Marvel to Bring Back the Externals for X-Men: X of Swords Event

The upcoming Marvel event X of Swords will bring back a powerful faction from X-Men history. Marvel released an image teasing the return of the Externals, a group of immortal mutants said to be instrumental in Apocalpyse's rise to power in Cable's future timeline. Also known as the High Lords, these mutants each represent a different concept. They can only be killed with a blade through the heart. Given that there are 10 Externals and 10 swords in play in X of Swords, they may be the primary antagonists of the event. They will return in the upcoming Excalibur #11, releasing in August.

The Externals first appeared in X-Force #10 in 1992. Here's the list of Externals:

  • Absalom (despair)
  • Burke (fortitude)
  • Candra (guile)
  • Crule (ferocity)
  • Gideon (opportunity)
  • Nicodemus (wisdom)
  • Saul (patience)
  • Selene (corruption)
  • Apocalypse (evolution)
  • Cannonball (hope)

Those last two are points of contention. Apocalypse has the longevity of the Externals, but that may be the result of the Celestials getting involved with him long ago. His status as an External was up for debate, but he's been referred to as an Extenera since the House of X/Powers of X relaunch.

X-Men X of Swords Externals Excalibur
(Photo: Marvel)

On the other hand, Cannonball's status as an External has been described as a misunderstanding on multiple occasions, including by Cable, who would know more about it than anyone. If Cannonball is not a true External, then the identity of the 10th External remains a mystery.

The Externals aren't the only villains the X-Men may have to contend with in X of Swords. The covers to upcoming issues of the crossover revealed a new group of foes called the Swordbearers of Arakko.

"This is going to be a big crossover, and Tini Howard and I are writing the big chunks of it together, and then all the other X-Men books are going to filter in and out of it," Jonathan Hickman, Marvel's Head of X, told in February. "The tarot stuff came from Tini. There's a scene in [the] Free Comic Book Day [special], and it's in the first issue as well, that ties into all that and pulls it all together. That's where it comes from."

Excalibur #11 by Tini Howard and Marcus To goes on sale on August 19th.


Excalibur #11
(W) Tini Howard (A) Marcus To (CA) Mahmud Asrar

The Citadel has committed an act of war and Excalibur must respond. While they lick their wounds deep in Otherworld, Apocalypse takes steps toward his ultimate goal.

Rated T+
In Shops: Aug 19, 2020
SRP: $3.99

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