Via Mashable, Marvel announced the latest ‘Secret Wars’ tie-in / spin-off – ‘A-Force’. And, while everybody’s debating the fact that we have our first all-female Avengers team, nobody’s noticed the really interesting stuff…
Just over a fortnight ago, Marvel revealed that ‘Secret Wars’ tie-ins will be branded. You’re talking:
‘Last Days’ – issues that explore how our characters react to the end of the world.
‘Battleworld’ – stories based on Battleworld, exploring how the realms interact.
‘Warzone!’ – stories that are epic in scope, and will set the foundation for the Marvel Universe post-‘Secret War’.
So take a look at the image advertising 'A-Force'. See what’s missing?
That’s right, there’s no brand.
So what? Well, that makes me suspect that this is actually a ‘Warzone!’ title, an epic book that will set the standard for the future of the Marvel Universe post-‘Secret Wars’. Marvel seem notably shy about using that brand yet. In which case, these might all be women to watch, and I'm pleased that unusual choices - such as Jubilee, Hellcat (who of course is going to get increased exposure through 'AKA Jessica Jones'), and Pixie - are shown on the image.
Now, Battleworld may be a place where realms collide, but to date only two comics have stood out as capitalizing upon the idea – by allowing realities and times to cross over. The ‘Battleworld’ mag, which will feature strange and crazy battles such as Punisher 1602 versus Punisher 2099, is one; 'A-Force' is the other. Look at the costumes – you have the iconic Phoenix design, you have the new Spider-Gwen, and you have what looks to be Jubilee from the ‘X-Men ‘92’ reality. So, even if we assume the book is over-hyping itself with this image and that many (if not most) of these women don’t appear, we’re still left with a book that advertises itself as bringing together heroes from different realities.
Will A-Force feature heroes from X-Men 92?
Of course, not just heroes; female heroes. When Brian Wood launched the all-female ‘X-Men’, there were concerns that it would be nothing more than a gimmick; however, Wood – and his replacement writers – have pulled off a superb trick in making the team both iconic and fairly natural. I suspect that the same will be true of ‘A-Force’.
And notice who Marvel have put in charge of the book: G. Willow Wilson, who was signed on exclusively with Marvel just prior to the last pre-‘Secret Wars’ retreat, and attended said retreat. G. Willow Wilson, whose ‘Miss Marvel’ is a hit, and who’s currently penning an arc of ‘X-Men’. Marvel are evidently aware that she writes female characters in a way that attracts readers – given that comic book readership demographics seem to be changing, female readers are increasingly important. And so they’ve given her a book that enables her to travel the length and breadth of the Marvel multiverses, picking up the female characters at their most dynamic and iconic moments (Jean Grey as Phoenix, anyone?).
Unsurprisingly, given G. Willow Wilson's eclectic taste and style, she's picked unusual heroes to be at the centre of her story; Nico Minoru, Dazzler, and She-Hulk. Plus the new Singularity, whose 'cosmic' powers make her sound like she's tied in to 'Black Vortex' somehow.
New hero Singularity will be a core part of A-Force
There’s an element of gimmick in this book, it’s true, but to me Marvel are playing it smart. They’ve gotten all their ducks in line, and are getting ready for something big. For example: is it possible that some of these incarnations will become the new status quo of various heroes in the future Marvel Universe?
What do you think? Let us know at ComicsVerse!