Welcome back to The Marvel Rundown! This week, the massive, 22-part X of Swords crossover event reaches its midpoint with the X of Swords: Stasis one-shot! We take a look at how the event has been shaking out so far, how the new one-shot fares as the end of the first act, and what it portends for the second half of the storyline.

All that, plus your weekly Rapid Rundown of other new Marvel Comics titles for the week, all ahead in the latest installment of The Marvel Rundown!

X of Swords: Stasis #1
X of Swords: Stasis #1

X of Swords: Stasis #1

Written by Jonathan Hickman & Tini Howard
Art by Pepe Larraz & Mahmud Asrar
Color art by Marte Gracia
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Design by Tom Muller
Cover by Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia
Reviewed by Joe Grunenwald

X of Swords: Stasis brings the first crossover of the Dawn of X era to its halfway point. The story has so far impacted the characters of all of the various X-titles in different ways, and Stasis brings them all together and sends them off to face their fates against the warriors of Arrako.

When X of Swords was announced as a sprawling event spanning nearly two-dozen issues across eight-plus titles, I have to admit I was very skeptical. As someone who’s only been following a handful of the X-titles, the thought of adding four to five more titles to my to-read pile just to keep up with the ones I’ve already been reading wasn’t entirely appealing.

Now, halfway into the story, I’m incredibly impressed by how cohesive and compelling the event has been, even when it comes to the entries in series I haven’t been following. Each installment of the crossover has been similar in tone, and featured a similar visual style, while still being distinct enough that it doesn’t seem like the individual creators are being stifled by the event, as their characters are still driving the action and drama of what’s going on. That consistency makes it clear how closely each book’s creative teams have worked together in putting this thing together.

X of Swords: Stasis #1 page
From X of Swords: Stasis #1

Stasis not only brings the heroes of Krakoa together, but gives readers a glimpse of what’s been happening for their opposite numbers from Arrako. As a mirror of what’s come before, the issue works well, making the foes our protagonists will be facing more than nameless monsters without personalities. The issue also establishes some new and intriguing plot threads within Otherworld that may or may not play out before X of Swords is over.

As far as action goes, if you’re looking for the sword-fighting to kick off, you’ll have to wait at least another week. Stasis is somewhat light on that front, mostly focused on moving players into position for what’s to come in the second half of the story. I’m also still not entirely certain what the purpose of all the tarot elements are, though they do provide some entertaining character moments in this issue. Hopefully that will become clearer as the storyline continues.

X of Swords has been a pleasantly surprising reading experience so far, and Stasis brings all the pieces together and places them for what’s to come in a fairly satisfying way. There may not have been as much action as I might have liked — I really just want to see some people fight with swords soon — but the character interactions are entertaining, and there are enough twists and teases that my interest is piqued for what’s yet to come.

Final Verdict: This is obviously a BUY for anyone who’s been following the overall event. If you haven’t been reading but you’re curious about what’s been happening, it’s definitely worth a BROWSE.

X of Swords: Stasis #1 page
From X of Swords: Stasis #1

Rapid Rundown!

  • Black Widow: Widow’s Sting #1
    • This was, to be blunt, a boring and disposable story that you really don’t need to read. Black Widow has to infiltrate some crime boss get-together to retrieve some kind of weapon. The writing by Ralph Macchio was very plain and direct and the artwork by Simone Buonfantino was unrefined and not very dynamic for a thriller spy tale. There was nothing here that necessitated the presence of Black Widow in the first place; her personality doesn’t shine through at all and thus I feel like her character could have been swapped out with literally anybody. —HW
  • Doctor Doom #8
    • With the series reaching its conclusion this December, I expected things to move along a little bit more given the limited page count Christopher Cantwell and Salvador Larroca have at their disposal. This may have been one of the best issues of the series, showcasing why Doom getting what he wants doesn’t necessarily bode well for those around him. It’s a story told with a very grand scale, and I think will contrast interestingly to the rest of the series when read collected. —HW

Next week, U.S.Agent is back in his own solo title, and the coming of Knull collides with the fallout of Empyre!