It’s rare for a comic to be consistently great, but Al Ewing’s S.W.O.R.D. hasn’t had a bad issue yet. Issue #11 ends on such a high note, it makes one hopeful for the future of Marvel as long as he’s got a spot in the writer’s room.
No, there’s no “one” moment that’s just so shocking and awesome that will will effect any other title, but the story it tells on its own is damn good that its hard to be displeased with the results. Al Ewing, if nothing else, gets the characters he’s writing.
SPOILERS AHEAD for S.W.O.R.D. #11!
The opening sequence with Manifold is so fun and Ewing has really made his mark on this character who has gotten little play in the Marvel Universe over the years. It’s rare to see a superhero with their family, let alone in a positive environment with them, and Eden has that. It makes these moments special as they are heartfelt and sweet.
Ewing always writes the most badass Storm, and boy does she have another chance to shine in this issue. He plays with her powerset in such a cool way that he really expands what Storm can even be capable of. She’s a goddess, she’s an omega mutant, she’s freaking Storm of the X-Men — and Ewing always gives her the respect she deserves.
Taki also gets a huge moment to shine, following off the plot of last issue. He finally shows Gyrich his true colors and gets one over on him, proving to be the badass he is. One thing that’s so cool about this sequence is that Taki was able to hide his tech in his wheelchair. It’s so nice to see a disabled hero who isn’t just happy with his life as is and isn’t self-hating, but to have a narrative that lets his disability be a factor in why he’s such an effective hero. It helps him instead of hinder him — and that’s such a great narrative for disabled readers to have for a change.
The other standout character this issue is Abigail Brand, who Ewing seems to really understand. She’s a mutant, but she’s not Krakoan, and she’s got a game of her own. In many ways, Abigail Brand is one of the most interesting characters of the Krakoan era, and this issue proves why — she has no loyalties to Krakoa or mutantkind, no loyalties to humanity, no loyalties to Earth even. She is her own agent with her own agenda and it gives her such a unique position and worldview. I’d love to see more of this character, especially with what Ewing has in store for her.
And the ending pages where she simply kills Gyrich? Not only is it shocking, but one has to wonder if there will even be consequences to that action. She’s not Krakoan, so why would their laws apply to her? It’s just so fascinating.
Ewing’s writing soars as high as ever and Jacopo Camagni’s pencils are a great choice to bring this script to life. Each character is expressive and when the mutants are using their powers, his art perfectly conveys the awesome scale at which they’re working with.
What a great run this was, and oh how this title will be missed.
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