Review: Krakoa Faces The King In Black In ‘SWORD’ #4

by Tony Thornley

In just a few issues, SWORD already feels like an essential part of the Krakoan tapestry. That’s one of the best things about the conclusion of the series’ first arc, tying the series firmly both into its role in the Krakoan architecture and into Marvel’s other galactic titles.

The new SWORD has barely gotten off the ground before Knull attacked. Now they stand overwhelmed by the dark good. It’s a tough spot from Al Ewing, Valerio Schiti, Marte Gracia, and Ariana Maher.

Knull has used Cable to take control of Krakoa. Now, just a few members of the team are the only chance the nation has to overcome the symbiote god’s hold. It’s a good thing they have Manifold and Frenzy on their side.

Ewing continues to subvert expectations with this issue. He’s created one of the most enjoyable books Marvel is publishing, entirely using characters who have barely gotten the spotlight for (in some cases) decades. Not only that, it feels essential, both to the X-Men and the Marvel Universe as a whole. This is a highly enjoyable action story on top of that, centered on the characters who each get a good moment to shine.

Schiti’s line work continues to be great. In the middle of the issue, there’s a teleporting fight between Cable and Manifold. He uses every tool in his belt to make the fight feel as disorienting as it would be in live action or animation. He changes the layouts, draws wild panel shapes, changes the point of view and angle, all while choreographing a fist fight completely unlike any other we’ve seen in comics. That’s just one example of the great work that he puts in throughout the issue.

Gracia’s color art is great. He keeps the quality of the color dark and dour, reflecting the horror of the situation. The majority of the bright colors are the heroes, in their powers and clothing, literally making them a bright spot in the terror. Maher’s letters convey the horror of the situation so well too. Whether it’s the Knull font and speech bubbles or some truly stomach churning sound effects (when you see the page, you’ll know it), she makes sure the reader knows the situation is bad.

The King in Black crisis is drawing to a close, and SWORD has done their part. It’s clear the worst is on the horizon for this team though, and I can’t wait to see it.

SWORD #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.


SWORD‘s King In Black tie-in concludes with a character-centered action blow-out. The creative team continues to prove that this title is a crown jewel in the making, all while using a cast of unconventional fan favorites.

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