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Force Works #12: Review

Jun 1995
Andy Lanning, Jim Calafiore

Story Name:

Green fire

Review & Comments

4 stars

Force Works #12 Review by (April 30, 2019)
This is a flip book. The story in the back features the Brothers In Arms, ie Hawkeye, US Agent and War Machine. The 3-part story Vicious Circle is continued in the back of flip books WM#15 and Iron Man #317.

The main story continues to be scripted by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

The Program was introduced in WM#14. There it was claimed that it was created for the Slorenes by WM's foe Locomotive Breath. It also said there that LB created Black Brigade's armour, but here it says it was the Soviets. That issue also introduced the Targoth and rebirthed Ember.

Ember, Black Brigade and the Targoth will be reported killed by Ultron in Avengers (1998) #20. But Volkhvy doesn't get another mention.

The Kree's plan will go into action next issue.

But before then Iron Man joins Nick Fury and his son Mikel (the latest Scorpio) in Fury Of SHIELD #1-3.

In the shorter backup:-

San Revilla is made up just for this story. So are Striker, Sundance, Hazzerd and Troubleshooter.

War Machine goes on this mission after returning from Slorenia in WM#14 but before Nick Fury comes to talk about Sheva Joseph and the trouble in Chile at the very end of that issue, which leads into the story starting in WM#15.

US Agent is here after Force Works' latest foray into Slorenia in FW#11-12, following on from WM's visit there in WM#14.

Hawkeye hasn't been seen since his 'visit' to FW's Xmas party in FW#8. But he continues to be a recurring char in the interconnected FW group of titles (FW, IM and WM).


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Force Works #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Force Works came to Slorenia undercover to investigate reports of Slorene genocide against the minority Dudaks. Disguised Scarlet Witch and U.S. Agent allowed themselves to be captured among Dudaks by the genetically-modified Targoth. But on the way to their fate the trucks were attacked by the reborn mythic Dudak hero Ember who lays waste to the opposition.

Wanda Maximoff
and Jack Daniels saw Ember die (#5), but their companion Dudak aid worker Dr Irena Renko tells them the immortal champion can't die. The heroes doff their disguises and leap into the fray to try to talk the berserker down. But he breaks through the fence into the Parliament compound. And our duo follow him as he smashes his way through more troops. The other Dudaks flee but Dr Renko enters the break in the fence, unaware that she is being filmed by a hovering camera.

Meanwhile outside the Parliament building Iron Man is fighting Black Brigade and his robot Drones. Wanda reports that they have witnessed the Targoth in action, and Tony Stark now feels justified in not holding back against BB.

On board Force Works' hex-ship Pegasus high above the robot Recorder RE-404 is revelling in the sights that the camera drones are sending him. He was built to record stuff, and he has decided to record heroism - in particular that of FW. But before launching the drones last issue he KO'd Century to stop him interfering. And the enigmatic alien is beginning to recover.

Spider-Woman is also recovering from being slugged during her reconnaissance of the deep basement below the Parliament. Her attacker introduces himself as Volkvhy, eternal champion of the Slorenes. Julia Carpenter is shackled in a pod, as are many Dudaks. Volkvhy explains that this machine is the Program which will drain their life energy to feed him. It also gives him the power to transform other Dudaks into the Targoth, who are used to attack their own people. It will also give him the power to defeat his opposite number Ember.

Volkvhy turns on the juice, and Spider-Woman screams along with the Dudaks. But Ember smashes through the wall, and the 2 mythic heroes clash. ScW and USA follow on to deal with any Targoth and scientists. Wanda frees SpW and then she and Dr Renko free the Dudak prisoners. Renko and USA take SpW and Dudaks to the surface while ScW stays to destroy the Program.

On Pegasus Century awakes and asks Recorder why he knocked him out. The robot says it was to prevent him going to help the others. Worse odds = more danger = more heroism. And then he hits him again. But Century shrugs it off this time and warns him to say his orisons/votive offerings/prayers [typical alien Century-speak].

Iron Man has Black Brigade down and asks for his surrender. Brigade refuses with bluster/bravado. [Help, I've been infected by Century!] So IM rips the central processor out of BB's armour. However it turns out Brigade's Soviet creators had made him dependent on his armour for life-support, and now he's dying. [We saw a similar thing recently with Cold Warrior in War Machine #7.] So Tony Stark tries desperately to reconnect his system and save his foe.

Ember and Volkvhy are offering each other no such quarter. USA and Renko seem to have returned from their mission and are trying to help Wanda figure out the Program's controls. Irena can only recognise the On switch. But Ember now has Volkvhy on the ropes. He grasps his foe's skull and drains all the energy out of his body. But Dr Renko says this kind of thing has happened many times over the centuries of Slorene/Dudak conflict. Last time Volkvhy won and since then the Slorenes have ruled the Dudaks with an iron fist. Now the Dudaks will be the oppressors until Vokvhy wins again.

Wanda tries to contact the man Pavel Chenklo inside Ember, who sacrificed himself in #5 to end the champion's rampage. But Ember says there is no-one here but himself, and blasts all 3 (and Spider-Woman who seems to have returned too).

Century and Recorder are fighting in the hex-ship. Recorder claims the alien is making him miss all the best bits. Century uses the axe-blade on his staff Parallax to chop the robot's head off. Then he uses Parallax to transport himself to the ground.

Ember plans to feed off the energy of his 4 victims. Iron Man smashes in only to become victim #5. But then Century ports in behind him and hurls him into the Program's pod-bank. SpW holds him there with her psi-web. USA directs his shield's photon energy to hit the On button. The Program absorbs all the accumulated energy from Ember, and then blows its top. Our heroes hurriedly escape.

News reports claim that an earthquake destroyed the Slorenian Parliament building, and much of the city centre. Force Works is helping with the rescue work. Both sides of the Civil War have laid down their arms. Dr Renko is leading an interim government.

Force Works are on their way home in Pegasus. Tony apologises to Wanda for overruling her when she wanted the team to stay in Slorenia last time (#5) because she thought the trouble wasn't over. He says Black Brigade is in hospital and he's going to provide assistance in freeing the guy from his armour. He also hopes to find out why Recorder did what he did. But meanwhile Wanda suggests they put the robot's parts in the Vault.

In the Vault prison, in the BEM wing where they incarcerate aliens, we find the Kree Starstealth members Kalum Lo and Stug Bar. Major Lo tells his Bo'sun that he has a plan.

Story 2:- Vicious circle part 1: Into the shadows

Writer Dan Abnett. Pencils Fred Haynes. Inks Johnny Greene. Letters Jack Morelli. Colours Ben Sean.
Flip cover pencils Fred Haynes. Inks Johnny Greene.

War Machine flies under the radar in to San Revilla in Central America, but still runs into some government troops and tanks. Their advanced weaponry suggests that rumoured US backing might be true. He temporarily blinds the men with his uni-beam and destroys the tanks before continuing onwards to a field hospital to locate Rebecca Bergier's brother Luke, a freelance photo-journalist.

Luke Bergier
relates to James Rhodes how he and his fiancée Cindy were waiting at a government airstrip for a Red Cross flight to take them out of the country when a ghost-like group called the Shadows appeared out of nowhere and attacked everyone. Luke was injured and Cindy is dead. He gives Jim his camera which has photos of the attack. Rhodey takes them to his makeshift base in an abandoned motel and studies the photos. The attackers are only semi-visible as Luke described them, but he thinks he recognises 1 of them.

And in California U.S. Agent gets a call from his old bosses the Commission On Superhuman Activities appealing to his patriotic duty to go on a mission.

Rhodes monitors radio traffic and hears that the next Shadows attack is happening at a government fuel dump at Vitidos. War Machine gets there to find some standard Shadows troopers plus 2 guys called Striker and Sundance.

Meanwhile in the capital Ciudad Revilla the Advisor (see War Machine #1-4) introduces to the assembled Generals costumed Hazzerd and Troubleshooter, freelancers recommended by the US Government. And an extra body US Agent.

In Vitidos (super?) tough guy Striker can't stand up to WM's armoured fists. Sundance has a bit more luck with solid light that Rhodey deduces is generated by an apparatus on his chest. Jim also deduces that it is Sundance who provides the Shadows with their partial invisibility. He tries to punch the mechanism but is blocked by a solid light shield. So he just blasts his foe backwards with repulsor rays.

Sundance's control fails and the Shadows become visible. And Rhodey gets confirmation of what he feared from the photos - 1 of them is Hawkeye.

Continued in the back of WAR MACHINE #15.

Jim Calafiore
Rey Garcia
Joe Rosas
Jim Calafiore (Cover Penciler)
Rey Garcia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Jack Morelli.
Editor: Nel Yomtov. Editor-in-chief: Mark Gruenwald.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
War Machine
War Machine

(James Rhodes)

Plus: Advisor, Black Brigade, Century, Ember, Hazzerd, Kalum Lo, Recorder RE-404, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Striker (of Shadows), Stug Bar, Sundance, Targoth, Troubleshooter, U.S. Agent (John Walker), Volkvhy.

> Force Works: Book info and issue index

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