What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about S.W.O.R.D. #2! As I said before, I would call S.W.O.R.D. #1 a winner in my book. It would call this the strongest debut for these X-Books so far, though I gotta say I was a bit caught off guard by the idea that the second issue could already be a tie-in. I mean I get it, right now in the Marvel Universe the big bad is the King in Black who has now engulfed the Earth in darkness. Yet it still feels too soon.
So having said that, the most important thing about this second issue being a tie-in was how easy it would be for someone to still pick up this issue and know what’s going on. Meaning will readers need to know what happened in that first issue of King in Black? Will this story require an investment in the event? Or can you get by with just the gist? These are important questions to ask for anyone who wants to be all in for S.W.O.R.D. and not veering off course too soon. The good thing was seeing by the end of the issue that this wasn’t really going to be a lingering issue. At best what you need to know is the situation which the King in Black created for Earth and the mutant population. After that, technically you could say that this is the kind of work S.W.O.R.D. was made to do.
This brings us to how this team will engage themselves with what has now come of Earth. The team they put together was an interesting one for the fact that one of them was a wildcard until proven otherwise, one is an annoyance just when he opens his mouth, while the others are certainly more trusting to handle being a ground team. All in all, I liked the dynamic between the way they interact with one another, and how useful their abilities can be when set-up in the right position of opportunity.
Now the big question for this issue was also the purpose of Protocol V. The answer to that did not disappoint one bit. One would have assumed that this was a plan which involved a more direct approach towards the Earth situation, but it was really Brand thinking steps ahead for what needs to be done to ensure that there continues to be a fighting chance.
One thing I did enjoy was the introduction of Mentallo into the story. Yes, he is a villain, but this is another change which acknowledges how different these times are. Ties where it is important to somewhat blur the line between who was once a villain, and who is now a valuable asset to use a different way. In the case of Mentallo, Brand is once against showing how she wants to run things independent of what the Quiet Council wants. Now at the same time, I definitely appreciated a deeper explanation into the purpose of Fabian Cortez on the team. For the same reason as Mentallo would you question the problem with bringing someone aboard who could create more problems than solutions. Though I will admit that seeing him in action and taking initiative the way he did on this mission might change my mind about initial impressions of how this character fits into the book outside of the role he plays in the new system.
Like the first issue, the interior work for this book continues to be a big selling point for it. The team of Valerio Schiti and Marte Gracia have done amazing work taking us from the advanced space base to the reality of what a world will look like when blocked off from its sun. I mean there was a lot to take in this time around too between the latex dragons, what is also the state of Earth covered in what the symbiotes are made of, and plenty of action to shake things up. This created much more room for appreciation in having a penciler who is so detailed in drawing these characters and settings. Even his use of perspective and overlays was something to take notice of. At the same time there was appreciation for having people on production and design who know how to make this book distinct in comparison to the other x-books. I mean it goes a long way to do more in terms of layouts and effects which better immerse you in this team’s world. And it continues to help having a colorist who knows how to make the colors pop. Nothing sets a scene better, or creates an atmosphere better than getting colors which come with such variation, range, and depth to them.
Overall, I was impressed with how S.W.O.R.D. #2 turned out. I feared for things losing appeal being thrown into a tie-in in the second issue, but this creative issue is doing what they can to make this story their own.