Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A-Force #1

Boy, I really wanted to love this comic. I truly did. But I’m more than a little lost.

I see that a lot of the heroes featured in this comic are sporting their classic costumes. Does that mean these are versions of the characters plucked from different points in time? I have a lot of questions. A lot.

Did this disco Dazzler join SHIELD? Why is Loki a woman? How exactly did Loki raise Miss America and Nico? Is this a brand new continuity for the She-Hulk-led Arcadia? Why is Dr. Doom in charge of everything? How did Sam Wilson become a mix of Captain America and Thor? Has She-Hulk met this Sheriff Dr. Strange before? Do they have their Avengers history? Why do none of the X-Men besides Dazzler have speaking parts? How does Dazzler fly? If the name of their country is Arcadia, where did Miss America get her name?

That is a LOT of confusion for a first issue.

After reading G. Willow Wilson’s eloquent and powerful blog post about this book, I wanted to love it. But instead of being able to buy in, I must confess to some confusion myself. I’m a long-time comic reader. I’m well versed in comics continuity. Heck, I’m caught up on my Marvel books.

I will admit to avoiding Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and Secret War books, though. And it sure looks to me like that willful dodging of Marvel’s summer tent pole means I’m not the targeted audience for this book. I assume that’s the case. It is pretty frustrating that the comics I’ve tried the hardest to avoid for the past few years are now dictating the direction of the entire Marvel Universe.

Wilson and her co-writer Marguerite Bennett do a wonderful job giving characterization and voice to many Marvel heroines. Jorge Molina’s art is delightful too. The megalodon antagonist is sufficiently horrific and I love the classic uniforms I mentioned above. The female leads are attractive and heroic while not being exploited. Most of all, I’m delighted to see She-Hulk leading a team of competent, powerful super-heroes. That’s what I was looking for when I picked up this book!

But instead, I’ve got a whole bunch of odd stuff about barons, Dr. Doom as a god, and the Nightwatch protecting the world from the white walkers. Oh! I mean the Shield protecting the world from zombies. I know Marvel wanted to get in on the Game of Thrones action, but this is ridiculous!

With all the press, the fantastic cover, and the concept of an all-lady Avengers team, I had really hoped that this would be a book I’d read with my daughters (who are also well-established Marvel fans.) I actually wonder if their lack of continuity knowledge might help them enjoy this book? Maybe I’ll get my 10-year-old to write a review too.

I truly hope this book and this creative team get more of a chance to show their stuff after Secret Wars ends. There is a ton of potential here, in both creative energy and in the concepts. But my absolute confusion about the very premise of the Arcadia world means this book is AVERAGE. 

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