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X OF SWORDS Sets Up the ‘Craziest’ X-MEN Stories Ever

'X of Swords' promo image
Credit: Mark Brooks (Marvel Comics)

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                                    <cite class="fig-credit">Credit: Marvel Comics </cite>
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The now-established "Dawn of X" era X-Men line is about to come together in a massive way for <strong>X of Swords</strong>, a summer crossover event in which 10 mutants (or more) wield special swords against an epic threat. With so much at stake - and some magical ramifications that mutants have rarely faced before - <strong>X of Swords</strong> is poised to change up the X-Men's world once again.


At the center of it all is line editor Jordan D. White, who has shepherded and guided "Dawn of X" since its launch, and who has helped bring together X-Men mastermind Jonathan Hickman and the rest of his creative brain trust, and who has helped build out an ever-expanding palette of mutant adventures.


With <strong>X of Swords</strong> now on the horizon - and even bigger things to come - Newsarama caught up with White for a 'state of Krakoa' address before the big event, delving into the genesis of the story, the magical themes at stake, and how it sets up the next stage of 'Dawn of X'.


<b>Newsarama</b>: You’ve been teasing the X-Men line’s big summer crossover <b>X of Swords</b> for some time now – though the details are just coming out now. How did the idea of X-Men and swords come together?

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<b>Jordan D. White</b> : It has its roots in two places. The first is some plot threads Jonathan Hickman has been laying down since <em>House/Powers of X</em>. One of the stories he set up comes back in a big way here.


The other is the work Tini Howard has been doing in <em>Excalibur</em>. This crossover really highlights what we're hoping is the best of what we've set up in the X-line - that we have all sorts of big plans in place with tons of potential for payoff... but that we are able to adapt and collaborate with one another. <b>X of Swords</b> would not exist if Tini were not writing <em>Excalibur</em>... or, really, if not for the entire terrific crew we have on the line.


Pretty early on in our planning of the line, Jonathan hooked onto certain elements of what was coming up and said that it would be what we grew our first crossover from... and that became <b>X of Swords</b>.


<b>Nrama</b>: Seeds of <b>X of Swords</b> have been planted across the "Dawn of X" line, but it seems the core <em>X-Men</em> title and <em>Excalibur</em> are central to this story. What’s the intersection of mutants and magic all about?


<b>White</b>: That's very much what I am talking about - that is 100% Tini coming to the X-books and wanting to use Jonathan's new status quo to explore that. It's very much something that has only been touched on ever-so briefly in X-Men in the past, but Tini knew there was a lot of potential there.

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<b>Nrama</b>: The teaser image shown at C2E2 showed the ten swords, including some logical inclusions and some surprising choices. How deep did the team ‘study the blade’ to find the right weapons to wield? Which sword is your favorite?


<b>White</b>: As you've said, swords have been popping up in our new X-line for a while now. Add to that some of the major swords from X-History as well as us brainstorming some new blades to throw into the mix, and I think that image has a <em>lot</em> of cool stuff in it. Picking a favorite is hard... but I am definitely a fan of the sword Cable's recently come into the possession of. It's got a neat look and he's so excited to have it.


<b>Nrama</b>: <b>X of Swords</b> – Ten of Swords, as it’s pronounced – is a title that brings in some specific symbolism, especially related to Tarot cards. Jonathan Hickman’s not the type to choose a title like that willy-nilly. What are the origins of the title and how does it foreshadow what’s in store?


<b>White</b>: Jonathan doesn't do <em>anything</em> willy-nilly, including choose a title. Though, in this case, he was agreeing to a title, as Tini came up with it! As soon as she suggested it, I was like “That is it!”. She's got a lot of expertise on the tarot that she is bringing to bear here.

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<b>Nrama</b>: Both for this crossover and in a general sense, running the "Dawn of X" line in such a close-knit way requires a lot of communication. How closely do you and the other editors and creators stay in contact through the process and decide collective story decisions? We’ve heard tell of an X-Slack…


<b>White</b>: Yeah - we have a private collaboration group with just the writers and editors, and we talk on it a lot throughout the day. It helps that everyone is terrific to talk with and very willing to work together.


So, they are constantly reaching out to one another with ideas and questions and seeing if this works with that, etc. And we share scripts with one another and get PDFs of the finished books to them as soon as they are off to print.


We are working really well together, I think, and I could not be happier about it. We are such a friendly group, we even include Chip Zdarsky and he isn't even doing a <em>real</em> X-Book!<em> [laughs]</em>


<b>Nrama</b>: There are a few "Dawn of X" titles that have been announced, but we’re still currently awaiting – a title based on Moira X, X-Corp, and so on. What’s the status of these titles?


<b>White</b>: We told you Jonathan made plans that unfolded over <em>years</em>, right? There are a lot of things that are going to be happening... keep an ear out.

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<b>Nrama</b>: I know you don’t want to spoil too much, but what can you tell us about the X-sidekicks of <em>Children of the Atom</em>? How did that concept come together?


<b>White</b>: That crew was cooked up by Vita Ayala and editor Chris Robinson, and I cannot tell you much or they will be very mad at me. Actually, what I can tell you is what a great book its gonna be. I am <em>so</em> thrilled that we got Bernard Chang to come on and draw the book - his art is <em>amazing</em>. Really brings these characters to life. And the scripts that are coming in for this series are terrific. I think people are going to be really into this book and surprised by how compelling these new kids are.


<b>Nrama</b>: The X-Men line has also expanded into the <em>Giant-Size</em> one-shots that sort of feel like a successor to the 90s X-Men Unlimited anthology. <em>Jean Grey/Emma Frost</em> just hit with some gorgeous Russell Dauterman art. Nightcrawler, Fantomex, and Magneto have their stories on the horizon. What creators and characters do you have lined up next?


<b>White</b>: Well, we've announced that Russell is coming back to do a <em>Giant-Size Storm</em> to wrap up this arc of five one-shots. We've got lots of ideas for what comes next - in fact we've begun cooking a new series of specials that starts after <strong>XOS</strong> is over that everyone involved is really excited about... but it's too early to tell you much about those. Soon!

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<b>Nrama</b>: How is <b>X of Swords</b> going to affect the line as it runs? Will there be a core title with tie-ins?


<b>White</b>: <b>X of Swords</b> is what we have always thought of as a classic X-Crossover. It's a 15 part story that crosses the entire line. It's a big story that affects all of the X-World, so it's only right it jump into every book.


<b>Nrama</b>: Big picture, now that ‘Dawn of X’ is established and <b>X of Swords</b> is tying everything together, what’s the goal for this next phase of the X-Men line?


<b>White</b>: Funny you ask - we just had an X-Summit to put the finer points on the answer to that very question. We've got stories coming out of <b>X of Swords</b> in every series that are going to knock your socks off. There are going to be payoffs to huge lingering questions, new directions and dangers for your favorite characters, and its going to be barreling towards an idea that Jonathan has for the X-Men that might be one of the craziest things he's made us try yet.


If all goes according to plan... it's going to be a crazy October.

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