Review: A-Force: Warzones

by GregFahlgren

Reviewing the Secret Wars Tie-In that introduced Marvel's best new team of badasses!

Welcome True Believers! First review in a while, but I am pleased to say that this one is well worth the wait (for those of you who wait around for this kind of thing). With the launch of Secret Wars, Marvel put nearly every title on hold and commissioned tie-ins from across every corner of the Marvel Multiverse to fill the void. In one small corner of Battlworld lay the quiet little island of Acardia. Protecting this island is A-Force, a collection of the greatest female heroes in the history of Marvel Comics under the leadership of She-Hulk.

A-Force was conceived by G. Willow Wilson of Ms Marvel fame, the book designed to showcase the women of Marvel in a new way, creating a mega-team of super-heroines that as so badass they’d even give the Avengers pause. The story takes us on a journey these ladies would never forget as a traitor arises in their midst as forces conspire to break the peace they had sought for so long to maintain. A-Force was one of the best tie-ins for Secret Wars, and if you doubt me one bit, let me tell you exactly why.

Personnel

Creators of Arcadia

First up, let’s give out the credit where the credit is due. Allow me to introduce the wonderful and mega-talented creators that brought us this amazing book.

Writers: G. Willow Wilson, Marguerite Bennett

Penciller: Jorge Molina

Inkers: Jorge Molina, Craig Yeung, Walden Wong

Colourists: Laura Martin, Matt Milla

Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit

Cover Artists: Jim Cheung, Laura Martin

Assistant Editor: Alanna Smith

Editor: Daniel Ketchum

Art

Paradise of Awesomeness

As always, I will start with the art. Simply put, the art for A-Force is FANTASTIC! Molina and company do some of the best art work out of all the Secret Wars tie-ins I’ve read, bringing to life the island of Arcadia and capture every one of its inhabitants in perfect form. The characters are drawn EXACTLY how I picture them in my mind, right down to the smallest detail. More than that, the emotion Molina is able to convey in his pencils is so on point I had to do a double take on more than one panel while reading.

The battles are the real stand outs of the art however, the massive fight scenes with the literally dozens of heroes and villains a true wonder to behold. The way the book is panelled is also superb, keeping the story going at a fast pace without sacrificing story points for the sake of keeping the ball rolling. Good paneling can make a great comic phenomenal, but bad panelling can turn even the best written work into a mess to try and read. Thankfully, A-Force is more of the former, some its panels wondrous to behold as they unfold the story Bennett and Wilson are crafting.

All in all, the art in this book is superb, with a few splash pages and panels that are worth the price of the book alone, including the front cover, which has to be my favourite cover for a comic book in a long time.

Story

The Paradise of Battlworld

The tale of Arcadia is a simple one (yeah right). Beginning as just another day in paradise, the island is attacked by a giant shark (no, really!) and in her zeal to defeat it, America Chavez tosses it into the next Battleworld zone, breaking Doom’s law and earning herself an arrest from the Thors. In the wake of the incident, She-Hulk and the rest of A-Force attempt to discover what really happened, encountering the mysterious Singularity along the way.

The story is a fun, fast-paced adventure with the best and brightest of Marvel’s Super Heroine’s fighting against deceit and impossible odds. The writing is honest, funny, and full of heart, making me feel for each member of A-Force as the story unfolds and the traitor (Loki) reveals herself. Wilson and Bennett capture the souls of each of the heroes and villains, their motivations and actions speaking louder than their words, and getting it right every time. Wilson and Bennett have been two of the fastest rising stars in comic books for the last few years, and A-Force is the perfect example of why they have built those reputations.

In the end, Loki is defeated, and A-Force stands victorious, bringing the book to a satisfying and heart-warming conclusion. Bennett and Wilson did a great job, and it’s somewhat sad that they couldn’t continue that work when A-Force was made an ongoing title, but they handled the team’s first adventure wonderfully, the book easily my favourite of the Secret Wars tie-ins.

 

A Unique Feel

Making Something Special

Now, there are a lot of great comic books out there right now, and there is always debate as to what makes a comic book great. Some say art makes a comic book good, others say it’s all about the story, while some would even contest that a good comic book has some underlying subtext within the story that creates a conversation the reader must thinking about during the reading. All these things are true to an extent, but not always, and with A-Force, I feel that besides the phenomenal art and incredible story, it was the uniqueness of the book that truly made it stand out to me. Decidedly feminist, the story allowed the biggest heroines of Marvel take centre-stage and show their stuff without being weighed down with the typical tropes that often plague female characters. More than that, the female centric team felt new and unique, making it different than anything else spinning out of Secret Wars.

There was also a certain light-heartedness to the book, a welcome departure from the grim mood of most of the Battleworld books. There was still a connection to the rest of that universe, and make no mistake there were some truly heart-wrenching moments throughout the story, but all in all the book was light and fun, something that I feel comic books should be more often these days.

Conclusion

Start of Something Amazing

I said earlier that many things can make a great comic book. Some books have great art but a terrible story, while other books have a fantastic story with atrocious art. A-Force is a happy combination where we got great art, and a powerful, fun story to back it up, the creative team outdoing themselves for the book. What was more was that the book and it’s titular team had a unique feel, which is hard to do in this age of comic books when fresh ideas are hard to find. And even adding to that was that this book created a new megateam for Marvel Comics. Filled with the best of the best of Marvel’s super-heroines, A-Force is like the second coming of the Birds of Prey, and it is my sincere hope that the team becomes just as important to Marvel as the Birds were to DC.

Bottom line, A-Force may be one of the best books to come out of a Marvel in a few years, and easily one of the best Secret Wars tie-ins period. Bennett, Wilson and Molina have created something really spectacular here, the book a thrill ride from start to finish with a lot of heart along the way. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll cheer every time She-Hulk punches something.

I cannot stress that if you are a fan of the superhero genre or comic books in general, you need to read this book. It’s nothing short of amazing, and will leave you begging for more.

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Updated: 07/04/2016, GregFahlgren
 
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