Knull has taken over Earth, leading S.W.O.R.D. to take some extraordinary measures to get it back - including bartering two mutants to an alien fleet in exchange for breaking the firm grasp the King in Black has over our planet.
Don't believe us? Check out this preview of February 10's S.W.O.R.D. #3:
"Take a trip with the everywhere man!" reads Marvel's description of S.W.O.R.D. #3. "The Void-God has overtaken the Earth. Top-level mutants have been assimilated. Protocol V is in effect. But space is a big place... and a lot of things happen there at once. Walk a mile in the Manifold's shoes, as S.W.O.R.D.'s Quintician takes a multi-artist journey across the universe and back... and comes face to face with S.W.O.R.D.'s deadliest enemy."
Those two individuals Manifold is offering are Burner and Lifter - a pair of C-list characters who were part of the '70s team Mutant Force, a short-lived version of Magneto's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. They recently re-appeared on the scene in the first issue of S.W.O.R.D.
As for why they'd be up for being traded, and dying? Well, that's part of a new paradigm in mutantkind after 'Dawn of X.' The mutants of Krakoa have figured out a way to resurrect their fellow mutants after they die - and in some cases, reverting them back to previous versions of themselves. It's not without its faults, but if Burner and Lifter die in this trade proposed in S.W.O.R.D. #3, they would presumably be able to be whisked back to life on Krakoa with those resurrection protocols.
Of course, this is part of S.W.O.R.D.'s attempt to use their connections with the cosmic side of the Marvel U in the fight against Knull in the overarching 'King in Black' event. Part of that is a mystery plan by S.W.O.R.D. called 'Protocol V'. 'What is Protocol V?" Well… that hasn't been established yet.
This issue of S.W.O.R.D. features a line-up of guest artists including Nico Leon, Ray-Anthony Height, and Bernard Chang. Regular series artist Valerio Schiti is slated to be returning for the next issue, March 17's S.W.O.R.D. #4. Schiti has drawn the primary cover for S.W.O.R.D. #3 however, along with a variant by Takeshi Miyazawa.
S.W.O.R.D. #3 goes on sale on February 10.
S.W.O.R.D. is part of Marvel's 'New Age of Space' - and boy are there some massive cosmic Marvel villains for them to go up against.