Marvel’s S.W.O.R.D.: Earth’s Protectors from Alien Threats
Spoilers: The following contains plot points from WandaVision episodes 1-4 and S.W.O.R.D. issues #1 and #2
Since WandaVision debuted on Disney+ on January 15th, it’s been a massive hit for its originality and connections to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. You see one of those story connections on the helicopter drone and on the cover of a notebook during the closing credits. And the connections come up again as an insignia on a beekeeper’s outfit as he’s crawling out of the sewer, and, on Monica Rambeau’s necklace. So what is it? What does it all mean?! Ssh, it’s a secret. But c’mon, I’ll tell you.
Let’s assume, if you are reading this, you know that S.H.I.E.L.D. is a government intelligence agency sworn to protect Earth’s citizens from superhuman threats. And if that doesn’t clear things up, there are seven seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on Netflix you can watch. While S.H.I.E.L.D. is an Earth-based organization, S.W.O.R.D. makes its home in an orbital headquarters. Yes, that logo you’ve been seeing pop up belongs to S.W.O.R.D., which stands for Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division in the MCU. It is worth noting that this acronym has changed from the comics. In the comic books S.W.O.R.D. stands for Sentient World Observation and Response Department. Think of S.H.I.E.L.D. as the defense and S.W.O.R.D. as the offense. What does that mean exactly?
What’s the point of S.W.O.R.D.?
While S.H.I.E.L.D.’s purpose is to protect this little blue rock, S.W.O.R.D. has a much larger scope; protecting the Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Maria Rambeau (Air Force pilot and friend of Carol Danvers from Captain Marvel) helped create S.W.O.R.D., which first appeared in the MCU way before WandaVision. Remember the post-credit scene in Spider-Man: Far From Home, in which Nick Fury and a group of Skrulls operate out of a space station? That was a S.W.O.R.D. space station called Peak VII, although this hasn’t been confirmed, it’s highly likely. Adding to this, S.W.O.R.D. is a secret organization in the comics that even some heroes don’t know about. That doesn’t seem to be the case in the MCU.
Every large agency has a leader, S.H.I.E.L.D. has Nick Fury, S.W.O.R.D. has Abigail Brand, a half-mutant/human and half-alien. Here’s more evidence that the X-Men will likely be a part of the future MCU. A new comic book series titled S.W.O.R.D. began in December 2020, written by Al Ewing and illustrated by Valerio Schiti (creating a comic book takes more than two people, but for sake of brevity, let’s leave it there). The first two issues are out now, and while the story is still developing it tells you enough to get you going.
S.W.O.R.D. in the comics
In S.W.O.R.D. #1, we learn that Commander Abigail Brand has left Alpha Flight because “it didn’t have the resources or bandwidth for problem-solving” on the same level as S.W.O.R.D. Magneto (former head baddy) is her counselor aboard the space station Peak I. A former follower of Magneto, Frenzy, serves as the station’s Galactic Ambassador. Here is where things get interesting and how this all ties into Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch.
At one time, it was thought that Wanda and Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver) were the offspring of Magneto. In the comics and as seen in WandaVision, Wanda has twins; Billy and Tommy. Billy grows up to become Wiccan and joins The Young Avengers, where he meets and eventually marries Teddy, known as Hulkling (no relation to the Hulk). Hulkling is the son of Captain Mar-Vell and Skrull princess Anelle. Still with me?
S.W.O.R.D. #2 hit stores on January 13th, 2021, and it got off to a fast start. Abigail Brand didn’t have the luxury of getting comfortable in her new role. A symbiotic shell (similar to the Venom symbiote, the black symbiotic organism that gives Venom his name) has sealed the Earth, trapping everyone on it. Commander Brand is forced to send a party to investigate what happened. What they find is beyond anything they were expecting
It will be interesting to see how large a role S.W.O.R.D. continues to play in WandaVision and if it will coincide what happens in the comics. I, for one, hope they introduce Abigail Brand into WandaVision. She seems super cool, and I love her outfit.
S.W.O.R.D. and Scarlet Witch
In the comics, the mutants aren’t exactly fans of Scarlet Witch, and the Emperor Hulkling and Wiccan have taken issue with that. This all comes down to the mutant’s unpleasant feelings towards Scarlett Witch, which means the alliance between the Kree and Skrulls cannot have closer ties to the mutant nation. For some back-story, the Kree (Captain Marvel is half Kree) and the Skrulls have been mortal enemies for centuries. A common threat brought them together as possible threats of annihilation tend to do. Whether it’s in the comic books or on the small or big screens, S.W.O.R.D. is a mutant run operation; they control humanity’s most advanced space program.
Who is Monica Rambeau?
And what of Monica Rambeau (portrayed by Teyonah Parris in WandaVision)? We know she’s the daughter of Maria Rambeau and a friend of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. She is a captain in S.W.O.R.D. and also appears as a young girl in Captain Marvel. In the comic books, Monica Rambeau is the second person to take the name Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers doesn’t take the title until much later). Since Parris is reprising her role in Captain Marvel 2 (2022), it’ll be interesting to see when she adopts the new moniker in MCU. Considering Maria Rambeau’s nickname is Photon, it’s possible that Monica could take that name as it’s one of many aliases’ she adopts as a superhero.
I started reading S.W.O.R.D. to gain some insight into what connections there could be between it and WandaVIsion. While there were some, it would be exciting to see more mutants in the MCU. Marvel does a marvel(ous) job weaving in lesser-known aspects of their history into new stories, which is beneficial for newer fans, like me, to learn while enjoying such a rich history of great storytelling. I know this is a lot to absorb for those who are just starting out in Marvel comics, like myself. But I hope this article sparks some curiosity that makes you want to read more comics and enjoy these wonderful characters.
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A Little About Me
My name is Eric Onkenhout, I live in Massachusetts, and Star Wars is my jam and has been since I was 6 or 7. Besides Star Wars, I also enjoy Marvel and Game of Thrones. I love to write, whether it’s fiction, reviews, or journalistic articles. I also enjoy long walks on the beach!
As far as movies, books, comic books, or tv shows, I tend to gravitate towards good writing regardless of the genre. I have a Bachelor’s degree in English-Creative Writing; I like sports like hockey, football, and soccer. And I have one cat named Zeke who is doing his best at laying on my arm as I type this right now.