Writer: Leah Williams
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Colors: Israel Silva
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Designer: Tom Muller
War is on the steps of Krakoa. The evil hordes of Arakko, led by Apocalypse’s First Horsemen, have carved a path of destruction across all of Otherworld to reach the gates of Krakoa. The X-Men team sent to investigate the happenings of Otherworld, led by Apocalypse, were betrayed and could do very little to stand against Arakko. Luckily for them the Omniversal Majestrix Opal Luna Saturnyne, ruler of Otherworld is a cunning monarch who creates an unsteady truce with the possibility of a challenge, 10 swords of Arakko vs. the 10 swords of Krakoa. Now it’s time for those 10 swords to unite.
X-Factor #4 picks up in the wake of the devastating conclusion of X of Swords: Creation #1. The remnants of Apocalypse’s team have used the External gate to return to Krakoa and their healing gardens as many of them, including their leader, are on the verge of death. While others have already fallen like Rockslide and Rictor, who passes soon after returning. With war on the horizon the Krakoian resurrection protocols will be needed now more than ever… that is if they worked. While the crux of X-Factor has been an investigative series of Northstar and his team investigating the deaths of Mutants to make sure their resurrection is valid and indeed needed. Yet there has never been a question of will the resurrection process work, until now, until a mutant died in Otherworld as the magics of that place corrupt and affect mutant resurrection, making a mutant who dies there unable to be returned. Now there is a need for 10 of Krakoans greatest heroes to travel to Otherworld and combat why might be the greatest threat they have ever faced.
While the majority of X-Factor #4 deals with the issues with the resurrection protocols we also get our first look at the 10 mutants that will represent Krakoa in the upcoming challenge and it’s safe to say that the next few chapters of the story will be the assembling of the needed swords. Before she left Otherworld Saturnyne buried in Polaris psyche the clues as to who the sword bearers will be and now it falls to the X-Men to find their champions and their blades.
X-Factor #4 was a fine second chapter but does suffer from following the incredible X of Swords: Creation #1 and the fact it is more about pushing the story forward rather than being an action-packed extravaganza. This is understandable since when all said and done X of Swords will be 24 parts and like all great stories their needs to be progression and not every chapter is going to be filled with high adventure. I found the issues with the resurrection protocols fascinating but I was more interested in finding the sword bearers but I’m also aware that I need to be patient as that will come. I’ve really enjoyed X-Factor since its return but the artwork on this issue felt dated and more attuned with the early 2000s then where the X-books are now.
At the end of the day I’m still intrigued with X of Swords and am excited to see who is going to called upon to defend Krakoa and all of the needed swords. While the promotional material gives us a glimpse as to who will be called but I’m interested in the why and what swords are going to be called upon. I’ve been racking my brain for all the possible swords of the Marvel universe that could be called upon but I am ready to see them assembled and it looks like that is going to start happening next week! So check back in for X of Swords Week 3