Advance Review: A-FORCE #1



Written by G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett
Art by Jorge Molina, Laura Martin, Matt Milla
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 20, 2015

Multiverse is destroyed. What remains is held together by Victor Von Doom; and who rule the world: girls, well, the island of Arcadia, at least.

The pages of this opening issue gender swaps the man to woman hero ratio, while Molina provides gorgeous and sweeping pages. Molina’s layouts are rather standard overlapping panels. So, it’s up to colorists Laura Martin and Matt Milla to make them glow and shine. There is a depth to the color work on this book that sells the paradise angle. The backgrounds, especially with sunlight shots, are just a tad less saturated than the characters. It’s so subtle, I did not even notice on the first reading. This helps the characters to stand out and feel larger than life.  These pages are introductions and provide a little glimpse into the daily lives that have been set up on this new world. She-Hulk’s inner monologue leads us through, verbally. However it is the art which draws the reader into the story.

Then, Captain Marvel punches a shark.

Okay, if you’ve seen the preview pages it’s not really a shark, but a ferocious megalodon. Along with Captain Marvel, Dazzler (in her finest disco wear,) and Miss America steal the show in this battle. There is some time to help get new readers acquainted with some of the heroes’ power. Specifically, Nico’s one-and-done magic is highlighted.

It’s a battle that isn’t just eye candy and a cheering conclusion. While it is an awesome battle conclusion, the group makes it clear this was not a happy ending. Wilson and Bennett take a few panels to build up the uncertainty that will unfold throughout the rest of the issue. With Earth gone and Battleworld in place, it is clear new rules have taken over. However, the extent is still not certain.

This means the fallout of megalodon battle is more serious than anyone might have ever thought. Enter the Thors. Yes, those Thors. What follows are a series of scenes that unveil the government structure of Battleworld in a quick paced fashion. It’s a feudalistic society and She-Hulk the baroness of Arcadia (I’m sure Medusa LOVES that.) It also reveals a little bit more about how the new Thors series fits into the Battleworlds and work as the police-force of this new universe.

With beautiful artwork, quick but fun pacing, and straightforward expectations of this new regime, what are the problems? Well, having such a vast cast. While this book promises to feature and highlight some of Marvel’s favorite leading ladies, for now it looks like this first arc will focus on Nico, She-Hulk and a surprise character found at the final page reveal. While America Chavez and Loki are given prominent and emotional roles in this issue. At this time their ongoing influence in future issues is uncertain. Chavez’s actions provide a raison d’être to the larger story. Unfortunately, that does not require her to be present. This could break the heart of many fans looking forward to seeing her more often in new monthly books.

Focus has to happen when you have such a vast cast. Even then, as with most team book, much of the emotions explored are surface. Team book do not provide enough real-estate to dig deep into the minds of any one character. This will also be disheartening to some readers.

Bennett and Wilson do a good job of trying to provide an emotional impact in a few panels, toward the end. Loki and Nico are given chances to pull the tears from readers eyes, and Molina’s facial expressions really sell this. However, if readers do not know the history of some of these characters, that impact might be lost.

There could also be immediate concern because this is such a Battleworld heavy book. It’s unclear how or where the story would go once this major summer event is over. If Marvel sticks to their word, and this is the new status quo, there will be plenty of adventures ahead. Given temporary nature comics fans feel for major events, it could be hard for some to take Marvel at their word.

There will be readers who object to the fact that these women inhabit a paradise world; instead of one of the harsher Battleworlds. There is this the trope of a world run by women as being ideal and peaceful. That trope stems from the idea that women, themselves are peaceful and not violent in nature. It is clear from the beginning of this book the peace does not come from the ideals of femininity, but from the kick-butt work of the heroes in charge. There are still men in this world. These characters are just fewer, like the women in the 616.  Also, the injection of the Thors police force, as well as Doctor Doom’s other elites in charge of controlling the Battleworlds, make it clear that this role reversal of power is not same outside of Arcadia.

When you objectively look at the book, it’s standard hero fare: introduction, big fight, debate, fallout, reveal. However, the very structure of changing up which characters are in charge provide a rarely seen point of view and energy to the reading superhero comics.

A-Force is a striking, fist-pumping, tear-jerking gale that breaths a new perspective into the Marvel universe.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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One Comment;

  1. Craig Bamford said:

    Chavez will be in Kieron Gillen’s Siege series. So I don’t think we have anything at all to worry about. It’s Gillen.