REVIEW: ‘S.W.O.R.D.,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

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

S.W.O.R.D. #1 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Al Ewing, illustrated by Valerio Schiti, colored by Marte Gracia, and lettered by VC’s Ariana Maher. Following the events of X of Swords and Empyre, Abigail Brand launches a new version of the Sentient World Observation and Response Division (S.W.O.R.D.) on behalf of mutantkind. When Magneto visits the S.W.O.R.D. base of operations, he is introduced to its crew as they undertake a new journey.

Ewing is no stranger to grand concepts, having tackled cosmic-level events in Marvel before with Empyre and Guardians Of The Galaxy. Here he sets up the new version of S.W.O.R.D. as a six-sectioned operation. Each mutant has their own duties: Cable takes charge of security, Manifold handles transportation, and the aptly named Whiz Kid deals with technology. It’s an innovative way of utilizing each character’s power and brings to mind the different divisions of Starfleet on Star Trek. It also continues the X-Men line’s dabbling in other genres. Excalibur was high fantasy, X-Force deals with espionage, now there’s a hard sci-fi X-Men book.

Ewing also handles the characterization perfectly, especially with Brand and Magneto. When she first appeared in Astonishing X-Men, Brand came off as abrasive and manipulative but ultimately doing her best to protect the Earth from interstellar threats. Here she is more upfront with Magneto, saying that S.W.O.R.D. represents more than Krakoa; it represents the Earth itself. “I speak for Sol,” she says, which is one of the most badass statements I’ve heard in a comic book lately. Ewing also writes Magneto as the grand figure he is; the Master of Magnetism makes his entrance literally hovering over everyone else and casually chats with Brand while moving the Peak into position with his powers.

Schiti fully embraces the sci-fi elements of the book, decking the S.W.O.R.D. crew out in all-new outfits. Everyone’s outfits are sleek, space-age, and feature personal embellishments such as Cable’s cloak and Whiz Kid’s mechanized wheelchair. Also, keeping in tune with the Star Trek vibe, each department has a different color for their uniform, brought to life by Gracia. Red is tech; blue is security. Brand continues to wear a bright green ensemble that matches her hair and shades and fits her no-nonsense attitude.

The sci-fi elements don’t stop with the new uniforms. A sequence toward the end of the issue finds the S.W.O.R.D. team making a journey into frontiers unknown. Schiti draws energy swirling and compressing all around the characters, with Gracia providing bluish-white hues that give it an ethereal vibe. Adding to the otherworldly vibe is Maher, who chooses to use bold stylized letters to highlight the crew’s thoughts.

S.W.O.R.D. #1 launches a bold new frontier for the X-Men, promising to bring sci-fi adventures to mutantkind’s doorstep. Even though the issue is largely setup, the creative team still manages to hook the audience with its concept and cast, and the ending promises further adventures on the horizon.

S.W.O.R.D. #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

S.W.O.R.D. #1
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TL;DR

S.W.O.R.D. #1 launches a bold new frontier for the X-Men, promising to bring sci-fi adventures to mutantkind’s doorstep. Even though the issue is largely setup, the creative team still manages to hook the audience with its concept and cast, and the ending promises further adventures on the horizon.