X-Force (6th series) #14

Issue Date: 
December 2020
Story Title: 
X of Swords – chapter 14

Benjamin Percy (writer), Joshua Cassara (artist), Guru eFX (colorist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Dustin Weaver & Edgar Delgado (cover artists), Jorge Zaffino (variant 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: 

Magik has a rematch with Pogg ur-Pogg. Having realized that the giant alligator shape is actually an exo-skeleton, she manages to kick his ass this time. In most of the following battles, though, the Arakki win. Captain Avalon faces Redroot in a race through Mad Jim Jaspers’ Crooked Market. Saturnyne unfairly has him battle several Furies, meaning Redroot wins the race. However, she has inadvertently shattered one of Jaspers’ trinkets and as punishment gets miniaturized and put into a glass orb. Saturnyne warns Captain Avalon that a similar fate awaits him, unless he asks for her help. Storm, still suffering from the aftereffects of the Blightswill, has to battle Death in Sevalith. Even without her powers, though, she holds her own and tricks him into using his deadly gaze against himself. She leaves the wounded Death for the vampires of Sevalith.

Full Summary: 

The floating gardens of Roma Regina:
Magik is displeased when she is paired in a battle with giant rhyming alligator Pogg ur-Pogg again. Worse, Saturnyne demands that they battle unarmed.

Pogg-ur-Pogg grabs Illyana, ready to swallow her whole. She announces she has learned something about him since last they fought. He isn’t interested and swallows her whole. But suddenly he begins to feel sickly and finally vomits her back up, as well as a small being Magik is holding. Undeterred, she announces she learned the word “pogg” means sword in Arakki. His alligator pyjamas are one big sword. A moment later she kicks his ass.
Arakko 5 – Krakoa 3

The contest continues with battles deadly… and rather silly.
Captain Avalon, Cable and War are being tortured.
Arakko gets the point.
Both sides have to roll giant rock balls up a hill. Magik loses hers. Another point for Arakko.

A battle against undersea monsters goes to Arakko again.

A contest on who can consume the most disgusting food – for once Krakoa wins (presumably thanks to Cable).

A dance-off between both sides. While Cypher displays a lot of enthusiasm, Wolverine refuses to take part. Another point for Arakko.

A search in an Escher-style labyrinth again goes to Arakko.

Magik and Gorgon gather a point for Krakoa by solving a puzzle.

Despite Storm’s style, Wolverine messes up a fashion show – yet another point for Arakko.

Krakoa loses yet another point when Magik and Cable try to figure out a map to find something.
Arakko 12 Krakoa 5

Captain Avalon walks through the Crooked Market holding a flower in his hand. From the fog steps Saturnyne. She knows he is sad, but part of him must be pleased, Captain Britain… He snaps at her not to call him that. She points out the title he coveted is now his. He walks away. She is sure he will come around eventually. And if sympathy doesn’t work, fury will. Several Furies stand behind her.

Soon, Captain Avalon and Redroot are ready for their contest: a race through the Crooked Market. Its master Mad Jim Jaspers tells them they can find anything in the Crooked Market if they look hard enough – even a finishing line. He fires the start gun and they run, or more to the point Captain Avalon runs; Redroot can only move slowly.

Cap turns back to gloat, not noticing the Furies in front of him until they attack him. He figures Saturnyne sent them against him as he struggles. Redroot walks past them and gloats in turn. She assures him she is rooting for him.

Anger gives Cap enough strength to free himself momentarily and he shouts for Saturnyne, claiming he knows she rigged this and every contest.

Redroot is distracted and doesn’t notice that her movement pushes a small glass ornament off a stall and it shatters. She walks on. Jaspers makes a note of the damage remarking ominously that everything in the Crooked Market has a cost.

Still struggling against the Furies Brian rages on that Saturnyne broke Betsy into a thousand pieces. He’ll break anything she throws his way! The Furies overwhelm him and Redroot reaches the finishing line. Saturnyne congratulates her. Redroot is surprised. She has never won anything before.
Arakko 13 – Krakoa 5

Jaspers intervenes, announcing there is the matter of her debt. He informs her she shattered a rare crystal idol of Bombu. Crafted from the salt of an Oobagonian princess’ tears. Embarrassed, she asks how much it cost. It was priceless, Jaspers replies with a grin.

A Fury blasts Captain Avalon. Saturnyne orders them gone. It’s over then? he asks. The race is, she agrees, but he still has a challenge ahead of him. Poor Redroot is discovering now that this realm has a cost.

As she speaks, Japers miniaturizes Redroot and captures her in a glass orb like the one she broke.

Saturnyne continues that the damage Brian alone caused is incalculable. He’ll be thrown in Jaspers’ debtor’s oubliette. Unless… She makes a show of thinking hard. Unless what? He asks impatiently. Unless he asks for her help, she smirks and touches his cheek.

In Roma, Regina Roma challenges Magik to solve a riddle. She is to spell her answer: “A white rabbit pulled out of a black top hat and a spell cast by a wizard and the very lifeforce of Saturnyne. What am I?” That’s an easy one, Illyana grins. Magic, spelled with k. Incorrect, she is told.
Arakko 14 – Krakoa 5

Another contest. In the dark, Wolverine and the White Sword face themselves in a mirror each. They will observe the faces of all they have killed. The first one to look away loses. After some time, Wolverine begins to cry silently… and loses.
Arakko: 15 – Krakoa: 5

Another realm where Magik, Wolverine and Gorgon are supposed to resist the sirens. Before Saturnyne can even finish her explanation of the rules, Gorgon runs towards the sirens.
Arakko: 16 – Krakoa: 5

Merlyn’s realm. War and Captain Avalon: the one wins who kills a cute black kitten first. Brian tries to keep War from doing it but apparently in vain, as soon it’s:
Arakko: 17 – Krakoa: 5

Sevalith: Storm lies on the ground, still suffering from the aftereffects of Blightswill. Death reminds her she asked him to dance once. Now it is his turn. He reaches out his hand. Death is asking her to dance. She groans something is wrong with her. As he helps her up he tells her she is nervous, and how could she not be in a place as Sevaltih?

Storm is disgusted by the smell of the dead. The undead, Death corrects her. The vampires of Sevalith are the audience, Saturnyne sits on a throne behind them.

Storm realizes that, due to the Blightswill, she can’t fight. She can barely stand. Death kisses her hand and tells her she must. Unless she forfeits. No *&%$ way! is the reply. Then the dance begins, he announces and aims at her with his sword. Storm dodges the blow and kicks him in the side. As she draws Skybreaker, she feels more than poisoned. She feels vacant. Her powers are gone. She barely blocks his blow with her sword.

Death tells her that, as sick as she is, Death will be welcome kiss. Storm attacks, announcing it’s not her powers that make her powerful… and Skybreaker shatters his blade to bits.

Annoyed, Death decides this has gone on long enough. He is tired of dancing. Now look upon the last face that all life sees, he orders. He takes off his Anubis-shaped helmet to reveal his deadly face. Storm looks away and holds Skybreaker in front of her face, making him see his mirror image, an effect that clearly hurts him.

She is tired of dancing too, Storm announces. She then runs at him with covered eyes and impales him with Skybreaker. She kicks him down, and immediately the vampires of Sevalith rush into the arena to tear him apart. Storm walks away and tells them to have a taste.

One day whatever you won will belong to someone else. Whatever you build will be broken. Whatever you love will die. So today you might as well lie and screw and steal and murder and scream with abandon, don’t you think? Because tomorrow knows no mercy.”

Characters Involved: 

Cable, Captain Avalon, Cypher, Gorgon II, Magik, Storm, Wolverine (Swordbearers of Krakoa)
Shogo Lee

Bei the Bloodmoon, Isca the Unbeaten, Death, Redroot the Forest, War, White Sword (Swordbearers of Arakko)

Opal Luna Saturnyne
Mad Jim Jaspers

Story Notes: 

Text pages

-  A description of the fights by Quaddeus Quo for Mojoworld and Mojo’s ideas on how to make a show of that.

- Blightswill: an alcoholic drink from Blightspoke that can prove dangerous to mutants, at the very least inhibiting their powers.

Further notes:

This issue follows Wolverine (7th series) #7.

The next chapter is Hellions #6.

Captain Avalon and the Fury have a long, complicated history, as the original Fury killed him once.

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