Review: ‘X-Factor’ #4 Puts Mutantkind Back In The Crosshairs

by Tony Thornley


X of Swords – Chapter 2
Death and rebirth. Corruption. A dark discovery.


About a year ago, mutantkind solved death. Thanks to the Five and the Resurrection Protocols, mutants can return from the dead, and reunite with their friends and loved ones. However X-Factor #4 shows readers and Krakoans that they might not have accounted for one thing…

Cover by Ivan Shavrin

In the second part of X of Swords, Krakoa deals with the fallout of X of Swords- Creation in several different ways. It’s an issue that upends the entire Krakoa status quo, as the Quiet Council and the Five learn that the Resurrection Protocols are not infallible. It comes to us by Leah Williams, Carlos Gomez, Israel Silva, Joe Caramagna, and Tom Muller.

The X-Men return to Krakoa hurting from the Summoner’s betrayal. Rictor is dying, Apocalypse is gravely wounded, and Rockslide is dead. But when the Five attempt to bring Rockslide back, everything Xavier has worked for is put at risk. Meanwhile, Polaris discovers that she has to decipher the prophecy of the ten swordbearers of Krakoa on her own…

This double sized issue is a stunning exploration of the simple idea of everything you knew is wrong. By introducing a wild element such as magic to this carefully structured new status quo, suddenly everything is upended. It opens the entire story up for some great character studies, as the leadership of mutantkind have to figure out what this means, and Xavier and Magneto confront Apocalypse about his hubris endangering all they’ve carefully built.

It’s not just a grand story that affects all of Krakoa though. This is also a character study of Polaris. As Lorna Dane tries to dig deep and figure out the prophecy, she tells the reader about her guilt and her frustrations. She grapples with her involuntary role in this war. Then she sheds tears over the loss, and possible permanent death, of Rockslide. It’s a fantastic character study for a character who’s gotten the short end of the stick for years.

Gomez’s art is a good bridge between regular artist David Baldeon and the more house style art we see across the rest of the line. Though sometimes he’s overly cartoony, he’s also very expressive, and dynamic. I adore how he depicts Siryn’s powers, creating a unique visual for the sonic scream hand in hand with Silva and Caramagna. Silva’s colors are bright, but they make Krakoa feel vibrant and also help the loss of Rockslide hit harder.

X of Swords has now upped the danger. Next week we get to see the swordbearers hunt for their weapons, and it might bring about someone’s end…

X-Factor #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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