X of Swords: Destruction

Issue Date: 
January 2021
Story Title: 
X of Swords: Destruction

Jonathan Hickman & Tini Howard (writers), Pepe Larraz (artist) Marte Gracia (colorist), VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Pepe Larraz & Marte Gracia (cover artist), Peach Momoko, Pepe Larraz & David Curiel; Pepe Larraz; Dan Mora and Tamra Bonvillain (variant covers), Jay Bowen (production), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Annalisa Bissa (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: 

On Otherworld, the battle seems to run in the Krakoans’ favor when a new Captain Britain Corps joins the battle. Things turn even better when the PEAK, with most of the Krakoan fighters aboard, is teleported in by Magik. However, Annihilation orders the Summoners to teleport in the darkest horrors of Amenth and the battle once more turns in the Arakki’s favor. Cable asks Saturnyne to send him to die with his family. Instead, she hints about his sword not just being a sword, and he realizes that he can use it to release the Vescora from the PEAK. The dangerous aliens are sent against the Arakki. In the meantime, Apocalypse has wrestled the Annihilation helmet from his wife. Instead of doing battle with it, though, he chooses to yield – to Saturnyne. The battle over Saturnyne decides that Krakoa has won and demands an exchange of a hostage each, as a show of good faith. Genesis asks for Apocalypse to join them, while Apocalypse in turn asks for the mutant island of Arakko (with all its inhabitants) to join Krakoa. The battle over, all combatants return to their respective homes. Saturnyne is feted for her wisdom and foresight, and nobody knows that she didn’t get the one thing she wanted – the love of Brian Braddock.

Full Summary: 

I will carry these burdens forever, and if not forever, then until the day I die.

Otherworld: the Starlight Citadel
At the close, all the cards have been drawn but one. Saturnyne studies her cards. With a slight smile, she draws the Wheel of Fortune… and the Captain Britain Corps is reborn. The Captains - – all variants of Elizabeth Braddock - appear through a gateway in the sky.

Below in the battle, Captain Avalon looks up. Elated, he shouts that the Captain Britain Corps has returned. The Captains join the fight.

Annihilation decapitates one of them with her blade. She orders War to summon their own army. War complies and sends a fiery signal into the sky, alerting the Summoners who form a circle and summon forth the monstrous creatures of Amenth. Even demon queen Magik has to admit that is not good.

Saturnyne still watches from her balcony as her priestesses carry the injured Cable to her. Weakly, he asks how bad it is. Are they losing? Yes, is the calm reply. He asks why she isn’t doing anything. He says that as if it rests on her… which it does not. He forgets… what was set in motion cannot be stopped.

On the ground, an Amenthi traps Apocalypse with vines bursting from the ground.

They fight for love and hate, Saturnyne continues, salvation and death, damnation and eternity. And none of these will be denied.

Cyclops telepathically contacts Cable, promising they are on their way. Marvel Girl and the Stepford Cuckoos next link Cyclops with Magik. So, he takes it the things are dire and the weather is looking grim, he jokes. She replies she was worried they wouldn’t make it. He asks her to kick the door open for them. It would be her pleasure. She slams her Soulsword into the ground and opens as big a stepping disc as she can in the sky. And through it comes the PEAK, appearing above the Starlight Citadel.

Shortly before that, Cyclops and Marvel Girl had recruited most of the fighters on Krakoa, and now all of them join the battle.

Apocalypse is still fighting his wife Genesis, who buries her sword in his stomach. She tells him she cannot give in because she would be yielding to it. The fight is all she has left. Annihilation cannot be beaten. He grabs her and holds her close. Surrendering is not the same thing as losing! He shouts. He can heal the breach. He can make them all whole! He can make them whole! She stammers that she is so tired of this fight. Suddenly she begins to glow in an unholy light. In a different voice, she announces she is Annihilation. She orders the Summoners to summon all of darker Amenth, every beast, every weapon… and the Summoners teleport in indescribable horrors.

Cable looks down from the balcony of the Starlight Citadel. He figures it’s over and asks Saturnyne to put him down there with his family. Calmly, she asks what card he was dealt. The fool, he replies. A fool with a sword, she agrees. And only a fool would believe that is what he is actually holding. He is an idiot! he realizes then telepathically reaches out to Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Magik to come get him.

Magik teleports them inside the PEAK station. Cable uses his sword the Light of Galador to power up the station’s core and, a moment later… a gate opens, freeing the alien Vescora, whom Magik teleports onto the battlefield against the Summoners.

Annihilation stands against them. That leaves Apocalypse free to surprise her. He smashes her to the ground and tears off the Annihilation helmet. Everyone stares.

Go on, finish it, Saturnyne urges him as he puts it on doing battle with the being within.

The fishwoman Ryl warns Saturnyne that the aliens from the other place are not just destroying the mages of Arakko and Amenth – they are tearing at the fabric of Otherworld itself. She has to stop them. Not yet, Saturnyne replies.

Whoever defeats the helm, claims the helm, Genesis states. Whoever wears that crown, controls the land. And the helm… controls them.

The Annihilation helm orders Apocalypse to raise its horde. Lead them to victory over all who stand against them. Apocalypse struggles and shouts ‘no.’ Yes, it replies. He cannot deny what he has won. Claim it!

He claims it, Apocalypse replies, but not Annihilation! The helm scoffs, asking if he thinks he can fight it. She couldn’t and she is stronger than he, fitter, more! Apocalypse replies that she fought to win. He doesn’t care about winning anymore. He only wants to save his people, their people. He reaches for the helm.

And across the battlefield, Pestilence and Famine shudder as they see that Isca the Unbeaten changes sides. They cannot win!

The shape of the helmet on Apocalypse wavers as he turns towards Saturnyne and kneels down before her in surrender. And Annihilation screams.

Saturnyne flies down to the battle field in his dragonform, disposing of the creatures she doesn’t need and to settle accounts with the players she does. The battle has stopped as she lands.

Apocalypse is still kneeling, Genesis is standing beside him. Saturnyne asks if he is sure he wants to surrender. After all, there is still an entire multiverse to conquer. Yes, they are done here, Apocalypse replies. No, never! the mask screams.

Saturnyne sighs and asks for permission to tame the helmet which apocalypse grants. She magically changes it and announces that nothing changes in regard to what is required. Whoever wields the helm controls the world… and that world most certainly needs controlling. This will make it more manageable. Still corrupting of course, but it will not directly control the bearer. Any requests? Would they like it in the shape of a sword? Annihilation refuses.

Ignoring Annhilation’s threats Saturnyne changes it into an intricate mix of an arrow and a sceptre and hands it to Genesis. She announces the contest is settled. Otherworld stands triumphant. Krakoa survives. Arakko – vassal of Amenth – yields. But she is troubled by their precocious nature. Wolverine announces, if she wants something else, there isn’t much in the tank. Storm agrees. Saturnyne decides she requires one mutant from each side to leave their home and live with the enemy… a show of good faith. She asks Genesis whom she chooses. Genesis takes Apocalypse’s hands and asks if she can choose him. He agrees but warns her, he is not the same mutant she left long ago. With a smile, she tells him she sees who he truly is.

Who speaks for Krakoa? Saturnyne asks. Cyclops gets ready to speak but Apocalypse interrupts and chooses the mutant island of Arakko. Saturnyne points out that Aarakko has mutant prisoners in the millions. Is he sure that’s what he wants? Yes. With a smile, she admits that wasn’t in the cards. Well done. The war over, Saturnyne orders them to leave.

Cyclops tells Apocalypse he didn’t have to do that. Of course, he did is the reply. Cyclops asks if there is anything he should tell the professor and Magneto. Just one thing. That he will see them again. Someday. Apocalypse leaves with his wife and children.

Inside the Starlight Citadel, Saturnyne addresses her assistant Ryll, stating she sees that look. She has a question for her. Ryll asks about the assuredness and confidence with which she navigated all this chaos. Did she know everything ahead of time? Did she see it all? Not all, is her mistress’ reply. This is after all the multiverse and one must accept a certain amount of randomness when ruling Otherworld. But there were some signs impossible not to read:

Husband and wife would be pitted against each other and reunited at no small cost. As would mother and child.

Jubilee hugs Shogo, still in dragon form.

The tenth sword would descend from heaven only to return at the beginning of a new age.

The ninth sword would be returned to its rightful home – deep in the rumbling Earth – while the goddess turns her eyes towards the stars.

She saw that the mutant council would break - the first two cracks in that firmament. Of course, that concerns her little… if at all. What matters most are matters of this court. Avalon soon controlling the only ingress and egress to Earth. A necessary distraction for its mutant king – the coming and going of actors both fair and foul… And of her own fair and foul kingdoms she has seen fit to make Blightspoke useful to her. Summoners, to control the things that refuse to die there. Vescora to mine the untold riches hidden in the strata of dead universes. The bartering of which will dominate the wild plans and bent mind of he who runs her Crooked Market.

And the relentless appetites of the undying lands of Sevalith will be sated by Death himself (who has apparently been recruited among the undead there).

As for the other kingdoms, she has other means of controlling them. They walk past the new Captain Britain Corps standing to attention.

Ryll decides that this was the purpose of Saturnyne’s machinations: the return of her Captain Britain Corps. Saturnyne smiles enigmatically. Ryll congratulates her. She deserves all she desires.

Saturnyne walks into her throne room greeted by the crowds and representatives of her kingdoms. Among them King Jamie and his brother Brian. She has won everything she ever needed, but not everything she wanted – the love of Brian Braddock.

She sits down on her throne.

Characters Involved: 

Apocalypse, Cable, Captain Avalon, Cypher, Magik, Storm, Wolverine (all swordbearers of Krakoa)
Armor, Beast, Bishop, Boom-Boom, Callisto, Chamber, Daken, Domino, Doop,Forge, Gambit, Glob, Gwenpool, Jubilee, Karma, Kid Omega, Magma, Marvel Girl, Mirage, Penance, Pixie III, Polaris, Prestige, Pyro, Reaper, Rictor, Rogue, Skin, Stepford Cuckoos, Unus, Warlock, Warpath


New Captain Britain Corps
Bai the Bloodmoon, Genesis III /Annihilation, Isca the Unbeaten, Pogg ur-Pogg, Solem, War, White Sword

Story Notes: 

Text pages:
Some information regarding the location of the swords at the end.

It is inferred that:
- Solem and Wolverine will soon meet again
- That the Twilight Sword was stolen on the battlefield and that this might lead to trouble
- That Cypher’s marriage will lead to a distancing between him and Warlock

Further notes:
The previous chapter was Excalibur (4th series) #14.

This is the last chapter of X of Swords.

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