Marvel Pick Of The Week – May 4, 2016


The Marvel Pick Of The Week for May 4, 2016. Spoilers ahead, so beware!

Pick Of The Week: A-Force #5 by Kelly Thompson and Ben Caldwell

A-Force was one of my favorite tie-ins to last summer’s Secret Wars, a story of a group of Marvel’s best female heroes defending their subset of Battleworld when adorable cosmic force Singularity arrived as part of general chaos. The transition to the post-Wars Marvel universe has been tough, though. The characters are still some of my favorites – Sister Grimm, Medusa, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Dazzler – but they don’t have a great reason to be teammates if they’re not from that specific piece of Battleworld. The opening arc of this book gave writers Kelly Thompson and G. Willow Wilson the difficult task of folding existing Marvel stories around this core team. They succeeded by having Singularity escape Secret Wars with her memory intact, and she collects the women she’d befriended back there, and they all kind of agreed to work together as long as it took to get this dazzling little supernova safely tucked away. It’s not too far off from the current Thunderbolts premise, but it requires a lot of pagespace to set up.

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Now that it’s all drawn out, though, Kelly Thompson can spend her first solo arc having the time of her life with these women. She’s carefully mapping out who these characters are, what relationships they have to one another, and how far she can push the narrative. One panel perfectly shows this, as another Secret Wars refugee falls into their laps and tells them she’s from the Thor Corps:

Dazzler and Sister Grimm are friends, making casually objectifying jokes and bound in a heart-shaped panel. Captain Marvel and Medusa warily coexist in a shared position of authority and smugly accept the inevitable gloomy side to a bunch of Thors. Between them, She-Hulk plays Den Mother to exuberant Singularity. Thompson has read her research and confidently shows the potential in this unlikely cadre of heroes. Team dynamics like this bring to mind how good Chris Claremont did this for the X-Men of the 1980s. And once Claremont had shown he could bounce Wolverine off Colossus while Nightcrawler and Storm had a long talk, he could send the team up against space aliens and barbarians and demons without losing the thread of the book. Thompson’s first try at going wacky?

Dazzler. As Thor. DazzThor. This is even better than Jane Foster Thor. This is even better than Frog Thor, and I didn’t know that was going to happen in my lifetime.

This book has everything going for it. This is not some nutty for nutty’s sake attempt to see what it can get away with. Every page, characters make casual reference to their continuity. But new readers can start with this issue and enjoy the creative reaches. If Thompson keeps this up, she may end up with the next X-Men on her hands. And I look forward to every chapter of that run.

Honorable Mentions:

Scarlet Witch #6, because every issue lets a new artist take on Scarlet Witch’s costume, and Marguerite Sauvage’s look is one of my favorites thus far.

Amazing Spider-Man #12, because man, can Mary Jane Watson make an entrance.

Moon Knight #2, because Greg Smallwood has now drawn the best darn Moon Knight panel of his career.

Black Widow #3, because as awesome as it is to watch Black Widow kick a bunch of butts, it’s even better to get there just in time for the cleanup.

New Avengers #11, for the bizarre advice the Scarlet Witch gives to her son, Wiccan. This woman absolutely adores being part of a superhero soap opera, and I am completely on board.

Catch up on previous Marvel Picks of the Week here!