What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about S.W.O.R.D. #3! Here we are, the third chapter of this new X-Men book, and second issue that is a part of the King in Black tie-in. Still very much invested in S.W.O.R.D. because it was hard not to be impressed with how S.W.O.R.D. #2 turned out in spite of being tied to an event I didn’t have much interest in. What I will consistently make a point about these stories is that the best way to win readers over is to make sure that at the end of the day, you are still trying to make the story your own.
Meaning that you are also doing everything in your power to make certain that there’s not a moment where you feel like you’re missing something. In the case of S.W.O.R.D. #3, I would say that they are nailing this through a focus on none other than Eden Fesi, aka Manifold. Aside from seeing Frenzy again, this was another character I was excited to see star in a larger role once more. And honestly, this was the perfect book for a character like Manifold because the sky is truly the limit when it comes to the potential he brings. As they said. this is the everywhere man, and for many of us there is no better time than now to understand what that really means. Especially since they have made it a point to establish the fact that despite being this, Manifold is not a teleporter.
Off the bat, I found it satisfying that we could take a trip back to what Manifold considers home. As great as this character is, it is also safe to assume that not enough readers really know where Eden comes from. They more than likely aren’t even aware of some of the more recent adventures he had been on before before all this craziness with the development of the Krakoan Nation. It makes a world of different to know these things and then some to better understand just how much of a difference in lifestyle this is for someone like Eden. Whether it is on the island, or in space, its all so different from just being that guy sitting on a rock in the middle of Australia. After that, they did the one thing you love that they do best with books like this. They reinvented Manifold for us. Not to say that they hit the big red button on the character to change his character history, but they gave us much more insight into what he does, beyond the understanding we normally had. When they said that Manifold is not a teleporter, obviously this was something they had to go deeper about. This part did not disappoint at all. They could have easily over-complicated the explanation of what exactly he does to travel, but kept it simply enough that anyone could grasp this character’s methods.
This brings us to some big developments for this issue. Even though S.W.O.R.D. is the kind of book which seems to aim to do its own work independent of Krakoa, clearly this did not mean that everything would ignore the mutant situation. It was jaw-dropping to see that even they are going to have some mutant problems to deal with. One of which takes us almost back to the events of the first issue of X-Men for the Dawn of X.
One of the biggest draw-ins for this issue was definitely the fact that this is a multi-artist journey across the universe and back. You don’t get many opportunities to experience an issue like this in the X-Men’s corner of the Marvel Universe. In some cases, it might be problematic for some readers to go through an issue cycling through a number of artists. However, the art team they brought on deck to work on this issue did a fantastic job. No matter who was holding the pencil, I didn’t find myself once caring about who specifically was doing what because they were all doing such quality work. Anyone one of them outside of the regular art team I wouldn’t mind picking up a book for if they were working on another X-Book. What really made a big difference in the end was also having that one colorist who made it easy to go from one art style to the next without seeing too much contrast. In other words, there was a flow to the colors which created the right sense of consistency from start to finish.
S.W.O.R.D. #3 was a marvelous adventure in the end. If you are a fan of Manifold, this issue is just for you. If you weren’t a fan of the character before? I would be surprised if this issue didn’t make one of you.