X of Swords Chapter Twenty-two: Destruction Feels Like JRR Tolkien Wrote a Superhero Epic
Twenty-Two chapters, dozens of characters, and several deaths later, we’ve come to the end of X of Swords with Chapter Twenty-two: Destruction. This is ever major battle of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and Star Wars all rolled into 44 pages of unending emotional punches and remarkable moments. And there were some big surprises in both what did happen and what didn’t happen. And then there’s the big question: Did this need to be 22 chapters long? Well, we’ll get to that, but first, let’s take a look at the epic as it unfolded, starting with the many returns of Elizabeth Braddock.
X of Swords Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction Shows the New Captain Britain Corps in all Their Purple-Haired Glory
Everybody gets a Captain Britain! (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
At the end of chapter 21 (Excalibur #15), The Captain Britain Corps returned to existence—but not in the way Saturnyne wanted. Instead of a new legion of Brian Braddocks, she got thousands upon thousands of Elizabeth Braddock, the mutant from Krakoa. But it’s what she has, regardless of if she likes it or not. So, at the beginning of X of Swords Chapter Twenty-two: Destruction, she puts her pettiness aside and commands this new Corps to defends all realities from the hordes of Amenth. Then we get a moment that is such pure fantasy epic and yet fit so well that you just knew the issue was going to be a special one:
Only Captain Avalon could make this scene so awesome. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
The Captain Britain Corps come down, joining the Priestesses of the Green and the X-Men. That moment when the Priestesses appeared in the last chapter? Yeah, that was great, but this was bigger—and it’s not even the biggest moment. Sadly, the Arakko warriors have their own army to summon.
One Small Detail Becomes Major in X of Swords: Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction
Their own what? THEIR OWN WHAT? (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
Remember Summoner? Apocalpyse’s grandson? The guy Wolverine killed by throwing a sword into his eye? Well, “Summoner” wasn’t his name; it was a title—and he was one of many Summoners. In X of Swords: Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction, we meet the other summoners and learn why they are called summoners. Because, well, they summon things:
Oh, hello, beasties. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
So, giant Lovecraftian creatures. That’s what the Summoners were hiding all along? They could bring that kind of power to the battlefield just whenever they felt like it? Cool. Cool cool cool. Nothing for 6 X-Men + 1 new member (Bei), the Priestesses of the Green, and the Captain Britain Corps to be worries about. Sure, the beasties are backup for the Amenthi Horde, and there’s still Annihilation and three of the four first horsemen of Apocalypse. Oh, and Pogg-Ur-Pogg—and Isca the Unbeaten. Yeah, they still have that player on the field. Annihilation’s sister, who killed Betsy Braddock in the first round of the tournament.
But this is the Battle of Pelennor Fields on Superhero crack. This battle isn’t even close to over.
Behold the Tenth Sword of Krakoa; Behold the Final Sword Bearer in X of Swords Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction
Speak softly and carry an intergalactic-sized stick. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
The situation just keeps getting worse, but as always, the X-Men have an ace in the hole: Cyclops. While the nine champions of Krakoa are fighting in Otherworld, Scott Summers is doing what he does best—planning something epic. And that epic plan? SWORD! Way back, in Chapter Eight (Cable #5), Cable, Cyclops, and Jean Grey went into space, following a vision Saturnyne gave Cable. What they found was the Peak—the orbital station for SWORD (SHIELD in space). Granted, at the time, they thought it was a trap Saturnyne set for them, but if that’s true or not doesn’t matter.
Scott found a pretty big use for this giant SWORD—and, Saturnyne confirms later, this is the mysterious tenth sword. But who is the tenth sword-bearer in X of Swords Chapter Twenty-two: Destruction? For the longest time, everyone speculated that it would be Magneto with the Cerebro sword, but Eric voted that council members should participate in this battle. And the Cerebro Sword is still missing. But with the Peak as the tenth sword, who does that make the sword-bearer? Cyclops? Jean Grey? Beast? They are all leaders in different ways. Or, just maybe:
X-Men overload! (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
ALL OF THE MUTANTS! Except for the Quiet council, basically, every mutant on Krakoa with some kind of fighting experience descends from the Peak and into battle. They start kicking ass immediately, taking down Amenthi demons and neutralizing Pogg-Ur-Pogg. But it still might not be enough, especially when Annihilation commands the Summoners to release “every beast” and “every demon.” And as a badly wounded Cable looks down on the battle with Saturnyne from the Starlight Citadel, he knows it’s over.
Never Bet Against a Fool with a Big Ass Sword from the Stars
Just a father and son about to open a big can of kick-ass on a demonic horde. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
Cable, distraught, asks Saturnyne to send him to the battle so that he can die with his family. But then she asks him about the card she gave him—the Fool. “A fool with a sword,” she reminds him. “And only a fool would think that is what he was actually holding.” Finally, it dawns on Cable—the Sword also acted as a power source for the Peak Station. However, when they powered it last time, it opened up a portal to alien cyborg vampire things. A lot of alien cyborg vampire things. Legions of alien cyborg vampire things. So, the X-Men unleash these monsters onto the Summoners:
Oh yes! (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
The problem is, these aliens are not on either side. They aren’t really on a side—they just want to destroy. So, as they destroy the Amenthi hordes and Arrakii Summoners, they also start attacking Otherworld and the X-Men. The battle has to end quickly—but their involvement reveals an important detail.
X of Swords Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction Finally Reveals Saturnyne’s Plan
Rose petals and a chic red chair? That’s like so passé, Saturnyne. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
When Cyclops, Cable, and Jean first encountered these aliens, they thought Saturnyne wanted them to lose. They couldn’t be more wrong. Saturnyne knew that the X-Men needed these bloodthirsty cyborgs to repel Arakko. When Arakko first invaded Otherworld, they slaughtered the entire realm of Dryador with ease. What she needed was time and a distraction—the tournament. But she also used the tournament to set players up where they needed to be. From Bei and Doug’s wedding, Captain Britain’s death, Storm’s victory of Death, and even Wolverine’s several embarrassments. But what she was also counting on was Scott Summers using the Peak Sword station in his plan of retaliation.
Otherworld could not defeat the combined might of Arakko and Amenth. Nor could Krakoa, and—as revealed in the vision she gave Wolverine—nor could anyone else. But combining the forces of Otherworld, the Captain Britain Corps, the X-Men, and a chaotic legion of alien monsters? Well…that’s almost enough. Her entire plan, however, banked on one particular X-Man.
X of Swords was Always the Story of Apocalypse and Genesis
Just an old-fashioned love song, right? Sure, there are monsters and mutants, aliens and faeries. But in the middle of all that is a husband and wife, separated by fate, longing to reconnect. However, Genesis, Apocalypse’s wife, has been corrupted by the Annihilation helm. And with its power, she is a devasting force on the battlefield, constantly beating Apocalypse back. But the new alien element proves to be one distraction too many. As she tears the aliens apart, Apocalypse takes his opportunity:
Aw, Apocalypse loves his wife so much he beat her. Wait…no, not like that! (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
But when Genesis made Apocalypse stay behind all those thousands of years ago, it was because she deemed En Sabah Nur “unfit” and charged him with preparing mutants to fight Amenth. Yet, when he puts the helm on, he takes complete control of it. In fact, when he does, Isca the Unbeaten’s entire look changes as she switches side, confirming that the X-Men are about to win. And to finally end this crisis, he does this:
It takes a complete badass to win a war by surrendering. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
However, Saturnyne isn’t done with the mutants yet. After spiriting away the alien cyborg vampire things, she gives an ultimatum to Arakko and Krakoa, a way to keep the peace. They must exchange one mutant as a show of good faith. Genesis chooses Apocalypse, reuniting husband and wife. But Apocalypse plays a different card. He chooses the mutant island of Arakko—and therefore, everyone on it.
After X of Swords Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction, What is the Status Quo?
It is always good to see a family reunited, even if four of them tried destroying the multiverse…and another is dead. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
This is a tricky question, but we know some things, and some we can speculate about. First and foremost, with a new series debuting next week, SWORD is back! And Agent Brand is going to return to the mutant world. We also know, as Saturnyne puts it, that there are two “cracks” in the Quiet Council. One, Jean vacated her seat to help in the fight, and two, Apocalypse left Krakoa to be with his wife and three remaining children. But there is also a lot of unknowns. We see, for the first time since Chapter Sixteen (Wolverine #7), Solem—sneaking past Avalonian (?) Guards and through the Krakoan gate.
But there are so many questions remaining after X of Swords Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction. For instance, what is Sinister going to do with the mutant DNA he collected from the Locus Vile? And what does it mean that Arakko is coming to Krakoa? Does this mean that the two islands will once again merge and become Okkara again? How will Genesis’s Annihilation Scepter—formerly the Helm—factor into that? What about Betsy Braddock, AKA Captain Britain Prime—she’s listed as unaccounted for, not deceased. Who will fill Jean and Apocalypse’s chairs on the Quiet Council? My money is on Rogue and Beast, respectively. But regardless of it is Beast or not, Professor X and Magneto formed a strong bond with Apocalypse…will they even accept a replacement?
Oh, and Cyclops went against the Council and invaded Otherworld regardless of their vote. Will he even hold his Captain Commander status anymore. And what will happen to the Resurrection Protocols? Or the fact that Storm stole a national treasure from Wakanda? Sure we see her giving it back at the end of X of Swords Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction, but there are still hostilities between them. Good thing we have a lot of comics coming out this month to find out.
Was X of Swords Too Long? Too Short? Or Just Right?
Honestly, the most important reuniting. Momma and her baby boy/dragon. (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
We haven’t had an X-Men event this large in decades. Even events like Messiah Complex and Second Coming were only slightly more than half this size. But remember, it wasn’t always going to be this long. At first, it was going to be fifteen chapters long. However, with the delays the COVID-19 pandemic caused, the writers were able to beef up the event. But was it worth it? This was a costly event. Even the upcoming hardcover collection has a retail price of $100 (that’s why we use InStockTrades!) However…
This was more than just a superhero story. This was a fantasy epic, complete with wizards, fairies, and sword fights. Hell, there was even a dragon! A frackin’ DRAGON! And while some chapters felt like side stories, or stretched out, what makes a fantasy epic so fun is how big the story gets. And damn, did we get a big story. We also have an entirely new roster of characters to get to know in future comics. So, by the end of X of Swords Chapter Twenty-Two: Destruction, you’ve spent so much time with this event that the battle and the fallout, and everything the characters faced feels earned. Even Wolverine having to participate in a runway battle.
Translated from Krakoan: Next: Reign of X! Um…Awesome! (Image: X of Swords: Destruction, Marvel Comics)
More X of Swords!
Well, it’s all over now. So, to read the past entries, 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
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
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.