Review: A-Force #3

Becca Tyrrell Becca Tyrrell
Contributor
August 16th, 2015

A mild-mannered event planner by day and masked vigilante by night, Becca can usually be found sipping an iced coffee and scouring the stacks at her local comic shop. She splits her time between the TARDIS, Burnside, and Avengers’ Tower.

Review: A-Force #3
Comics
0

Marvel's Battleworld is a concept that has comics fans buzzing. Now our Becca Tyrrell ... is here to break down the the action for us with her review of A-Force #3.

The section of Battleworld known as Arcadia is under attack, first from a megalodon and then a Sentinel. She-Hulk has rallied the A-Force, Protectors of Arcadia, to investigate the origin of the attacks.

Brought to us by the writing team of Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson along with artist Jorge Molina,  A-Force #3 brings us face to face with the source of the mysterious portals, a traitor in Arcadia.

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From A-Force #3

From A-Force #3

Summary:

This issue kicks off with She-Hulk in an apocalyptic Manhattan that is patrolled by Sentinels. After a brief skirmish with the Thors, She-Hulk travels back to Arcadia, discovering en route that the origin of the portals is in Arcadia itself, not an outside locale as previously considered. Before She-Hulk and A-Force have a chance to discuss this finding, however, a small contingent of the Thors (Lady Sif, Valkyrie, and Gamora) appears and threaten to banish She-Hulk as they banished America Chavez for disobedience to Doom in Arcadia #1.

Medusa, in a shocking moment of betrayal, uses her hair to ensnare her teammates before issuing a final warning to She-Hulk to do her duty. Could Medusa have been the traitor bringing chaos to Arcadia all along?

Of course not!

Seconds later she releases her team and instead captures the Thors in her tendrils and launches them back into the still open portal from whence they came. Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that Gamora is still within reach of her hair. Gamora uses her sword to strike Medusa with lightning, which ultimately puts her in a death-like state.

This act is enough to mobilize not only A-Force but the citizens of Arcadia (including Black Panther and Black Bolt, who have cameos in this issue) to stand against Doctor Doom and his Thors and to root out the traitor among them. It's at this point that the mysterious, non-speaking guest known as Singularity steps forward to protect her new friends. As She-Hulk announces to Arcadia that she will no longer lead A-Force, and that she will have to go into hiding, the little girl speaks up and offers the team a place to hide...inside of her.

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From A-Force #3

From A-Force #3

Critique:

With an all-female team set firmly in the boundaries of a huge crossover event, there are a lot of potential tropes and pitfalls that A-Force is able to miss. I have no doubt this is due to its skilled creative team.

In the issue, a lot of attention is focused on the growing tension between Medusa and She-Hulk in their views of how to run the team. But instead of the tired story of two powerful women tearing each other down and struggling for control, we instead get She-Hulk and Medusa having very public (sometimes heated) disagreements and discussions. What is different here is the sheer amount of respect each woman has for the other. They are both trying to protect and defend Arcadia in the best way they know how, and they are able to put their personal ideology aside to do so. Bennett and Wilson excel at showcasing the multi-dimensionality of these characters in a way that feels neither forced nor false. That should be celebrated.

I've also really enjoyed watching the members of A-Force have to balance their duties with their emotions. Twice, we've seen the team experience major losses (first America Chavez and then Medusa) but the losses don't set them back. They grieve for their teammates, but they continue to do the work they are tasked with. But the way the team moves forward isn't robotic, it's realistic.  Nico Minoru is perhaps the best example of this so far, in that she loses her sister but still continues to patrol Arcadia's borders and is the one who finds Singularity and brings her back to She-Hulk in issue #2.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the art of Jorge Molina as something that truly elevates this book. Even as I write this review, I keep staring at his rendering of Gamora as a Thor, come back to Arcadia to mete out punishment and justice to She-Hulk and the others who have defied the orders of Doom. Molina's style features strong, thick lines which contrast beautifully with the fluid boundaries in the story itself. His combat scenes with She-Hulk and the Thors are particularly gorgeous.

With just two issues left in the Secret Wars tie in, and the promise of an on-going after that, now is the perfect time to pick up A-Force. Issue #3 is on stands now.

 

Rebecca Tyrrell is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Follow her on Twitter: @ArrTee

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