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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Reader's Diary #1245- Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson (Writers), Jorge Molina (Artist): A-Force Warzones!

From G. Willow Wilson, the brains behind the wonderful Ms. Marvel, and featuring a plethora of superheroes of whom I'm vaguely familiar with at best, I've been dying to get my hands on this collected volume of the first 5 comic runs. Did it live up to my expectations?

Yes and no.

A-Force was born out of the much larger Marvel event, Secret Wars, which I've been doing a poor job of following. That said, I'm more of a reader of collected volumes rather than single issue comics, so I'm always rather behind. I think, however, that Bennett and Wilson did a fine job of catching me up on the necessary background info in order to follow along. Basically Dr. Doom has taken over all Marvel universes and is now god and ruler supreme. He's creating bizarre scenarios, mixing and matching worlds, and so on. In A-Force, a legion of female superheroes live on and run an island called Arcadia. (Just what planet this is, I'm not sure.) Led by She-Hulk, it's a close-knit, idyllic place.

Yeah, right. We all know how long that lasts. Before long, some mighty strange things start happening, things which jeopardize their safety and while defending the island, one of the heroes breaks one of Doom's laws. Now we're introduced to the Thors: a mish-mash group of various characters (including some guy with a horse head) who have donned the Thor mantle across various universes, who are enforcing Doom's rule. Not only do the Arcadian heroes need to deal with them, they must also get to the bottom of the bizarre and dangerous occurrences. Could it be a traitor in the ranks? Could it be the mysterious new girl?

Clearly it's high on the fantasy/ sci-fi, and that's not necessarily bad, but it's not as character-driven as I tend to like. I did get familiarized, at least, with characters like Dazzler and Nico Minoru, but there were times when the writers just tried to squeeze too much in. In the last story of the collection, a bunch of characters (Ms. Marvel, Elektra, Hawkeye, Spider-Gwen) get a line or two, even though they were pretty much absent from the plot up to that point. Glorified cameos from the big-sellers (and no Squirrel Girl?!).

The art, as well, is back to the generic superhero stuff. That's not to say bad (and thankfully Molina avoids the pin-up poses many artists would have done with this cast), but I do like a bit more creativity. Then again, with so much going on, perhaps an overly artistic interpretation would have added to the confusion, when this required attention to the plot.

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