Released: September 30, 2020
Writers: Leah Williams
Artist: Carlos Gomez
Cover Artist: Ivan Shavrin
X-Factor #4 continues part 2 of the X of Swords crossover event and hits the ground running.
The first scenes open with panels in motion showing Apocalypse’s volunteer expedition making their hasty retreat back through the External Gate.
The aftermath of X of Swords Creation #1 is on full display with Beast and Archangel tending to the severely wounded Apocalypse, while Siryn is tending to Rictor’s wounds.
As Apocalypse, Rictor, and the lifeless Rockslide are being taken to Krakoa’s Healing Gardens, you get to witness Apocalypse giving Rictor a pep-talk in his own unique way.
Reading through those panels you will quickly learn that if anyone needs a pep-talk, its Polaris, she is blaming herself for Rockslide’s death.
Emma Frost is of no comfort to her. In the same breath of telling Polaris to get over it, she shuts-down the External Gate.
Krakoa, the living island makes its displeasure known with a violent earthquake.
After that, the panels transition to scenes from within the Healing Gardens where an exhausted Polaris is trying to come to terms with Rockslide’s death and the mystery of being chosen by Saturnyne to decipher the sword prophecy.
As neither a psychic or sorceress, she feels like the wrong person for the job.
In another section of the Healing Gardens Rictor and Apocalypse are near death and you are witness to the conundrum posed by all mutants having the resurrection ability that came about in House of X and Powers of X.
In this case, the resident medic named Healer was content with not tending to their wounds, instead choosing to let them pass on.
Unfortunately, you will also learn the fallibility of the mutant resurrection protocol in the next few panels.
Professor X asks for an expedited resurrection of the fallen mutants Rictor and Rockslide. Rictor appears fine besides needing the gaps in his memory filled in since his last backup.
Rockslide on the other hand is clearly not right, his physical appearance is not what it was and he does not acknowledge his real name Santo.
Professor X and the mutant Quiet Council eventually determine that Rockslide dying in Otherworld somehow corrupted his mutant backup.
They contrasted that with Rictor dying on Krakoa and having no issues with his backup.
Ultimately, Rockslide’s corrupted resurrection was short lived. Polaris was with Rockslide at the Voltus Glade as he crumbled to lifeless stone pieces.
In that moment, she realized that Rockslide’s second passing was tied to Saturnyne’s sword prophecy. It was the sacrifice needed for the construction of the tournament key.
The tournament key will allow for the Champions of Krakoa with swords in hand, to open the portal at the designated time.
X-Factor #4: X of Swords Part 2 Review
Leah Williams and Carlos Gomez did a great job advancing the X of Swords plot forward. The dialog in the word balloons and the artwork throughout, while distinct from the other creative teams, also kept the tone established by the previous comic books.
For the mutants of Krakoa, the ending drove home the sobering realization that their attempts at immortality has its limits.
The stakes now are even higher, as the battles they will be waging in Otherworld could definitely be their last.
If you would like to get started on this Marvel crossover event be sure to check out my X of Swords Reading Order: The Ultimate Guide.
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