Comic Review – The Unworthy Thor #1 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I picked up The Unworthy Thor #1, the start of a new miniseries starring the Odinson as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative. The Unworthy Thor was written by long time Thor writer (and writer of the current Mighty Thor series) Jason Aaron, with art by Olivier Coipel, colours by Matthew Wilson and letters from VC’s Joe Sabino.


Cover by Coipel

Two years ago in the Original Sin event, Nick Fury whispered a secret into Thor’s ear that caused him to become unworthy to wield the hammer Mjolnir, dropping the weapon on the surface of the Moon unable to lift it again. Since then, Mjolnir has been wielded by Jane Foster, taking the Odinson’s place as Thor and doing a damn good job of it. But what of the Odinson? Things haven’t been going well for him. He lost his hammer. He lost his arm (he did get a fancy new one though). But now, in the wake of last year’s Secret Wars, there is a new Mjolnir in the regular Marvel Universe, and the ex-Thor is determined to find it.

Jason Aaron has been writing this character for a long time now, and it’s very clear that he know exactly how the Odinson thinks and why he works so well when written well. Marvel do have a recent issue with holding out on a secret or plot point a little too long before the reveal (looking at you Cyclops post-Secret Wars), and the mystery of what Fury said to Thor has been held onto for so long now it is in danger of being underwhelming regardless of the gravity when it is finally revealed. However, the writing in all of Aaron’s various Thor comics since has been so strong that it is easy to forgive this point and just enjoy the story as it comes. The Unworthy Thor is no exception, with plenty of mystery and action, along with the return of a fan-favourite character.


Art by Coipel & Wilson

Coipel’s art, probably better called ‘The Shirtless Adventures of the Odinson’, is hugely detailed and brims with a sense of the epic, and be it in the desolation of outer space or in the brutal brawls throughout the book there aren’t many artists better suited to this series. And he draws a damn impressive goat. I’ve extolled the virtues of Wilson’s colours multiple times before, but it does bear repeating. His colours bring an extra level of vibrancy to an already great looking issue, with the scenes on the Moon and in space looking colder, and the action beefier because of them.

The Unworthy Thor #1 is a great companion to the superb Mighty Thor, with gorgeous art and an interesting set up that promises a lot for the future of the Odinson and his corner of the Marvel Universe. I’m hoping that we do finally find out the reason for the unworthiness, but even if we just get a good Thor story out of it that would be fine too! Check it out at your local comic shop or digitally now.

Score: 8 Mjolnirs out of 10


Check out the recent collected stories that lead into The Unworthy Thor,  and support the site by picking them up through our Amazon links! Thor becomes unworthy in Original Sin; a new Thor picks up the hammer in Thor: The Goddess of Thunder & Who Holds the Hammer?; the Marvel Universe collides with the Ultimate Universe, and a new Mjolnir appears as a result in Secret Wars and Thors; and Jane Foster continues her adventures post-Secret Wars in the first volume of Mighty Thor: Thunder in her Veins.

Comic Review – Old Man Logan #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit has taken over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

“But I was kidding myself, it always ends up the same… with blood and death and me alone like an animal” – Old Man Logan

So, this week Old Man Logan #1 from Marvel caught my eye, written by Jeff Lemire with art from Andrea Sorrentino, colours from Marcelo Maiolo and lettering by Cory Petit. It’s another rebooted comic to fit in with the All-New All-Different Marvel universe. I knew of the original, which I’ve not read but have read a synopsis for so I kinda knew what to expect. This is old, very grumpy and very short tempered Wolverine. Do not expect a happy-clappy comic book. But is that what we’d really want from Mr Howlett? Honestly, part of me would love to see that, but only for a panel or two, anymore and it’d get a bit too weird.

So, focusing on the review of the actual comic again. The first thing I noticed was the art work. It sets the tone of the comic immediately, it looks dirty (in a very good way) and the colour pallet is dark even when the sun is out. Sorrentino and Maiolo did an excellent job here to give us dark, gritty world to delve into.

And dark and gritty it is, right from the little summary of his backstory on the first page. In a few years the villains team up and they win. They slaughter nearly every hero and take over the world. Old Man Logan is one of the few survivors, he’s given up and he’s trying to live a simple family life. Until the Hulk Gang get pissed off and murder his family. He responds as you’d expect. He murders them right back. After the events of Secret Wars Logan finds himself waking up in a full, vibrant New York City. There’s some kind of fat Spider-Man there (the one bit in this comic I didn’t get, I assume it’s a cosplayer?) and society is functioning. There are big posters of Iron Man and Captain America, as you’ve guess he’s gone back in time. It’s the present day and the villains haven’t won yet.

We’re treated to a flashback to his life before, tormented by the Hulk Gang’s flunkies and his relationship with his son. This really helped us get to know the kind of man this Logan is, we get to see him at his worst: broken and passive. He’s been broken down to nearly nothing, and from there he’s rebuilt himself into the ultimate survivor.

It take Logan a while to work out what’s going on, but once he does he knows what he has to do, prevent the villains from teaming up. Of course he rallies the Avengers and takes them down! Or… not…. Naturally he picks up the war path and sets off on what is planned to be a nice little murder spree of revenge on the villains.

Final Verdict

I enjoyed this more than I expected. It’s a lot darker than the other Marvel I’m reading which is a nice contrast. They did a great job in letting you get to know Logan, it’s also very clear he’s a very different man to the main timeline’s Wolverine. I can’t quite get over the random fat Spidey though. It would also be nice to have a few more supporting characters eventually. The art is excellent and gory (for a Marvel comic) and if you’re a fan of comic art that alone is reason to get this first issue.

Final Score – 8.5 Jars of Apple Jam out of 10!

Comic Review – Secret Wars #9 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. He missed reviewing them while he tries to write up his PhD thesis, so every other week he’ll be reviewing of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

Despite taking time off from writing for the site and doing these weekly comic book reviews, I have still managed to find time every week to head down to my LCS to pick up the latest comic book releases every Wednesday. This week saw the release of the finale of Marvel’s Secret Wars series, their summer event of 2015 and the series that essentially informs the make up of the current Marvel Universe. I reviewed the first issue back in May, and I ended up following it and a decent number of the tie-ins as the Marvel Universe crumbled apart and became Battleworld until October. Since the start of the ‘All New, All Different’ Marvel, I’ve shifted dramatically from being largely a DC fan to really dropping the number of books I’m reading from over there in favour of all the excellent books Marvel is currently putting out, and Secret Wars was really the trigger for that. As with the rest of the series, the 34 page finale to Secret Wars was written by Jonathan Hickman, with art from Esad Ribic and colours by Ive Svorcina, with letters from Clayton Cowles.

Secret Wars began at the the end of all things, when Earth-616 (the normal Marvel universe) and Earth-1610 (the Ultimate universe) collided. A small number of Marvel heroes escaped on a ‘life raft’ ship, but the rest of reality was destroyed. Battleworld rose up in it’s place – a patchwork reality made up of fragments of universes, constructed and ruled over by Victor Von Doom, now with immense cosmic powers and known as God-Doom. Over the course of the series, the cracks in the world started to show and the survivors of Earth-616 conspired to take down Doom and attempt to reassert some semblance of the universe they once knew.

The finale begins with Black Panther and Namor facing down Doom, with T’Challa wielding the Infinity Gauntlet to engage Doom in a huge cosmic throw-down. But that was merely a distraction (a really pretty distraction…) to buy Reed Richards time to talk to Molecule Man, the source of God-Doom’s powers. This all leads to a final confrontation between Reed and Doom, age-old enemies, for the sake of reality itself. When the dust settles, the story shifts to 8 months later back in the Marvel universe, on the ‘Prime Earth’, bringing us in line with the current timeline and providing a reasonable roadmap of how we got there.

Event comics often fizzle out at the end, either due to the finale focusing too much on setting up the next event or storyline, or just not quite sticking the landing. Secret Wars manages to not only side step this and deliver a conclusion that managed to be both cataclysmic in scale in parts, and in others a deeply personal conflict between life long enemies, but it did a good job of setting up the new status quo, or at least giving a satisfyingly comic booky way for how it happened. With Secret Wars Jonathan Hickman has delivered a huge blockbuster event that never dragged or felt like it was treading water (and so the addition of an extra issue may well have been necessary), and after years of the impending death of all things, the series ends on a renewed focus on life and hope for the future.

A big part of why this event has been so enjoyable has been the art. Throughout, Esad Ribic has illustrated a bleak and intense Battleworld full of brilliant, show-stopping scenes (the Groot sequence in issue #8 was possibly my favourite), apocalyptic fights and emotionally resonant personal moments. T’Challa and God-Doom’s cosmic brawl is high concept and stunning to look at, but it’s the up-close struggle between Doom and Reed and the fury on their faces that stands out in this finale. Ive Scorcina’s colours round out the excellent art to show a dark, burning, war-ridden world as Battleworld falls, before switching to a brighter and clearer palette to go along with the hopeful turn for end of the book.

A lot has been made out of the delays to the series, but while I do think that ending up with the final issue leading in to the All New All Different Marvel universe coming out 3 months after that new universe has already started seems like very poor organisation on Marvel’s part (and I have no idea what the cause for it was), ultimately the delays to the book shouldn’t have an impact on the book’s quality. Contrary to that, the delays probably ensured that every issue had the same art team behind it, so when Secret Wars is all collected and re-read the delays won’t matter. What will matter is the consistently excellent art work that has the focus that the story required and deserved.

When Secret Wars started, at least for the first issue, I thought it was a good looking book that was the most enjoyable of the events last summer, so I felt it was worth continuing with to see how it all played out. From the second issue onwards, the scale of the story and the writing and art made Secret Wars one of my favourite books, with the end of every issue leaving me hungry for the next. An encyclopedic knowledge of the Marvel universe is absolutely not necessary to enjoy the story, though not knowing much may take some of the impact out of a few scenes. If you’ve not been keeping up with it, I’d definitely recommend tracking the previous issues down or picking up the collection when it comes out in March.

Score: 9 Molecule Men out of 10

Comic Review – Squadron Supreme #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

Warning: minor spoilers.

“Atlantis has risen… Now watch me make it fall again!” – Hyperion

This week I should be doing coursework, and not writing comic review. Should. But I know where my priorities lie! Procrastination! So, what’s to be looked at this week? Well it hasn’t been released with a huge amount of fan-fare (as far as I’ve seen…) but Squadron Supreme (written by James Robinson, artists: Leonard Kirk, Paul Neary and Frank Martin) caught my eye. Why? I’ll get into that properly in a moment, but it’s a comic I’ve heard a bit about online before. I liked the concept and I’m sure many of you will too, I just hadn’t tried it.

Who are the Squadron Supreme? Well, we get introduced to them in the first few pages. They’re a group of heroes who have formed a “League” of sorts, to fight for “Justice”. We have Batman Nighthawk, Superman Hyperion, The Flash Blur, The Green Lantern Doctor Spectrum and Wonder Woman Power Princess. Who have united to form the Justice League Squadron Supreme. This is not subtle. It is not meant to be subtle. Marvel and DC have been ripping characters off each other for years, and this is Marvel’s take on the Justice League. Our heroes aren’t entirely the same though, most of them just have a very similar power set and pretty similar backstories…

But, the key difference here is they’re all from different universes that have ended. Why you may ask? Actually, that’s my biggest criticism of the comic. They know who did it, and we get a vague justification, but no real explanation. For a first issue this makes for a pretty glaring hole. Anyway, the team, survivors from dead universes have combined their might to make sure this never happens again, that this universe will never suffer the same fate and those behind the destruction of their homes will pay.

SquadSo who did it you may ask? Well, it was Aquaman Namor. And we kick things off with a fierce battle between the Squadron Supreme and Namor and his Atlantic forces. They’re out for revenge and Namor admits he did what he must, and shouldn’t be held to account because all he did was hasten the deaths of their dying realities. Well, OK. A bit more of an explanation here would be nice. This seems to tie in to Secret Wars? It’s not clear if it does. A hint for where to get more info would be very nice. Anyway, the battle does not go well for Namor.

We see the sorts of heroes this team is made of. They may be like the Justice League, but they cross the line the real team won’t. They kill. It feels like very family territory if you’ve read or watched Justice League: Gods and Monsters or similar. Public support around the world is mixed for the team, some loving their brutal ways. Meanwhile, a hero prepares to take on these extremists. The original Human Torch, Jim Hammond. He fought alongside Namor and Captain America in World War 2. He’s back, with his old (now literally) team mate and the Uncanny Avengers to take on the Squadron.

The art looks great, the fights are action packed and have these cool blur effects on them, the colours are vibrant and the whole thing comes together really well.

Final Verdict

I like the idea behind this, it’s fun to see a take on the Justice League that does manage to feel original if going over slightly familiar ground. I love the art… but… there are some issues: it felt too short, the whole thing was 23 pages long, and a page or two more for some exposition would have been really useful. I knew of these characters and I needed a little guidance, this is meant to be an issue #1 where complete newbies can join in. Still, I want to know what happens next and I’ll give issue #2 a shot myself!

Final Score – 7.5 DC Clones out of 10!

The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 52 – The Bacon Tremors

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chatted about the Captain America: Civil War trailer, the Batman Vs. Superman teaser (the rather spoilery trailer was released after we recorded), Marvel’s Secret Wars delays and Kevin Bacon returning to Tremors, while Gary cuts off entire news segments and Adam remembers Kevin Bacon is actually a good actor.

Gary in 60 seconds was ”Pacific Rim’, with Gary attempting to take on kaiju and jaegers in under a minute. Keep an eye on twitter  for the poll for next time!

This week’s main talking point was Jessica Jones, the new dark superhero TV show from Marvel and Netflix. We talk about what we liked (a lot), what we didn’t (not much) and how it all fits in the MCU. It’s light on spoilers, but if you’re worried about finding out anything at all before you watch it then you can skip the second half of the podcast from 32 minutes in, and listen later to see if you agree with us!


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What did you think of Jessica Jones, or anything else we’ve talked about this week? You can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

Fancy supporting our site? Head on over to our Paypal donation page! It’s completely optional, set your own price! Even £1 helps us with hosting costs (which are coming up this month…) and we’d really appreciate it! Cheers!


Comic Review – Spider-Gwen #1 (Marvel Comics)

Kit is taking over the weekly comic book review because Adam is in the unenviable position of attempting to finish off his PhD.

“Heeeere, Lizzy, Lizzy, Lizzzzy–” – Spider-Gwen

Warning: minor spoilers.

I’ll be carrying on covering the Weekly Comic Book Reviews by picking up another of the All New All Different Marvel initiative. This time it’ll be Spider-Gwen #1! Adam reviewed the previous Spider-Gwen first issue, which came out earlier this year (you can find that review here). It proved to be quite the success, fans taking to the new take on a Spider-Hero well.  We have the same creative team behind the relaunch post-Secret Wars, with Jason Latour writing, Robbi Rodriguez on art, Rico Renzi providing colours and letters from Clayton Cowles, so we should expect the same quality as before.

In case you missed it before the idea behind Spider-Gwen is in her world, Earth 65, it was Gwen Stacey who was bitten by a spider, not Peter Parker. In her world her friend Peter became jealous of her powers and, with the help of Dr Conners, became Earth 65’s equivalent of the Lizard. This comic starts with, and actually runs throughout, a recap of Spider-Gwen’s past. Needless to say things didn’t end well for Lizard-Parker.

spider gwen1In the present a convenience store owner is ‘robbed’ and whilst the villain’s sidekick is making his… getaway… the store is attacked by the Lizard. When the morning comes around, Gwen wakes up late for work. We get a feel for her as a person while she panics and tries to beat the rush hour. Which she does by dressing up as Spider-Gwen and riding on the side of a bus. Whilst catching up with her dad of course. Her father works in the NYPD as a detective and knows his daughter’s secret identity. We also pick up in this world that Frank Castle gets to shoot people legally! Well, not as the Punisher, he’s a cop working alongside Captain Stacey in charge of the Spider-Woman case. Once Gwen gets to her first day of work we find that she was due to work in that very convenience store. She tries to hunt down Dr Conners, but finds him missing. We get a lot of flashback now, getting to see what life used to be like for Gwen and her relationship with Peter.

The comic ends with her making her way down to the sewers to confront the Lizard. However, she gets more than she bargained for, not just in the enemy she’s up against, but it seems a certain Avenger is out trying to track her down. Although they are a little different in this world too!

The art itself of course looks great, in line with the style of the previous Spider-Gwen run. The flashbacks all have a slight tinge to the colour scheme in the panels, showing them as non-current events. I would criticise this choice slightly, it took me a moment the first time to realise it was a flashback!

Final Verdict

Overall it’s a decent first book. It’s been set up as a jumping on point for new readers, as expected from an issue 1 reboot. Although I think it does this a little too heavy-handedly. I hadn’t read any of the first Spider-Gwen series, but did have a rough idea of the concept behind it. As a new comer it felt like there were a couple too many flash backs, I’d have rather had a bit more current content and getting to know Gwen and her world in the present day. I’d also have liked to see a new villain, once we know she’s already dealt with the Lizard once.

Still, it’s well worth a read if you like the Spider-Heroes and want to see where they’re going with her character.

Final Score – 7.5 Busted Web Shooters out of 10!

Comic Review – Civil War #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

More Secret Wars tie-ins are coming out from Marvel every week, with varying quality and relevance to the main event series. Some are entirely new concepts, while some have been based on classic storylines that are being retold or continued, like Old Man Logan or Planet Hulk. So far I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried, but the Secret Wars series itself is especially strong for a summer event. This week Civil War #1 came out, a new spin and continuation of the hugely popular 2006 series by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. This new series was written by Charles Soule, with pencils by Leinil Francis Yu, colours by Sunny Gho and letters from Joe Sabino.

Civil War follows the original plot of the Superhuman Registration Act, a government initiative to have all masked heroes have their identities known to the government and to be trained properly before going out to fight crime. Tony Stark thought this was all a great idea, while Steve Rodgers (quite rightly) considered this a breach of civil liberties, leading to most of the heroes of the Marvel Universe siding with Iron Man or Captain America and fighting it out. In the original series, the Civil War eventually ended. Not so in this new tale (which bears the Secret Wars banner on the cover and the same intro, but seems totally unconnected to the Battleworld).

The story picks up during the prison clash, but this time the prison detonates and many heroes are killed, along with 15 million others in the city. 6 years later the country is divided. Literally divided down the middle, with the east side of the USA dubbed ‘The Iron’ and led by President Stark, and the west presided over by General Rodgers, known as ‘The Blue’. After all these years a peace treaty is organised on the bridge where the two sides meet. Each man is joined by one of his most trusted compatriots, the former by She-Hulk and the latter by a Peter Parker in what looks a lot like MCU Falcon gear (presumably because The Blue seems like a lot of open expanse, not a lot of buildings to web sling around). Steve and Tony meet and discuss terms, more land for The Iron, more resources for The Blue. But before they can get any further an attempt is made on Cap’s life, and the negotiation breaks down as soon as it has started. He and Peter depart, certain that the war can only end one way.

The potential for these retellings of classic stories that has come out of Secret Wars has been exciting to see, providing the opportunity for these tales to go towards a far more extreme end, rather than something that shakes up the MU status quo in some small way before ultimately being righted or changed again due to the nature of serialised superhero comics. Soule has done just that in Civil War, taking what was already a fairly bleak and grim story and making it even more so, resulting in an America that we never would have seen in the original story without it being savagely retconned a few years later. While there are a few narrative jumps as to how we got there, the real meat and strength of the issue comes when the two former comrades are negotiating. The character work is great, and there are some nice concepts like The Punishers and the Bullseye Boys teased which could be a lot of fun in the later issues. Yu’s art shines when showing off the landscapes of The Iron and The Blue, the latter particularly looking desolate but beautiful. The grizzled look of the two men, especially Stark who is starting to look a lot older even in 6 years, adds weight to the never ending conflict between them.

Civil War is a great ‘What if?’ tale if the question you ask is ‘What if the original Civil War never ended and was also far more depressing with loads more death?’. You don’t need to be reading Secret Wars to enjoy it, and the writing and art are both very solid. Check this out at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 7.5 SHRAs out of 10

Comic Review – Thors #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

Secret Wars continues to roll on, and this week I picked up the first issue of the Thors tie-in to the event, under the ‘Battleworld’ banner. Thor writer Jason Aaron continues on with this story, with Chris Sprouse on pencils, inks from Karl Story, colours by Marte Gracia and letters from Joe Sabino. It was published by Marvel Comics.

For those unfamiliar with Marvel’s summer event, Secret Wars takes place after the regular and Ultimate universes have collided. The resulting ‘Battleworld’ is an mismatch of different territories each with it’s own heroes, villains and borders, all ruled over by Victor Von Doom as their creator and god. To help him rule, Doom has the Thors – a police force made up entirely of worthy hammer-wielders. Hot shot Ultimate Thor ‘Thunderer Thorlief’ and his partner Beta Ray Thor have been called to a crime scene where they find a dead body. This is the fifth one found in a different fiefdom, and the investigation has been designated an ‘allthing’ – all hands on deck. The partners give out orders to various other Thors, including Storm and Groot (“I am Thor”) to chase up leads and find out the identities of the victims… or victim, as it turns out they are all the same person. A serial killer is murdering the same woman over and over again, and Thorlief and Beta Ray need to figure out who before anyone else dies, before Doom gets involved and they lose their jobs.

Jason Aaron was doing a great job on Thor, and I’m glad he has continued on with the series in a way through Secret Wars. Here he writes a gritty detective story where the cops are hammer wielding gods, played straight and complete with classic tropes such as a bar scene and a shady back alley informant. The setting seems completely alien to these characters, which is why it seems to work so well. The pencils from Sprouse use oppressive shots and angles that fit in perfectly with the detective elements, and the inks and colours from Story and Gracia add heavy shade and darkness to complete this for a great looking book.

Thors is a lot of fun, and a great addition to the Secret Wars world. Thor as a detective is the sort of mix up that shows the potential of the Battleworld setting really pay off. It isn’t necessary to read if you just want to stick to the main title, but neither is Secret Wars needed to enjoy this. This was great, check it out at your LCS or digitally.

Score: 8.5 Mjolnirs out of 10



The Lost Lighthouse: The Weekly Rapture 39 – Whatever, I Don’t Care

Welcome back to The Weekly Rapture, brought to you by The Lost Lighthouse.

This week we chat about Crimson Peak, Twin Peaks and the Peak District (not really), the footage for Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, terrible criticism about Marvel’s A-Force, and we discuss Simon Pegg’s comments about sci-fi, while Gary makes awful jokes about hawks and Adam doesn’t care.

Also this (spoilers for Game of Thrones Season 1-4) –

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If you have any thoughts. questions or opinions on anything this week you can as always get in touch through Facebook or on Twitter @lost_lighthouse, email us at or sound off in the ‘leave a reply’ box at the bottom of the podcast page on the website.

Comic Review – A-Force #1

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.

Another week, and the third Marvel review in a row. This week A-Force #1 came out, one of the first tie-ins to Marvel’s big summer event Secret Wars (review of issue #1 here), following some fairly ridiculous commentary that I will talk about later on. A-Force is written by Marguerite Bennett and G. Willow Wilson, with pencils by Jorge Molina, inks from Molina and Craig Yeung, colours by Laura Martin and Matt Milla and letters from VC’s Cory Petit.

Secret Wars started with the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe colliding, ending both universes and the multiverse itself.  From the second issue, it appears that this collision resulted in a reconfigured reality known as ‘Battleworld’ – a world ruled by Doctor Doom and divided into numerous regions, each presided over by a baron or baroness. One such fiefdom is Arcadia, the “feminist paradise” ruled by the baroness She-Hulk, who protects the area and it’s citizens with an all-female team of heroes called ‘A-Force’. When a Megalodon (giant prehistoric shark) attacks during a routine patrol, Captain Marvel leads Ms. America, Sister Grimm and Dazzler to deal with it before it harms any civilians on land. During the fight, the actions of one member of A-Force violates the border rules of Battleworld, bringing the punitive functions of the Thors, the enforcers of Doom’s absolute rule, to Arcadia. As She-Hulk struggles to fight against these laws she risks the safety of all of Arcadia, but the alternative is giving up one of their own to life imprisonment on ‘The Shield’.

SW Map.jpg

I was worried going in to some of the Secret Wars tie-ins that they would feel impenetrable to new readers, especially those looking to check out this female led book. The first issue of the main event did feel somewhat closed to those without any firm knowledge of the Marvel Universe, the second felt like more of a clean slate for the story. A-Force echoes the latter, with the basics of Battleworld covered in a summary on the fourth page (after a gorgeous double page splash of Carol Danvers leading her patrol in the skies over Arcadia), and each major player given the bare essential background early on in the issue (for example a green box stating ‘Jennifer Walters SHE-HULK. A-Force team leader. Baroness of Arcadia. Green’.). The writing is brisk, exceptionally tight and compelling, with each character (even the few I didn’t actually know or was more unfamiliar with) feeling fully realised and well rounded. Bennett and Wilson have a great handle on these characters, and the story at this point seems disconnected enough from Secret Wars to be self-contained, while still being shaped and informed by it. The art team of Molina, Yeung, Martin and Milla does a really nice job here too, bringing the superhero action to life and balancing the varied characters and colour palettes well. There is a vibrancy and enthusiasm, despite the dark undertones and cracks in Arcadia, that make this a real pleasure to read. And Captain Marvel punching a giant shark may be one of my favourite panels I’ve read all year.

A Force

Credit: Marvel Comics

I’d be remiss to not address the New Yorker piece about A-Force ‘Looking at Female Superheroes with 10-Year-Old Boys’ by Jill Lepore. In the article, she asks why the Marvel superheroes all look like pornstars (apparently she watches very niche porn where everyone wears spandex leotards, but fine), ignoring the variety of body shapes and characters that the comic presents. Instead she chooses to heavily criticise and rather than actually do any of her research, relies on the knee jerk reactions of two 10-year-olds and her own preconceptions of comics to undermine the importance of the book. The fact she both says that “Thor became female because he’s a Norse god and I guess he can be whatever he wants” and “Captain America became black” speaks to a lack of the most basic internet search that would indicate that neither of these statements are in fact correct, and has instead opted for the sensationalism response instead. The odd thing is that the article actually has a seemingly well researched section about DC Comics, William Moulton Marston and the creation of Wonder Woman.

I’ve not linked in the article, frankly because I don’t really want to give it any more clicks. I will link to G. Willow Wilson’s response, because she manages eloquently take the high road, without seeming angry (like I haven’t) and delivers an impassioned rebuttal. I’m rather fond of how she closes it out too:

“I have been a little cheeky thus far, so let me close by saying that I imagine Dr. Lepore and I want the same thing: better, more nuanced portrayals of women in pop culture. What I don’t understand is why someone in her position would, from her perch a thousand feet up in the ivory tower, take pot shots at those of us who are in the trenches, doing exactly that.”

I really enjoyed A-Force #1 and on top of following the series throughout Secret Wars, I hope that the series continues in some form after the Marvel Universe is put back together. Will you get more out of this if you’re up to date on Marvel, Secret Wars and all of these characters? Maybe. But even if you’re not, this is a great story with a well written cast of kick-ass, but just as importantly nuanced, characters. Did I mention Captain Marvel punches a giant shark? Buy this at your LCS or digital comics platform.

Score: 9 Megalodons out of 10