The Hellfire Gala has certainly been a giant spectacle. Emma Frost and Krakoa have made sure that the entire world knows that they are to be taken seriously through what has been shown off during the Hellfire Gala. No bigger event has happened than the reveal of Magneto leading all of the current Omega-Level mutants in terraforming Mars to make it a livable planet for the mutants of Arakko to now call home. Along with this major change Mars has now been renamed to be Planet Arakko, with Krakoa stating it is the new center of the Sol, taking that title away from Earth. How will everyone react to this status change that impacts the entire Marvel Universe? Let’s find out with S.W.O.R.D. #6.
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Marte Garcia
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At 1:10 AM, as people are leaving the Hellfire Gala Henry Gyrich (who is currently working for Orchis, the organization comprised of former S.H.I.E.L.D., S.T.R.I.K.E., S.W.O.R.D., A.R.M.O.R., A.I.M., Alpha Flight, H.A.M.M.E.R., and HYDRA members) talks with a shaken Guardian (James Hudson) to convince him to join Orchis and fight against Krakoa after what they saw.
On another part of the island Doctor Doom finds Captain America and asks for his thoughts about what they saw. Captain America admits he is still shell-shocked. Doctor Doom admits that he sees them both as equals when it comes to how they are both faces of their respective nations. Captain America chuckles and talks about how when he woke up from being on ice Tony Stark showed him videos of a man walking on the Moon that gave him hope for all mankind again. He goes on to say that he then wondered how far humanity came while he was frozen but Tony changed the subject.
Captain America then says he along with everyone else is again in position to watch how far things will go. Doctor Doom wonders if Captain America is afraid. Captain America says he has never been afraid of the future as he will always believe in a better tomorrow. Saying this, Captain America quietly says he was hoping they would all journey to that better tomorrow together.
Doctor Doom tells Captain America that there will be a day Captain America will need his help. Doctor Doom guarantees when that day comes he won’t make a gala performance out of it.
Doctor Doom then teleports away in one of his portals.
In the diplomatic suite of S.W.O.R.D. Station One Station Commander Abigail Brand has assembled the Galactic Council representatives to give them a presentation on the new sister station that was created called The Keep and Planet Arakko set-up. The representatives included are Orbis Stellaris (Galactic Rim Collective), Nymbis Sternhoff (Great Kymellia), Mentacle (House of Rigel), Empress Kuga (Zn’Rx Empire), (Intergalactic Empire Of Wakanda), Paibok (Kree/Skrull Alliance), Smasher (Shi’ar Empire), Peter Quill (Astrologers of Sparta X), Noh-Varr (Utopian Kree), and Richard Rider (Earth’s partial representative).
The Galactic Council representatives all voice that they are not impressed with what Station Commander Brand showed them of Mars terraforming as they have their own things to deal with. Nova and Smasher bring up how Krakoa did not consult anyone about turning Mars into Planet Arakko. Frenzy reminds Nova that he has not acted well in his role as Earth representative given his absence in the fight against Knull (King In Black event). Nova says he was busy stopping homicidal Gods and saving seven billion people.
Station Commander Brand brings everyone’s attention back to what she assembled the Galactic Council representatives for. Station Commander Brand knew that what was shown wouldn’t impress the Galactic Council which is why she is there to present to them with the meta-material known as Mysterium (which was obtained in the first mission of of the team that took place in S.W.O.R.D #1). Wiz-Kid brings some Mysterium to show how powerful of a material it is.
Station Commander Brand then reveals that they are giving every Galactic Council representative one hundred tons of mysterium to help with the economics of their planets and kingdoms. Brand says that Mysterium can be used for a new galactic currency called Sol, though they do not plan on flooding the market with this currency.
While Smasher is excited for the Shi’ar Empire use of it Riitho says Wakanda has no need of Mysterium.
Nova then asks what Brand and Krakoa true motives for gifting Mysterium to them. Brand smiles and says that all they are asking for is that from this day moving forward if any Galactic Council members have business with the Sol System they go to and recognize Planet Arakko, not Earth, as the capital planet of the Sol System.
Doctor Doom suddenly teleports in and demands to know why he should care about Brand’s proposition. Doctor Doom goes on to state while Brand talked about how Earth lacked political unity he wonders how Planet Arakko is any different. Brand says they can make that happen. Doctor Doom states without a true king of Mars the foundation of the planet will crumble. Brand states she has answer for that as well and points to Manifold to use his powers.
Storm then shows up on S.W.O.R.D. Station One. Storm declares that she is the Regent of Mars and the voice of the Sol System.
Back on Earth, at 3:17 am Magneto sits alone drinking whisky. Scarlet Witch suddenly shows up. She admits that while she got Magneto’s invitation to the Hellfire Gala she did not feel it was appropriate for her to attend after all she has done and the fact she is not a mutant.
After a silent moment Magneto talks about his deceased daughter (Anya Eisenhardt) and how he failed his entire family. Wanda reminds Magneto she is not his daughter. Magneto says he knows that but it only takes them both believing they are family for it to be true.
Wanda takes Magneto hand and they hug each other. Magneto tells Wanda that she will always be his daughter and he’ll do whatever he can to make things right. End of issue.
The Good: The deeper we get into the Hellfire Gala you understand which chapters of this X-Men crossover event are the ones that are main event chapters and which are more tie-in chapters. S.W.O.R.D. #6 is a chapter of the Hellfire Gala that falls in the former section of what it means for the greater X-Men crossover.
Al Ewing channels the scope establish in X-Men #21 and Planet-Size X-Men #1 to make S.W.O.R.D. #6 as impactful of a story as possible. This is directly deals with the Omega-Level Mutants converting Mars into Planet Arakko to show the impact of this development to the greater Marvel Universe. Revealing that S.W.O.R.D. Station Commander Abigail Brand assembled the Galactic Council to watch Mars become Planet Arakko puts over how the Hellfire Gala goes beyond being a party where the new X-Men roster are revealed to the world. This is crossover event that is setting the course for the next stage of the X-Men franchise based on the foundation House of X and Powers of X established.
What is most impressive is that Ewing gets the scope of the Hellfire Gala without having any sort of action or big showing of power. S.W.O.R.D. #6 is all about the stature of the characters that are in this issue. From Abigail Brand as the Station Commander of S.W.O.R.D. and Krakoa representative to all the Galactic Council representatives assembled, you understand how important S.W.O.R.D. #6 is. Everything that is said by one of the Galactic Council members gets over how there are many things going on in the Marvel Universe beyond Earth. With Mars becoming Planet Arakko we see how the X-Men have further positioned themselves to be a key part of everything that is going to happen in the Marvel Universe.
Having Abigail Brand lead the entire discussion with the Galactic Council was a nice touch. Even with how much power each Galactic Council member has it never felt as Brand lost control of the meeting. Brand was in complete control and even when the discussion was in danger of breaking out into big arguments, she said the right thing to keep things focused.
Brand having such control of the meeting allowed the personalities of each Galactic Council representative to shine even more. We got a better idea of the current galactic politics within the Marvel Universe. Which is something that was needed after the big reveal of Planet Arakko. It further points to how Planet Arakko can play a key part in the Marvel Universe as more than just mutants new home. This could become the place were we do see the Galactic Council meet in neutral territory, something we don’t see explored outside of Guardians Of The Galaxy.
Krakoa flexing their confidence by trying to introduce a new currency in the form of Mysterium was an excellent touch. This further showcases how much Krakoa is trying to make themselves a power within the Marvel Universe. They know to do that currency has to be part of the moves they are making. Smasher and Riitho acting the two different sides of the spectrum when it comes to how Mysterium as a new currency is received goes to show the political divide that there is in the galaxy. This places into question how Krakoa will handle the politics they are forcing themselves to be in the middle of post-Hellfire Gala.
Positioning Doctor Doom as a major antagonist for the X-Men franchise moving forward was also another smart move. Doctor Doom is character that thrives on being the antagonist of a story. And Ewing does not miss a beat with how true that is as we see in both the beginning and end of S.W.O.R.D. #6.
First, it was with the conversation Doctor Doom has with Captain America after the Hellfire Gala ended. You can tell that Doctor Doom is working his manipulative magic through his words to plant the seeds of doubt in Captain America for the direction Krakoa is taking. Actually establishing how they are equals in what they represent was a nice touch on Doctor Doom’s part. It goes to show how he recognizes the power Krakoa is gaining and that establishing ties with others will help him in the long-run.
This also worked well to establish how the rest of the superhero community will be reacting to the moves made by Krakoa. While they are likely to welcome the return of the X-Men as a superhero team there won’t be full trust there. Captain America’s dialogue spoke to that fact, as even the leader of the Avengers isn’t sure where he stands with the direction the X-Men are going. This lays the foundation for a lot of different directions that the X-Office can take when we see the X-Men interact with other superheroes.
Going back to Doctor Doom, Ewing did a great job with making Doom’s presence immediately felt at the end of the meeting on S.W.O.R.D. As with his other appearances in the Hellfire Gala, Doctor Doom is making it clear he is not messing around and wants clear answers on Krakoa’s intentions. Voicing that he does not recognize Mars as the new center of the Sol System further shows his antagonism towards Krakoa.
This demanding approach by Doctor Doom made the reveal of Storm being the Regent of Mars and voice of the Sol System even more impactful. The art by Valerio Schiti alone got over how everyone must take Storm seriously in her new Regent role. It is a role that suits Storm well and allows her to be presence in multiple X-Men comic books that with an aura of importance because of this added role she is taking on.
Along with all this stuff going on with establishing Planet Arakko’s place within the Galactic Council we do see more developments on Earth. We see that with Henry Gyrich trying to use how shaken people are by Planet Arakko’s formation to grow Orchis numbers and powers. Gyrich approaching a shaken Guardian establishes how Orchis will continue to be an organization to watch in all of the X-Men books.
Ending S.W.O.R.D. #6 by having Magneto and Wanda Maximoff finally addressing the state of their relationship was an unexpected but welcome development. While it is clear that Marvel will not be reverting Wanda back to being a mutant it is good that they aren’t using her status to break her relationship with Magneto. There is to much of a history between the two as father-daughter to never explore what the state of their relationship is. Having Magneto state that Wanda will always be his daughter is important to show that their history does matter. It is also another development in S.W.O.R.D. #6 that builds Magneto’s relationship with his children to be something that can be explored even more in the future.
As mentioned earlier, Valerio Schiti’s artwork throughout S.W.O.R.D. #6 was great. Schiti does a great job creating a setting that has a sense of importance by the way he draws every character and background. With S.W.O.R.D. #6 having so many different characters Schiti shows us the diversity that exists within the Marvel Universe. And even without any action scenes Schiti still finds way to make impactful looking visuals. The biggest ones being Storm announcing herself as Regent of Mars and the closing splash page of Magneto and Wanda hugging.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: S.W.O.R.D. #6 is one of the best chapters of the Hellfire Gala crossover. Al Ewing and Valerio Schiti work together to make everything that is said in this issue have a sense of importance. You come away feeling like you read something that is extremely important to the future of the Marvel Universe. Which all solidifies how impactful the Hellfire Gala is as a big crossover event.
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