Published on: 4/13/2016
Written by: G. Willow Wilson and Kelly Thompson
There’s a lot to like about “A-Force”. For starters it’s the only good Avengers book out right now. For another it’s got some of the best fight scenes I’ve seen. And I know I’ve already reviewed “A-Force” but this issue has particular significance. See this is the last issue of the first arc. I’ve been loving this story but will I love the next? Can the writing maintain? Because if this series is going to be successful, it has to hook me into the next story. And the next—you get the idea. So yes this is a good book but does it have the legs to keep going?
Let’s say that this were an average Avengers book. If that were the case we would have a simple formula for how this book is supposed to go. It’s the final showdown, time for a climax. The team comes together for a longshot solution just as the situation gets desperate. And then once things seem like they’ll work out they’ll hint at worse things to come. One thing writers have to juggle is making this threat seem credible while seeding an even bigger threat and I think “A-Force” has pulled it off. Because of the monster Singularity pulled through to Earth was a tough adversary, the team had to come together to defeat him. However if the next threat is too big then their previous struggle seems fake. Too weak? Then there’s no progression. How did “A-Force” handle it? They kind of side stepped it. Instead of fighting big, bad guy after big bad guy, they mixed up the formula so the team has to flex different muscles, allowing them to explore different aspects of their ad hoc team.
One of the things I’ve been loving about them team is their interpersonal relationships. That’s how I truly define an Avengers book as great; if I like each of these people just hanging out with each other then I usually love them fighting for the safety of the free world. One important aspect of this is character growth. Usually the question: Is there any? Because comics tend to keep their characters in a perpetual limbo characters can often become stale. However, “A-Force” has already dangled quite a few threads of how characters can progress. There’s the tension between She-Hulk and Medusa of who is in charge, the truth about Dazzler, Nico’s inexperience, and the real story of Singularity. All of these things are crying out to be resolved, questions that I am yearning for the answers to. It’s the kind of thing where if issue eight started in a dive bar and didn’t get so far as the coat rack by the door I wouldn’t be too upset by it. Because we’re here for the people doing the punching and sitting down with them for a lengthy chat shouldn’t feel like a chore. Speaking of lengthy chats…
So this issue does have a problem. They’ve spent so much time showing us scientifically why they can’t kill the big bad guy that when it comes down to the resolution they have to drop an entire lecture on us. I swear there was two pages where it looked like they’d accidentally spilled a copy of “Ulysses”. You know how I said these are characters I’d love to chat? That wasn’t what this was. This was an exposition dump, pure and simple. And it was so unnecessary. The whole bit could have been replaced with a “Beat Baddie Now” button, at least it would have saved page space.
“Invincible” has a bit of an advantage on “A-Force” just from the length of time it’s been in print. But then again, “A-Force” has all of Marvel history to pull from. So both of these books have their advantages, hooks they can drop to keep people reading. “Invincible” has hooked me over and over. From his nemesis Angstrom Levy showing up time after time, to a new threat posed by the Viltrumites, there are constant lingering threads. But, when it first started the hook was super strong; Mark found out his dad was supposed to conquer the planet and if he didn’t do it there was an entire planet waiting in the wings. That’s a plot thread needing resolution. But I suppose not everyone can have an entire planet of murderers waiting to pounce.