Take one look at the cover by Carlos Gomez and Dean White and tell me 2020 Force Works isn’t going to be the hotness. If you’re a longtime Marvel Comics reader, you probably love when you see an odd assortment of characters come together on a new team. Quake, Mockingbird, U.S. Agent, and War Machine is a solid grouping and in this first issue, Matthew Rosenberg and Juanan Ramirez aim to prove it’s a team worth reading.
Giving away the full team is taking a bit of the fun away, but they’re on the cover so it’s not much of a spoiler. Know that Rosenberg does a good job weaving each character into the narrative in logical and earned ways. They aren’t forced to work together necessarily, and that makes the dynamics all the more interesting. The book weaves its way into the Iron Man 2020 narrative but really isn’t so closely tied that you can’t dive right in. Robots are being hunted–they are the enemy of all humans now–and there’s a lot of fight in them in humans to end the war.
Generally speaking, each character has a good setup save for those who are outliers and likely have their own secret missions to be revealed later. Each character gets plenty to do and say and they even get to fight with each other for a bit. This isn’t a slow burn story in the slightest, with three major scenes and three different battles taking place.
Ramirez and color artist Federico Blee do a great job when it comes to machines and armor. War Machine looks fantastic in his opening scene, for instance, and the final sequence has some machinery of its own kind to enjoy. No matter what, the art has a dynamic quality that brings a lot of energy into the book. There are at least three instances where a single panel could have been opened up to be a double or full-page splash and that’s usually a good marker that the book is doing things right. I particularly liked how Ramirez draws backgrounds in the jungle scene as they are these silhouettes of green and yellow that give the scenes an eerie feel. Blee’s colors are part of that and again, Blee really lights things up in interesting ways, like the shine of bullets hitting U.S. Agents shield or the fire burning in the wreckage.
The biggest weakness of this book might be how it’s tied to Iron Man 2020 at all. The premise is rather basic and hasn’t quite found its footing as far as these characters having a personal connection to the war at hand goes. Characters certainly want to prove themselves, but they aren’t tethered to the conflict in meaningful ways. That might be due to the lack of a main bad guy, but I suspect we’ll get one soon enough.
This is a fun action and adventure comic with plenty of fast-moving action visuals to satiate even the biggest Schwarzenegger fan. Once again I’m pleasantly surprised to find tie-ins to a mini-event being this damn good.