On Krakoa, Fabian Cortez and the Quiet Council discuss the rules of murder. But in space, the murders have already begun…and the killer has a connection to Cortez he’d never suspect. The color may be gold… but this, my friends… is pure giallo…
I genuinely love it when a story catches me completely off-balance and does the unexpected and S.W.O.R.D. #5 does exactly that. Writer Al Ewing splits the issue between the resurrection of Fabian Cortez and the ongoing war of succession amongst the Snark nation. Both sections are about murder…Cortez arguing with the Council to reconsider the law about murder no man and murder being committed to solve problems…
Nobody likes Fabian Cortez… he is the embodiment of entitlement, arrogance and has the most ridiculously inflated sense of self-worth. Every argument he makes before the Council is steeped in that privilege as he argues that killing humans is not murder as they’re dead already in his eyes, as they have no resurrection protocols. I won’t lie after the ending of King in Black I was worried that Magneto would be swayed by Cortez’s argument but it’s in fact Magneto who uses the moment along with some help from Peeper to demonstrate that all Cortez wants is to be the exception to the rule, to be privileged and when that argument fails he tries to use the leverage of his position in The Six as a bargaining tool… except he’s made the mistake of a) Overestimating his value and b) Underestimating Abigail Brand…
Meanwhile, the Snark War of Succession is dragging more and more planets into its violent and bloody mess and avoiding bloody wars means doing some bloody work of your own as two of S.W.O.R.D.’s agents decide the succession for the alien race with a quick stroke of blades. I don’t agree with Brand’s tactics here and while I understand her thinking and reasoning, the action taken is some Henry McCoy level of the ends justify the means… I am not surprised the two had a thing. When Magneto warns you that your actions are going to cause problems for you, you know how serious it is and that you playing on dangerous ground. It’s a pleasure to see Amelia Voght being used again but it was an even bigger pleasure to meet the newest member of the S.W.O.R.D as Ewing pulls a rabbit out of a hat and introduces an Arrakoan member to the team! …welcome to S.W.O.R.D., Khora of the Burning Heart – hope the galaxy survives the experience!
The art is once again stellar from Schiti and Gracia with highlights including Jean in her ’90s outfit to resurrect Cortez (that’s some serious shade having her wear the same outfit as when the X-Men used to trounce the Acolytes back in the day, 10 out of 10) and Abigail in a green suit is so sharp you can cut yourself just looking at her and in fact, I’m sending Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia the bill for the plasters. Excellent expressions across the range of characters at the council meeting including Sinister’s grin is another highlight for me as this series continues to be top tier across all departments including lettering from Ariana Maher.
Ewing and the team continue to throw surprises to thrill and astound in what is in my mind one of the best written and certainly best-drawn books in the X line. This issue juxtaposes Cortez's attempt to try to bend the rules in his favor with the S.W.O.R.D. team using highly questionable tactics of their own to solve issues. It's smart storytelling combined with superbly made art that is a pleasure to read from start to finish.
S.W.O.R.D. #5: State Your Case
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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