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Another major X-Men crossover event is coming in July

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Get ready for ‘X of Swords’

Many many X-Men characters leap through the air brandishing swords in promo art for X of Swords, Marvel’s 2020 X-Men crossover. Image: Mark Brooks/Marvel Comics

At the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo on Friday, Marvel Comics announced the first crossover event of the X-Men’s new status quo. X of Swords will hit shelves in July.

The crossover will “affect the entire X-Men line,” which by then will include Cable, Children of the Atom, Excalibur, Hellions, Marauders, New Mutants, Wolverine, X-Factor, X-Force, and X-Men.

The crossover comes roughly one year after the kickoff of writer Jonathan Hickman’s new X-Men status quo, which began with House of X #1 on July 24, 2019. With the help of artists Marte Gracia, Pepe Larraz, R.B. Silva, and Tom Muller, Hickman gave the X-men a new paradigm and a new visual look, even down to the way their books are packaged.

These days, mutantkind has made itself a new home on the sentient island of Krakoa, and demanded that world governments recognize their sovereignty. With Professor X, Magneto, and the reincarnating Moira X steering the future of mutants, the X-Men have access to unlimited resurrections, a (relatively) safe homeland, and the freedom to craft a new mutant society.

But in X of Swords, that society will be threatened “by powerful forces from the unknown,” according to a Marvel press release, and “ten mutants will rise up to defend their home. Arming themselves with legendary blades, both new and familiar ones from Marvel history, mutantkind will finally meet its mystical destiny.”

Hickman will writing the “tentpoles” of the series alongside Exalibur scribe Tini Howard. Excalibur being both the current X-Men line’s magic-focused book, and the name of a legendary sword.

And yes, X of Swords is pronounced “Ten of Swords.”

The title of the crossover is a clear reference to the Ten of Swords tarot card, and it isn’t the first time Hickman and his collaborators have played with tarot references in the Dawn of X books. Way back in Powers of X #1, Hickman and R.B. Silva produced a tarot card motif for characters and elements of the far future Man-Machine-Mutant War, which characterized Moira X’s 9th life.

Rasputin, as The Magician card, the tower of Nimrod the Lesser as The Tower card, and Cardinal as The Devil card, in Powers of X #1, Marvel Comics (2019). Image: Jonathan Hickman & R.B. SIlva/Marvel Comics

Here we see Rasputin, a genetically engineered mutant with the powers of Quentin Quire, Colossus, Gunther Bain, Kate Pryde, and Laura Kinney, as the Magician card; the towering home of the anti-mutant AI Nimrod the Lesser as the Tower card; and the pacifistic genetic outlier called Cardinal as the Devil card.

We reached out to Emily Heller, Polygon’s resident tarot expert, and she had this to say:

A screenshot of a slack conversation in which Susana says “hey emily what can you tell me about the Ten of Swords” and emily replies “oh boy that’s like “you have thought this thought to death, its put you in a fear spiral” Image: Susana Polo/Polygon

So that bodes well.

Here’s a bigger look at Mark Brooks’ promo art for X-Men: X of Swords. The 15-part crossover will hit shelves in July.

Many mutants leap through the air brandishing swords in promotional art for Marvel’s X of Swords event. Image: Mark Brooks/Marvel Comics