It's official: SWORD is back. Marvel Comics today confirmed that -- as hinted at in Empyre Aftermath: Avengers and teased in X of Swords: Creation -- SWORD is back. In December, writer Al Ewing (Immortal Hulk) and artist Valerio Schiti (Empyre) launch the newest X-Men series S.W.O.R.D., which was the mystery title in Marvel's December catalog. As teased in Marvel's press release, S.W.O.R.D. is tasked with bringing the new mutant order of Krakoa founded in last year's House of X event to the stars. Simultaneously, S.W.O.R.D will resume its original role in dealing with interstellar events and threats on behalf of planet Earth.
Spinning out of the events of X of Swords, Abigail Brand will restore the Sentient World Observation & Response Directorate to deal with all things extra-terrestrial. While this book is part of the X-Men line, Marvel suggests it will have a significant impact across the Marvel Universe, as indicated in Empyre Aftermath: Avengers. The S.W.O.R.D. cast includes Magneto, Abigail Brand, Cable, Frenzy, Wiz Kid, Fabian Cortez, former Avenger Manifold, and others that will appear as the series progresses.
Ewing is known for writing the critically-acclaimed Immortal Hulk series, but he's no stranger to the Marvel Universe's cosmic side. He co-wrote the Empyre event, helms the ongoing Guardians of the Galaxy series, and played with cosmic forces in his run on The Ultimates. Now he's bringing his talents to the X-Men franchise.
"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?"
Schiti worked with Ewing on Empyre and previously drew Guardians fo the Galaxy and Tony Stark: Iron Man. "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."
S.W.O.R.D. #1 goes on sale in December.