Tag Archives: al ewing

Review: S.W.O.R.D. #2

S.W.O.R.D. #2

S.W.O.R.D. began with a solid issue introducing us to this new aspect to the world of the X-Men. We were left with some intriguing questions and a direction I really wanted to dive in to. But, the second issue pivots. It’s distracted a bit by the events of King in Black playing out through numerous titles in the Marvel Universe. S.W.O.R.D. #2 had to do it in some ways but like so many new series that dive into an event, it feels a bit like a distraction. It’s a sidequest to the main event we want to see.

Al Ewing does his best with the situation by having the issue somewhat organically slide into it all. They’re on a mission, cut off from Earth. With no communication, a team needs to be assembled to help their fellow X-Men and see what’s going on.

The concept makes sense and it works. But, it feels a bit jarring as the Knull’s “victory” has just happened, there’s no lead up to it as if this group has been doing little to stop Knull and help up to this point.

But, Ewing focuses on the characters and their personalities to make the comic interesting. Like some other X-series involved with X of Swords, S.W.O.R.D. #2 keeps the focus on the characters and their being dumped into the situation. This isn’t a situation first sort of comic where characters are forced into the story.

But Ewing is even smarter focusing on just a few members of the cast. Clearly some of the personalities who will play a big role going forward. Wiz-Kid, Frenzy, and Abigail Brand get their moments but it’s Cortez, Random, and Mentallo that stand out. Mentallo and Cortez especially are the highlights of the comic as one plays a big role in Brand’s plan and the other schemes in classic ways. Those three characters should make long time X fans happy as the comic dances around their personalities hinting at the chaos they all will likely cause.

Valerio Schiti‘s art is top notch. Marte Gracia joins on color and Ariana Maher on lettering and together, the trio delivers a visually entertaining comic. Ewing delivers a script that has great moments but the art is the exclamation point that really makes it pop. Body language and face reactions are key in nailing the tone which feels more comedic than anything else. There’s a light and entertaining tone to the art instead of the dire situation you’d expect concerning what’s going on.

S.W.O.R.D. #2 feels a bit like a distraction from the main show but the team makes it work. Along with strong visuals, the story overall helps build what’s coming by focusing on a few characters who clearly will shake things up in upcoming issues. They make the best with what they’ve got and overall, it doesn’t completely derail the series too much. While I’d have liked to see it continue with the seeds laid by the first issue, S.W.O.R.D. #2 does a solid job of laying even more for machinations yet to come.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Valerio Schiti
Color: Marte Gracia Letterer: Ariana Maher Design: Tom Muller
Story: 8.15 Art: 8.15 Overall: 8.15 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Immortal Hulk #42

Immortal Hulk #42

(W) Al Ewing (A) Joe Bennett, Adam Gorham, Rachael Stott (CA) Alex Ross
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 13, 2021
SRP: $3.99

• At the year’s end, costs are counted – by Jackie McGee, Eugene Judd…and Samuel Sterns.
• All the Leader’s plans have finally come together in what may be his greatest triumph. But is that enough…
• …or will the ONE BELOW ALL claim his due?

Immortal Hulk #42

Preview: S.W.O.R.D. #2

S.W.O.R.D. #2

(W) Al Ewing (A/CA) Valerio Schiti
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 13, 2021
SRP: $3.99

WHAT IS PROTOCOL V?
The S.W.O.R.D. station is thrown in at the deep end of a planetary crisis as Krakoa battles the KING IN BLACK! While a cross-division team take on latex dragons from outer space, Abigail Brand prepares a deniable operation all her own. What is PROTOCOL V – and can the Earth survive it?

S.W.O.R.D. #2

Get a First Look at We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #5

BOOM! Studios today revealed a first look at We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #5, the sci-fi epic from Al Ewing and Simone Di Meo, with color assistance by Mariasara Miotti and letters by AndWorld Design, about one man’s unrelenting quest throughout space to discover the truth—no matter where it takes him. Available in stores on January 20, 2021.

After the tragedy that befell the crew of the Vihaan II, just as they discovered a brand new god on the outer edges of space, Captain Malik and Richter face off for the last time . . . but only one of them will survive. . . and the rest of the crew are faced with a shattering discovery that will change the fate of everyone in the universe forever.

We Only Find Them When They’re Dead #5 features main cover art by series artist Simone Di Meo and variant covers by fan favorite artists Toni Infante, Lorenzo De Felici, and Alex Garner.

We Only Find Them When They're Dead #5

Preview: Guardians of the Galaxy #10

Guardians of the Galaxy #10

(W) Al Ewing (A) Juan Cabal (CA) Rafael Albuquerque
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 06, 2021
SRP: $3.99

THE GUARDIANS CLEANSED?!
• KNULL and his dragons are cleansing entire worlds of life. SPARTAX is their next target – and the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY can’t save it alone.
• It’s a good day for the return of the legendary STAR-LORD…
• Meanwhile, as the team battle cosmic horror, something worse is waiting – as the clock ticks down to the Last Stand in…
• THREE…

Guardians of the Galaxy #10

Preview: The Immortal Hulk #41

The Immortal Hulk #41

(W) Al Ewing (A) Joe Bennett (CA) Alex Ross
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 16, 2020
SRP: $3.99

• The rematch everybody wanted – but not like this!
• The Hulk is broken, friendless and hunted. In every way, he’s a shadow of his former self…
• …but there’s nothing like the real THING.

The Immortal Hulk #41

Preview: King in Black: The Immortal Hulk #1

King in Black: The Immortal Hulk #1

(W) Al Ewing (A/CA) Aaron Kuder
Rated T
In Shops: Dec 16, 2020
SRP: $4.99

A PRESENT FOR THE HULK!
The Hulk is in a bad place. Half of his alters are dead or missing – including Bruce Banner – and the Leader’s got the rest of him on the ropes. But never let it be said that Joe Fixit doesn’t know how to have a good time – and he’s out to make sure this is the best holiday the Hulk’s ever had. He just has to fight his way through a planet of symbiotes first.

King in Black: The Immortal Hulk #1

Review: SWORD #1

SWORD #1

In SWORD #1, writer Al Ewing, artist Valerio Schiti, and colorist Marte Gracia add a little hazy cosmic jive to the X-Books. Let’s just say that the Krakoan space program is a lot more than sending probes or even astronauts to Mars. Ewing has some fun and uses Magneto (On loan from Jonathan Hickman and X-Men.) as a POV character with Abigail Brand taking him around the Peak Station, introducing him to the cast of the book, and then giving him and the readers just enough info about their “mission” to bring both mutantkind and inhabitants of the solar system into the future. It very much has a tone of checking in, but Ewing’s dialogue is sharp and entertaining even if you don’t know your Acolytes from Alpha Flight.

If the X-line (and the Marvel Universe as a whole) is a toy box, then Ewing and Schiti are kind kids, who add cool new action figures into the box, polish up old ones from the 1980s and 1990s, and then come up with imaginative games for them. (Even if you don’t know all the rules yet.) SWORD #1’s plot, or hook, doesn’t kick into the last third of the comic, but the first two-thirds are really enjoyable and chock-full with intriguing character interactions as Ewing introduces the sprawling cast of the book. Even if he’s not a traditional, “relatable” viewpoint character, Magneto does create a reaction out of everyone he encounters from sparring over SWORD’s actual relationship to Krakoa to geeking out over Wiz-Kid and “the Six”, who are the main mission of Peak. Then, there’s his interactions with SWORD protagonist/team leader, Abigail Brand, who challenges a man that is used to being either despised, revered, or fawned over. With her past experiences working with organizations like SHIELD, Alpha Flight, and even the X-Men, she has a different perspective on running a team and its role compared to what Magneto wants.

It’s not super plot relevant, but there’s a richness to his relationship with the former Acolyte Frenzy, who is the ambassador, on board and is introduced by sparring with the Kree/Skrull Alliance envoy, Paibak. There’s a real physicality to Valerio Schiti’s layouts in this scene as he cuts from Magneto and Brand verbally sparring to Frenzy laying out Paibak on the training floor. This is followed by some aggressive eye contact and a very charged interaction as Krakoa’s ill-treatment of Scarlet Witch (See Empyre: X-Men) has led to them making enemies with the Kree/Skull Alliance because she is their emperor’s mother-in-law. Ewing effortlessly weaves in the results of a story that I unfortunately haven’t read to create more conflict in his current story and show that SWORD might have some more conventional threats to deal with in addition to their “uni/multiversal far-retrieval circuit” work.

Speaking of this circuit, Al Ewing uses some very Hickman-esque charts in SWORD #1 to lay out the mechanism of how it works via a strategic combination of mutant powers that reminded me a lot of the complementary combo super-attacks in Marvel Ultimate, but on steroids. SWORD #1 is also a natural outgrowth of the resurrection protocols and very beautiful to see in action although I’m sure that there were be consequences. (That Dr. Doom epigram at the end doesn’t bode well and gave me serious Secret Wars vibes.) Schiti, Gracia, and letterer Ariana Maher, who lays the text directly on the page/art work together on some gorgeous, light-filled spreads that evoke the feeling of something great, cosmic, and unknown even if I can’t exactly get my finger on what the team is doing. It’s a study in harmony just like the balance Magneto created by moving the

While Valerio Schiti excels at drawing cosmic landscapes (For example, the opening double page establishing shot of the Peak station moving away from Earth), his character acting is more middle of the road leaving Ewing to pick up the slack with his dialogue. Even though his art is in that Marvel house style, middle ground between cartoon-y and photorealistic, Schiti takes his facial expressions up to 11, and it’s hard to mine any subtler emotions and even sarcasm from his work. (I think that Magneto is just humoring his old Brotherhood short timer/member, Peepers, but it’s hard to really tell from art.) Again, Ewing is there to save the day with his perceptive dialogue and a smart writing move, which is revealing character’s personalities by how they basically react to a living legend. In this case, it’s Magneto. For example, Fabian Cortez totally sucks up to him, which shows he’s a go-with-the-flow sycophant while Wiz-Kid gives him insight into how he uses his powers to interface with technology showing that he has actual potential.

SWORD #1 is an interesting addition to the X-line of the books with its “spacer” (As Abigail Brand calls herself in contrast with “earthers” like Magneto.) perspective on both Krakoa and the Marvel Universe. Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti are in full spinoff pilot episode with Magneto playing the role of familiar character from the previous show giving readers insights into the cast of the book as well as the mysteries and conflicts they face. There are a few pitfalls on the visual side and more questions than answers (This isn’t bad at all), but it’s nice to have an outsider/literal big picture perspective on the world of Krakoa from Abigail Brand and her team in SWORD.

Story: Al Ewing Art: Valerio Schiti
Colors: Marte Gracia Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.5 Art: 7.8 Overall: 8.2 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


Purchase: comiXologyKindleZeus Comics

Preview: Guardians of the Galaxy #9

Guardians of the Galaxy #9

(W) Al Ewing (A) Juan Cabal (CA) Rafael Albuquerque
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 09, 2020
SRP: $3.99

Everyone thought he was dead. They were wrong. Now Peter Quill journeys through a mythic world on the other side of our reality.

But is he still Peter Quill…or is he the legendary Star-Lord?

Get ready for a GUARDIANS tale unlike any you’ve ever seen before – as the clock starts ticking for the last stand.

Guardians of the Galaxy #9
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