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X-Men: S.W.O.R.D.’s New Recruit Is a Deadly Arakko Mutant

X-Men’s S.W.O.R.D. just recruited their first mutant from Arakko for a crucial role — and got to humiliate a hated mutant in the process.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for S.W.O.R.D. #5 by Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti, Marte Gracia, and VC’s Ariana Maher, on sale now

The mutants of Arakko made a huge splash during the events of X of Swords, as the Swordbearers of Arakko and their armies of demons were barely being held at bay by the X-Men and the assembled mutants of Krakoa. But since coming to Earth, Arakko has been slowly adjusting and normalizing relations with its mutant cousin Krakoa.

Now, one of the first real post-X of Swords steps towards unity between the nations is officially on the table. In S.W.O.R.D. #5, the space-based mutant group just inducted Khora of the Burning Flame — a powerful mutant assassin from Arakko — into the Six, replacing Fabian Cortez and publicly humiliating him in the process.

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The modern incarnation of S.W.O.R.D. is set to expand as a major part of the future of Krakoa. The formation of the Six — a group of mutants who can pool their powers together to find resources from across the universe — has a huge amount of potential going forward. But that group includes one problematic member that Abigail Brand has been excited to replace: Fabian Cortez, the former Magneto follower who has always had his own ambitions for the future of the mutants. Despite his selfish ideals and slimy attitude, Cortez’s mutant ability to enhance the powers of others made him crucial to the activation of the Six. Since bringing him aboard for those power-boosting abilities, Brand has quietly been looking for a replacement, and she’s finally found one from an unlikely source.

While speaking with the Quiet Council to try and get them to reconsider laws against killing humans, Cortez argues for his own influence and importance. He even claims that without him, there could be no Six and that he deserves respect for his role in the future of mutantkind. But as he desperately demands the respect he believes he’s due, he’s shocked to discover another reason for this Quiet Council meeting: the introduction of Khora of the Burning Heart, a mutant from Arakko, and the newest addition to S.W.O.R.D. On top of her skills as an assassin, Khora’s mutant ability is an enhanced life force that appears to be an eternally burning flame within her chest, giving her the strength and speed of ten men. But on top of that, she can actually share her flame with others and in doing so give them a boost in their powers.

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Since strength and power are the guiding principles of Arakko, an act of “charity” like this would be considered an insult. But now, Khora can use her powers to assist S.W.O.R.D. going forward and fully replace Cortez within the Six. This is a huge step for S.W.O.R.D. and Krakoa in general, as it marks one of the earliest genuine attempts at cooperation between mutants from Krakoa and Arakko. Considering her sheer potential, Khora could be a genuine asset going forward, and she could be crucial to any emergency situations such as the events of King in Black. Her powers already being shown to be strong enough to make Amelia Voght capable of transporting people across the entire galaxy with ease, which suggests she could even have more potent powers than Cortez.

It ensures that S.W.O.R.D. can continue their work without the looming threat of Cortez hanging overhead, which gives Brand a little bit more confidence in their team going forward. This also officially helps enshrine channels of communication between the more autonomous element of Krakoa and Arakko, who could see real strength in what S.W.O.R.D. is doing for the mutant race. And it also helps to underscore Magneto’s disdain for Cortez’s way of thinking, proving that the Master of Magnetism is indeed willing to change from his more destructive impulses if it means help mutants and Krakoa rise up above their former stations.

The only mutant who doesn’t leave the Quiet Council meeting in a better place than when they started is Cortez, who ends up humiliated in the process, with even the normally kind Charles Xavier making sure to throw in some additional insults as he leaves the Council room. But considering the benefits that could be reaped from someone like Khora, Cortez’s loss will almost certainly be S.W.O.R.D.’s gain.

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