'X of Swords' continues with three chapters in the penultimate week of the line-wide X-Men crossover, and as in previous weeks things only get more dire for the X-Men with more losses, deaths, and only a few key victories.
Here's where things stand ahead of the final week of 'X of Swords.'
Spoilers ahead for X-Force #14, Hellions #6, and Cable #6.
First off, in X-Force #14 ('X of Swords' chapter 17) from Benjamin Percy, Gerry Duggan, and Joshua Cassara, a series of rapid-fire contests seems to hopelessly stack the deck against Krakoa, with the X-Men suffering multiple losses and few victories in the odd challenges, which include races, dance-offs, and even an eating contest. The string of weighted contests culminates in a showdown between Storm and Death, seemingly designed to kill Storm as the fight takes place in a part of Otherworld where her powers don't function.
But Storm is not to be underestimated – she handily defeats Death, mortally wounding him and leaving him to be eaten by the undead inhabitants of the region, apparently killing him.
Things move quickly into Hellions #6 (chapter 18) from Zeb Wells, Carmen Carnero, and David Curiel, in which Mr. Sinister's beaten, battered delegation of mutants arrives in Arakko on their secret mission to steal the weapons of the Swordbearers – only to find the contest already underway, and the swords nowhere near Arakko.
The Hellions encounter the Locus Vile, a bizarre cabal of monstrous, genetically engineered mutants, who threaten the team. In a strange betrayal, Sinister reveals he traveled to Arakko knowing the mission to collect the swords would fail, with his own personal mission to collect the genetic material of Arrako mutants.
The Locus Vile attack when Sinister attempts to use drones to sample their DNA, dismembering Havok and brutally murdering Nanny, Orphan Maker, and seemingly Wild Child who sacrifices himself to let Kwannon, Havok, Sinister, Greycrow, and Emplate escape. Barely making it back to Krakoa, the group is betrayed again by Sinister, who murders the surviving Hellions to preserve his misdeeds before their memories are backed up by Cerebro. He tells the Quiet Council that their deaths came at the hands of Arrako mutants.
This week's final 'X of Swords' entry, Cable #6 (chapter 19) from Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto, pits Cable against Bei the Blood Moon, "Cypher's large wife," as he explains to Cyclops and Jean Grey via their psychic connection. Cable loses the duel, with Saturnyne choosing to spare his life – but severing his psychic connection to his parents. Fearful for Cable's fate, Cyclops resolves to enter the Otherworld and go get him.
Meanwhile, the next fight pits Gorgon against the White Sword – who summons his 100 Swords, his army of loyally conscripted mutant warriors, to take on Gorgon one by one. As they swarm him, Gorgon kills nearly a dozen of them, pulling Krakoa ahead in points as he's awarded a point for each of the warriors he slays. But the battle has a cost – he's stabbed multiple times, and his eyes are gouged out, denying him his petrification powers.
Finally White Sword himself steps in, delivering the killing blow on Gorgon – another Krakoan mutant lost to Otherworld's bizarre resurrection consequences – and evening the score at Arakko 19, Krakoa 19. Saturnyne starts to announce the final contest, but Apocalypse interrupts her. He knows the time has come to face his wife, Genesis, in a fight to the death for the fates of Arakko and Krakoa.
The couple draw their swords and prepare for combat.
'X of Swords' is heading toward its finale - here's everything that's happened so far.