Review: ‘SWORD’ #3 Trips On The Light Fantastic

by Tony Thornley

Eden Fesi might be one of the most important beings in the Marvel Universe if you believe SWORD #3. In the midst of the King In Black crisis, the team’s resident teleporter goes on walkabout to gather help, and readers get a glimpse of the truth behind the former Secret Warrior and Avenger.

Though this issue might seem a little out of left field, by the end of it, readers and our heroes will have information critical not just to this series, or to King in Black, but to the entire X-Men masterplan. It’s a crucial chapter from Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti, Ray-Anthony Height, Bernard Chang, Nico Leon, Marte Gracia, and Ariana Maher.

Knull has taken Earth, and SWORD may be the last defense. In a final desperate ploy, Manifold bounces across the universe trying to find allies to liberate Earth from Knull’s grasp. His actions may be in vain, but that doesn’t mean they’re fruitless. After all, Orchis is still out there, and Eden Fesi may have discovered a critical key to their plans…

For anyone hoping for more hero versus symbiote action, they might be disappointed with this issue. However, this is actually a rich and densely layered character piece. It gives us greater insight into who Manifold is than I think any writer has before (both from the perspective of his personality and his abilities). It also hits on multiple Ewing plots from all across his Marvel work, from Hulk to Guardians to SWORD itself- basically everything except the Masked Raider. It might be a little TOO dense, especially for anyone who isn’t familiar, but honestly who’s picking up this book completely blind?

Meanwhile on the art side, it’s easy to forget that this is an artist jam issue. The only scene that stands out as a different artist than Schiti is the brief Australia sequence, which is gorgeous. While you can tell that there are changes in line art through the issue, they’re small, and subtle. Frankly, each of the artists do a great job, and make sure not to knock the reader out of the story. When you add Gracia’s colors (especially in the early two-page spread), there’s a unified feel through the issue, resulting in the most seamless artist jam issue in recent memory.

In a single issue, Manifold has rocketed to the top of my list of favorite B-list characters. It’s a testament to the great work being done by the creative team as well.

SWORD #3 is available now from Marvel Comics.


Manifold takes center stage as the team explores the entire Marvel Universe

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