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Welcome to S.W.OR.D. Station One.
"This is what comes next."
Commander Abigail Brand, S.W.O.R.D. #1

S.W.O.R.D. is a 2020 Marvel comic book series, written by Al Ewing and drawn by Valeroi Schiti, as part of the Dawn of X event.

Abigail Brand was the head of the Alpha Flight Space Program, but feeling irritated by human bureaucracy and left out of the loop regarding Earth-shattering disasters, she quit. Now she is once again the head of S.W.O.R.D., the Sentient World Observation and Response Department, on the newly reclaimed space station the Peak, with the new mutant nation of Krakoa and the Quiet Council as her new boss.

Now, the Mutants of Earth have their own space program. And Brand has ideas. Big ideas.

Prior to the 2020 comic, there was also a 2009-2010 S.W.O.R.D. comic by Kieron Gillen and Steven Sanders. It, unfortunately, lasted only five issues before being cancelled. After it was cancelled, Gillen used some of the same characters (and S.W.O.R.D. itself) during his Uncanny X-Men run. The entire run can be found in the trade paperback S.W.O.R.D.: No Time to Breathe.

The series lasted eleven issues before ending, being followed by by X-Men Red (2022).


Tropes included in S.W.O.R.D.:

  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Fabien Cortez tries pleading with Knull-Cable for his life, but it doesn't save him from being killed.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Taking a page from The Five, SWORD's team-members combine their power-sets to boost them to unseen heights. This culminates in the Six, a circuit of mutants with teleportation powers, channeling them together for limitless travel anywhere within and without the universe.
  • Ambadassador: Frenzy serves as S.W.O.R.D.'s ambassador. She's introduced having a friendly punch-up with Paibok the Power Skrull.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Magneto hears out Cortez's reasons (such as they are) for justifying murdering humans, which mainly consist of whining, and asks him to look Magneto in the eye and tell him those reasons are greater than any Erik has ever used. Fab can't make a good response.
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  • Assassin Outclassin': Subverted with issue 5: Khondor and Lyga, two of the remaining Snark heirs, talk about how their half-brother was killed by an assassin. Then Khondor prepares to kill Lyga himself, when he's stopped by a knife to the head and an appearance by Amelia Voght. Lyga thanks her for saving her life, but Amelia says, "I'm just the transport. So I didn't save your life, Lyga of the Gylar Clan. I didn't save it at all." At which point, the assassin Amelia has brought in kills Lyga.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Issue 7 has fifty-foot high Mindless Ones attacking Throneworld.
  • Badass Boast: In the third issue, after Frenzy rips off a Knull-possessed Cable's metal arm, he tells her that he'll kill everyone she ever loves and their children. In response, she says, "I've only ever loved one person. And if he felt the same, you'd be my stepson."
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Once again, Fabian Cortez. He isn't even subtle about this time, trying to argue with the Quiet Council about the "murder no man" rule and getting into a hissy fit when they don't see things his way. It's one of the reasons that he is immediately replaced.
  • Black Comedy: Some of the infographics in issue #9 are in-universe advertisements for the Lethal Legion - your own home-grown alien living weapons of unusual destruction!
  • Broken Pedestal: Frenzy's not quite as enamored of Magneto as she once was.
    Paibok: You know him?
    Frenzy: ... once upon a time, I all but worshipped him.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • After disappearing for years, Takeshi Matsuya/Wiz Kid reappears as a member of The Six in issue 1.
    • The same with Paibok the Power-Skrull, who hadn't been seen since Annihilation.
    • Peeper, a very minor mutant with a few vision-related abilities, also returns.
    • Mentallo, who had only been a face in the crowd during the foundation of Krakoa, returns during the Knull crisis.
    • Amelia Voght, who had been on the same boat as Mentallo, finally reappears in issue 5.
  • Butt-Monkey: No-one likes Fabian Cortez. In fairness, he's a backstabbing, weasel-minded suck-up. The only reason Brand has him around is because his powers are useful, and they don't have anyone better to fill his place. He is quickly kicked out of the team once they do find someone who can, after spectacularly failing to convince the Quiet Council to allow him to remain.
  • Call-Back:
    • Brand is still pretty ticked about the goings-on of Empyre, though it turns out her yelling at Carol Danvers in the aftermath was an attempt at encouraging her to do more. She's also tremendously pissed that Henry Gyrich has somehow wound up in charge of Alpha Flight, as seen over in Immortal Hulk. Considering what the opportunistic weasel did when he took over S.W.O.R.D. the last time, her feelings are justified.
    • Magneto and Abigail are both keen to get the new Kree/Skrull Emperor to come visit and acknowledge formal ties with Krakoa. Unfortunately, Magneto and the Krakoan Council declared the Emperor's mother-in-law, also known as Wanda Maximoff (previously Magneto's daughter), an enemy of the state...
    • The first thing the Six use their powers for is exploring the Farthest Shore, the place at the absolute edge of all existence, as established in Ewing's previous cosmic works.
    • The Shore is also noted to be near to or connected with the White Hot Room, dwelling place for the Phoenix Force.
    • Storm beats Tarn the Uncaring while deprived of her powers though he retains his – as she once did with Cyclops.
  • Closest Thing We Got: Brand doesn't like having Fabian or Mentallo working on S.W.O.R.D. but they're the best mutants with their specific powersets that she could recruit. However, with Mentallo, it's a case of Exact Words.
  • Colony Drop: Issue 10 and 11 has the Peak nearly fall onto Australia, being prevented by a mix of Cable and Eden.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: S.W.O.R.D. is split into divisions, each one being color-coded. The tech department is red, logistics orange, medical & energy resources yellow (though Fabian claims it's gold), diplomacy cyan, security blue, and psionics purple. Abigail gets green all for herself.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Among the people Brand speculates should've filled the position as head of Alpha Flight after Carol Danvers is Dr. Peter Corbeau, a former associate of the X-Men from the Claremont days (and who does in fact have experience managing space-related government projects), or Puck of Alpha Flight.
    • Michael Nowlan was considered by Brand as a replacement for Fabian Cortez but his power boosting is addictive and Michael refuses to comply with Krakoan authority because they won't resurrect his human ex-wife. Brand's other potential choices include Boost, of Gene Nation, but his powers aren't entirely practical (being a Fusion Dance rather than just boosting someone's power), and Mister M, who's gone walkabout.
    • Issue 3 lays down the current political situation with the Snark, after their previous emperor, Stote, caught a fatal case of laser to the brain, as seen over in Guardians of the Galaxy.
    • Eden returns to visit some of his mates in Australian, bringing up his escapades with the Avengers, and noting that the X-Men are seen as alright in Australia's eyes (after their stay there in the Claremont years). Iron Man, meanwhile, is a drongo.
    • In issue 4, Frenzy mentions her crush on Cyclops, from the X-Men: Legacy days.
    • The first page of issue 5 is the Plex Intelligence, head of the Utopian Kree, going over all the stuff going down in space, such as the Olympians, Knull, and Korvac's rebirth over in Iron Man.
    • During Doom and Storm's chat in issue 7, they bring up that time Doom turned Ororo into a statue. Doom insists that was actually a Doombot.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Abigail Brand claims Gyrich blasted himself out of an airlock as a final act of spite, then pretends to be annoyed about it. She figured nobody would ever buy her being sad about it.
  • Cruel Mercy: In Brand's mind, telling everyone Gyrich committed suicide out of spite is a kindness.
  • Dance Party Ending: Issue 4. Having just driven off Knull's Symbiotes, the Five start boogieing (since they already had music and lights going to drive off the symbiotes). Even Hope decides to join in for at least one dance.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: A Knull-possessed Cable has taken down pretty much everybody except for Eden Fesi. Knull-Cable taunts him about just being a teleporter — but Eden reveals he isn't a teleporter. He asks space to warp for him and it complies because they're friendly. He demonstrates by conjuring a piece of the sun, kept in a bubble that won't harm anyone else but symbiotes, and punches Knull-Cable in the face with it to purge him of his corruption.
  • Do Wrong, Right: As Brand reveals in issue #11, they've got no problem with Gyrich and ORCHIS's plan to try and get rid of Krakoa. It's just that Gyrich's so bad at it that's pissed them off.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Abigail Brand's allegiance to Krakoa is strictly transactional as she makes it clear to Magneto that she sees herself as a Spacer before anything else, including being a mutant. This becomes even more apparent in Issue #7 where it turns out she is keeping the Quiet Council in the dark about her actions during The Last Annihilation event. And then in issue #11 it turns out she wants to burn Krakoa to the ground herself. And soon.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Cortez demands respect while having done nothing to actually deserve any.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Cortez considers mutant names to be this, which is why he refuses to take one for himself.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Doctor Doom compliments S.W.O.R.D. via Storm about their raiding the heart of all creation, then notes he at least would've been more cautious. Repeat: Doctor Doom thinks SWORD are being reckless. And he might even be right...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Subverted with Gyrich in issue 11, when he momentarily seems appalled that his plan will result in the Peak hitting Australia (and quite possibly destroying it)... and then shrugs it off as "collateral damage".
  • Evil All Along: Abigail Brand.
  • Exact Words: Abigail Brand likes to tell Mentallo he's the best telepath she could get. As the rest of her note explains, he's a low-grade weasel more loyal to his own skin or whoever's paying him the most, not Krakoa or the Mutant cause. He really is the best telepath she could get.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Though calling him a Face to begin with would be extremely generous at best, SWORD still treats Gyrich working for ORCHIS as him "turning".
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Cortez is entirely open about his hatred for humans, and has some anti-human policies he'd like to raise to the Quiet Council. His argument, basically, is that killing humans shouldn't really count as murder.
    • Sunfire seems outraged that a Skrull has set foot on Krakoa during Knull's attack.
  • Fantastic Slur: Cortez likes throwing around "flatscan".
  • First World Problems: When arguing that he should be able to kill humans with impunity, Fabian Cortez brings up small grievances he has suffered at the hands of human, in front of a council of mutants who have suffered far worse. He starts by saying his family are wealthy Europeans who in the course of history subdued continents, but only gave scraps of this to him and his mutant sister, in front of Storm, who grew up in poverty in Cairo, and Magneto, who grew up Jewish in Germany and Poland in the thirties and forties. He complains about only getting a six-figure sum and land in Florida in front of Emma Frost, who created her own wealth after being disowned by her own rich and abusive family. This is after he insists to Storm that he, a handsome, blond, white man who grew up rich, knows what it is to be oppressed at least as well as her.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Fabian Cortez, but also Marvin Flumm / Mentallo, who everyone knows are crooks and backstabbers, but their powers are too useful not to use.
  • From Bad to Worse: Issue 7, a The Last Annihilation cross-through, has the situation on the Kree homeworld get bad. Really, really bad. First there's waves of Mindless Ones attacking, so bad Hulkling has Captain Glory brought in. Then the Mindless Ones kill one another to catch him in the crossfire. Then Hulkling's space sword gets smashed to pieces.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Paibok tags along with the SWORD team in issue 2, partly because his new boss approves of saving galaxies from eldritch horrors, and also because he's a Skrull warrior.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Peeper's powers make him incredibly useful to SWORD.
  • Here We Go Again!: Frenzy sees Fabian establish a rapport with Magneto after impressing him and quietly laments to herself that history - namely Fabian getting people to trust him, then backstabbing them - seems to be repeating itself.
  • Heroic BSoD: Kid Cable has one after his de-Knulling. Fortunately, Magneto's on hand to give him some reassurance.
  • Heroic RRoD: Eden manages to stop the Peak falling on Australia, but the effort of porting it back into space knocks the wind out of him.
  • Humiliation Conga: Issue 5 is one for Fabian. First, his rebirth isn't celebrated by anyone (apparently everyone was too partied out after resurrecting Sunfire). Then he has to attend the Quiet Council meeting he asked for completely nude. His points are dismissed, and it turns out Magneto never had any intention of actually going through with them and when he tries to play the "you need me" card, he finds out, nope, they don't. Brand's already found a better replacement for him. Inbetween all this, everyone snarks at him. In all fairness, he really has it coming.
  • Immortality Immorality: Cortez tries to make an argument against the "kill no human" laws that basically inverts the reasoning for instating it; why prohibit killing humans if not having a means of resurrection means that they'll die eventually anyway?
  • I'm Standing Right Here: Hope angrily decries Mentallo's use and ability as a telepath while she's standing right next to him, something he quietly notes. In fairness, giving a rat's ass about other people's feelings has never exactly been one of Hope's defining attributes.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • Fabian insists the color of his department is gold. The captions are pretty clear it's yellow.
    • Eden refers to his job as "quintician" (derived from the word "quintessence").
  • Ironic Echo: A Knull-possessed Cable taunts Manifold with the fact that he's not an omega-level mutant, meaning that somewhere there's a more powerful teleporter than him. Eden retorts that he's not a teleporter, but can warp space to punch Knull-Cable in the face with a piece of the sun, even if there's an omega somewhere that's allegedly "more".
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: After years and years of meddling with the super human community and trying to destroy them, Henry Peter Gyrich is Thrown Out the Airlock by Brand in issue #11.
  • Kirby Dots: Invoked by Dr. Doom in issue #7. He claims to have figured out that mysterium is a condensed form of "primal kirbons".
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In issue 3, Eden's sent to negotiate with one of the Snark warlords for help with the Knull business, who rejects his offer because he sees no need of it, figuring Knull only attacks planets, which he doesn't have, and gloats. Seconds after Eden leaves, he's assassinated.
  • Literal Disarming: In order to beat a symbiote-possessed Cable, Frenzy tears his artificial limb off, since that's where his bodyslide tech is kept.
  • Loophole Abuse: "Murder No Man" means "murder no human," but it specifically does not mean "murder no aliens," which is how Abigail Brand was able to get Khora of the Burning Heart to assassinate all of the Snark heirs but one, thereby stopping the Snarkwar and gaining favor for Krakoa and Arakko. Magneto lampshades the thin line Abigail is walking to justify this, and warns her to be careful lest it explode in her face.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Abigail's got her some long-term plans. Plans which even the Quiet Council of Krakoa might not necessarily agree with, especially since they involve some actions which are if not illegal then super dicey, like call-screening distress signals sent to Earth, so she can have S.W.O.R.D. rush in, play hero, and earn some favor with Hulking she can cash in when he learns his mother in-law is dead. Turns out, she's trying to destroy Krakoa herself by setting themselves up for a great fall.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": Everyone in Krakoa has this reaction when they see Cable has been taken over by a symbiote during Knull's attack at the end of issue 2.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Khora of the Burning Heart. The Latin word for heart is "cora".
    • Fabian Cortez appears to share his opinion on the value of human life with the conquistador Hernán Cortés. He also claims to be a direct descendent of said conquistador.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Guardian joins up with ORCHIS thanks to some plying from Gyrich, but spends his time on the sidelines mostly being appalled at what Gyrich's doing.
  • The Mole: ORCHIS has an agent inside SWORD. The mole, Wiz-Kid, is actually loyal to Krakoa. Then it turns out Brand wants to be the mole herself.
  • Mythology Gag: Magneto asks Kid Cable is he's going to get a "hope you survive the experience". Nate says no, because if Magneto didn't, Cable wouldn't be doing his job.
  • Non-Uniform Uniform: All the logistics division wear SWORD uniforms... except Gateway, who's in his standard loincloth.
  • No-Sell: A benefit of Frenzy's Nigh-Invulnerability. Knull's symbiotes can't do jack to her.
  • Not So Stoic: Magneto is not one of nature's most gregarious people even on his good days, but his meeting with Peeper has him warmly embracing the guy and acting like old drinking buddies.
  • Oh, Crap!: Eden's reaction to finding Gyrich's ORCHIS files is a quiet "crap".
  • Once More, with Clarity!: At the end of issue 7, we get full context for the flashforward at the end of Empyre showing Brand standing over a beaten Hulkling. She and S.W.O.R.D. are rescuing him after a horde of Mindless Ones have wrecked the place.
  • Only in It for the Money: Brand summarizes Mentallo this way, though she's torn between whether that makes him utterly disgusting or useful depending on how cynical she's feeling.
  • Organization with Unlimited Funding: Either that or just plain non-existent. Brand notes that even in its heyday, SWORD didn't get as much funding as it should have. Magneto tells her that won't be a problem.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Brand is okay with Australia being accidentally wiped off the map taking out Gyrich, but she's also happy if it's saved, since she still gets what she wants, and is able to keep Wiz-Kid around, since he's too useful to dump in the Pit... for now.
  • Recognition Failure: Magneto vaguely recognises Fabian Cortez's ponytail, but not his name.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The first thing we see SWORD doing? Using their powers to plunder the absolute heart of all creation. Apparently even Doctor Doom was impressed by the sheer chutzpah of that.
    Wiz Kid: Soo... we... we just broke some laws. Cosmic ones.
  • The Reveal: A very major revelation occurs in issue 11. Abigail Brand hates Krakoa, as she considers the human vs. mutant division to be meaningless given they both originated from the same root species on the same planet; she regards herself simply as half-Terran, and doesn't think too highly of the Terran half. So much so that she's actually a mole for ORCHIS, as she intends to drag Earth kicking and screaming into "respectable" galactic society.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Cable and Magneto in issue 1.
    Kid Cable: You know... try not to die of old age while you're here.
    Magneto: I shall do my very best.
    Kid Cable: Good man.
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X: While he does not utter the stock phrase, Cortez repeatedly assures the Council that he has nothing against humans, he just wants to be able to kill them without anyone thinking less of him for it.
  • Stealth Pun: Wiz Kid tries to tell Brand how Cable got his name, but interrupts herself before we get the answer.
    Wiz Kid: Fun fact: Cable named himself after a – (realizes Magneto is there) – Crap. Magneto?
  • Stripped to the Bone: Inflicted on Fabian Cortez and Sunfire in issue 4, in the space of seconds.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Issue 2 is a King in Black crossover. Towards the end, we see the Five on Krakoa debating whether to get involved or not, with Proteus and Tempus really wanting to get in on the action, while Hope and Elixir don't, preferring to keep resurrecting Mutants. Mentallo and Brand seem to override their concerns by getting them off Earth in case the symbiotes destroy it.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Hulkling mentions he and Wiccan tried calling the Scarlet Witch for help, but got no response, which he assumes is because Dormammu is blocking them. Abigail, who knows the real reason (namely: Wanda is dead), agrees with him.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: SWORD's logistics division is, save for one, comprised entirely of them; Manifold, Blink, Lila Cheney, Gateway and Vanisher.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: The Six are just a little rattled after their first trip into the unknown.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Brand's opinion of the decidedly late previous director of SWORD, for not bothering to check what his own people were getting up to when knowing what his people are doing was supposed to be his job, resulting in six thousand men and women getting eaten by aliens
  • Under New Management: Double-duty. Technically, SWORD being run by Brand again puts it under old management, but now it's an agency of the Krakoan government, rather than the US / United Nations as it was before.
  • The Unreveal:
    • Throughout issue 1, several parts of the supplementary info pages, such as substitutes for members of the Six and the head of SWORD's psi-division, are redacted.
    • Issue 3 similarly has a file on ORCHIS' command hierarchy, almost all of which is blacked out.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Doom suggests that mutantkind's mining mysterium created a cosmic disturbance, which is what kicked off the events of Last Annihilation when Dormammu noticed.
  • Wham Episode: Issue #11. Abigail Brand reveals she's selling out Krakoa to ORCHIS to Henry Gyrich... and then kills Gyrich by flushing him out of an airlock into space.
  • Wham Line:
    • Issue #5 has Fabian Cortez make his speech to the Quiet Council about having a special dispensation to murder humans. They are fairly unimpressed, so he starts to make threats until someone teleports in:
      Cortez: ... who are you?
      Amelia Voght: I'm surprised you don't remember me, Fabian. We're such old friends.
      Khora: He means me. I am Khora of the Burning Heart. I am fire in the soul, and I am murder in the dark. I am of Arakko. And I am your replacement.
    • From Issue #11:
      Brand: No, I think Sol’s better off if I get rid of them all an run things myself. Don’t you?
  • Wham Shot:
    • The end of Issue #9 reveals the mole in S.W.O.R.D., and it's Wiz Kid.
    • Then the end of Issue #10 reveals who Wiz Kid's been talking to, and it's a shrunken Abigail.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Discussed between Magneto and Brand at the end of issue 5, as to whether alien life falls under the auspices of "murder no man". Abigail asks back if preventing a needlessly destructive war is worth it.