I’m amazed. I’ve been skipping the superhero comics I normally read because they’re either rebooting AGAIN (DC’s Rebirth) or in the middle of a crossover event rerun (Marvel’s Civil War II). But here, Kelly Thompson and Paulo Siqueira manage to explain the point of the event to me while still giving me entertainment regardless of the stunt branding. Most importantly, I enjoyed the time I spent with this team of women and want to see more.
There’s even a guest star! Misty Knight bonds with the young witch Nico, since they both have robot arms. These are the kinds of observations that make sense to new or infrequent readers of the bigger Marvel Universe. Of course two women with similar conditions would talk about it to each other! And the way they talk sounds like people who are alive right this minute, not someone created decades ago written by someone who’s only read other superhero comics. “Go arm twins!”
As a character book with touches of comedy, there’s a lot of dialogue in A-Force, but the layouts manage it without letting the art get overwhelmed by the text. Because of the event, She-Hulk has been severely injured, so the other team members are arguing over what to do. Trauma to a friend often brings out strong emotions. But even though they’re yelling at each other, I still believe that these women respect and care about each other, and that’s why this all means so much.
Don’t get me wrong. Although this series is an excellent starting point for any reader, regardless of their Marvel fandom status, history does matter. Nico references some of the previous events in her life in explaining why she reacts badly, running away from an attempt to imprison her. But it’s done in such a way that it sounds natural and not like a continuity dump (which tend to put up walls to readers, implying that since they didn’t know this, they aren’t included).
The second guest star was one I’d forgotten about but who fits perfectly in the mood of the book: Elsa Bloodstone, monster hunter. And a foul-mouthed, life-loving ass-kicker she is, too. Next issue will have more of her, as this story concludes. In the meantime, bravo, Kelly and Paulo and team, for not allowing a cash-in bannering attempt to derail what makes A-Force such a great series to read.