Friday, July 20, 2012

Retro Review: Force Works #1

I think in an odd way Force Works was the Avengers' answer to X-Force. A spin off team that acted more proactively, was semi-covert, and a little more morally questionable. Force Works was made up mostly of former West Coast Avengers (which had recently broken up). The team consisted of U.S. Agent in a crappy new costume (more on that later), Scarlet Witch in a slutty new costume, Spider-woman II, Wonder Man, and Iron Man.

This issue starts with Iron Man attempting to form this new team, in which we do get some pretty good character moments. And then the Kree show up and the team battle them, during which Wonder Man is killed and we are introduced to Century, a character so boring I can't even pretend to care long enough to explain him. He would later take Wonder Man's place on the team.

I suppose this book had potential but every issue I've read fell flat with me. Take this issue, the antagonists are boring, the new character introduced is boring and the art is ugly. There are so many needless lines on people's faces they all look like they're in their 90's. This guy took a page from the Liefeld book on drawing faces.

Now as promised let's take a moment to talk about U.S.Agent's costume in this. Marvel is different from DC in that Marvel usually doesn't do sidekicks. But what Marvel was big on, especially in the 90's, was a sorta spin off character. I don't know exactly what you would call this derivative sort of character, it's not really a 'sidekick' they usually don't partner with the root character, they tend to go off into their own adventures, sometimes even their own book. They usually follow the pattern of taking over for the hero during a time of absence, death, injury, whatever, then when the hero returns they are given their own similar identity. Iron Man gave us War Machine, Thor gave us Thunderstrike, Ghost Rider gave us Vengeance and Captain America gave us U.S.Agent. In some ways U.S.Agent was the more interesting of the knock off characters. He had a much different outlook from Cap. Where as Cap was much more loyal to the ideals of freedom and human liberty, than to the government or country itself, U.S. Agent is a patriot in the strictest sense. America first last and only, right or wrong. If Cap were Ron Paul, Agent would be Sean Hannity (except unlike Hannity, Agent isn't a coward). Maybe it was because of the difference in outlook but Marvel seemed to want to take U.S.Agent further and further from Cap visually, I don't know why. Sort of seems like it defeats the purpose of the derivative character being able to cash in on the success of the main character. U.S.Agent started looking like this:

Alright so he's different enough from Cap to be his own character but similar enough to clearly be a spin off. But then for Force Works #1 he gets this crappy costume.

Ugh. This sucks. It's just boring. A few years later Marvel would bring U.S.Agent back as a guy who hunted down illegal aliens. Literally, he hunted down space aliens who were in the United States illegally. It's actually an interesting concept but I felt like the execution left a little to be desired. Plus it didn't help that this was his new look.

In some ways this is pretty close to his original costume, same basic chest design and all. But then we give him an Eagle shield, a light saber night stick and worst of all Judge Dredd's helmet. Marvel seemed bound and determined for a couple years to make this character as different from Cap in appearance as possible despite that sort of being the point to him. They finally brought him back to his original costume, more or less.

So enough of this tangent, getting back to Force Works, is it worth reading? Well if you find it in a dollar bin sure. Other then that I would probably pass. If you want a covert Avengers team done right check out Secret Avengers. It might have it's flaws but it's leaps and bounds above Force Works.

1 comment:

  1. Century had a good hook as an alien with a lifespan of exactly 100 years, but he couldn't remember how much of it he had already lived. Plus spending time as bloodhound for evil space cockroaches, he had something to repent of.

    I liked that he had a power the Avengers didn't have access to (Teleportation), and is one of the few (only?) Avengers affiliated characters who isn't stunningly good looking.