apocalypse remains as grand and personal as ever. His Saturnyne gives Emma Frost a run for her money, and the new villains gracing your eyes all look unique and stunning. With his X-Men work, Larraz has skyrocketed to the top of my favourite artists list and I’m exploding with excitement to see what he does next with his upcoming issues.

Hickman and Howard manage to flesh out this whole new side of the X-mythos (new to me at least) and instantly ground it, providing an emotional bearing for us to understand what the stakes are. It’s simple: if Apocalypse is afraid of something, then I am too. Now, for those who may be asking… you probably could read this if you’ve only read House/Powers of X. Hickman and Howard fill you in on what you need and since this is a pretty big issue, there’s plenty of space to get acquainted with this threat and the X-Men’s response to it. On the other hand, there’s so much more to appreciate here if you’ve been reading at least Excalibur.

Final Verdict: This is a BUY, without a doubt. It’s the biggest Marvel book since House of X, and is a contender for most gorgeous issue of the year so far. Seriously, you don’t want to miss this.

From X of Swords: Creation #1

Rapid Rundown! 

  • Doctor Doom #7
    • He’s back! After an extended pause due to the ongoing pandemic, Doom has finally returned to Latveria… and he’s back with a vengeance, questioning the loyalty of those closest to him. This issue is simply pure Doom: vicious and brutal, with a flair for the dramatic. After last week’s Iron Man relaunchChristopher Cantwell has quickly proven himself to be one of Marvel’s most unique writers. HW
  • Immortal She-Hulk #1
    • The final Empyre epilogue issue sees Al Ewing apply the new Hulk mythology he’s been building over in Immortal Hulk to Bruce Banner’s cousin. Jennifer Walters has been through a lot over the last decade or so, and Ewing weaves those events into his ongoing epic seamlessly, adding new layers without altering what was already in-place. Artists Jon Davis-Hunt and Marcio Menyz‘s visual are excellent, with strong storytelling and a style that complements that of the main Immortal Hulk series beautifully. If you’re a fan of She-Hulk or of what Ewing’s been doing elsewhere in the Marvel U, this book’s a must-read. —JG
  • Juggernaut #1
    • Written by Fabian Nicieza, with art by Ron GarneyJuggernaut #1 is a new spin on Charles Xavier’s overpowered step-brother Cain Marko aka the Juggernaut. With the new status quo of the X-books, normally the big bad, we find Marko now a part of the Damage Control staff, doing what he does best, demolition. Interspersed with flashbacks of him surviving in Limbo after being trapped by Magik, current day Marko is trying to help a superpowered young woman who he thinks is a mutant. It took me a minute to understand why this book appealed to me, Nicieza is channeling Ben Grimm with Marko on his hero’s journey, along with Garney’s gritty art, are why I found this an interesting read. GC3 

Next week, “X of Swords” starts its line-wide takeover, the new Shang-Chi mini debuts, and Jeff Lemire and Mike Del Mundo‘s Immortal Hulk one-shot finally arrives!