X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis Reveals the Arakko Champions. So, Who Are They? And Why Do We Already Love Pogg Ur-Pogg? (Recap/Review
We spent the last nine chapters discovering the ten swords and nine warriors of Krakoa. The X-Men have an impressive lineup. Apocalypse, Magik, Wolverine, Gorgon, Cable, Storm, Captain Britain, Captain Avalon…and Doug (Ramsey). There’s still a tenth warrior yet to be revealed. However, in X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis, we meet all ten Arakko warriors. Granted, we’ve met many of them already, but the ones Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard saved for this special? Well worth the wait.
Who are the Champions of Arakko Revealed in X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis?
Group Pic! It’s like when Ellen took that selfie at the Oscars, just with a giant lizard monster. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
Well, there are ten of these warriors, unlike the X-Men’s nine—though Marvel did confirm that there is, indeed, one more Krakoa warrior yet to be revealed. In X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis, writers Jonathan Hickman and Tini Howard reveal the new characters in short one or two-page stories. Some of them are very much the Arakko counterpart to one of Krakoa’s warriors. Others are an entity unto themselves. And others…are Pogg Ur-Pogg. Let’s start with the warriors we’ve met before.
The Arakko Warriors Introduced Prior to X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis
Just chained in a pit, drinking wine, reading books. The good life. (Image: Wolverine #6: X of Swords Chapter Three, Marvel Comics)
Solem is the only one of these warriors who got their own quest story, since he shared that quest with Wolverine. In Chapters Three and Four of X of Swords, we learn that Solem is a bit like Loki and Wolverine’s son, Daken. He’s an irresistible trickster with adamantium skin. Even after he kills War’s husband and is chained in a pit in Arakko, the Arakkii people still fawn over him. When we meet him, he has books, fruits, and jewelry decorating his prison floor. Now, with his own Muramasa Blade, this skilled fighter is going to face down the X-Men. Or join them. He doesn’t seem to care about “sides.” Plus, Wolverine owes him a favor, so that will definitely come up again.
Isca the Unbeaten
Cheers to dead X-Men. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
How’s that for a mutant power? She can’t lose. It seems a bit like cheating to have her in the tournament. Isca’s role in the history of Arakko, however, is critical. Arakko was winning the war with Amenth. As Apocalypse says in Chapter Ten, they’ve already punished the Amenthi hoards. But when they start rising up again, Isca betrays Arakko and joins Amenth. Her mutant power made her realize that there was no way Arakko would win the war, but since she can’t be beaten, her own gifts force her to change sides. It was this action that led to Genesis sealing off Arakko and leaving Apocalypse behind.
The White Sword of the Celestial Spire
A few thousand years, give or take? (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
Call him the last true hero of Arakko. The White Sword—yes, that’s his name, and no, that’s not his sword’s name—led an incursion into Amenth when Okkaro split in two. When Arakko fell to Amenth, he was the only Arakkii who refused to yield, and sets up his own domain. But when Arakko needs him for the tournament, he’s more than happy to help—if they beg for it. That’s just what they do (more or less) in X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis. After a few thousand years, he just wants them to admit that they need him. Which is kind of sad. Poor White Sword of the Celestial Spire. He misses his friends! Oh, and his sword, Purity? It can heal people. Let’s see how that works out for the X-Men.
Well, that’s intense. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
We know very little about Death, just that he was the first Horseman of Death and one of Genesis and Apocalypse’s children. And his powers? Just “The Eyes of Death.” What does that even mean? Can he look at someone, and they die? Can he see their death? Regardless, it’s more bad news for the X-Men. However, if we look at covers as hints to the stories within, the cover of the next Marauders #14, it looks like there’s going to be a major development between Storm and Death. And the Tarot Card that Storm receives (more on that later)…this Horseman will have an interesting plotline after X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis.
Yeah. She really hates Solem. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
We know a little more about War than we do about Death—but now a lot. However, a major detail has already come up a couple of times: Solem killed her husband, and she’s not too pleased with her husband’s murderer participating in the Tournament. Speaking of Solem, she’s also the only person who he’s failed to seduce. The vitriol between them is palpable—and important. While members of the Krakoan Champions are former enemies, they’re united. The Arakkii Champions, however, have a lot of animosity between them, and that’s probably going to cause some problems for them.
That sword…looks like Summoner might be overcompensating for something. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
Summoner killed Rockslide. Ergo, Summoner needs to die. Too bad he’s invulnerable to virtually everything, and trained as a Summoner of Arakko—for which he gave up his own name. Summoner brought a piece of Arakko to Krakoa way back in X-Men #2 and plotted to betray his grandfather, Apocalypse, the entire time. He’s the one who led the X-Men into the ambush in Chapter One of the event. But there’s one important detail that, as far as we know, no other X-Man is aware of. Rockslide figured out his one weakness: his eyes. Too bad he couldn’t tell anyone before he died.
The Arakko Warriors Introduced in X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasi
Redroot the Forrest
She’s like Treebeard from Lord of the Rings, but sexy. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
Redroot does not want to fight in the Tournament. She’s tired of the bloodshed caused by Okkaro’s split. However, she is also the voice of Arakko. If this sounds familiar, that’s because the X-Men have their own island translator: Doug Ramsey, the voice of Krakoa. Both of them aren’t fighters, and both are very reluctant to fight. There is one difference, however. In X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis, Arakko wants Redroot to fight so that the island can reunite with Krakoa. But Krakoa is afraid of losing Doug, and thus losing its voice, and tried to convince Doug not to fight. When Doug and Redroot finally meet, it should make for a very interesting moment.
Bei the Blood Moon
I might have dated her before. Tall, athletic, wants to kill all men…seems like my type. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
Solem isn’t Arakko’s only seducer; we also have Bei the Blood Moon. Now, we don’t know how her powers work, but we do know she’s a warrior and hunter. The first time we meet her, she’s pulling her sword out of a Lovecraftian monster of Amenth. She also might have some precognitive abilities. She knows what Summoner is going to say before he even asks her to join the Tournament. She’s definitely the most mysterious new character. And she has the best line: “Let’s go. I have men to kill.”
Pogg Ur-Pogg will not be confined to our image size limits! For Pogg Ur-Pogg is Pogg Ur-Pogg! (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
Pogg Ur-Pogg is Pogg Ur-Pogg, and Ur-Pogg wants Pogg Ur-Pogg to Pogg Pogg. Thus, Pogg Ur-Pogg is Pogg Ur-Pogg. Okay, that probably makes no sense, but apparently that’s Pogg Ur-Pogg’s language, as far as the Arakko prophecies are concerned. Without a doubt, Pogg Ur-Pogg is the breakout star of X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis. Whatever he is, giant-lizard dragon thing that loves wealth, he’s not a mutant. And aside from his beautiful beastly form, he has no powers. He’s just, well, Pogg Ur-Pogg.
Beneath this mask is a tragedy. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
And finally, annihilation. She wears a mask that gives her control of the hoards of Amenth, but it’s who’s wearing the mask that matters most. Firstly, though, a warning, this is the biggest spoiler for X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis of them all. The last sword-bearer of Arakko? Genesis—Apocalypse’s wife. The one who banished him to Earth to prepare mutants for the coming invasion from Amenth. This changes things immensely for Apocalypse. His goal wasn’t just to reunite Krakoa with Arakko; it was to reunite with his wife and children. In X of Swords Chapter One: Creation, his four children and his grandchild all betrayed him. In fact, War nearly killed him. And now he’ll have to face his wife in the Saturnyne’s arena. Let the tragedies begin!
What Are Saturnyne’s New Prophecies Introduced in X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis?
Apocalypse really didn’t like his card. (Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
Saturnyne must want to challenge Loki for the mantle of “God of Mischief.” First, she started this game and made the very swords riddles to solve. Now (almost) all of the contestants are in the Starlight Citadel as her guests, and what do they find? Why, a Tarot card on each of their pillows, of course. Here’s what each X-Man gets in X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis:
- Captain Britain: The Nine of Swords, with an image of Betsy Braddock with all nine swords going through her.
- Cypher: The Two of Cups, with him drinking with a shadowed woman—though the size and outline suggest Bei the Blood Moon.
- Gorgon: Blank Card…which might be the most concerning of all.
- Captain Avalon: Knight of Pentacles, with an image of him riding on a griffin, sword held high.
- Magik: Page of Wands, with an image of her standing in power over a pentagram-which delights Illyana to no ends.
- Cable: The Fool. The image shows him standing on the edge of a spacecraft’s wing, serenading the stars.
- Wolverine: Strength. Only, in the card, Summoner is strangling him.
- Storm: Death. However, she’s on a Black horse leading an army of very dead-looking soldiers.
- Apocalypse: The Lovers, with an image of him and Genesis naked and holding each other while the Angel of Death hovers above them.
So, what do these mean? Well, there are more hints at the end, but let’s look at what these cards mean for the series after X of Swords Chapter Eleven: Stasis. There are eleven chapters left in this event, and the first half flew by. We had multiple narratives, storylines, and quests. Now, everyone is together, and there’s apparently a big tournament about to start. But, obviously, things aren’t going to go that smoothly. Not for the X-Men, Saturnyne, or the Arakkii champions. We still have that parasitic species hanging out beyond a freaky doorway on the SWORD station, the Peak. And now we know that Genesis can command the hordes of Amenth.
One Last Thing to Consider…
All hail King Broo! (Image: X-Men #9, Marvel Comics)
If you read the X of Swords Handbook, there’s another big clue. A while back, the New Mutants accidentally drew the entire Brood species to Earth. They stole the “King Egg” of the Brood, and whichever Brood ate it became the ruler of all the Brood. So, Broo—a mutant Brood who isn’t part of the Brood hive mind, and an adorable little genius too, ate it. Now he’s King of the Brood. And he has an entire section in the X of Swords Handbook. Whatever that turns out to be, X of Swords might be an even crazier event than it already is.
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
Chapter Ten: X-Men #13
X of Swords Chapter Eleven: 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
(Featured Image: X of Swords: Stasis, Marvel Comics)
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.