Artist Pepe Larraz has tweeted his cover for X of Swords: Stasis #1, a one-shot in Marvel's upcoming 'X of Swords' X-Men crossover. Tweeted alongside the text "A ritual. A parliament. A game begins", the cover shows off a host of characters that are the apparent villains of the story, but without any indication of who they actually are.
That is, until now.
Newsarama has the reveal on the identities of these villains, known collectively as the Swordbearers of Arakko. But before we get into their individual identities, displayed in the image to the right, we'll explain their team name.
As readers of the current 'Dawn of X' X-Men era know, mutantkind has come to build a home on the living island Krakoa, incorporating even mutants who were once the worst enemies of the X-Men into mutant society – including Apocalypse. Like Krakoa, Arakko is a living island (notice that their names are anagrams for each other) where Apocalypse once ruled, and where he maintains a cabal of warriors working on his secret machinations – the Swordbearers of Arakko.
So who are the Swordbearers of Arakko? As the graphic shows, there are ten of them (just like the ten mutant sword wielders in X/10 of Swords): Pogg Ur-Pogg, The White Sword, Solem, Isca the Unbeaten, Bei the Blood Moon, Redroot the Forest, Sumonner, War, Death, and a still classified Swordbearer.
At least one of the Swordbearers, Summoner, has already played a role in the core X-Men title, introducing Arakko and the concept of Apocalypse's secret island. Meanwhile, War and Death will be familiar to longtime X-Men readers as the codenames given to two of the mutants who serve as Apocalypse's Horsemen at any given time, alongside Pestilence and Famine.
As for the still-classified Swordbearer of Arakko, the fact that their identity remains secret indicates it's someone we know – likely a woman judging by the figure. Given Apocalypse's machinations with the Otherworld and the involvement of Excalibur, could this final Swordbearer of Arakko be Betsy Braddock, the current Captain Britain?
'X of Swords' kicks off with September 16's Excalibur #20, and extends across 24 parts through November, as was confirmed earlier this month. Also check out the Marvel October 2020 X of Swords solicitations. Look out for Marvel's full October 2020 solicitations later this month on Newsarama.
X of Swords: Stasis #1, the eleventh chapter of 'X of Swords' is due out in October.