The Void-God has overtaken the Earth. Top-level mutants have been assimilated. Protocol V is in effect. But space is a big place... and a lot of things happen there at once. Walk a mile in the Manifold’s shoes, as S.W.O.R.D.’s Quintician takes a multi-artist journey across the universe and back... and comes face to face with S.W.O.R.D.’s deadliest enemy.
Issues that focus on single characters especially team books can be hit or miss. Fortunately, Al Ewing and the art team on this issue have very good aim.
The issue follows Manifold aka Eden Fesi, head of S.W.O.R.D’s head of logistics as Al Ewing shows us just how cool his powers really are in a “walk” that takes him from his native outback to a Snark battlefleet to sneaking around Alpha Flight Headquarters spying on the treacherous Henry Gyrich and then to Krakoa itself where a horrible surprise awaits…
The story is in the journey and it kicks of on an introspective and emotional beat as Eden visits elders in the outback. Ewing uses Eden’s friends and family there as a sounding board to remind us of his past, his relationship with Gateway and to remind us the world is covered in darkness by Knull. I like that Ewing emphasizes that these characters have relationships outside of Krakoa and the new status quo and that characters like the aboriginal born Manifold seek to keep those ties alive, and it’s scenes like this that are a clear statement that mutantkind has very much not simply turned away or isolated itself from the rest of humanity.
From there it’s off to a Snark war fleet as Manifold seeks to bargain for the support of a Snark Warlord in the war against Knull. Things do not go as planned but it’s very interesting how Ewing uses the concept of resurrection as a bargaining tool.
Then it’s a bit of spy work and Ewing and the team take a moment to really show how versatile Manifold’s abilities are as he learns some critical information about ORCHIS and Gyrich, just before reporting back to the Peak and then Krakoa where the cliffhanger ending awaits. The issue is a great example of exploring single characters in a team book while still driving multiple storylines forward.
There’s a big art team on this one, Schiti and Gracia handle the intro with their usual glorious aplomb and really I cant think of a “slicker” looking comic than S.W.O.R.D in the X-line at the moment, with gorgeous lines and rich colors that pop. However, beyond the regular art team we are gifted with the art of Ray-Anthony Height for the outback scene and Ray does a super job of giving Manifold a more authentic Aboriginal features which compliments the scene as its very focused on faces and interaction. Bernard Chang handles the Snark section of the art which is beautifully detailed, smooth, well paneled and makes me even more excited for COTA when it comes out, and I think Nico Leon covers the last pages as Manifold does his spacefolding spy thing in the offices of one Henry Gyrich (which is cool as hell by the way) before heading back to the PEAK and Krakoa. There’s no weak link here in the art at all, which is a testament to the strength of the team on the book. This, coupled with a brilliant cover by Schiti and really great lettering from Maher, and once again S.W.O.R.D. continues to be one of the slickest most promising books in the line.
Issue #3 manages to to drive multiple story lines along by using a single characters journey as the focal point and at the same time doesn't let us forget that it is tied to a larger event in the Marvel universe. If Manifold wasn't on your radar he is now in an issue that proves that having multiple a strong multiple artist team on book can be a very good thing!
S.W.O.R.D #3: All In a Days Walk
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9.9/109.9/10
Color - 9.9/109.9/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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