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S.W.O.R.D.: Lockheed & Load

Lockheed flies solo in S.W.O.R.D. #3, and writer Kieron Gillen gives us the rundown

S.W.O.R.D. #3 preview art by Steven Sanders
By Marc Strom

Lockheed's come a long way from simply being Kitty Pryde's pet dragon, as the fire-breathing alien must act on his own to save Abigail Brand from deportation and keep Henry Gyrich from causing any irreparable harm to human/alien relations in S.W.O.R.D. #3 on January 13, courtesy of writer Kieron Gillen and artist Steven Sanders.

In his first two issues, Gillen endowed Lockheed with a great deal of personality that readers had not seen before, characteristics that the writer sees as perfectly natural.

"I think anyone who's ever owned a pet knows it's actually pretty impossible to imagine them without an independent personality," remarks Gillen. "I'm not particularly an animal person, but over the last few years especially I've found myself staring at these tiny, sinister entities in our midst. You might think my acerbic, spite-filled Lockheed is my tribute to the particularly violent feline I spent a good year of open war with. It was probably the second or third smartest thing in the house, and there were five humans living there. That said moss was smarter than at least two of the humans. I'm about at the level of milk.

"On Lockheed, well, there have been a string of fun takes on Lockheed across the years. I'm thinking of Mr. [Warren] Ellis' [version in EXCALIBUR] especially. This sort of files neatly next to that."

Gillen's decision to turn Lockheed into a hard-drinking, sardonic, and highly-self sufficient character, in his own words, "[was] derived from a stroke of wild inspiration."

"I included the line 'Lockheed is our Wolverine' in the pitch, expecting to be thrown out of Marvel's offices via the window," the writer reveals. "But everyone seemed to get it. He's in an unusual emotional position, so I

S.W.O.R.D. #3 preview art by Steven Sanders
think a certain extreme behavior fits well. I mean, look at Lockheed across [Joss] Whedon's ASTONISHING X-MEN run: when he acts, he acts determinedly and aggressively. I've amped it up a little, driven by angst and Jack Daniels. I admit his love for Jack Daniels is pulled entirely from the inside of my noggin."

Though Lockheed first came to S.W.O.R.D. when Whedon introduced the organization in his ASTONISHING X-MEN, he's stuck around since for at least one major reason.

"Kitty's the main draw," says Gillen of Lockheed's hopes to one day find and rescue his friend. "I'm sort of playing with the idea that he's connected to her on a deeper level than has been previously seen, and the separation of that bond is the main thing which has catalyzed his current change. He wants her back. He'll do anything to get her back. And, of all the Earthly organizations, S.W.O.R.D. is the one who've been trying hardest to do so.

"There was also that line Whedon dropped in ASTONISHING, of S.W.O.R.D. trying to help something with his people. I'd certainly like to do more with the Flock, given time."

Before that, though, Lockheed will have a number of challenges to face next month.

S.W.O.R.D. #3 cover
by John Cassaday

"As we saw at the end of the latest issue, Brand's been arrested," recounts Gillen. "Put simply, [Lockheed's] all about the jailbreak. He's a man of action, not large-term schemes. He'll get the annoying green-fluff-haired creature out, and then they'll save the day. And then he'll have a Jack and go get into a bar-room brawl.

"[But] before Lockheed goes rogue, Gyrich makes the mistake of trying to arrest him. Oh, that's a mistake."

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