A-Force #1 (2016)
Writer: G. Willow Wilson
Artist: Jorge Molina
Colorist: Laura Martin
A-FORCE, ASSEMBLE! From the ashes of Battleworld, Marvel’s newest hero SINGULARITY has risen and entered the Marvel Universe. But she didn’t make the journey alone. To combat the most fearsome threats from across the multiverse, Singularity will summon the world’s mightiest team of Avengers to her side: SHE-HULK. CAPTAIN MARVEL. DAZZLER. MEDUSA. NICO MINORU. Together, they are A FORCE to be reckoned with!
Tradepaperback: A-Force v1: Hypertime
(There is also a video version of this review, which you can see at the bottom of this page or by clicking here)
When the Secret Wars tie-in books were announced last year one of the more interesting ones was A-Force, a five-issue series based on an all-woman Avengers squad. It was not unique just for its roster, but also because most Secret Wars books were based on major story-arcs and crossovers from yesteryear, such as Days of Future Past or The Korvac Saga, and instead this book was something new. So A-Force stood out as a potentially interesting book, and it did follow through by being genuinely entertaining on the whole. It also introduced us to the character of Singularity, who was a naïve elemental that latched on to the A-Force member Nico. She eventually bonded with the rest of the members of the team and, in the last issue of the series, apparently sacrificed herself to save everyone from an invasion by the Marvel Zombies.
Fast forward to now with All-New, All-Different relaunch underway (even though Secret Wars still hasn’t technically finished yet…) and we get a new A-Force series set in the proper Marvel universe. The idea will remain the same – an all women group of Avengers – but without the Secret Wars trappings that played rather heavily into the original series. And since the book has to both tie the team back into the original (otherwise what’s the point?) and also give our team a reason to come together, the character of Singularity is brought into the Marvel universe through a portal of some kind. It is also made clear right out of the gate that this is the exact same Singularity as from the original series, making her one of the few known survivors of the Secret Wars event.
The trick here is that although Singularity remembers all of her friends on the original A-Force, none of these versions of the characters do. So while she recognizes Captain Marvel, She-Hulk and Medusa, none of them know who she is, and they react accordingly. Since she is a naïve creature she does not really understand what is happening, but fortunately does not react negatively. The good news is that they recognize she is not a threat easily enough, but the bad news is that she did not make the journey to the Marvel universe alone and was instead joined by what appears to be a dark version of herself. This currently unnamed character is very much a threat to those it encounters, and it seems hellbent on encountering Singularity.
This is quite obviously a ‘gathering of the team’ arc, which is apparently going to take a few issues yet since only a small portion of the members even make an appearance here. There is a cuteness to the few meetings between future A-Force members and Singularity which carries the majority of the book, and they only get held back by their repetitive nature. Hopefully the remaining characters will vary things up a bit in how they get introduced.
Now, at the moment I have a hard time really thinking of Singularity and her unnamed antagonist as actual characters. Even after five issues in the original A-Force series Singularity is still more concept that person, with largely undefined powers and no personality beyond what she extracts from others. Some of this is clearly intentional since what personality she does have was obviously learned from her friends in A-Force (the original series was clear on that point), but it does make it a little hard to be overly worried about her plight at the moment.
The book does barely get away with it by making her naiveté cute rather than annoying, but at some point we are going to need some more defined answers about her. I imagine those are coming not too far down the road, though, with her antagonist kind of forcing her hand. And, more importantly, there are obvious indications that the creative team does have a plan in mind for these characters, which is more than I can say for a lot of books these days. They have found a good balance between mystery and forward movement, and this is a genuinely fun read.
I am not entirely certain that this new issue of A-Force stands on its own if you have not read the original series, but enough can be picked up by context that it should not be confusing to new-comers. That said, reading the original five-issue mini-series would be a good idea for anyone looking to try this out. But even going into this blind, I think most people will enjoy what they find.
You can also check out this review as a video below