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Force Works #1: Review

Jul 1994
Dan Abnett, Tom Tenney

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Force Works #1 Review by (January 2, 2019)
This series will be jointly scripted by the British team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

This issue sports a wraparound cover cover of the team with a pop-up element on the front which shows them engulfed in Kree and prominently featuring Wonder Man. And the issue itself is a 48-pager.

Tom Tenney's art is angular and heavily-lined (unless that's inker Rey Garcia's contribution) with very strange faces. Not my cup of tea. But his battle scenes exude power and movement.

There's confusion in the timeline between the end of Avengers West Coast and the beginning of this series. The authors of this series also wrote AWC#102 and they obviously intended it to be a small gap. Indeed Iron Man tells Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman to meet him at the WCA Compound in 2 days time. AWC#102 takes place in the New York Avengers Mansion and the 2 women say they've just got her from NY. US Agent throws his costume and shield in the NY river at the end of AWC#102 and here he says he's just done that. IM meets Wonder Man at the Compound and tells him about the team disbanding, so that is probably meant to link directly into the opening here.

However the Marvel Chronology Project has to fit lots of other stuff in this area. Iron Man himself has to have his own #301-306 (1st half) and then he and some of our chars attend the wedding of Rick Jones and Marlo Chandler in Hulk #418 and the bachelor/bachelorette parties in #417. Meanwhile SpW and USA join 1 of the temporary Secret Defenders teams in SecDef#20-21, and USA is still in his old costume.

To get around some of these problems I have suggested to MCP that the end of AWC#102 (USA ditching his costume and IM meeting WM) be moved to just before this issue. However in SecDef Spw and USA are in California. We could say that SpW and ScW went back to NY for Hulk's wedding. But USA didn't attend that so it would be a mystery why he returned to NY before drowning his costume. And Tony Stark's "meet me in 2 days" goes the way of many time specifications.
Wonder Man comments on Scarlet Witch's new costume but he saw it in her mini-series even before the whole of AWC#102!

Vision was last seen in Avengers #372 where he wandered off for a bit. Black Widow, as chairman, stayed for the whole of #372-375 which ended the long-running Gatherers plotline with Black Knight and Sersi disappearing into the Malibu universe. She then popped into Captain America #430 to help him finish off the Americop section of his Fighting Chance storyline (where the Super-Soldier serum starts to kill him).

This issue tries to lead us into thinking that Iron Man is 1 of the Kree's 2 targets along with an unspecified East Coast Avenger. But AWC#102 actually told us that it is Wonder Man and Vision.

The Kree have been captured and imprisoned in the Vault but they'll be back for #12-14. The Recorder will stay with Force Works until then, when he'll return his allegiance to the Kree and be destroyed. We never learn who programmed the Recorder, including the false information that WM and Vision are the prime culprits for the destruction of Hala. The online Unofficial Marvel Appendix suggests that it was the Kree Supreme Intelligence.

The Scatter will obviously be in next issue.

Wonder Man's ions have been scattered but Scarlet Witch will be able to reform him in early issues of Avengers (1998).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Force Works #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
At the end of Avengers West Coast #102 we saw some Kree observing the Avengers from an orbiting spacecraft. Now we revisit that cloaked ship, the Retribution, and meet Rigellian Recorder RE-404 who introduces us to Major Kalum Lo and Bo'sun Stug Bar of the Starstealth cadre. They detect 1 of their targets in the New York Avengers Mansion and the other wandering around Los Angeles, but are waiting for both to be in the same place.

Simon Williams arrives with Iron Man at the ruins of the AWC Compound bemoaning the fact that the East Coast team fired the West Coasters in his absence (AWC#102 again). Tony Stark protests that they *quit* (although he wasn't actually *on* the team at the time). They are greeted by Scarlet Witch and Spider-Woman here for a meeting Stark invited them too (AWC#102 yet again). In the Conference Room they find John Walker waiting for them in civvies, explaining that he threw his U.S. Agent costume and shield away (you guessed it ... AWC#102). Simon comments on Wanda Maximoff's new costume (actually adopted in Marvel Comics Presents #143-144 and her 1st mini-series before AWC#102).

Tony thinks it's time for a new team to defend Earth against increasing Galactic threats, to act proactively and do what's necessary without some of the Avengers' scruples. And he invites them all to be that team. Wanda wants time to adjust after Mockingbird's death (AWC#100) and Hawkeye dropping out of contact (after AWC#101). US Agent is also not sure but Wonder Man is gung-ho and Spider-Woman's a definite maybe

The Kree now track 1 of their targets moving from Palos Verdes to Ventura and then he disappears from their scanner. He must have entered a screened location.

Tony Stark has brought his guests to a facility he calls The Works (which apparently he named just so that he could tell people a project was 'in the works'). It used to be used for classified R&D but he's offering it as Force Works HQ. It's a smart building run by an AI P.L.A.T.O. (Piezo-electrical Logistic Analytic Tactical Operator, similar to Stark Enterprise's HOMER introduced in Iron Man #298). PLATO appears as a wire-frame hologram and shows them a virtual schematic of the base including the Vroom Room virtual reality training area (like the X-Men's Danger Room).

Walker is suspicious of Stark's motives but Tony disarms him by saying that he wants Scarlet Witch to continue as team leader. Iron Man will be part of the team and Stark's money will finance it (presumably not via the independent Maria Stark Foundation which funds the Avengers). He also apologises to them for pretending to be dead (IM#284-289), a move which cost him the friendship of Jim Rhodes (which also explains why War Machine is the only West Coast Avengers member not to be asked to carry forward from #102).

Wonder Man repeats that he's in, and follows PLATO's directions to the comm-centre to send the Avengers a resignation. Tony takes the other 3 to their living quarters to make up their minds.

Julia Carpenter's room is child-friendly, and her daughter Rachel and nanny Consuela can be accommodated in the building too. So Spider-Woman tells Tony she'll join the team and goes to arrange for her 'family' to come here.

Stark moves on to persuade Wanda to sign up. But he's wasting his breath because she's already decided the answer's yes. So he gives her her 1st leadership challenge, convincing US Agent.

John Walker is examining the totally redesigned costume he's been given, and a hi-tech photon shield to replace his Captain America replica. But he's still convinced he wants out of the superhero business. He's tired of being a bad copy of Cap. But Scarlet Witch talks him up. Apparently he'd been supervising her physical training in the Avengers, and she needs his military discipline to give the new team backbone. So his resolve crumbles.

Simon and Wanda will go back to the WCA Compound to pick up the team's personal effects. Iron Man gives them tags so PLATO can keep track of them, and shows them the new Hex-Ships the team will use. He himself heads to New York to inform the Avengers of his new team. Up in space the Kree detect that 1 of their targets is heading towards the other.

ScW and WM land their Hex-Ship at the Palos Verdes Compound and find an Avengers quinjet already there. Inside they discover Black Widow and Vision downloading info from the mainframe (before presumably destroying it for security reasons). WM and Vision get into an argument, ostensibly because the Avengers didn't contact him about breaking the West Coasters up. (But probably grounded in Vision being a copy of Simon, and them both (at some time) loving Wanda.)

Typically the argument is stopped from reaching a conclusion by an attack by Kree soldiers. Wonder Man punches 1 of them through their landing craft, which promptly crashes and explodes. Major Lo contacts his ship and Bo'sun Bar fires an ion cannon which only affects Vision and Wonder Man. WM recognises 1 of the attackers as a Rigellian Recorder who claims to have been caught in the destruction of the Kree capital planet Hala (Operation: Galactic Storm) and was programmed by someone unknown to tell the surviving Kree that Simon and Vision were the main culprits of that destruction. The ion cannon has been specifically designed (from a blueprint in the Recorder's memory) to cause a meltdown of Vision's system and an overload in WM's ionic body which combined will destroy the Earth.

Meanwhile Black Widow has been taken out of the fight and Scarlet Witch stands alone. Until Spider-Woman and US Agent arrive to even the odds a bit. And Wonder Man has left for space to avoid killing the planet. He heads for the Kree spaceship, battles through weapons fire and crew and reaches the controls of the ion cannon.

Scarlet Witch's hex causes a dozen Kree soldiers' power packs to simultaneously explode. But when the smoke clears a totally different alien figure stands there, who doesn't know where he is. The remaining Kree open fire, including on the newcomer who fights back with great effect. He introduces himself as Century, but his name is all he knows. Iron Man also turns up, and the fight is soon over.

Vision is recovering and deduces that Wonder Man has switched the ion cannon off. He relates the Recorder's claim about the danger to Earth. The Recorder itself has somehow got back to the Kree ship and found Simon Williams. But they see a group of objects come through a hole in space and smash through the ship at high velocity. Recorder says that they've ruptured the ion cannon's power source. It will explode in 12 seconds and devastate the Earth unless WM gets it more than 300 kilometres away. He watches as Simon flies off with it.

The Avengers see the explosion from the ground. But they also see surviving cosmic objects crashing to the ground nearby. As the pods crack open Century gets a bit more memory back - he recognises the occupants as the Scatter. The armoured insectile aliens drag Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman and US Agent into the pods which then disappear.

And the Recorder joins Iron Man and Century to tell them that Wonder Man is no more.

Tom Tenney
Rey Garcia
Joe Rosas
Tom Tenney (Cover Penciler)
Rey Garcia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Jack Morelli.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Tom DeFalco.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
U.S. Agent
U.S. Agent

(John Walker)

Plus: Century, Kalum Lo, P.L.A.T.O., Recorder RE-404, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Stug Bar.

> Force Works: Book info and issue index

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