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X of Swords: X-Men's Sword of Might, Explained | CBR

The upcoming X of Swords event will see the X-Men utilize a number of powerful blades against some unknown threat. Many of these swords — such as Magik’s Soul Sword or Prestige’s Blade of the Phoenix — have either personal significance or give power to the X-Men while others — such as Cable’s SpaceKnight Sword or Gorgon’s Godkiller — have a more meaningful connection to the greater Marvel Universe as a whole.

One of the X-swords that has a far greater meaning for the Marvel Universe is Captain Britain’s Sword of Might, which has been used in service of the X-Men and the Avengers as well, even though it’s current wielder, Brian Braddock, sees it as a sign of failure.

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The Sword of Might is one of the items offered to Brian Braddock when he was first visited by Merlyn and his daughter, Roma in Chris Claremont and Herb Trimpe’s Captain Britain #1. While the blade has been rumored to be the one true Excalibur, Braddock is given the choice between the Sword and the Amulet of Right as a boon while Brian is being attacked. Deciding that he’s no killer, Brian chooses the Amulet, and he proves that he’s worthy to be named Captain Britain by doing so. This choice is presented to all versions of Captain Britain from across the multiverse during their own test of worthiness. Most times, the Amulet is chosen — although one version, Bran Bardic, choose the sword and became the villainous Albion — and the Sword is taken away, unused.

Years later, the Sword of Might appeared when the Avengers were fighting against the Wrecking Crew in England. Kelsey Leigh and her family were caught up in the battle, and Leigh died while trying to protect her children and a wounded Captain America. However, Braddock and his wife Meggan — who at this point were watching over Avalon and appearing to Kelsey much as Merlyn and Roma originally appeared to him — gave her the same choice. She chose the Sword over the Amulet, and briefly became the new Captain Britain. Kelsey had to protect Britain from Morgan le Fay, and soon found herself working alongside the Avengers. She eventually left the team and took up the mantle of Lionheart when Brian returned to Earth.

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The Sword of Might has reappeared in recent months, however, when Brian’s sister Betsy was forced to take up the mantle of Captain Britain after he was captured in Otherworld in Tini Howard and Marcus To’s Excalibur. After being briefly mindwiped into becoming Morgan le Fay’s champion, Merlin and Roma appeared to Brian once again. Although he knew the true Captain Britain could only choose the Amulet, Brian believed that the noble part of him died while imprisoned by Le Fay. So instead, Brian gave in to his anger and chose the Sword over the Amulet. Although taking the Sword of Might empowers Brian, he decides the can’t wield it with honor and gives it to Betsy to keep safely away from him.

The fact that Sword of Might can imbue Brian with such power suggests that it could be a potent weapon for good, much like Betsy tries to tell her brother. Having the former Captain Britain around in a fight would be incredibly useful. Brian embracing his anger could even make him a potentially more powerful warrior. But the blade could also be a crucial part of breaking Brian and forcing him to act violently and viciously. But considering the already tense relationship that England has with mutants, seeing the culturally beloved former Captain Britain go dark could create even more complications for Excalibur.

But whatever threat could unite the X-Men and send them to take every empowered weapon could force Brian to take up the sword again and take it into battle. Brian can be seen among the blade-wielding heroes in the teaser for the X of Swords storyline, suggesting the time is coming for him to take up the Sword of Might — whether he wants to or not.

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The Sword of Might might not be the most famous sword in the Marvel Universe, but it could help reshape the X-Men's world in their next crossover.

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