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?
Issue two finds S.W.O.R.D. up to their necks in a problem called Knull. Ewing demonstrates his ability to fit the characters into a large scale event without mischaracterization or doing things that don’t make sense just for the sake of the story. Every character has a purpose and a unique voice. The focuses of this issue are initially Brand as she puts the S.W.O.R.D. team to work in the face of the planet-wide and interplanetary crisis, Marvin Flumm aka Mentallo and Fabian Cortez who are both superbly written in their douchery. We get to see what has happened on Krakoa and see mutants defending themselves from Knulls “Latex” dragons as Taki calls them. Cortez demonstrably shows why Brand puts up with his nonsense, and the data pages reveal why Brand puts up with Mentallo’s. Ewing drives home very clearly that Brand’s concerns extend very much past just Krakoa but that she thinks bigger and she sees the teams purpose as bigger and she drives them accordingly and all along the way we are peppered with nuance that shows respect to the past with an eye to the future. The exchange between Magneto and Cortez with Cargill’s commentary as she witnesses it is a perfect example of that.
It’s not clarified precisely what Protocol V is although it seems to be the gathering of certain individuals to save them from what looks like planetary annihilation (in this case Mentallo and his “think” tank are dispatched in secret to gather THE FIVE who are sitting out the fight (obviously because of their value to Krakoa and the resurrection) although it seems like an ark for key people on the planet.
Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia continue to be impressive on art while color plays a pivotal role in the definition and delineation of the various parts of the S.W.O.R.D. team. Abigail Brand and Joanna Cargill are gorgeously drawn and facial expressions are fantastically individual and unique, we get to see Random and Paibok join the away team . The paneling is never stagnant or boring and while there isn’t the wild psychedelics we saw in the first issue it’s still an issue that shows a top creative team doing what they do best and that produces twenty-six pages of beautiful art that’s engaging all the time whether its someone on the toilet (literally) or when Sunfire gets turned into a mini sun and attacks a dragon (man, I love comics).
This issue doesn’t reach the heights of its debut issue in my opinion but it does manage to build on certain characters narratives while negotiating that tricky balance of doing so of fitting into the context of a line-wide Marvel comic event and the team manages to do that fairly seamlessly with a nice cliff hanger thrown in at the end that promises drama to come.
S.W.O.R.D. #2 manages to negotiate the awkward position of having to be a Marvel line-wide tie in issue having only debuted one issue earlier by balancing a story that's relevant to the KING IN BLACK storyline as well as advancing the overall books separate narrative and character advancement.
S.W.O.R.D. #2 Planning For the Unthinkable
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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