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Comic Book / The Sword

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The Sword is a modern-day fantasy series and the third comic book series created by Jonathan and Joshua Luna at Image Comics. Told is the saga of Dara Brighton, a wheelchair-bound art student whose life is changed forever when one evening three mysterious strangers with Elemental Powers enter her family's house demanding that her father, whom they call "Demetrios", return their sword. The trio ransacks the house and tries to torture the sword's location out of her baffled father, killing her mother and sister before accidentally killing him. The trio is about to kill Dara and call it a day when the ceiling collapses, knocking her through the floor. Rather than bother to kill the crippled girl, Dara is Left for Dead beneath the burning house.

Miraculously, Dara happens to land right next to an antique sword stuck in the ground. Grabbing it heals her injuries, restores the use of her legs, and grants her superhuman abilities. Clearly this is the sword her family was killed over.


At her family's funeral, Dara meets Justin, one of her father's students, whose fondest memories of her father involve the stories he'd tell in class; stories about Demetrios, a ~4000 year old hero who uses his mystical sword to protect humanity from Knossos, Zakros, and Malia, a trio of godlike elemental-powered siblings.

After Dara uses the sword to dispatch some mooks sent to kidnap her from the funeral, revealing her powers in the process, she goes on the run with her best friend Julie, and Justin, determined to use Justin's knowledge of her father's stories to track down and kill her family's murderers. All the while, they have to dodge the nationwide manhunt and mass media craze that spring up once footage of Dara's superpowered exploits become widespread. Throughout her quest, flashbacks provide glimpses into Dara's life before the sword and her father's secret past as Demetrios.


This series provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Malia claims that she killed Demetrios instead of torturing him because she was out of practice with her powers. Nope!
  • Accidental Public Confession: Malia succumbs to Type 1.
  • Achilles' Heel: The titular sword is the only thing that can harm the antagonists.
  • A God Am I
  • Appeal to Force: Demetrios used the power of the sword to force the siblings into line, slapping them down if they openly tried to use their powers among humanity or to rule them.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Knossos calls his ~4,000 year old wind-controlling sister on this when she expresses doubt about the existence of the all-seeing "one true god" who's supposedly their father.
  • Artifact of Doom: Julie comes to see the sword as a truly evil force that ruined Dana's life and turned her into a hate-driven monster addicted to using it. It gets to the point where she refuses to be anywhere near the sword, even refusing to hold it after her bullet hole re-opens.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral‎: After killing all the demigods Dara secretly returns to her ruined home so that she can die in peace to reunite with her family in the afterlife, as the pains and wounds which were once healed by the sword return to her. But she is unaware that the mourners, including Julie who doesn't know if she is alive or dead, are laying flowers on her home to thank her for saving the world from the demigods.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Phaistos falls through the Earth's crust and sinks to the solid core, where gravity is impossibly strong. Gravity actually lessens as you travel towards the core; briefly, gravity is roughly that which you'd experience if you were only affected by the portion of the earth between you and the center (gravity inside a uniform hollow shell is zero; here's the math). Additionally, the density of a human being is less than the density of rock, especially at those pressures; an indestructible humanoid would simply float in the magma rather than sinking to the core.
  • Bad Boss: Knossos. He calls his drug cartel's five top earners to a meeting because one of them has done exceptionally well lately. After he praises the subordinate's accomplishments, he buries him alive for not clearing his actions with Knossos first.
  • Batman Gambit: The whole damn thing turns out to have been a plot by Phaistos AKA Justin to manipulate Dara into killing his siblings for him, as revenge for them manipulating her father into trying to kill him.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: "You want your sword, Zakros...? Here it is." If the demigods hadn't killed Dara's family in search of the sword, she would never have found it and used it against them.
  • Break the Cutie: Dara starts out as a sweet girl, who was taught to be nice and honest person. Then her family gets killed in front of her.
  • Break the Haughty: Demetrios' life basically consisted of doing this to the same three people for thousands of years with little headway. Turns out chucking a guy into the center of the earth works much better.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Zakros and Malia. Zakros was always attracted to her, and she always resisted...except once.
  • Buried Alive: Knossos does this to one of his henchmen.
  • Cain and Cain and Cain and Abel: Phaistos was by far the most vicious and cruel of the demigod quadruplets, so the others arranged for Demetrios to kill him.
  • Car Fu: Zakros throws a car at Dara
  • Churchgoing Villain: Knossos believes in the "god" who sired him, and believes that he's influencing his childrens' lives even now. His siblings are far more skeptical, though Malia reaches out to him in her time of need.
  • Clean Cut: Dara's been known to cut through up to three people in a single swing.
  • Closer to Earth: Malia manages to portray herself as the least evil sibling, but as her Unreliable Voiceover of her backstory shows, she's just the most manipulative next to Phaistos.
  • Coitus Interruptus: The thug Knossos calls upon to kidnap Dara is receiving a...close personal favor...from a lady when he answers the phone. He breaks it off to talk, but he does snort cocaine off her rack while he does, so at least he's still having a good time.
  • Creative Sterility: Dara calls out Knossos on this, pointing out that he has no ingenuity of his own, relying on the humans he counts as grains of sand to plan and create for him. He doesn't like that. At all.
  • Dating Catwoman: Demetrios had an on-and-off relationship with Malia over the millennia.
  • Death by Origin Story: The families of Demetrios and Dara.
  • Death Faked for You: When Dara surrenders to the authorities, a mysterious agency fakes a fatal car accident so it can move Dara to a secret government facility.
  • Determinator: Dara. Her flashbacks go some way to explaining how she developed her Heroic Willpower, but it's still impressive how hard she fights and how much pain she takes through the course of her quest.
  • Disappeared Dad: The demigod siblings have never actually met their father, the alleged One True God. It turns out nobody has— he impregnated their mother in a dream, and though Knossos claims to receive messages from him, it's revealed to be BS.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Dara can move fast enough to deflect bullets up to a point.
  • Dying Alone: Dara manages to drag herself back to her home and the secret room where she found the sword, before her injuries catch up to her. Unbeknownst to either of them, Julie was only a few feet away.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Knossos, Zakros, Malia, and Phaistos. Dara's family is the exact opposite.
  • Elemental Powers: Each of the demigod siblings commands one of the four Greek elements:
  • Empty Shell: Dara sees herself as this more and more the further story goes on.
  • Fate Worse than Death: When Phaistos was stabbed by Demetrios, he lost his temper and his powers went out of control, melting the earth around him until he eventually sank all the way to the Earth's core, where his immortality kept him alive and the gravity kept him in place. He kept trying to climb out, but kept sinking back to the core again. It took him around 2000 years to finally make it to the surface.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Whenever Dara mentions that her father used to tell stories about his past as Demetrios to his college class, the person she's talking to invariably comments on how reckless and sloppy that was for someone trying to keep it a secret. It would have been stupid if he had actually ever done that.
    • Knossos buries one of his henchmen for putting a successful idea to expand his empire into motion without consulting him. It seems like he's just being a bad boss, but when Dara points out his lack of creativity he flips out. He simply cannot, will not, accept that humans can prove his equal or even surpass him in some way.
  • Fountain of Youth: Holding the sword has been shown to de-age people. Not college-age Dara or anyone else near her age, though, since Immortality Begins at 20.
  • Gangsta Style: One of the fake cops trying to kidnap Dara shoots a guy this way. Forgiveable, since it's essentially a point-blank shot.
  • Good Thing You Can Heal: Dara racks up an impressive collection of injuries during the course of the story. In the end, after she's abandoned the sword and goes home to die, her wounds all come back simultaneously.
  • Gorn: Not only do the brutal fight scenes exploit the Healing Factors of Dara and her opponents, they also showcase some of the creative and gruesome things one can do to the human body with Elemental Powers, Super Strength, and an Absurdly Sharp Blade.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Zakros uses his water-controlling ability to toss Innocent Bystanders at Dara. He can also weaponize water extracted from people's bodies, e.g. at one point impaling Dara through the stomach with a spear made out of her own blood.
  • Groin Attack: Dara mocks Malia for not being able to bear children, so the infuriated demigoddess yanks out Dara's uterus and STOMPS on it, taunting her by telling her it'll never heal right, even with the sword.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The demigod quadruplets are half human half...something. They (particularly Knossos) believe it to be God.
  • Harmful Healing: Since the sword's regenerative properties close wounds and heal over them, Dara has to cut her stumps in order to re-attach limbs, etc.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Demetrios believed that the siblings had the potential for good and spent thousands of years stopping them from using their powers to control people but sparing their lives in the hopes that being forced to live as humans would see them come to appreciate and love humanity. It didn't really work out; Knossos ruled in subtlety, becoming an underground crimelord, Zakros became bitter and disgusted with humans, yet too terrified of the sword to do more than the occasional serial killing, and Malia learned how useful humans could be and how to manipulate them without powers. Ironically, he had to best luck with Phaistos, whom he stabbed and sent to the center of the earth—He learned patience from his efforts to get out, and came to understand and appreciate humans by trying to find one who he could use to kill his siblings.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Dara is the prime suspect in her family's murder, and though she makes sure to Never Hurt an Innocent, people generally see her as a dangerous psycho.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Over the course of the comic, Dara slowly starts losing herself to her desire for revenge.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Zakros's view of humans. The weak among them disgust him, the worshipful aren't worshipping him, the happy ones are contented with their fleeting limited lives, and the ones who seek power don't deserve it, like he and his family do.
  • Humans Are Insects: Knossos' view of humans. They have their uses, but ultimately they're just grains of sand.
  • If I Can't Have You...: Malia, while tracking down Demetrios, sees that he's fallen in love with a mortal woman, even siring children. This leads to the "accidental" murder of her former lover.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved:
    • Malia's feelings for Demetrios helped him keep her in check.
    • She also wants to win both the love and the fear of humanity by becoming their new God.
  • Immortal Procreation Clause: The demigods can't procreate. Demetrios, obviously, could.
  • Impersonating an Officer: In an attempt to kidnap Dara from her own family's funeral, two of the mooks dress as cops to lure her away without suspicion.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Knossos can use his power over earth to create guns, allowing him to corner the illegal arms market.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Malia, unlike her brothers, finds humans interesting and feels that they shouldn't be underestimated, though she's obviously still vastly superior. Phaistos does too, eventually.
  • In a Single Bound: Dara and the demigods can all do this.
  • Kick the Dog: What purpose could the aforementioned Buried Alive scene have served other than to show how much of a stone cold bastard Knossos is?
  • Lightning Bruiser: The demigods and anyone holding the sword are this.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Subverted. Despite the urging of her companions and the fact that as fugitives, they genuinely need supplies, Dara isn't willing to steal food, clothes, or transport, and it's not because she's afraid of drawing attention to herself.
  • Location Theme Naming all of the villains are named after ancient Minoan cities. It's more likely that the cities are named after the villains, given their MO and their ages.
  • Made of Plasticine: Justified by everyone involved having ridiculous Super Strength and/or an Absurdly Sharp Blade. Or by having been damaged so damn much their body literally falls apart when something isn't actively healing it.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Since the demigod siblings are used to being Nigh-Invulnerable, getting cut by the sword tends to freak them out.
  • The Mole: Malia spent centuries secretly feeding information on her brothers' locations and activities to Demetrios.
  • Mundane Utility: Knossos's Dishing Out Dirt powers have afforded him a lot of this. In his life, he's been responsible for building many of the world's ancient temples, he's forged black market diamonds and created weapons for terrorists, and in the present, he runs a massive drug cartel with his ability to create extremely pure meth.
  • The Napoleon: Phaistos by his own admission: "If I couldn't be the biggest, I had to be the baddest. And I was.".
  • Never Found the Body: Phaistos.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Knossos, Malia, Zakros, and Phaistos. They can't even harm each other.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Injuries healed by the sword eventually return after one has spent enough time out of contact with it.
  • Not So Different: Zakros makes a comparison between humans and gods, pointing out that humans are just as prone to murdering, abusing, and enslaving others as he and his siblings are. Dara later pulls one of these on Malia after the latter's Accidental Public Confession shows how susceptible she is to human emotion.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Dara to a pair of detectives, when they find her standing over the corpses of the kidnappers she just killed holding a bloody sword.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Dara realizes Zakros has tricked her into chasing him to the ocean.
    • The look of shock on the faces of Knossos and Malia when they each see the news report on Dara killing Zakros.
  • Overly Long Name: Julie Seosoudavannavong knows the shit has hit the fan when the news stations have all gotten her name right.
  • Parrying Bullets: Dana does this by accident at first, but gets better as the comic goes on.
  • Posthumous Character: Dara's family, for the most part.
  • Powered Armor: Knossos uses a mountain to create a magical, stone form of this.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The demigods and Demetrios.
  • Redemption Equals Death: It happens to Phaistos/Justin After his siblings are dead by the hands of Dara he would have just killed her and become a conqueror like his deceased siblings, but, understanding the feeling of mortals and their love and hatred, he commits suicide with the sword.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The focus of the plot.
  • The Runt at the End: This was Phaistos' main gripe. All the other quadruplets gained superhuman physiques and attractiveness as they grew, but he was forever stuck in a scrawny teenage-looking body, despite being their equal in power and age.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: Zakros' rationale for incest - the laws of mortals don't apply to them.
  • Self-Deprecation: Justin frequently goes out of his way to remark on his own cowardice and Non-Action Guy nature.
  • Take Over the World: The demigods' ultimate desire.
  • The Masquerade: The demigods would like nothing more than to reveal their powers to the mortals and rule them as gods, but they keep them a secret because if they don't, the wielder of the sword will hunt them down. Likewise, Demetrios kept his past a secret so the demigods wouldn't be able to get the drop on him and take the sword.
  • The Load: Justin and Julie are both Muggles, but Justin stands out as the whinier, more cowardly of the two. Julie tags along as moral support, but Justin's stated reason for going along is that in exchange for screwing up his life, Dara has to protect him. Of course, it eventually turns out that Justin isn't who he seems...
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: This is the reason why, when one of Knossos' mooks gets the sword and attacks him, a powerless Dara risks her life getting the sword back rather than let the mook finish the job.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: twice. First, when Zakros has caught Dara unarmed and is torturing her for the location of the sword, Julie comes in and throws the sword across the room, impaling Dara, thereby allowing it to heal her. Later, Dara uses this to take Malia down when she's floating out of reach of Dara's Super Jumping.
  • Torture Always Works: ...Er, not when you go overboard on the Electric Torture and end up killing the guy. An attempt to torture Dara doesn't work either, because she's just that badass.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Malia manages this for awhile by telling the media a revisionist version of her past that makes it seem like her brothers and Demetrios were the evil ones and she just wants to save humanity from a power-mad Dara. In the military's defense, they don't quite trust her.
  • Walk on Water: Dara's Super Speed allows her to run across water.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: Zakros compares mortals to animals; Knossos says their lives amount to no more than grains of sand; Malia doesn't have a metaphor, but she clearly shares her brothers' disregard for humanity.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Julie calls Dara out as she's consumed by her quest for vengeance, and opts out of it.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Demetrios truly thought he could reform the demigods, and apparently took the fact that he hadn't heard anything from them in a few hundred years to mean that they were no longer a threat. Oh, Demetrios...
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: This is what Malia tries to convince the public— that the sword is an Artifact of Doom that turned Dara and her father into psychopaths.
  • You Have Out Lived Your Usefulness: One of Knossos' men recruited an exceptional group of soldiers and got a foothold in enemy territory, potentially opening a new route to the US...but he did it on his own initiative without clearing it with Knossos, so he gets buried alive.
  • You Know Too Much: For this reason, the government was going to kill Dara after learning what they can from her about the sword; Zakros uses this as an excuse to kill a prostitute after he uses his powers to stop the wine she throws in his face.


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