Marvel Comics has announced S.W.O.R.D., a new series from the Empyre team of writer Al Ewing and artist Valerio Schiti. The newest X-book, which spins out of the X of Swords event, will feature a cast including S.W.O.R.D. mainstay Abigail Brand, along with big-name mutants like Magneto, Cable, Fabian Cortez, and many others. Along with the announcement, the publisher also shared design art for several of the series’ main characters.
S.W.O.R.D., the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate, was introduced by Joss Whedon & John Cassaday during their run on Astonishing X-Men. The organization previously had its own highly-enjoyable six-issue series by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Steve Sanders.
Today’s X of Swords: Creation one-shot, which officially kicks of the first big crossover of the Jonathan Hickman-led X-Men line, features a tease for the return of S.W.O.R.D. to the Marvel stage. Abigail Brand also featured prominently in the Empyre Aftermath: Avengers one-shot, with a heated confrontation between she and Captain Marvel that ended with Brand promising to shake up how the Marvel U deals with extraterrestrial threats. That one-shot was also by Ewing and Schiti, and definitely felt like a backdoor pilot for a new S.W.O.R.D. series.
Ewing has promised that the events of Empyre would shake up the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe, and that’s already been seen a bit in Guardians of the Galaxy, so it’s natural that S.W.O.R.D. would return in the midst of that shake-up. It’s still unclear what role the organization will play during X of Swords, but with still 21 chapters of that story to go there’s sure to be plenty of room for them.
Check out Schiti’s cover for S.W.O.R.D. #1, as well as the full text of the announcement from Marvel, below. Look for the series to arrive in comic shops in December.
New York, NY— September 23, 2020 — ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MUTANTKIND! This December, writer Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk) and artist Valerio Schiti (Empyre) bring fans the newest X-Men title, S.W.O.R.D.! In last year’s groundbreaking HOUSE OF X, the mutant nation of Krakoa was founded and quickly became a major force on the world stage. Now, Jonathan Hickman’s grand new vision for mutantkind continues as the X-Men look to do for the galaxy what Krakoa did for the planet.
In the startling aftermath of X OF SWORDS, mutantkind will take the bold next step in claiming their destiny by relaunching the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate to deal with all things extra-terrestrial on behalf of Earth. The events of S.W.O.R.D. will have a tremendous impact not only on the X-Men’s world, but the Marvel Universe as a whole, as the mutants of S.W.O.R.D. warp the cosmic landscape forever. The stellar cast includes Magneto, Abigail Brand, Cable, Frenzy, Wiz Kid, Fabian Cortez, former Avenger Manifold, and many other fan-favorite mutants who will be stepping into the spotlight in a major way.
Known for his critically acclaimed and thought-provoking work on IMMORTAL HULK, Ewing is now ready to take the X-Men where no one in the Marvel Universe has gone before.
“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?”
S.W.O.R.D. will reunite Ewing with superstar artist Valerio Schiti. The pair previously joined forces on Marvel’s cosmic epic, Empyre.
“I really love Al’s books, so I’m very happy to have the chance to be on his side in this new adventure. We already had the chance to work together, a few years ago on Mighty Avengers and more recently on Empyre, so now we trust each other and we can use a more ‘flexible’ working method. He can switch from full script to ‘Marvel style’ when needed, and I can change panels or layouts when I think that could work better. This is definitely one the best working partnerships I’ve ever had,” Schiti said. “I can’t say much about what S.W.O.R.D. does, but I can say that every team member will have a peculiar role to play. That’s why I designed their uniforms with technical clothing, urban outfits, and even ceremonial uniforms: every role needed a different reference and a different starting point. The space outfits are inspired by trekking or hiking clothes, far from the typical space suit because these characters are explorers, not astronauts.”
Head over to Marvel.com for more information, including a look at some of Schiti’s character design sheets, and prepare for the latest evolution in the ongoing saga of mutantkind when S.W.O.R.D. launches this December.