The Tournament of Swords finally began in chapter sixteen (Excalibur #14). So far, the score is Arakko: 2, Krakoa: 1. Since Doug Ramsey and Bei the Blood Moon agreed to marriage, Saturnyne awarded both teams a point. We also learned that these challenges are not going to be sword fight after sword fight. Of course, we’ll see a lot more, let’s say, nontraditional battles. In fact, as soon as Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen begins, there’s a “contest of arms.” Meaning, an arm-wrestling match…
…between Pogg-Ur-Pogg and Magik. (Spoilers, of course
Saturnyne Seems Set On Destroying the X-Men in Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen
How does Marvel keep finding pictures of me and my exes? (Image: Wolverine #7, Marvel Comics)
An arm-wrestling match between the giant lizard dinosaur Pogg-Ur-Pogg, and the badass but maybe 110 lbs, five foot nothing, Russian sorceress. She loses. Pogg-Ur-Pogg shatters a stone table with her arm. And this is just the first of many times this issue that Saturnyne puts the X-Men in positions where they can’t possibly win. And even when they do, she changes the rules on them so that they lose anyway. Actually, it’s not necessarily the X-Men she’s punishing—she’s specifically targeting Wolverine. After all, Wolverine did try to kill her during the Parley Dinner in Chapters Thirteen and Fourteen (Marauders #14-15). Seriously, she puts Wolverine through Hell. So, let’s count the ways!
1) Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen Features What Will Go Down as One of Comics’ Best Fights Ever
This single page Joshua Cassara created here is one of the best pages of any comic this year. (Image: Wolverine #7, Marvel Comics)
The next actual duel we get is Wolverine vs Summoner. But this isn’t a typical duel, even by comic book standards. Saturnyne forces them to fight to the death in the realm of Blightspoke. This part of Otherworld is a hellish landscape of dying realities. It’s unpredictable, dangerous, and the worst place for anyone to fight. Wolverine and Summoner aren’t just fighting each other—they’re fighting a multidimensional garbage disposal.
But it finally ends with Wolverine throwing the Muramasa blade straight through Summoner’s eye—his only weak spot. At the very least, Wolverine has avenged Rockslide’s death. Wolverine won the duel—but not the point. Saturnyne gives the point to Arakko, saying that it was a fight “to the death.” Since Summoner fought to his death, he won. Yeah. Just keep this in mind for what comes next. Wolverine made a very powerful enemy in Saturnyne.
2) Wolverine and Storm are Forced to Battle Each Other…In a Drinking Contest
No, I’m drunk! (Image: Wolverine #7, Marvel Comics)
So, this shouldn’t be too bad, right? A drinking contest between two friends who have also been on-and-off lovers. The Mad Jim Jaspers provides a bottle of the finest spirits in the Crooked Market, and the two Krakoan warriors start their “battle.” Only…everything in the Crooked Market “has a price.” Sure, they’re drinking the finest whiskey they’ll ever have in their lives, but they’re also drinking straight up poison that Death slipped to Jaspers. Since they are competing with a teammate, they automatically get the point…but as the two drunken allies are about to kiss, Saturnyne wisps Wolverine away to the next battle. However, it’s not even a battle he’s supposed to fight in.
3) In Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen, We Finally Learn What Deal Wolverine and Solem Made
Saturnyne really hates Wolverine. (Image: Wolverine #7, Marvel Comics)
Way back in Chapter Four (X-Force #13), The Beast was strangling Wolverine as Solem held both Muramasa Blades. He offered Wolverine one of the swords (which he needed to compete in the tournament), but at a cost. Wolverine agreed, but we didn’t know what he agreed to. Turns out, Logan is a crap negotiator, even if he was about to die. Solem required that when asked, Wolverine would fight in his place.
Keep in mind that, when Wolverine made this deal, as far as anyone knew, the tournament would be a Krakoan and Arakkii warrior battling it out, presumably to the death. Wolverine agreed to fight one of his own teammates for the enemy. However, in Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen, Saturnyne twists this arrangement up even more.
Like Wolverine and Storm, the next duel had two Arakkii warriors squaring off: Solem and War. Now, Solem killed War’s husband ages ago, and she still holds a grudge. Solem decides that maybe going up against a vengeful bereaved wife isn’t a great idea. So, he enacts Wolverine’s offer. A drunk, weakened Wolverine pops into the arena. Oh, and Summoner? Yeah, he was War’s son. Solem makes sure she knows that Wolverine just killed her child before taking off.
The fight isn’t to the death, however. It’s to dismemberment. Though Wolverine’s healing factor is barely working, and he can’t even see straight, he’s got the advantage—adamantium skeleton and all. War tries to decapitate him, can’t, and Wolverine cuts her hand off. But since he is fighting in Solem’s place, Arakko still gets another point.
One Thing We Know For Sure From Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen: the Game is Fixed
I mean, she really hates Wolverine. (Image: Wolverine #7, Marvel Comics)
Saturnyne definitely has good reason to hate Wolverine. And Betsy Braddock, who died in the first round. An Apocalypse, who opened a gate from Krakoa right into the Starlight Citadel. She has no love for Krakoa. However, as revealed in Chapter Fourteen (Marauders #15), if the X-Men lose, then Otherworld falls, and after that, Krakoa and basically every reality that exists. What exactly is her endgame? We certainly don’t find out in Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen, and we probably aren’t going to find out until chapter 21 or 22.
More X of Swords!
As always, click on Chapter numbers for our recaps/reviews. Likewise, click the Series/Issue numbers for more info on the comic from League of Comic Geeks.
Chapter One: X of Swords: Creation
Chapter Two: X-Factor #4
Chapter Three: Wolverine #6
Chapter Four: X-Force #13
Chapter Five: Marauders #13
Chapter Six: Hellions #5
Chapter Seven: New Mutants #13
Chapter Eight: Cable #5
Chapter Nine: Excalibur #13
Chapter Ten: X-Men #13
Chapter Eleven: X of Swords: Stasis
Chapter Twelve: X-Men #14
Chapter Thirteen: Marauders #14
Chapter Fourteen: Marauders #15
Chapter Fifteen: Excalibur #14
Wolverine #7: X of Swords Chapter Sixteen
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.