What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about X Of Swords: Creation #1! After last week’s issue of X-Men, I found myself finally feeling the anxiousness to see just what this X Of Swords event has in store for us. We know the origins of this new-yet old enemy, Apocalypse’s origins, and where this mission of his will take the mutant population who join his fight.
Now I’m not going to lie, I was not prepare for how packed of an issue this was going to be. Normally with an issue like this, they are quick and to the point for setting up an event. Though let’s be honest, this is Jonathan Hickman we’re talking about. Nothing is ever going to be that to the point. Never has been, never was with this direction he has taken the X-Men, so nothing different should have been expected to come of the contents of X Of Swords: Creation #1. So with that said, once more I was blown away by the work which this creative team has put into setting this event in motion. At first I did think that this was going to be a lot to digest. Enough so that maybe it wasn’t going to be too exciting. However, that opinion changed by the end of this first issue. Hickman did a great job of providing clarity to what is unfolding. Especially for a story which is only part one of twenty-two.
The best takeaway from this issue was definitely seeing that nothing was as expected from this introduction. I think we have all been left with the impression that this was going to be one of those stories where they storm the gate and jump into a battle which is ever-changing. Though that would have been too predictable. No, incited we were treated to a development which changed the stakes from the start. Mainly because you would have never guessed what kind of welcome Apocalypse was going to receive once he confronted the assumed enemy. Nor would you have predicted that maybe not everything was as Apocalypse remembered.
Another takeaway worth noting was the response from Krakoa and the Quiet Council to Apocalypse’s mission. Obviously there had to be some tension for something which really didn’t benefit the mutants directly, but you couldn’t have prepared for how motivated both Apocalypse and Krakoa are to see this through. The conversation was executed perfectly considering what was at stake for everyone who had a strong opinions about these developments. Because of this, I would also say that first contact with Otherworld for the mutants helping Apocalypse was also a point of interest for the fact that this was a very different group of mutants involved. You know who will play a big part down the road, but for this first contact, it was a pretty random bunch who all somehow seemed to be right where they needed to be.
That aside, if there is one thing I did think was a lot to take in, it was everything dealing with the structure of Otherworld. Even with all the maps and explanations, it’s just one thing on top of many things about this mutant world that you have to allocate space in your brain to remember.
While I hate being that guy, for this story I thought that it was great that we kicked things off with Pepe Larraz as the artist. Nothing entirely against Leinil Francis Yu, but if you are trying to sell people on this event, then it is a good idea to have an artist onboard whose work everyone finds appealing. Unfortunately that was not Yu’s work. And it probably would have been problematic if you were trying to sell readers on the emotional stakes of this war brewing with lackluster work with expressions. Fortunately for us, that was not the case with Pepe Larraz’s pencils. It even helped that Larraz is the same kind of artist who knows how to render a scene which many things going on. There was big battles in this issue, and he did not skip a beat between the sheer number of combatants involved or the clarity to them and their actions. Marte Gracia also did amazing work on colors. With every flip of the page I was blown away by the cinematic brilliance he brought to every scene. Particularly for those where the story took place in Otherworld. It’s such a diverse setting which takes us to so many places of wonder which we have never been before. The more cosmic elements to it as well were hard not to stare at in awe. beyond this, Tom Muller continued to do some of his best work with the design for this book. Right now I don’t think you will find a book with a more unique design in the interiors. Especially when it comes to the research pages which have such a distinction to them about the shapes and presentation of the information. Especially with this issue considering how much information had to be presented to us in a way that wasn’t overwhelming.
All in all, X Of Swords: Creation #1 did a lot for me as a reader who still needed to see more to complete that investment in the event. If you thought this run of X-Men was ambitious, Hickman jumped into this event telling you to hold his beer.