Writer: Tini Howard
Artist: R. B. Silva
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 21, 2020
I have slowly been getting into the X of Swords story as we continue the swords’ fetch-questing so we can (maybe) get to the contest of champions. I enjoyed last week’s Hellions a whole lot since it broke things up a bit and gave a possibly “out” that I didn’t see coming. While we have to wait and see what is going on there, we still need five swords to gather, and Tini Howard puts a big dent in that this week.
This issue is all about Betsy and the Braddock clan, and I do like that. For someone not steeped in the knowledge of Captain Britain, Avalon, or Otherworld, I have been critical of Howard for not giving me the proper set up for her book, let alone this event, but here is where she can win me over. She does by the end, but it was a bit of a slog to get there.
I wish each issue would reprint the X of Swords’ prophecy or the part about the book we are reading. You know, the part that pretty much spells out that both Betsy and Brian will both be going off to fight in the tourney. “As above, so below. From one womb came two — a hero destined to brandish what the earth hate swallowed, and an echo doomed to yearn for what the stars hath forsworn.” Plus, it seems to tell us that Brian will be wielding the Sword of Might and Betsy the Starlight Sword! Many websites were on this immediately, so it wasn’t a real shocker by the end. Somehow, though, it was to Saturnyne, which is very odd and, hopefully, leads to something.
Besides getting a two-for-one deal on swords, the issue deals with the dysfunctional Braddock Family and the messed-up Captain Britain Corps we saw briefly a bunch of issues ago. I like that Tini Howard is rewarding readers of her series, but I worry that those just jumping into this for X of Swords will be entirely lost.
While there is some action, most of the issue is dialogue-heavy. The problem is, by the end, it feels padded out a bit. Brian won’t draw the Blade of Might in anger until he does, and Saturnyne gets duped by her carnal desires. Big things like the Corps’ fate are left unresolved, but we do get a cool new job description for Brian and two swords for X of Swords.
I am finding it hard to score this issue. I liked how the issue ended and love Brian as Captain Avalon, but I struggled to get to the end. I haven’t loved every installment of X of Swords, but this is the first time I’ve struggled like this. I am going to try to be positive and focus on what I liked by the end, but still, this was one of my least favorite issues of the event.
Excalibur #13 gets us where we need to go by the end, and Tini Howard gives readers a couple of cool things on the way as well. R. B. Silva’s art was good throughout, but I did have problems with the pacing, mostly from the heavy use of dialogue. This issue wasn’t a deal-breaker by any stretch, but it was my least favorite X of Swords issue so far.