Tag Archives: s.w.o.r.d.

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: 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

Around the Tubes

S.W.O.R.D. #1

It’s one of two new comic book days! What’s everyone excited for? What are you getting this week? Sound off in the comments below! While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

The Beat – A Year of Free Comics: What is it really like for superhero SIDEKICKS? – Free comics!

Reviews

Comics Bulletin – The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist
The Beat – Lonesome Days, Savage Nights
Talking Comics – S.W.O.R.D. #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

Graphic Policy’s Top Comic Picks this Week!

Lords of Misery

Wednesdays (and now Tuesdays) are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!

Each week our contributors choose what they can’t wait to read this week or just sounds interesting. In other words, this is what we’re looking forward to and think you should be taking a look at!

Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this week.

American Vampire 1976 #3 (DC Comics/DC Black Label) – A great return to this series so far that brings the action with each issue.

Batman: Black & White #1 (DC Comics) – A new anthology series from some top talent all giving their spin on the world of Batman.

Byte-Sized #1 (AWA Studios) – Horror comes to the holidays in this new series from writer Cullen Bunn!

Comic Book History of Animation #1 (IDW Publishing) – A new series focusing on the filmmakers and beloved characters of the past century and a half.

Crossover #2 (Image Comics) – The first issue was a lot of fun as the world of comics bled over into the real world causing all sorts of comics. The first issue felt like a love letter to comics and we’re excited to see where it all goes.

Heroes at Home #1 (Marvel) – We’ve been locked up due to COVID for much of the year so how are Marvel’s heroes dealing with it?

Home Sick Pilots #1 (Image Comics) – A brand new horror series that we’re excited to check out.

Legacy of Mandrake the Magician #3 (Red 5 Comics) – A great update to the classic character that has us excited for every issue. A solid series so far.

Mighty Morphin #2 (BOOM! Studios) – The first issue was such a solid re-introduction to the property with a direction that’s great for new and old readers. What’s next? We want to see!

King in Black: Namor #1 and Venom #31 (Marvel) – The opening issue of King in Black was solid and exceeded our expectations. These are the next two tie-ins and we really want to see where this goes from here and if the quality continues.

Locke & Key/Sandman: Hell & Gone #0 (IDW Publishing) – If you think you can unlock the gates of Hell and just invite yourself in, you must be Dreaming! The Sandman Universe crossover begins here. We’re… intrigued.

Lords of Misery (Albatross Funnybooks) – This standalone story reveals the adventure the Goon, along with several other mysterious figures, found himself entangled in after he departed the Nameless Town.

Scarenthood #2 (IDW Publishing) – The first issue took us by surprise and got us to laugh and gave some good scares too. A definite under-the-radar series that fans of horror should check out.

SWORD #1 (Marvel) – The Mutant nation of Krakoa has dominated Earth and now they’re taking their mission to space with the newly reformed SWORD.

Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #3 (Marvel) – The last issue caught us off guard so we’re excited to see what else this series will throw at fans of Warhammer 40K.

Preview: S.W.O.R.D. #1

S.W.O.R.D. #1

Story: Al Ewing Art: Valerio Schitti
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 09, 2020
SRP: $4.99

ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MUTANTKIND!
The Mutant nation of Krakoa has quickly become a major force on the world stage… but why stop there? Krakoa has relaunched the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate – a fully independent organization dealing with all things extra-terrestrial on behalf of all of Earth. Al Ewing and Valerio Schitti, the team behind EMPYRE, bring us the tale of Mutantkind looking to do for the galaxy what Krakoa did for the planet.

S.W.O.R.D. #1

After Dawn of X Comes Reign of X

This week delivers the conclusion of X of Swords, the sprawling crossover that represented the latest chapter in Jonathan Hickman’s grand vision for the X-Men, and learned that the Reign of X was upon us!

Hickman’s bold take on mutantkind began last year in the critically-acclaimed House of and Powers of X and continued in the Dawn of X, ushering in a slate of brand-new X-Men titles that took the comic book industry by storm. Now, the saga continues in Reign of X, a new era encompassing the upcoming story arcs in all your favorite X-titles. The Reign of X will see the forming of new teams, the return of major characters, new threats brought about by classic villains, and more game-changing revelations that will alter the X-Men mythos forever! Check out what’s to come in a mesmerizing teaser image by superstar X-Men artist Mahmud Asrar!

It all begins in December as the X-Men deal with the fallout of X of Swords and look to the future. Here’s what’s to come next month:

Hellions #7 by writer Zeb Wells and artist Stephen Segovia will explore the aftermath of the team’s brutal massacre in X of Swords.

Writer Leah Williams and artist David Baldeon continue to investigate mutant deaths and explore the complexities that come with resurrection in X-Factor #5.

Kate Pryde and Emma Frost finally enact their long-awaited revenge on Sebastian Shaw in Marauders #16 by writer Gerry Duggan and artist Stefano Caselli.

Mutantkind sets their sights on the galaxy and beyond in writer Al Ewing and artist Valerio Schiti’s groundbreaking S.W.O.R.D. #1.

An old foe rises in New Mutants #14, the beginning of a wild new era for your favorite young mutants by writer Vita Ayala and artist Rod Reis.

Wolverine reunites with Maverick and Team X in Wolverine #8, a special over-sized milestone issue written by Benjamin Percy with art by Adam Kubert and Viktor Bogdanovic.

The search for Captain Britain is underway as Excalibur returns to Otherworld in Excalibur #16 by writer Tini Howard and artist Marcus To.

X-Force will stop at nothing to protect Krakoa, even if it means interrogating their own, in the action-packed X-Force #15 by writer Benjamin Percy and Marvel’s Stormbreaker artist Joshua Cassara.

And Cyclops makes a fateful decision regarding the future of the X-Men in X-Men #16, written by Jonathan Hickman with art by Phil Noto.

Reign of X

Early Preview: S.W.O.R.D. #1

S.W.O.R.D. #1

Story: Al Ewing
Art: Valerio Schiti
Variant Cover: Emanuela Lupacchino, Terry Dodson
Rated T+
In Shops: Dec 09, 2020
SRP: $4.99

ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MUTANTKIND!
The Mutant nation of Krakoa has quickly become a major force on the world stage… but why stop there? Krakoa has relaunched the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate – a fully independent organization dealing with all things extra-terrestrial on behalf of all of Earth. Al Ewing and Valerio Schitti, the team behind EMPYRE, bring us the tale of Mutantkind looking to do for the galaxy what Krakoa did for the planet.

S.W.O.R.D. #1

King in Black Rages in January

Knull makes his long-dreaded arrival this December in King in Black #1, and his conquest of the Marvel Universe will escalate in scale and stakes come January. The god of the symbiotes’ reign will have significant impacts on the Venom mythology as well radical consequences for Marvel’s heroes and teams.

Find out what January has in store for the Marvel Universe as the King in Black attacks!

KING IN BLACK #3 (OF 5)

Written by DONNY CATES
Art and Cover by RYAN STEGMAN

After last issue’s shocking finale, the heroes of the Marvel Universe are reeling. Outgunned and outmanned, but never outdone, they unite and face KNULL, God of the Abyss, as he ensnares the planet in the darkness of his reign! Superstars DONNY CATES and RYAN STEGMAN continue to raise the game — and the stakes for the Marvel Universe in this Earth-shattering epic!

KING IN BLACK #3 (OF 5)

KING IN BLACK: PLANET OF THE SYMBIOTES #1 (OF 3)

Written by CLAY MCLEOD CHAPMAN & FRANK TIERI
Art by GUIU VILANOVA & DANILO BEYRUTH
Cover by TONY MOORE

DARKNESS REIGNS OVER THE MARVEL UNIVERSE!

KING IN BLACK: PLANET OF THE SYMBIOTES #1 (OF 3)

KING IN BLACK: RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES #1 (OF 4)

Written by JASON AARON & TORUNN Grønbekk
Art by NINA VAKUEVA
Cover by MATTIA DE IULIS

JANE FOSTER RETURNS!

Once there was an entire army of Valkyries, but now Jane Foster is the only one. When the King in Black comes to Midgard, Jane must rebuild the Valkyries to help stop him — starting with Hildegarde, a warrior from Asgard’s own hallowed halls, and X-Man Dani Moonstar, a former Valkyrie herself. But what Jane doesn’t know…is that she never was the only Valkyrie after all. Who is the fourth warrior? Jason Aaron and Torunn Grønbekk team up with artist Nina Vakueva for a story that will rock the foundations of the Marvel Universe!

KING IN BLACK: RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES #1 (OF 4)

KING IN BLACK: RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES #2 (OF 4)

Written by JASON AARON & TORUNN Grønbekk
Art by NINA VAKUEVA 
Cover by MATTIA DE IULIS

SAVE THE SENTRY – SAVE THE VALKYRIES – SAVE THE EARTH!

Knull and his symbiote horrors have come to Earth, and now all Jane Foster sees when she looks at that big blue globe…is a vision of death. Most of Earth’s heroes are locked in battle on the ground, and it’s up to Jane and the Sentry to protect the rest! But Knull’s power has spread over the galaxy and infected creatures even older than the gods…and it may not matter how many Valkyries Jane can bring to their aid.

KING IN BLACK: RETURN OF THE VALKYRIES #2 (OF 4)

KING IN BLACK: GWENOM VS CARNAGE #1 (OF 3)

Written by SEANAN MCGUIRE
Art by FLAVIANO
Cover by KEN LASHLEY

GWEN STACY ENTERS THE FRAY AGAINST THE KING IN BLACK!

Bonded to a synthetic symbiote from another reality, GHOST-SPIDER, aka Gwen Stacy of Earth-65, is unique among the webslingers of the multiverse! But when KNULL descends on her adopted home, his gravity well of dark psychic energy will reap unforeseen consequences not only on Gwen, but on her symbiotic suit as well!

KING IN BLACK: GWENOM VS CARNAGE #1 (OF 3)

KING IN BLACK: BLACK KNIGHT  #1

Written by SIMON SPURRIER
Art by JESUS SAIZ
Cover by DAN MORA

THE BLACK KNIGHT DUELS THE KING IN BLACK!

KNULL’s ferocious assault upon earth has begun and Dane Whitman – Avenger, hero, and wielder of the mighty Ebony Blade as the BLACK KNIGHT – takes up sword and shield to defend against the unstoppable onslaught. Though the blade grants Dane incredible power so too does it consume him with a lust for violence and destruction. As the endless horde of symbiote dragons darken the skies of Shanghai, will the Black Knight overcome the growing evil within himself and join AERO and SWORD MASTER in saving the city?! And what secrets will the battle against Knull reveal about Dane’s past?

KING IN BLACK: BLACK KNIGHT  #1

KING IN BLACK: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (OF 3)

Written by MATTHEW ROSENBERG
Art by JUAN FERREYRA
Cover by KYLE HOTZ

KINGPIN’S KILLERS VERSUS AN ARMY OF UNKILLABLE DRAGONS!

An army of evil space dragons have come to attack Earth and are starting with New York. MAYOR FISK has a plan for that. Assembling a group of killers, mercenaries, and just generally pretty horrible people like TASKMASTER, RHINO, STAR, MR. FEAR, and BATROC THE LEAPER, Mayor Fisk tasks them with saving the city or die trying…or die right then and there. The fate of the entire world may rest in the hands of the absolute worst people in the Marvel Universe. What could go wrong?

KING IN BLACK: THUNDERBOLTS #1 (OF 3)

DAREDEVIL #26

Written by CHIP ZDARSKY
Art by MARCO CHECCHETTO & MIKE HAWTHORNE
Cover by MARCO CHECCHETTO

A DEVIL CONSUMED!

Matt faces a darkness unlike any before. Meanwhile, ELEKTRA may be in over her head for the first time in her life.

DAREDEVIL must find the strength to continue the fight as all hell breaks loose.

DAREDEVIL #26

DEADPOOL #10

Written by KELLY THOMPSON
Art and Cover by GERARDO SANDOVAL

KING OF THE MONSTERS VERSUS KING OF THE DRAGONS!

An evil, ancient cult wants to kill DEADPOOL.

An evil, ancient space god wants to kill Deadpool.

Why does everyone want to kill Deadpool??? (I mean, we know why…)

DEADPOOL #10

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #10

Written by AL EWING
Art by JUANN CABAL
Cover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE

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

SAVAGE AVENGERS #17

Written by GERRY DUGGAN
Art by KEV WALKER
Cover by VALERIO GIANGIORDANO

“BLACK SKIES” PART 1!

CONAN rings in the New Year on Ryker’s Island — which he promptly breaks out of with the help of…DEADPOOL. The two warriors fight together against the symbiotes of KNULL, and Conan makes a surprising discovery that may help him overcome KULAN GATH.

SAVAGE AVENGERS #17

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

Written by AL EWING
Art and Cover by VALERIO SCHITI

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

Mutantkind Takes to the Stars in S.W.O.R.D.

ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MUTANTKIND! This December, writer Al Ewing and artist Valerio Schiti bring fans the newest X-Men title, S.W.O.R.D.! In last year’s groundbreaking House of X, the mutant nation of Krakoa was founded and quickly became a major force on the world stage. Now, Jonathan Hickman’s grand new vision for mutantkind continues as the X-Men look to do for the galaxy what Krakoa did for the planet.

In the startling aftermath of X of Swords, mutantkind will take the bold next step in claiming their destiny by relaunching the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate to deal with all things extra-terrestrial on behalf of Earth. The events of S.W.O.R.D. will have a tremendous impact not only on the X-Men’s world, but the Marvel Universe as a whole, as the mutants of S.W.O.R.D. warp the cosmic landscape forever. The stellar cast includes Magneto, Abigail Brand, Cable, Frenzy, Wiz Kid, Fabian Cortez, former Avenger Manifold, and many other fan-favorite mutants who will be stepping into the spotlight in a major way.

Known for his critically acclaimed and thought-provoking work on Immortal Hulk, Ewing is now ready to take the X-Men where no one in the Marvel Universe has gone before. S.W.O.R.D. reunites Ewing with superstar artist Valerio Schiti. The pair previously joined forces on Marvel’s cosmic epic, Empyre.

Prepare for the latest evolution in the ongoing saga of mutantkind when S.W.O.R.D. #1 launches this December.

S.W.O.R.D. #1
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