Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Valerio Schitti
Color Artist: Marte Gracia
Cover Artists: Valerio Schitti & Marte Gracia
The Earth is being invaded by Symbiotes as Knull, the God of the Symbiotes, covers the planet in his darkness and somehow S.W.O.R.D. missed this. Now the new mutant space force is scrambling with various protocols to help thwart Knull’s invasion on their end, but things are not going so well. Now we see in S.W.O.R.D. #4 how the mutant space force handles the symbiote troubles on their end.
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So, this series has had a weird start since everything after its first issue has been a tie-in to the wider King in Black event. However, the tie-ins haven’t been that strong or impactful other than kind of showing S.W.O.R.D’s ineffectiveness at doing its job. Like, how does the advanced mobile space station armed to the teeth with powerful mutants and Krakoan mutant tech miss a swarm of symbiote dragons?
However, now the comic is bringing this story to a close and is wrapping everything up. We finally get to see the main members of S.W.O.R.D. in action as they fight a knullified young Cable, or at least some of them anyway. The characters front lining this comic are Agent, or rather, Commander Brand, Manifold, and the symbiote possessed young Cable.
The comic also picks up on the story from issue #2 about the infamous Protocol V, which was pretty underwhelming to be honest and didn’t seem that big of a deal when it was revealed. However, while Al Ewing uses the interactions between the characters involved to expand on some more X-Men elements, he inadvertently shows more of S.W.O.R.D.’s ineffectiveness as well as Brand’s alienating nature as she further distances herself from Earth and mutants which might come back to bite her in the butt later. I’ll get into that in the Spoilers.
The fight itself with young Cable is pretty to look at. Once again, Schitti and Gracia are killing it with their art and colors combined leading to some spectacular looking artwork in this comic. Whatever problems readers might have with S.W.O.R.D., they can definitely count on the art team to make this book look great.
However, a key issue with this comic, and this series so far, has been its handling of comedy as we see a moment that was set up for cool action but then Ewing turns it into a comedic reveal later. By the end, Krakoa stands tall against the symbiote invasion and we get more hints of what is in store for the series going forward.
So, before I mentioned that there’s a moment that follows up the Protocol V story that showcases S.W.O.R.D.’s ineffectiveness and Brand’s alienating nature. Essentially the Five responsible for mutant resurrection who were supposed to go with Mentallo in his tank to a safe bunker on the Moon. They hijacked him with Hope Summers literally holding a gun to his face and basically calls Brand an idiot. Meanwhile Brand just does her best to make it worst by dispassionately saying things like, “You’re all Earthers to me” and continues to distance herself from Krakoa and showing why she might not be the best person for this job.
This leads to the other moment about Ewing setting up a cool action moment only to use it for comedy later. Immediately after this conversation, Wiz-Kid shows up and has his chair take over Mentallo’s tank to turn it into a giant robot as he prepares to defend the Five on Krakoa. Sounds cool, right? Well, we never see it in action for too long and the next time we see this robo-tank it’s literally hosting a dance party for the Five – who are dancing without a care in the world – during the middle of the symbiote alien invasion. Meanwhile, Mentallo just stands there sulking as they play his music. It felt like a waste of a cool idea.
Also, Ewing REALLY wants to explore the Snark War in this series. He’s been dropping hints from the first issue and you’ll see it here. If your’e not on board with that, then prepare yourself to see more of it in future issues.
S.W.O.R.D. #4 brings its King in Black tie-in story to a close and the series can get back on track for what it’s supposed to be. We finally see the fight it set up issues ago and the art and colors by Valerio Schitti and Marte Gracia is stellar as always. Fans who already have the second and third issue can finally complete the set with this one.
Dig into our other Comic Book Dispatch Reviews HERE or grab another perspective from Weird Science Marvel Comics HERE. And, if you’re curious as to what’s arriving in comic shops each week, check out our Comic Book Dispatch Previews HERE
If you’re interested in S.W.O.R.D. #4, click HERE to get a copy! Maybe you’ve been really digging Hickman’s X-MEN run? In that case, click HERE to get your hands on the latest X of Swords trades and comics. And finally, if you’re looking for something else to read, check out my Amazon Online Comic Shop by clicking HERE. Thank you all for checking out the S.W.O.R.D. #4 Preview as well as your continued support. Stay safe and stay healthy.