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Excalibur, Wolverine, X-Force, SWORD missing from Marvel's January 2022 schedule

Excalibur #26 cover
Excalibur #26 cover (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Four X-Men-centric ongoing comics will not be on shelves in January 2022. As revealed in Marvel Comics' January 2022 schedule, the ongoing series Wolverine, Excalibur, X-Force, and SWORD are taking somewhat of a break in the first month of the new year - just as Marvel's mutant line prepares for a future without 'Head of X' writer Jonathan Hickman.

Wolverine #19 cover (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

In one case, the absence of Wolverine seems understandable given the twin twice-monthly X Lives of Wolverine and X Deaths of Wolverine will work to have a new Wolverine comic on shelves each week in January 2022, seemingly taking the place of the ongoing Wolverine title (and then some).

Writer Benjamin Percy's other X-title, X-Force, is expected to have a major event occur in December's X-Force #26 but the issue's solicitation refers to "the next issues" of the series as if its an accepted fact.

Maybe we're reading into things too much, but the plot description for December's Excalibur #26 and SWORD #11 paint a bleaker picture - however, it could just be a major story event.

Excalibur #26 cover (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Excalibur #26 will feature the fall of Otherworld, the extra-dimensional realm that's been at the center of the book since its launch in October 2019. At the same time, series writer Tini Howard has chosen not to renew her 'exclusive' contract with Marvel and has signed onto several projects with DC. Back in August when Newsarama reported on Howard's contract changes, the writer said she planned to continue working with Marvel and on the X-Men line.

The description for December's SWORD #11 sounds a bit cataclysmic - "SWORD Station one is crashing to Earth!" - but as regular readers of Al Ewing's work, this could be a story point along the way to further adventures for Abigail Brand's squad - especially given mutants now have homes not only on Earth, but also the moon and Mars.

This all comes in the wake of Jonathan Hickman's decision to stop writing the X-Men series and leave the X-Line as its head writer after his pivotal relaunch of the line back in 2019. Since that announcement, one additional Hickman story was published in X-Men Unlimited and has been consulting on the X-titles for Marvel.

Keep track of all the new X-Men comics, graphic novels, and collections in 2021 and beyond.