As a villan, Apocalypse’s mandate has always been about one thing: survival of the fittest. He wanted the “cull the weak” from Earth with the help of his four horsemen. Of course, the X-Men have stopped him over and over and over again. Sometimes those victories took a heavy toll on the heroes. Other times, they made Apocalypse look like a chump. And then, at times, they resulted in mismanaged events like The Twelve. But if Apocalypse was supposed to be the “most fit” mutant, with thousands of years to plot and scheme, then man…En Sabah Nur is an embarrassment to the villain community. However, in X-Men #13: X of Swords Chapter Ten, Jonathan “Head of X” Hickman might have fixed that.
X-Men #13: X of Swords Chapter Ten Reveals a Significant Moment in En Sabah Nur’s Mythos
The Council of Badassery. (Image: X-Men #13, Marvel Comics)
One of the biggest questions about the history of Krakoa and Arakko was what exactly happened when Apocalypse sealed the rift between the split island of Okkaro. However, when Healer and Hope Summers start mending his wounds from Amenth’s attack in X of Swords: Creation, Apocalypse’s memory of the events return to him. And what really happened is much different.
Apocalypse never sealed the rift. Instead, his wife, Genesis, did so. And while she took their children, the original four horsemen, back to Arakko—and forces Apocalypse to stay behind on Krakoa. And the reason why goes against everything we’ve ever learned about the character. As seen in the image above, Genesis—his wife—tells him he isn’t strong enough. But what happened to Genesis or the 100 warriors who went into the rift? Well, we’re going to have to find out.
Before Banishment, Genesis Gives Apocalypse a New Directive: Become Stronger
How to punch Apocalypse in the nuts with just four words. (Image: X-Men #13, Marvel Comics)
When Genesis leaves him behind, she tells Apocalypse to “Judge them.” Now, at first, this sounds like the typical “survival of the fittest” train En Sabah Nur has always been on, but Genesis adds something that changes it from “cull the weak” to “make them stronger.” Check out the image below:
So, does this fix the Twelve, or is that still unsalvageable? (Image: X-Men #13, Marvel Comics)
This subtle difference, to make them—and Apocalypse—stronger, changes the reasoning behind every action Apocalypse has ever taken. Instead of failures, every time the X-Men or other heroes have defeated him; Apocalypse has succeeded in making them more fit. Now, Apocalypse isn’t an unsuccessful villain, but a very successful mutant professor. Hm, how will my students feel if I adopted an Apocalyptic pedagogy?
As of X-Men #13: X of Swords Chapter Ten, all Ten Swords Are Collected…but only Nine Champions?
There are ten circles, but only nine warriors…(Image: Excalibur #13, Marvel Comics)
There’s one problem with Saturnyne’s prophecy. She listed ten swords, but two of them, grasscutter and godkiller, are wielded by one hero: Gorgon. Now, Gorgon is a badass, and two god-made swords? Yeah, he’ll hold his own in this contest just fine. But this does mean that, as of X-Men #13: X of Swords Chapter Ten, the X-Men are short one warrior…or are they?
But there are ten warriors here. (Image: X of Swords: Creation, Marvel Comics)
In X of Swords: Creation, when Saturnyne reads the tarot cards, her ten of swords card has ten warriors, and eleven swords. We know the ten swords and the nine warriors wielding them, so who is this tenth warrior, and what sword are they holding? Based on the shadows and some fan speculation, the most likely answer? Magneto and the Cerebra Blade. But there’s just one problem…Mikhail, Colossus’s evil big brother, stole the blade and gave it to the anti-mutant organization XENO.
So, whether it’s Magneto or someone else, what does this mysterious 11th blade mean? ONE MORE QUEST!
X-Men #13: X of Swords Reminds Everyone that Hope Summers Might Be the Most Powerful Mutant
She didn’t start the fire! (Image: X-Men #13, Marvel Comics)
It might not seem like a big scene in X-Men #13: X of Swords Chapter Ten, but without Hope Summers, Apocalypse—and the X-Men—would be in a bad spot for this tournament. Hope Summers has two powersets. One, she mimics other mutants powers—several at once if she wants to. Two, she can augment a mutant’s powers, which is what she does as part of “the Five”—the team responsible for resurrecting mutants.
When Apocalypse is dying a slow and painful death, as said above, she augments Healer’s powers so greatly that they don’t just physically heal him; they unlock a buried memory. Why is this important? Well, Healer’s power work on physical bodies, but not on the mind. Yet, with Hope augmenting him, she turns his power up so high that he heals Apocalypse’s mind too—essentially giving him psychic powers for a short time.
Though she played a major role in the X-Men universe for several years, creators have sidelined. And even now, the X-Men writers don’t feature her that much. But she’s the kind of character that Hickman is drawn to, so I’m sure we’ll see more of her soon.
Witness Apocalypse’s Most Badass Moment in Dawn of X Yet
Oh, someone better run. (Image: X-Men #13, Marvel Comics)
Yeah. That’s all. X-Men #13: X of Swords Chapter Ten ends with this moment, and it’s damn perfect.
More X of Swords!
Click on Chapter numbers for our recaps/reviews. 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
X-Men #13: X of Swords Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven: X of Swords: Stasis
Chapter Twelve: X-Men #14
Chapter Thirteen: Marauders #14
Chapter Fourteen: Marauders #15
Chapter Fifteen: Excalibur #14
Chapter Sixteen: Wolverine #7
Chapter Seventeen: X-Force #14
Chapter Eighteen: Hellions #6
Chapter Nineteen: Cable #6
Chapter Twenty: X-Men #15
Chapter Twenty-One: Excalibur #15
Chapter Twenty-Two: X of Swords: Destruction
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.