Following on the heels of the team retrieving a mysterious black jewel in the conclusion to SWORD #1, SWORD battles against Knull, the King in Black.
Al Ewing (writer), Valerio Schiti (artist), Marte Gracia (colorist), Ariana Maher (letterer), Tom Muller (design), Valerio Schitti and Marte Gracia (cover artists)
January 13, 2021
Al Ewing continues his excellent character work in this issue, beginning with the villain Marvin Flumm, a.k.a. Mentallo. Each scene Mentallo is in provides a certain amount of humor which helps to counteract the overall drastic atmosphere as the King in Black crossover rages forward.
Another character who also gets a spotlight here is Fabian Cortez, who functionally works as the team’s healer. After Sunfire’s injured by a symbiote dragon, Cortez provides the X-Man with a power boost to get him back in the fight. Following Sunfire’s display, we get a humorous moment with Cortez.
An understated moment comes courtesy of Wiz Kid. Upon Cortez’s questioning of what Wiz Kid is up to, the comic cuts to Takeshi’s work being interrupted by one of Knull’s dragons; he subsequently sets off a laser which causes said dragon to explode. Schiti’s paneling and Gracia’s colors give the scene sitcom-style framing complete with a shot of Wiz Kid blowing on his finger like he’s blowing smoke away.
These funny and smarmy moments delivered by the SWORD team members do a fair deal in making SWORD #2 all the more enjoyable within the larger story. At its best, Ewing and Schiti’s SWORD #2 is a serviceable comic assisting the reader through the ongoing King in Black event.
By that same token, SWORD #2 also contains a fair bit less of the explosive story that happened in the series’ first issue. Ewing’s fantastic writing, Schiti’s pencils, and Gracia’s colors only do so much to make the issue readable and even re-readable. Wiz Kid fighting the dragon and Abigail Brand’s mention of Knull and his actions have no narrative relevance to what is happening within the book and thus feel tacked on out of necessity.
This necessity of disrupting the ongoing story of a specific title speaks to a problem with comic book crossovers and especially line-wide ones, as King in Black appears to be. By disrupting a title, in this case, SWORD, and its space-faring plotline, it can affect readership negatively and thereby cause the book to lose readers.
On the whole, Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti’s SWORD #2 is a decent filler issue that contains enough humor to balance out the dreary tone brought about by King in Black. There is not enough of a reason to recommend seeking this comic out and reading it. Due to the overall filler feel of this issue, it can subsequently be considered nonessential not only to the larger story of SWORD, but also within the larger history of Marvel.