'X of Swords' rolls on this week with a trio of chapters spread across Wolverine #6 and X-Force #13 by Benjamin Percy, Viktor Bogdanovic, and Matthew Wilson, and Marauders #13 by Vita Ayala, Matteo Lolli, and Edgar Delgado.
With two sword-quests told in those three titles, new answers about 'X of Swords' and new characters for the X-Men line are revealed – and along the way, old bonds are broken.
Spoilers ahead for Wolverine #6, X-Force #13, and Marauders #13.
First up, Percy tells the tale of Wolverine's quest for the Muramasa blade – or rather a Muramasa Blade – in a two-part story encompassing Wolverine #6 ('X of Swords' part three) and X-Force #13 ('X of Swords' part four).
Wolverine deciphers a part of Polaris's prophecy which will reveal the enchanted swords at the heart of the crossover and the mutants who will wield them as referring to himself and his old sword the Muramasa Blade, forged by the now long-lost swordsmith Muramasa. Though the original was destroyed, Wolverine must find the swordsmith and have a new blade forged.
Through a confrontation with Silver Samurai, Wolverine sets on a path through Japan's underworld until he reaches a door to the literal underworld – a portion of Hell occupied by his old enemies the Hand, who seem to have upgraded their ninja skills through a pact with a demon. To boot, they've enlisted Muramasa to forge a whole arsenal of swords for them in the fires of Hell.
On top of everything else, there's another force at work, Solem of the Swordbearers of Arakko, who possesses adamantium skin, and who also seeks the Muramasa Blade.
As Muramasa forges his blades in the fires of Hell, Wolverine is beset by the ninjas of the Hand and plunged into the molten flames, reduced to not much more than his own adamantium skeleton. Finding himself regenerated but locked in a cell with Solem – who Percy tells Newsarama will be a continuing presence in the title, akin to "the Loki to Wolverine's Thor" – Wolverine agrees to work with Solem to escape and seek the sword together.(opens in new tab)
As it turns out, Muramasa has forged two new blades, meant for the leaders of two demonic Hand factions as tokens of their impending marriage – but Solem manages to take down the Hand ninja and seize both blades. Discovering in the process that Muramasa blades can cut even adamantium, Solem offers one to Wolverine - but at an unnamed price. It seems likely they'll have a pretty specific rivalry, given the stakes of each wielding swords that can damage the other's adamantium-laced bodies.
Returning to Krakoa, Wolverine takes his Muramasa Blade and sits on his sigil by Magik, who is already there with her Soul Sword.
Then, over in Marauders #13 ('X of Swords' chapter five), Storm interprets a verse of the prophecy as referring to Skybreaker, the first weapon ever forged of Vibranium in Wakanda, and a sacred object allowed only to be wielded by the king – Storm's ex-husband, T'Challa.(opens in new tab)
Venturing to Wakanda, Storm finds T'Challa gone, with Queen Ramonda and Shuri taking audiences in his stead. Storm makes her request for Skybreaker, but Shuri and Ramonda demure, saying allowing an outsider to take their most sacred artifact would cause unrest, and that they'll await T'Challa's return in "a few days" to request Skybreaker on Storm's behalf.
Storm retires to her guest quarters, where she's met a short time later by Shuri. The two argue about whether Storm should take the sword, with Storm saying the fate of the world is on the line if the X-Men lose the tournament, and that there's no time to wait for T'Challa's return.
But Shuri, acknowledging Storm's stakes, says it would be too risky for the political health of Wakanda if Skybreaker is taken away, and leaves Storm to await Black Panther's return. With no time to spare, Storm dons a stealthy black costume and ventures to the temple where Skybreaker is held.
Dispatching the temple's traps through her skill and her knowledge of Skybreaker's security measures from her time as queen, Storm finds Shuri awaiting her arrival. The pair fight, and Storm shocks Shuri into unconsciousness, seizing Skybreaker.
Outside, however, she finds Black Panther and his guards awaiting her. Ordering them to stand down, T'Challa demands to know why Storm would risk not just their amicability but the allyship between Wakanda and Krakoa to steal the sword. She states that she couldn't wait for him to decide he had time to hear her request, and he sadly allows her to leave – destroying the Wakandan Krakoa gate behind her. T'Challa does not end the friendship between Krakoa and Wakanda, but Storm states the "trust" between the nations is now gone.
Now possessing Skybreaker – an unbreakable vibranium sword that can channel and amplify energy – Storm takes her place on the summoning circle alongside Magik and Wolverine.(opens in new tab)
Ayala tells Newsarama Marauders #13 is "both a turning point and a solidifying of purpose for Storm, spiritually" just before the issue's release – pointing to greater ramifications that likely play into what X-Men line editor Jordan D. White says is a big story for the mutant mistress of weather coming up in 2021.
'X of Swords' continues in October 14's Hellions #5 (chapter six), New Mutants #13 (chapter seven), and Cable #5 (chapter eight).
Getting caught up on 'X of Swords?' We've run down everything you need to know right here.