X of Swords is underway, changing the X-Men’s world immensely, and Marvel revealed one of the biggest changes today: the return of S.W.O.R.D., coming in December from Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti.
SOME SPOILERS FOR X OF SWORDS: CREATION #1 AND EMPYRE AFTERMATH: AVENGERS FOLLOW
S.W.O.R.D. spins out of Marvel’s two most recent big events: Empyre, which established Hulkling as regent of a united Kree/Skrull empire after a war on Earth with the plant race Cotati; and X of Swords, which is only just underway as of this announcement. Abigail Brand, the former head of the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate and most recently the #2 of its replacement, Alpha Flight, behind Carol Danvers, joins this new team after resigning from Alpha Flight because of Carol’s mishandling of the Cotati invasion. And they look to be returning to The Peak, S.W.O.R.D.’s traditional base of operations, after Cyclops, Marvel Girl and Cable restarted it in the closing pages of X of Swords: Creation #1.
“It’s an absolute blast to be working with the X-team, and to bring Marvel’s merry mutants into the new Age of Space – and introduce space to the new age of Krakoa!” Ewing said. “And it’s not just X-readers and space explorers who get what they want—fans of my more cosmic Marvel work will have plenty to digest as well, as mutantkind thinks even bigger and takes it even further, into realms I’m almost surprised they let me get away with. After conquering death, what’s next – and will we survive the experience?”
Ewing just wrapped Empyre and is still plugging along on the disturbingly good Immortal Hulk and a new volume of Guardians of the Galaxy. Schiti drew Empyre with Ewing, and has apparently been designing this book for some time now, with his new costumes for Brand and Manifold appearing in the final pages of Empyre Aftermath: Avengers as part of a flash forward.
The character lineup for this book is full of surprises. In addition to S.W.O.R.D. traditionalist Brand, the book also stars hero to the Krakoan people Magneto; surprisingly good time-displaced teen Cable; fan favorite and star of Age of X Frenzy; teleporting Hickman creation Manifold; former X-Terminator and cult favorite Wiz Kid; and the shocker of the group, Fabian Cortez, whose mutant power is to be the scummiest prick to ever walk the face of the Earth. This is an absurd crew.
“I really love Al’s books, so I’m very happy to have the chance to be on his side in this new adventure,” said Schiti . “I designed [these] uniforms with technical clothing, urban outfits, and even ceremonial uniforms…The space outfits are inspired by trekking or hiking clothes, far from the typical space suit because these characters are explorers, not astronauts.”