New Mutants (4th series) #13

Issue Date: 
January 2020
Story Title: 
X of Swords Chapter 7
Staff: 

Ed Brisson (writer), Rod Reis (artist), VC’s Travis Lanham (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Rod Reis (cover artist), Nick Russell (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Chris Robinson (assistant editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)
X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

Cypher is one of the chosen champions to fight for Krakoa and contemplates his own mortality. Others, like the island itself, try to talk him out of going. Exodus even considers killing him and taking his place, but Krakoa prevents him from doing so. Cypher himself doesn’t want to put anyone else in this situation. Plus, if he forfeits, this might very well mean Saturnyne disqualifies their entire side. Magik trains him in the few days they have and, while he does get better, she brutally tells him that if he fights in the contest he will die.

Full Summary: 

Somewhere on a hill on Krakoa, Magik watches the sunset while meditating. She puts out a call on her cell to Cyclops and Cable. Cyclops tells her they are in the middle of something and asks if this can wait. Illyana explains the news is for Cable and it is not good. She tells him he needs to get back to Krakoa and bring the sword he got from Shinjuku. Cable corrects her it is called the Light of Galador and it is from space. Illyana doesn’t care. But they need it in Otherworld to fight for Krakoa.

So, it’s that bad, is it? Scotts states. Illyana is stoic about this but others are going to lose sleep about it. Cyclops asks for a timeframe. Minutes, hours, days, something like that. Scott promises they will be back as soon as possible. Maybe make some plans? Magik suggests Never know, it could always rain, Scott replies. Understood, Magik agrees and finishes the call.

Nearby the Krakoa face tree sit her fellow New Mutants, Cypher and Warlock, both chosen for the battle, Cypher as champion, Warlock as sword. He’s going to die, Doug fears. He feels he is not pulling his weight. Everyone else is out searching for their sword, and he is… him. Which he supposes they are not keeping a secret anymore. Not that they were doing a good job of it. But this feels like there is something deeper at play. Some Saturnyne stratagem. Why them?

Warlock tries to calm him, pointing out they will have more time for preparation. Warlock turns into a sword and promises no harm will come to Doug, who admits that Warlock makes a great sword.

Doug tries to swing the sword and realizes it is pretty heavy He is about to use it against a tree when Krakoa admonishes him for that. Cue for Magik to show up. First lesson, she tells him. Make sure to bring a sword to a sword fight. Got that covered, he replies holding onto the Warlock sword. Magik grins evilly. Second lesson: raise it up! Doug barely parries her blow and she cuts through the tree behind him. Easy with the trees, he tells her. No! Illyana snaps. He parries her next blow, after which she kicks him in the face.

A little later, he lies on the ground and she sits down on him. So, ten swords fighting for Otherworld to prevent an invasion, she summarizes, and if they die on Otherworld, they die for real. She hears that and all she and think is “sign me up.” What does he hear?

Later at the Quiet Council:
Krakoa is clearly displeased with Cypher and makes complaints to him. Xavier asks if there is an issue. No, Doug replies quickly. Even without speaking Krakoa’s language, it is clear that the island states the opposite.

Doug asks what of Sinister’s plan to have the Hellions infiltrate Arakko and steal the other side’s swords, forcing them to forfeit doesn’t work? Xavier admits there is much about this contest they don’t know but, if there is a way to prevent putting his children at risk, they have to try it. Is that what he and Krakoa were arguing about? If the island has concerns, they owe it to it to hear them.

Doug explains that Krakoa wanted him to present the idea of having someone go to battle in his stead. Xavier reminds Doug that they are guests here, so Krakoa’s voice should always be heard. Doug continues. Krakoa is worried that, without him around, Krakoa has no voice. But the rules have been set. He has been chosen. He turns to Krakoa. Knowing what they know about the broken resurrection process, he wouldn’t want to put anyone else into this situation. He needs to show everyone he is more than just a translator. He needs to prove himself.

Xavier smiles. He understands but would rather none of his children put their lives on the line, so let’s hope Sinister puts an end to this before it has begun.

Later:
Magik continues training Cypher. He smiles when he manages to block her blow. She snaps at him not to smile. He is clumsy! His stance is a disgrace, his balance worse! Has he not been practicing? Again, he blocks her and crows that he has been practicing. Not bad, right? This earns him a fist in the face. When Magik wants to attack for real, vines come alive hindering her, at Krakoa’s behest.

Magik snaps at Cypher to make the island let her go. It is not helping him by coddling him. And why would he need the island to protect him when he has her, Doug mutters, then asks the island to let her go. Which it does.

Chastened, Illyana admits that this is enough for today and adds she is trying to keep him alive. She has a funny way of showing it, he replies and half-jokingly asks her to stop hitting his face. That is his moneymaker. Warlock glares at her angrily. She’d be more worried about his face if she were preparing him for a wedding, not a funeral, is her bleak reply. Seriously he wasn’t doing that bad, Doug asks.

Illyana reminds him that their foes are Apocalypse’s children, and perhaps worse. Warriors who could wield a weapon before they spoke their first word. They have lived in nothing but violence and war and death for thousands of years in that dark place. They almost killed Apocalypse while never breaking a sweat. Defeated him more easily than the X-teams ever did. “Not doing that bad” is not nearly good enough! When the fighting starts, stay close to her. She’ll do whatever she can. Magik walks away.

Doug looks down, muttering she thinks he doesn’t know the stakes. That he doesn’t see everyone looking at him in pity like he doesn’t stand a chance. Still, he is willing to put his life on the line to save others. That has to count for something, right?

It does, comes the voice of Exodus, but he tells him truly, no one will sing songs about it. No one will tell his story. For it won’t be worth telling. At the Quiet Council meeting, Krakoa was begging him not to go, begging him to find a replacement. Doug angrily asks if he was reading his mind. Exodus doesn’t care about his feelings. He grabs Doug by the throat. There may be a loophole. In case Sinister’s plan fails. If Doug were no more… Given that resurrection cannot be carried out for some time. The Council would have no choice but to offer up a replacement. Exodus perhaps…

Warlock shows himself, about to attack. Exodus mocks he is no match for him. Warlock points out that he will be together with Krakoa. He orders Exodus to let Doug go and Exodus complies, dropping him. He tells Doug that if he wants to save them, this may be the only way… consider it. He walks off as Warlock helps Doug up.

Later in his quarters, Doug is visited by a clearly suffering Mondo, who asks him to make it stop. Since Doug is ignoring Krakoa, it is using him. Krakoa’s face appears on Mondo’s stomach. The island asks Doug to do what Exodus suggested. He is too important for the communication between island and mutantkind. He does not have to die though. Krakoa can hide him, put him into exile until this is over. It will not be pleasant but he will be safe. Doug repeats his arguments. If he doesn’t go, Saturnyne will probably not accept a replacement and their side will be one sword short. And even if it were possible, he cannot live with the guilt of sending someone else in his place and possibly letting that person die. He knows Krakoa is afraid for him. So is he. But the island has to let him do this.

Another sword practice. Cypher succeeds in beating Illyana by reading her body language. He accuses her of holding back and letting him win. Why? With a smile, she tells him he has gotten better. She is proud of him. He asks if she thinks he has a chance.

She hesitates, then announces: If he raises his sword to fight someone on Otherworld… it will be the last thing he ever does. And there is not a damn thing he can do to stop it.

A little later Doug and Illyana join Storm and Wolverine at the Corvus Glade.

Characters Involved: 

Cypher, Magik, Mondo, Warlock
Storm, Wolverine
Professor X
Exodus

Story Notes: 

Text pages:

A description of the properties of Magik’s Soulsword.A description of the colony of Hothive, an insect-like state. The description stresses that the Queen Vesperidae doesn’t seem to be the same individual who was originally in power.

Further notes

The story continues from Hellions #5.

The next chapter is Cable (4th series) #5

The resurrection system is temporarily down as of X-Factor (4th series) #5.

Cable, Marvel Girl and Cyclops are on the PEAK (see Cable (4th series) #5).

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