Marvel’s all-new, all-different, all-adjectives reboot madness continues this week with A-Force, a reboot/renumbering of the series that began last May as part of the Secret Wars crossover event. The book features the first all-female Avengers team: She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru, and Singularity (a new cosmic-powered hero). Typically, you’d expect a series to get at least into the double digits before being renumbered, but there you have it.

Of course, Marvel doesn’t seem to be sure whether this is a reboot or a renumbering. In promotional material and press articles, it is referred to as a reboot, but based on the lack of title change and the fact that the previously existing five issue story arc has been collected into a trade numbered volume zero, it is clear that they expect some amount of continuity in the story. Essentially, they want it to be a jumping on point, but not a jumping off point. While this is a noble business goal, trying to have it both ways gets a little sloppy in the execution.

A-Force #1 - SingularityThe new A-Force opens with Singularity being born into the Earth-616 universe. The title page informs readers that, “On Battleworld, there was an island paradise called Arcadia, protected by the women of A-Force. But Battleworld is gone, along with all the women who fought to make it better. Except for one…” Such a brief summary will send new readers like me immediately to Wikipedia to figure out what is going on. A rocky start to what turns out to be a rocky comic.

The biggest bumps come from writer G. Willow Wilson’s (Ms. Marvel) apparent indecision on how she wants to portray Singularity. On the first page, the hero’s inner dialogue is lyrical and introspective: “Birth is… violence. Pain. Happiness. Sometimes they get mixed up. Sometimes you can’t unmix them. Sometimes you don’t even want to.” By page six, however, she’s reverted to a childlike state, speaking in single word sentences for no apparent reason. Her actions are equally disjointed from one scene to the next, with no explanation going from innocent, confused, and scared to fierce, independent, and quick-thinking.

Is this inconsistency supposed to imply an identity crisis? Perhaps. Realizing that her former Battleworld teammates don’t remember her, Singularity asks herself, “What am I if she [Captain Marvel] doesn’t remember? Am I the same?” Further Wikipedia searches reveal that Singularity is a purposely fluid character that frequently explores identity themes. Within the issue itself, however, that is entirely unknown. Therefore, it’s hard to say if this bizarre inconsistency is purposeful on Wilson’s part or accidental. Regardless, it is confusing as a new reader being introduced to the character for the first time. Without the help of external sources, this issue does not provide a clear picture of who this new hero is and how she operates.

A-Force #1 - AntimatterDespite the confusion, this book is difficult to put down due to the saving graces of artist Jorge Molina (A-Force, X-Force) and Eisner-award-winning colorist Laura Martin (Secret Invasion, New Avengers). Molina’s artwork is crisp and expressive. The heroes’ costumes are functional and realistic – nobody is fighting crime in high heels or crop tops. In fact, in the entire issue, there is not a single cleavage shot or Hawkeye Initiative worthy pose.

Laura Martin’s color work takes Molina’s drawings to the next level, and each panel with Singularity especially pops off the page. Though the idea that the character is a quantum singularity with a humanoid appearance is about as far-fetched and poorly fleshed out (no pun intended) as you can get, Molina makes it work by giving us incredible images of her celestial form comprised of the blue and purple night sky.

The villain of the issue is also made interesting exclusively by Martin’s coloring. Though I didn’t understand who Antimatter is or why he wants to destroy Singularity, I deeply enjoyed watching their fight thanks to his intricate red-and-white molecular patterning, and the way his radiating heat is a striking contrasted with Singularity’s cool and calm coloring.

Ultimately, however, Martin and Molina’s art is only partially able to salvage this rocky relaunch. The inconsistent characterization of Singularity makes it difficult for new readers grasp the character, no matter how visually striking she may be. Future issues will require much smoother, more consistent scripts from Wilson if the A-Force is to survive in the 616 universe.

A-Force #1 can be purchased at your Local Comic Shop, from Marvel Comics, or on Comixology.com

 

 

Overall Score
70 %

A rocky relaunch of G. Willow Wilson's all-female Avengers team into the 616 universe is only partially salvaged by Eisner-award-wining colorist Laura Martin's exquisite work.

Writing 60%
Inking 90%
Coloring 100%

About The Author

Kate Skocelas is a comic and book reviewer at DestroyTheCyborg!. When she’s not reading, she enjoys indoctrinating friends into Image Comics and explaining why Kate Bishop will always be the best Hawkeye.

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