Remember when the members of the Avengers West Coast quit the Avengers and formed their own team named Force Works? No? That’s okay, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, and the rest don’t remember either. Or at least they don’t talk about it anymore.
For anyone who doesn’t know, Force Works was a Marvel series published between 1994 and 1996. I’m sure many fans don’t even remember the series existed, and I can’t say I blame them since Force Works barely made it to issue #22. However, the book is notable for a couple of reasons:
1. Force Works was one of the first major American titles helmed by writers Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.
2. The Force Works comic led to a syndicated Iron Man cartoon, part of the “Marvel Action Hour,” and it featured many members of the team.
Anyways, I was really excited when Force Works #1 hit the stands in 1994. Not only did Force Works star one of my favorite heroes at the time (Iron Man), but the book promised to shake things up for the characters. But above anything else, I was just glad to see an Avengers book without Captain America.
The cover Issue #1 featured a fold out panel of… something, I think it was the villains but I’m not sure. What I do remember is that I was able to fold it out once, but wasn’t successful in folding it back in, which deformed the comic for all eternity. This was clearly not a good way to start.
The rest of the book was your basic first issue where the team forms, they get an HQ, and go off on their first mission. The story picks up after the final Avengers West Coast issue where the West Coast Avengers disbanded over a disagreement with the East Coast team. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning did a good job bringing you up to speed on past events and setting up the new team with some elements that stood out. I liked the idea of having the Force Works base inside a mountain overlooking a waterfall. I also thought the Hex ships were cooler than the Avengers’ Quinjet.
The art for Force Works #1 was provided by Tom Tenney. His art is different to say the least. For some reason, every man shown in this issue looks the same with lots of veins, odd upper lip, and elongated necks. However, I thought Tenney’s Iron Man was amazing, as were his versions of Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman. But I have no idea how Wanda’s costume stayed on during battles.
By the end of issue #1, Force Works find themselves battling an invading Kree armada. The are looking for Wonder Man and the Vision because they hold them responsible for the destruction of the Kree home world of Hala. Wonder Man flies toward the orbiting Kree ship to… punch it I guess.
Meanwhile Scarlet Witch decides to buy the heroes some time by scrambling the probability of the situation with her hex magic, and in doing so brings a new character onto the scene.
No, that’s not Steven Tyler. This guy’s name is Century! Yeah… I don’t know why they call him that. Anwyho, Wonder Man destroyed the orbital Ion Cannon but faced with the weapon’s imminent explosion, flies the cannon out to a safe distance only to get caught in the blast.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, the explosion also sent a few pods crashing toward the Earth. Inside, Century discovers beings he calls “The Scatter”, who quickly teleport away with Scarlet Witch, U.S. Agent, and Spider-Woman. Leaving Iron Man, the Kree Recorder, Century, Vision, and an unconscious Black Widow behind.
Although Force Works #1 is not a perfect comic, it did make me want to buy the next issue. In fact, I collected all 22 issues of the series, and it wasn’t bad. Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning wrote the entire series, so that was good. The main problem I think were the constant art changes.
Tom Tenney was gone after issue #3, Paul Ryan did a fill in issue, and he was followed by Dave Taylor. Despite being announced as the ongoing artist, Taylor didn’t come back after his first couple of “fill-in” issues. Taylor was followed by Jim Calafiore, Dave Ross, Jimmy Cheung, and at least three other artists. It was just too many changes for a series that lasted only 22 issues.