A lot has been said about women in comics over the past twelve months. Marvel, in particular, has been at the forefront of this; twisting the diversity spigot hard till we’re practically drowning in titles featuring strong, diverse female characters such as Ms. Marvel, Spider-Gwen, and the new Thor. Marvel has taken careful measure of the cries of internet haters everywhere and said “Yeah, you know what? We like strong women, and judging by our newfound subscribers and stacks of cash, our audience does too. Don’t mess.”
Currently, the Marvel Multiverse is being turned inside out as a result of the Secret Wars event. Characters are being mashed together into titles all willy-nilly, like the best games you and your buddies played with your action figures back in elementary school. Being the savvy comic peddlers they are, Marvel decided to grab all the female superheroes off the table and hand them over to two of the best writers in the biz today, G. Willow Wilson (of Captain Marvel) and Marguerite Bennett (of Angela and so many others), and told them to go nuts.
The result is A-Force. And if the (literally) sleepy opening doesn’t grab you, you don’t have long to wait before Dazzler is shooting up a Megalodon with lasers and Ms. America (most recently of the Young Avengers) is tossing the big fish into space (or between Battleworld walls, or something). The results from this event are pretty quickly resolved, serving as the flashpoint between She-Hulk and her team.
In a perfect world, this issue would have been part of a three month introduction arc where we got to know more about the island of Arcadia and the A-Force team and their interrelations. Alas, A-Force is part of a Marvel Summer Event, and therefore has a short shelf-life. The resultant, albeit necessary, compression of the timeline makes this feel like an extremely rushed first issue. Heck, they even comment on it in-dialouge about how things are happening too fast! But even with the plot undergoing the shrinky-dink effect, I give Wilson and Bennett a lot of credit for firmly establishing the main characters and gunning the plot to the first cliffhanger. Jorge Molina’s moody pencils and vibrant colors finish the job, giving us a world that’s vibrant and dynamic (and doesn’t have a hint of “male-gaze” anywhere).
I’m looking forward to reading more. And I hope that A-Force is given the chance to stick around after Doom and his Battleworld have served their purpose as Cosmic Blender. This is one title that deserves room to breathe.