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X-Men #14

Review by Paul Bowler.

The cross-dimensional saga X of Swords continues apace in X-Men #14 as writer Jonathan Hickman delivers the long awaited reckoning between Apocalypse and his wife, Genesis!

As events go this year’s epic crossover X of Swords has been vast in scale, it has encompassed the entire X-Men comics range, and brought a series of startling revelations to the fore. The X-Men champions of the Mutant nation of Krakoa have been chosen to retrieve ancient swords before their participation in a tournament against the champions of Arakko, led by Genesis, and their children, the first horsemen and now sword-bearers of Arakko! As the champions gathered at the Starlight Citadel Apocalypse learned that the fearsome Annihilation, ruler of Arakko, is actually his long lost wife genesis!

Last issue virtually retconned everything we once knew about Apocalypse. In X-Men #14 we get another perspective on those events as Genesis meets him on the eve of the coming battles to recount the history of Arakko. Its a spellbinding blend of legends, world-building, conflict and heartbreak as Genesis’ story unfolds. We see how Krakoa and Arakko were torn apart across the dimensions, the subsequent wars that followed raged on, and witness Genesis’ salvation ultimately became her own cosmic hubris. One of the most compelling aspects of the mutant amnesty on the island of Krakoa – established during House of X and Power of X – is how it allowed for a far more sympathetic and insightful portrayal of Apocalypse. X of Swords has continued the renaissance of Apocalypse which has now become a cornerstone of Hickman’s X-Men run. The reunion with his wife Genesis in this issue is fraught with emotion and tension, indeed, this is probably the most intricate character development the ancient mutant has ever undergone.

Featuring art by Mahmud Asrar and Leinil Francis Yu, and colors by Sunny Gho, X-Men #14 is a visual cornucopia of beautifully rendered scenes, lush gardens bloom with opulence, while magnificent battles unfold across vast landscapes as magic and legends entwine as one. The attention to detail Asrar and Yu have lavished on this issue is quite staggering, every page is packed with detail, and Sunny Gho’s vibrant colors encapsulate the epic scope of the story perfectly.

This issue of X-Men effectively bring us to the midway point in the X of Swords saga. As a whole the event has been sound enough, in concept at least, but the sprawling nature of the narrative has also seen it veer alarmingly between grandiose storytelling and pretentious twaddle at times. So far X of Swords has hardly been essential reading. A lot of far more compelling plot threads have been effectively sidelined to accommodate this crossover event as well. However, now that we are getting to the nitty gritty of the story perhaps X of Swords will take a turn for the better once the tournament begins and the combatants clash – with the fate of Krakoa and Arakko resting on the outcome. 

We now see how the shared history of Apocalypse and Genesis has forged the evens leading into X of Swords (which in some instances even reach back as far as X-Men #2), its tragic how Genesis fell to the corruption of Annihilation, and inevitably a titanic showdown between them is now on the cards at some point. X-Men #14 brings some much needed elucidation to X of Swords somewhat contrived storyline, its gorgeously illustrated throughout, and stands as a compelling character piece in its own right.

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Writer: Jonathan Hickman /Art: Mahmud Asrar & Leinil Francis Yu

Color Artist: Sunny Gho /Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles

Design: Tom Muller /Cover: Leinil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho

About The Author

Hi, I’m Paul Bowler, blogger and reviewer of films, TV shows, and comic books. I’m a Sci-Fi geek, a big fan of Doctor Who, Star Trek, movies, Sci-Fi, Horror, Comic Books, and all things PS4.You can follow me on Twitter @paul_bowler,or at my website, Sci-Fi Jubilee, and on YouTube and Facebook