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Oct 8

X-Force #13 annotations

Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2020 by Paul in Uncategorized

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

X-FORCE vol 6 #13
“X of Swords, Chapter 4”
by Benjamin Percy, Viktor Bogdanovic & Matthew Wilson

COVER / PAGE 1. Wolverine in the hellfire with Solem waiting. Not exactly how it plays out in the issue.

This issue is a direct continuation from Wolverine #6, which shipped on the same day – it even has the same artist. I’m not going to repeat anything that was covered already in the post for that issue, which will keep this post shorter.

PAGE 2. Epigraph from the Silver Samurai.

PAGES 3-4. Flashback: Logan confronts the Hand in the temple.

Yomi is the Japanese word for the underworld or land of the dead.

PAGES 5-6. Credits and recap.

PAGES 7-11. Flashback: Logan fights the Hand, learns that they’re some kind of zombies, and goes through the portal to Hell, where Muramasa tells him about the wonderful swords he can make in the furnace of Hell.

Tamahagane is a kind of steel, which is indeed used to make swords (and other tools) as Muramasa describes.

PAGE 12. Solem introduces himself to the recovering Wolverine.

“It’s possible you’ve heard of me.” Why would Solem think that? I suppose he might just be egotistical enough to think that Summoner would tell stories about him, but see below.

PAGES 13-15. Flashback: Solem gets directions from the Oracle of Arakko.

The symbols on those obelisks and cave walls look a lot like a cypher, but I don’t know what it says.

The Oracle of Arakko appears to be a blind woman with second-sight type powers. There’s an obvious parallel here with Destiny, the blind precognitive who Xavier and Magneto are (for some undisclosed reason) very keen not to have running around on Krakoa.

Morta Zang is, of course, a new character. Alas poor Morta, we hardly knew you.

PAGES 16-17. Wolverine speaks to Solem.

Solem seems to be having fun here. He’s a bit like a goth Gambit, come to think of it.

Adamantium. Solem claims that his skin is “adamantium-enforced” (surely “reinforced”?). There are a couple of oddities here. First, Wolverine seems baffled that adamantium skin is possible – but it was the central gimmick of Cyber, who was a pretty major villain back in the day. Let’s assume he’s just confused about how it fits with Solem’s relatively normal appearance.

Secondly, and more fundamentally, adamantium isn’t a naturally occurring substance. It’s a man-made alloy which was invented by a scientist called Myron MacLain somewhere around the start of the Silver Age. So if Solem’s been in jail in Arakko for a hundred years, how can he possibly know what it is, let alone have it integrated into his body? Presumably that’s a plot point rather than a massive continuity glitch (though you’d think Wolverine would be asking the same question).

PAGE 18. Data page on Infuri, the Everforge. This is part of a series of data pages scattered through “X of Swords” without any obvious connection to the specific stories in which they appear.

The Fury was originally a creature created by Jim Jaspers to destroy all other superhumans in his world, introduced in early 80s Captain Britain stories. The original Fury killed all his world’s superheroes except for Captain UK. Other Furies were created in later stories by Jaspers himself and by Jamie Braddock. The term “cybiote”, used here, comes from the early Captain Britain stories, and nobody’s ever really explained what it actually means – but presumably it suggest that the Fury is some sort of cyborg-ish thing. Infuri is apparently dominated by Furies from a parallel Earth.

PAGES 19-24. Wolverine and Solem team up to get their two swords.

“The lines are dissolving everywhere…” Wolverine makes a very, very similar point in his narration towards the end of Wolverine #6. Solem comes up with it independently here. We’re presumably playing up the parallels between the two.

“We are here to celebrate the union of my red left hand and my red right hand.” This is the Beast, apparently officiating at a symbolic wedding between his daughter and a human representing the Hand. There’s a callback to Mariko’s line in the previous chapter about the Hand’s left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Moreover, the “red right hand” seems to refer to the Red Right Hand, an organisation of people out for revenge on Wolverine, who had a hand in sending Wolverine to Hell the last time around. It’s not immediately obvious where they fit into this, but perhaps they’ve got sucked into the Beast’s cult somewhere along the line too.

“Muramasa blades can cut through adamantium.” Well… the one in Wolverine: Origins could. I’m not sure it’s true of all of them, since plenty of Muramasa’s swords are just ordinary high-quality swords without enchantment. But then again, if these are Muramasa’s masterpieces, it stands to reason that they’d be at least as good as the Origins macguffin.

Solem winds up with both swords, but offers to sell one of them to Wolverine for an unspecified price. We don’t find out what it was just yet. It’s not clear whether Solem is just playing games for his own amusement, or whether he’s keen to see everything play out as Saturnyne intended (and if so, why).

PAGE 25. A data page on the Muramasa blade(s?).

The back story about Muramasa’s childhood and his discovery of his magical powers is new. The basic idea that he can incorporate parts of souls into swords, and use them to make the sword more powerful, comes from Wolverine: Origins.

PAGE 26. Wolverine returns to Krakoa and takes his place at the stone circle alongside Magik.

PAGE 27. Reading order. The Krakoan text reads NEXT: A QUEEN RETURNS (the queen being Storm, who returns to Wakanda in Marauders #13).

Bring on the comments

  1. Karl_H says:

    Everyone’s just going to stand in their circles until they’re all filled up, then. Like a visual progress indicator in a video game.

    The Infuri piece asks us to imagine a country with a sun at its center, which is not quite as severe assault on the concept of scale as the ‘prison galaxy’ in recent Avengers. But how does one make solar proximity livable by means of a “highly strict code”?

  2. Si says:

    I might be wrong here, but I believe adamantium was first seen in Avengers, introduced because Ultron was going to steal it within a few pages. Funny how a metal tied directly to one character has become inextricably tied to another, while I don’t think Ultron even has an adamantium exoskeleton any more.

    Bu-uuuut, Wolverine once found an ancient adamantium skull in Apocalypse’s lab. There’s practically a pigeon pointing and saying “clue! clue!”.

  3. Dave says:

    I’d be happy enough with Adamantium having been separately created by magic means a lot earlier, but then there’s still the issue of it having the same name. But I guess that ties in with different cultures (including aliens) speaking the same language.

  4. Si, you are quite correct. Adamantium was introduced in an Ultron story.

  5. Chris V says:

    Dave-It was said that Prometheus was bound by chains made of adamant.
    In Paradise Lost by Milton, Satan was said to be associated with adamant and fire in Hell.

    It was considered to be the hardest element in Ancient Greece. Obviously, Marvel took the name of adamantium from this connotation.
    However, this does open the door for the idea that a metal similar to adamantium (in name, in being unbreakable) and based in magic did exist prior to the metal introduced in the Avengers story.

  6. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Marvel Comics already has that – adamantine. Hercules has a mace made out of the stuff and the alternate reality Wolverine from X-Treme X-Men vol 2 (aka ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Exiles’) had adamantine claws if not the whole skeleton. Can’t remember the details.

  7. Jon says:

    Adamantium is just a small part of the problem. Solem’s behavior and mannerisms just don’t vibe with a culture that diverged from ancient Egypt and evolved in a hellscape background. He really is way to nonchalant and Gambit-like to match with anything we’ve been shown previously in the Arrako info-dumps.

  8. James Hayes-Barber says:

    Solem’s powers of seduction and personality make him naturally more happy go lucky. It’s a good contrast to the extreme environment of Arrako to have Solem not be a grim and gritty edgelord.

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