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Sunday, January 17, 2010

~Quality Isn't Enough, Is It?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Quality Isn't Enough, Is It?

My favorite thing that Marvel Comics is publishing right now is S.W.O.R.D.. It's a science-fiction series about the secret organization that tries to keep aliens from destroying the Earth (like Men in Black). The two main characters are a military-type half-alien lady named Abigail Brand (a character created by Joss Whedon) and her boyfriend, Beast of the X-Men. Their relationship (as written and drawn here) is the most adorable thing in the world. Beast is always optimistic, Brand is always cynical. Beast is overly romantic, Brand is overly cold. These qualities are exaggerated in the art (by Steven Sanders, who I'd never heard of before) with a delightful cartooniness. For that matter, the art in general is brilliant. Every little detail in every panel is more expressive than you'd expect to see in a comic, and this guy has a real knack for comedic timing. The writing by Kieron Gillen is no less fun than the art, with lines like "Try not to start a war before I get back. And if you do, make it a small one.". The story is at all times exciting and funny simultaneously. It ties in with the rest of the Marvel Universe, and has the regrettable annoyance of being a good six months behind continuity, but that's a problem with a lot of Marvel's output now that everything's tying together as intricately as I always wanted. But that's a very minor nuisance. When I first read the first issue, it struck me as the best first issue I'd read in years, and I couldn't wait to read the next one. For that matter, I wished I could read through the next fifty right away!

There have been only three issues so far. Already there are rumors that sales are so bad the series is going to be cancelled.



Most of the internet chatter about this book has been criticizing it for giving Beast a different look than the other comics he appears in. Which just goes to show that many people on the internet have no taste at all. Beast's design in S.W.O.R.D. is so much better than anywhere else, so much more distinctive and full of personality, that I wish all the other comic artists would start drawing him like this.

It's been confirmed that the series is canceled. There will only be five issues. Blah.


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