In the 'Dawn of X' era, X-Force operates as X-Men's version of the C.I.A. but with the onset of 'X of Swords' the team's function is expanding to fight for what writer Benjamin Percy tells Newsarama is "the fate of mutantkind."
After a chapter-per-week pace for 'X of Swords' the past few weeks, Marvel is turning it up with three chapters this week - Wolverine #6, X-Force #13, and Marauders #13. Percy spoke with us already about Wolverine #6 and the introduction of a new arch-villain for the character, and now he says X-Force #13 will continue Wolverine's quest for a sword in this sword-happy event.
"Wolverine #6 and X-Force #13 fall within the first half of the 'X of Swords' event. And they're actually quite singular as a result," Percy tells Newsarama. ". If you think about how vast and expansive Creation was, this story compresses the focus. Yes, there's a lot that happens—including ninjas and demons—but the quick and dirty summary is that Wolverine is on a sword quest."
In this sword-happy X-Men event, Wolverine is aiming to obtain a sword from the legendary swordsmith Muramasa. It's one of the 10 swords the X-Men need in preparation for their battle with the mysterious Swordbearers of Arakko, a rogue faction of former minions of Apocalypse.
Whereas the previous installments of 'X of Swords' have been high on magic and secret cultural history of the mutants, Percy tells Newsarama that, frankly, X-Force isn't that.
"It's more the series where shit blows up."
Percy has been pushing the boundaries of mutant violence and survival since X-Force's debut in 2019, and says 'X of Swords' two-issue crossover into X-Force will continue to push them to their limits.
"The Swordbearers of Arakko aren't messing around," the writer explains. "They're more than worthy opponents, and you're going to see some of your favorite mutants up against the ropes."
For some, 'X of Swords' is a chance for them to try out X-titles they haven't normally been reading. In this event, the X-Force unit itself is in turmoil because of this.
"X-Force is an institution of violence but also bureaucracy. It's made for saner, more stable times than these. Everything is on pause—when it comes to the standard machinations of Krakoa—because we're talking about a bridging and warring of worlds," Percy says.
"The swordbearers are the ones who take center stage. It's up to them to defend not just the mutant nation, but Earth. All the X-men teams are on hold, in other words, merged and replaced by one team: those who must fight for the fate of mutantkind."
Following the conclusion of 'X of Swords' in November, X-Force will be back on their own - and back to business.
"What's next for X-Force? Mayhem of the highest order. Joshua Cassara always brings his A-game, but this is something else beyond measure," Percy says of his artistic partner recently named as one of Marvel's Stormbreakers. "He had a wishlist of visuals he wanted to crush, and I did my best to give him a wild theater of story to accomplish some of them. Your jaw will unhinge and your teeth will fall out at what he's accomplishing."
If you can get that visual out of your mind, Percy goes into specifics on what's to come.
"Here are a few teases. Forge is leading a mission deep below the ocean. Kid Omega is going to be—truly, once and for all, after all the hell we've put him through—reborn. And some of the mutants are beginning to have…troubling nightmares, shall we say? Dun-dun-dun," the writer adds. "Stay tuned. Or else."