S.W.O.R.D. might be the most exciting X-Men comic right now since its focuses on Arakko and Storm’s new role there. If you’re expecting a nice time on a planet filled with mutants who have been sharpened under much more intense rigors than on Earth you’re going to be surprised. That and the Shi’ar Imperial Guard is visiting so you know some major fighting is going down.
Al Ewing writes a tight issue, introducing two characters meeting on the first page that is woven into the main plot of the story. This allows new information to be relayed to the reader while also building on a hell of a twist ending. These two characters are key to some major Marvel history as well.
The main meat of the story involves the Shi’ar Imperial Guard arriving on Arakko at a time when Storm may be needed more than ever. She’s dispatched in a fighting arena while Arakko mutants challenge her. Unfortunately for Storm, the New Lethal Legion arrives to take out the Shi’ar and some major damage is taken. Not every character in this battle is super well known, but they all have very unique powers.
If you love superhero fights and seeing how powers work, you’re going to love this fight sequence. Artist Jacopo Camagni shows off the violence well, along with the wacky nature of their sci-fi powers. Each character has a unique design that ranges from creepy, to kooky fun, to downright scary.
Adding to the fight is a great data page giving readers details on the powers and personality of the New Lethal Legion. That enhances the possibilities of the fight and adds nice context, especially since most of these characters are new. Speaking of, the other data page is dense with info with some good design that elevates it beyond the usual memo we’ve seen across X-Men books.
Since most of the book is set on Arakko, the colors tend to run in the orange range for the sky, but color artist Fernando Sifuentes does a lot with glow and energy powers. When Storm enters the book her powers are made even more incredible thanks to the colors in the sky.
Letters by Ariana Maher have some denser moments that keep the flow moving, especially with captions. Lettering that raps around a “rrraaarrr” or a “fang no!” helps add emphasis.
If you love fight comics, you will find S.W.O.R.D. #9 to be a delight. It features cool characters with cool powers, some entertaining violence, and some high stakes too. It all comes together in a tightly-written issue that can entertain anybody.
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