Writer: Tini Howard
Art: Mahmud Asrar, Stefano Caselli, Sunny Gho, Rachelle Rosenberg, VC’s Clayton Cowles, Tom Muller, and Leinil Francis Yu
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
Release Date: November 25th, 2020
X OF SWORDS CHAPTER 21
It… has… TURNED! This magical mystery tour-nament has escalated into a battle against the hordes from Amenth in this week’s EXCALIBUR #15 by Tini Howard. Tensions have built into a sea of death and destruction with only our six remaining X-MEN standing between Avalon and Krakoa’s annihilation from… Annihilation. However, the perplexing aspect of the issue is, what was the point of the prior 20 issues of X OF SWORDS? This tournament has amounted to nothing more than the deaths of Gorgon, Rockslide, and Summoner. Sure, we’ve been gradually introduced to new mutant characters, a love story of sorts, and a cheeky White Witch. But realistically, was any of the prior issues needed?
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This event began with the hordes from Amenth ready to crossover and destroy Avalon and Krakoa. And now, we end at practically the same place we began but with a few dances, arm wrestling contests, drinking games, and very few fights to the death that were undoubtedly implied. On top of that, the 7 page battle between Genesis and Apocalypse ended abruptly with no real resolution. We didn’t finish the fight. No one died. No one threw in the towel. So, technically, the fight should continue. But instead, the story escalated to … “Screw you and get my army!”.
Nevertheless, on a more positive note, this issue is action-packed. From start to finish, our remaining heroes are battling the throngs, and Mahmud Asrar, as well as Stefano Casselli, finally had time to shine. The insanely dramatic fight scenes pop truly bring this story to life with such powerful energy. Readers, it’s what you’ve wanted since X OF SWORDS began. The splash pages are strategically placed and even in the sea of demonic pawns throwing themselves at our heroes, Asrar and Casselli make our remaining X-MEN more than recognizable. This art team did a fantastic job of pulling this reviewer into the story while simultaneously amping up the intensity of the issue with the elements at hand. However, I continue to wonder the point of the prior installments if we can just magically jump to this point unannounced.
EXCALIBUR #15 itself was easy to follow with a plot that will certainly capture your attention. The stakes are incredibly high in this penultimate issue, however, I can’t help but focus on the underdeveloped plot threads that have encompassed this entire narrative to this point. Why was this tournament needed if the entire concept was just tossed to the side anyway? If a winner was to be declared, Apocalypse would be the closest thing to the victor. So, why would Saturnyne allow any of this? Just use some of that almost God-like magic and put an end to this! Instead, she’s running away to put shattered glass pieces together.
Readers, I want to like this event but there simply appears to be too many pointless issues sprinkled throughout that merely reinforced specific flavors that were entirely unnecessary. And now, we reach the penultimate issue to discover it was all for nothing anyway and the rules get thrown out, which was the premise of this story that everyone held steadfast to. And finally, the ending with Saturnyne was a bit confusing. I understand what’s on the horizon BUT her reaction seemed out of character, overdramatic, and unwarranted. Was EXCALIBUR #15 exciting? Yes! Was the story entertaining? Yes! But, it comes at the cost of the entire event prior deeming those issues almost trivial. Well, with one issue left, my hope remains in X OF SWORDS: DESTRUCTION to right this ship. Again, as I said in my X-MEN #15 Review, you’ve made it this far so why not stick it out for one more issue!
Check out the Chapter 20 Review HERE
Check out the Chapter 22 Review HERE
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