As Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D begins, private investigator, ex-Avenger, and ex-S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jessica Drew (a.k.a Spider-Woman) is having a crisis of faith. Her recent dealings with the shape shifting Skrulls, who put her in prison and replaced her with their queen, has left her an disillusioned outcast. She gets an unexpected boost when she is recruited by S.W.O.R.D. The titular agency, Sentiment World Operation and Response Department, represented by Abigail Brand, offer her a chance to get a bit of payback against the aliens who did her wrong. Sent to hunt down one Skrull in particular, Drew finds herself back amongst familiar faces, giving her a chance to restore her reputation and find some measure of closure.
Soon Spider-Woman finds herself on the other side of the planet, tracking down an alien masquerading as a human. As fighting erupts, Spider-Woman begins to realize that the Skrulls might be too much for her to handle alone. When she discovers that the aliens are disguising themselves as people close to her, Jessica doesn’t know who to trust. When her best friend Ms. Marvel and the rest of the Avengers show up to help, Jessica must figure out if they really are her comrades in arms, or just Skrulls in disguise.
Marvel Knights has really hit its stride with this, their third motion comic. The animators have taken a more measured approach in their style; Movements are broader and more detailed. This less manipulated approach allows viewers to really see the intricacies of illustrator Alex Maleev’s artwork, making Agent of S.W.O.R.D the Marvel motion comic most true to its source material thus far. As an added bonus, Nicolette Reed as Drew, brings real life to the words of Brian Michael Bendis, whose script speaks directly to the images on the screen.
Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. is made up of five episodes:
- Episode One (10:18)
- Episode Two (10:09)
- Episode Three (10:17)
- Episode Four (12:13)
- Episode Five (10:42)
I wish I could say this standard definition transfer was a slam dunk, but that’s not the case. Several issues are apparent throughout: moiré compression noise and color banding are consistent issues. Black levels are fairly stable. However, contrast looks compressed with some scenes lacking delineation between the object of focus, and the background. Detail could be crispier, with fine lines looking somewhat smudged. Thankfully, colors are fairly vibrant and even-handed.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 mix provides clear, intelligible dialogue. The sound effects and score are placed well, allowing for a reasonably wide soundstage. Though LFE is non-existent, the track exhibits impressive fullness.
The disc includes the following special features:
- “Watch Your Step” Music Video (3:04) features clips from the film set to song, performed by Dan Phillips with Anna Abbey.
- Visual History of Spider-Woman presents a combination of origin and epilogue images of the heroine.
- Alex Maleev Artist Gallery presents 10 slides of images from Maleev’s Agent of S.W.O.R.D. artwork.
- Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D. Trailer (:54)
- Black Panther Trailer (2:09)