S.W.O.R.D. has consistently been one of the best X-books of the Krakoan era thanks to the skillful writing of Al Ewing, and issue #10 is no different. This time, the title shifts focus to another greatly underutilized character: Wiz Kid.
The opening pages are great and they give us an insight into the daily life of Wiz Kid. What makes these pages so special is how they talk about disability, a topic with which the Krakoa era has a shaky track record. Taki mentions how he doesn’t want to be resurrected right now and he does spend a minute to highlight how unlike Professor X, he’s not walking.
Professor X’s disability being erased was disappointing and it made me worried for how the line would handle other disabled characters getting “resurrected.” The resurrection process gives them a new body, so presumably that body would be totally “new” — but erasing disabilities like that means disabled readers can no longer see themselves in the fiction they consume. Part of creating a fantasy world means you can find ways for groups like disabled people to still exist — we saw that done beautifully with Karma in Vita Ayala’s New Mutants when she chose to be reborn with her prosthetic. Taki’s conversation here not only allows him to remain one of the few disabled mutants on Krakoa, but gives readers a bit of an insight into “a day in the life” for him. It’s really neat.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the “medicine” for dyslexia was handled. Drugs for “curing” disabilities are always a big red flag when it comes to writing any disabled characters, whether it be neurodivergency or physical disability. But that’s not what I got from this panel — I saw it more as Taki getting medicine to “help” with his dyslexia like one would take medicine to “help” with their ADHD. In the real world (as far as I have ever known, at least) there’s no medicine for dyslexia like there is with ADHD, but this is a fantasy world; such a drug can still exist. And the existence of this pill doesn’t “erase” his dyslexia any more than my ADHD medicine erases my ADHD. It’s a great idea for how a fantasy world like Krakoa can use realities from our world to make the characters more believable.
As always, a treat of the recent issues of S.W.O.R.D. has been seeing Storm in action and finally getting the spotlight she deserves. Ewing once again writes a great Storm, showing her in all her regal-yet-badass glory. She’s truly become one of the biggest highlights of the title and seeing her interact with mutants like Frenzy has been a joy.
Having the Orchis plot be so central to S.W.O.R.D. is one thing that constantly makes the book feel important. After all, Orchis has been a huge looming threat since House of X/Powers of X and S.W.O.R.D. is the perfect book to handle them given the cosmic setting. Taki vs S.W.O.R.D. is awesome and this issue does a lot to prove what a powerhouse someone like Wiz-Kid actually is.
The art isn’t as outwardly impressive as some of the other artists S.W.O.R.D. has had, but Jacopo Camagni does a great job with what he has. One of the best sequences in the book is when Taki “turns” on Cable and Camagni’s pencils hide his eyes, making him look almost sinister. It’s a great framing technique to make the reader wonder if Taki is playing double agent on Orchis (which, of course, he is) or if he’s actually turned against Krakoa.
S.W.O.R.D. continues to be one of the most consistent titles in the X-line, always fitting a great story into the 20-something pages of allotted space. Ewing’s storytelling shines and Wiz-Kid finally gets his day in the sun.
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