Understand the history of Marvel’s intelligence agency and how it can connect to WandaVision!
After months of waiting, WandaVision has finally arrived at Disney +, deepening Vision’s relationship with the Scarlet Witch and showing what Wanda Maximoff is truly capable of. But that’s not all: the series also expands Marvel’s already vast cinematic universe by introducing audiences to another big comic book organization, SWORD or ESPADA, in Brazil.
While no one knows for sure SWORD’s role in the MCU yet, in the comics it has been around for a long time, being at the center of some important events in the Marvel Universe. In this case, we’ll tell you all about her and her likely role in the lives of Wanda, Vision, and other potential characters!
What is SWORD?
SWORD, or Sentient World Observation and Response Department, is an intelligence agency as secret and powerful as SHIELD, so they can be considered sisters. But while the organization led by Nick Fury prevents threats to planet Earth on a global scale, SWORD monitors nothing less than outer space.
That’s right: SWORD’s jurisdiction is the entire cosmos, maintaining constant vigilance over various star systems and neutralizing potential threats before they even reach our planet. This surveillance is carried out through its headquarters, Pico, a huge armed and resourceful space station that, as the name of the agency suggests, serves as a sword that directly attacks enemies of Earth.
Led by Abgail Brand, they aren’t always on the side of the heroes or the righteous, putting the preservation of life on Earth and the protection of the planet first, as well as their own interests. However, there is no denying that they are good allies when their intentions are aligned with Marvel characters, whether they are heroes or villains. In Brazil, its name has been adapted for ESPADA, or “Alien Supervision, Research, Evaluation and Defense Team”.
SWORD in the comics
Created by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday, SWORD first appeared in Marvel comics in the third issue of Astonishing X-Men vol. 3, released in 2004. Originally billed as an antagonist and enemy of the X-Men, SWOR.D. he is shown making an alliance with the invaders of Grimamundo, led by Ord, who sought to eradicate mutants from Earth by believing in a prophecy that said one of them would destroy his home planet.
Speaking across the organization, Abgail Brand offers Ord a chance to exterminate the mutant gene without affecting life on Earth, but he goes ahead and develops his own “cure.” Fortunately, he is defeated by the X-Men before he can put his plan into action. SWORD then takes custody of the villain, helping the mutants prevent a missile attack on Earth sent by the Grimamundo aliens.
SWORD was also present during the Secret Invasion saga, in which the Skrulls infiltrate the heroes of Earth and make them fight. When one of the Skrulls, disguised as Dum Dum Dugan, manages to enter Pico, the place is completely destroyed and few agents, including Abgail Band, manage to survive. The change doesn’t take long to arrive: she does the same and infiltrates a Skrull ship, freeing Reed Richards and helping the heroes win the day.
In the Dark Kingdom saga, in which Norman Osborn reigned supreme in the Marvel Universe, SHIELD was disbanded, and it was SWORD to support the heroes. Osborn discovers and uses his power and influence to sabotage this communication, leaving the forces of good unattached. This may have ended the existence of the organization, but it ended up being used for evil again under the command of Henry Peter Gyrich.
Under his leadership, the agency began to hunt, arrest, and expel from Earth every alien being on the planet, whether hero or villain. Bill Ray Beta, Adam X, Marvel Boy, and Hepzibah were among them, who fought back. In battle, much of Pico is destroyed and Gyrich withdrawn.
SWORD and the X-Men
Since its first appearance in the comics, SWORD has always come face to face with the X-Men at some point, which leads them to ally themselves soon after. Recently, the agency had to deal with an invasion of garbage from Jean Gray’s school, where many agents lost their lives or were infected and were subsequently destroyed by the team of mutants.
More recently, SWORD and the X-Men crossed paths again in the X of Swords saga (Ten of Swords, in free translation). In it, the mutants are challenged by ten champions of Arakko, and must choose ten of their greatest warriors to participate in combat to the death using swords with mystical properties. To help them, SWORD is reactivated, but with changes: Magneto becomes one of the leaders of the department, which now has mutants in its ranks.
Who are the members of SWORD in the comics?
SWORD has had several members over the years, but some have been more striking than others. Among them, the most important is surely Abgail Brand, the leader, an alien mutant father with powers to envelop his hands in blue flames capable of burning anything. She is also able to speak foreign languages that normal humans cannot, due to the different format of her language.
Other famous members include Spider-Woman, who was part of the division for a short time; the Beast, who even had a romantic relationship with Abgail; a much younger version of Cable, the son of Cyclops and Jean Gray from the future; and the aforementioned Magneto, who is as important as Abgail herself in the team’s current roster.
Even the little dragon Lockheed, Kitty Pryde’s pet, has been an agent of SWORD for a long time, without anyone knowing or suspecting it. The organization has eyes and ears everywhere, and having it as an enemy is not suitable for anyone who values their life or freedom.
Currently, the initiative is made up of Abgail Brand, Magneto, Cable, Frenesi, Dobra, Taki and Fabian Cortez.
In the MCU
SWORD was introduced to the general public in the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently on WandaVision, in a very low key way, but without leaving any doubt as to who they are. The agency symbol is sometimes seen during the first two episodes, for example when one of the agents watches the series Wanda and Vision on television. However, some changes have taken place regarding the original material.
SWORD is now the acronym for Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division, or “Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division”. By name, we can also assume that their own mission is different: Instead of surveying space, they watch out for creatures or enhanced beings that might pose a danger to the planet, classifying them as weapons.
SWORD’s role and intentions in WandaVision are still unknown, and the mystery will serve as the driving force for future episodes of the series, but fans are already working with some possibilities. They may be conducting an experiment with the Scarlet Witch to study the extent of her powers, trapping her in a world of illusion created by herself without knowing it. Or not, maybe they are just trying to wake you up from the world you created which can start to affect reality.
Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), who was just a kid on Captain Marvel, is apparently one of SWORD’s agents and will engage with Wanda to save her from herself or anyone who manipulates her. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), who appeared in Thor’s first two films, will also be in the series, and may well be another agent.
Everything is still a huge unknown, both to the characters and to the audience, but one thing is certain: SWORD has become important within the MCU, and it is very likely that it will become even more deeply involved in the projects to come. from Marvel Studios.
WandaVision is currently on display at Disney +, with new episodes every Friday.
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