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Force Works #18: Review

Dec 1995
Andy Lanning, Yvel Guichet

Story Name:

Welcome to Nowhere

Review & Comments

Rating:
3 stars

Force Works #18 Review by (April 18, 2012)
These Comment blocks are in reverse order.

When the secret sub-basement was discovered in #15, via Century's teleportation ability, it was specifically noted that it had no door, so teleportation was the only way in, adding to its mystery. The editors have obviously forgotten this, because Amanda gets there by elevator. U.S.Agent and Century saw the Timely Industries logo in the sub-basement in #15. The logo also cropped up in War Machine #18. But the Timely Industries I know of in Marvel reality was founded by Kang in Wisconsin in 1901 (as explained in Avengers Annual #21), not by Stark in 2009. I think the editors/writers of the crossover missed a trick here. In Avengers Annual #21 Kang said he created Timely to introduce advanced technology to Earth to prepare the way for a takeover in the 21st Century. This didn't make much sense. In #19 Kang will say that his enemy has struck some years earlier than he expected. Instead of Stark getting tech from the future, the crossover could have had Kang feeding future tech since 1901 to prepare for *this* conflict. Amanda has never heard of Timely Industries. Neither had Hawkeye in War Machine #18. (In Force Works #15 U.S.Agent merely wondered why Stark was using equipment from someone other than Stark Enterprises.) This could indicate that the early Timely Industries has been removed from current reality, as Vietnam has. But this is another aspect of this crossover that is never explained. Strike Team Decimal Four strikes in War Machine #21, the next issue in the crossover.

Apocryphus is one of Kang's Anachronauts, as introduced in the Citizen Kang crossover, specifically Fantastic Four Annual #25. One of the silhouetted figures with him looks like Deathunt 9000, another Anachronaut, who will pop up in War Machine #21. Apocryphus was probably the man who found Kim last issue. It is possible that other shadowy figures in these 2 issues are other members of the original Anachronauts. None of the other Anachronauts take part in the attack this issue, nor the attack in Avengers: The Crossing. But #19 will reveal that the attack squad are all part of Kang's growing Anachronaut army. An army which Kim seems destined to join. The original Anachronauts were last seen in a backup story in Avengers Annual #22, where they were working for Terminatrix, who they knew was pretending to be the then-'dead' Kang. An epilogue to Avengers: Terminatrix Objective showed Terminatrix and the revived Kang later ruling together, presumably still served by the Anachronauts. This will be confirmed by Avengers Forever, until Terminatrix and Anachronauts die in Avengers Forever #3. The obvious way to include the Apocryphus and Deathunt in that sequence is in the published order, between Terminatrix Objective and Avengers Forever. But see my comments on Avengers #393 for an alternative suggestion. Gustav Brandt was Libra of the criminal gang Zodiac, supposedly dead since West Coast Avengers #26. He was the father of Mantis, who we have already seen in Avengers #392 as one of the villains behind this crossover. He was trained by the Priests of Pama in Agaphaur, who later also trained Mantis.

This issue is part of the Crossing crossover, continuing directly from Iron Man #322. Iron Man may not actually appear in this issue. But he is probably the shadowed man who sends the Strike Team against Hawkeye, after getting permission from Kang or Mantis. A clue to support this is that the man appears to have fingers encased in red armour. Also, he knows of the presence of Hawkeye, U.S.Agent and an unidentified other, but not Black Widow, which is exactly the information he would have got from Cybermancer. His control room here appears to be the same as that of Iron Man's Arctic bunker in Iron Man #324. Plus the Marvel Comics and Comic Vine Databases list Iron Man as a character in the issue. However on the minus side, Force Works isn't yet documented in the Official Index to the Marvel Universe, but the relevant entries in Iron Man's Index don't indicate that he made a between-issues appearance in this issue. The only alternative candidate I have is Deathunt 9000 of Kang's Anachronauts. Deathunt leads Strike Team Decimal Four in War Machine #21. But his fingers aren't armoured. And his appearance in a technological hideaway on Earth might clash with his possible silhouetted appearance in the 'alternate Vietnam' mentioned below. The premature disclosure that the villains fear is presumably that the presence of Deathunt with the Strike Team in War Machine #21 will point to Kang's involvement. I don't know why the place Force Works are in isn't like Vietnam. Vietnam has been removed from Earth, so it would make sense that it has been brought here, as the temple of Agaphaur has. Next issue suggests that I am right.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Force Works #18 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This part of the Crossing crossover continues from IRON MAN #322.

Scarlet Witch, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), Moonraker and technician/pilot Fisher Todd have crashed their jet while investigating why Vietnam has disappeared. The country has more than just vanished, as only Moonraker remembers it existed. Now they are here, all contact with the outside world has been cut.

The team explore, including heavily-armed Fisher. This place is different from Moonraker's memories of Vietnam, and they detect temporal energy. But they find the temple of Agaphaur, which belongs in Vietnam.

They are attacked by Apocryphus, and the attack squad from Avengers #391. Fisher gets separated from the rest, and comes across the Vietnamese boy Kim who fell into this place last issue. Kim mutates into a superbeing, and his guard describes him as an 'alpha-level candidate'.

Moonraker reveals himself as Gustav Brandt, saying that Slade Truman/Moonraker was a protective disguise woven by the Priests (of Pama).

Meanwhile Force Works' public relations officer Amanda Chaney is holding the fort with new recruit Cybermancer, and Julia's daughter Rachel. She takes Cybermancer to task for letting U.S.Agent and an unknown armoured helper make off with Hawkeye's unconscious body in War Machine #20. (No-one knows U.S.Agent's ally was War Machine in his new Warwear armour.) She also can't understand why the rest of the team flew to a non-existent country called Vietnam.

Cybermancer contacts Iron Man.

Rachel says Vietnam is real, but then can't find it in her reference books. She tries to convince Amanda that strange things are happening, similar to those we saw happening to her mother in #16. Also that Moonraker only existed since #16, while everyone else acts as though he's been around for months. Amanda realises that she can't really remember him from earlier either. (My timeline means I have to ignore Rachel's comment that Moonraker only appeared 'yesterday'. It was about a week ago.)

While searching the system for other irregularities, Amanda finds temporal radiation, and also the existence of the sub-basement that U.S.Agent and Century discovered in #15. She goes to this basement, and finds that it has its own computer system Virgil, separate from the one Plato that runs the rest of the HQ. Virgil tells her he has chronography manipulation technology from Timely Industries, founded in Wisconsin by Tony Stark in 2009 (which at this point was in the future).

Meanwhile also, Hawkeye, U.S.Agent and War Machine have a meeting with Black Widow, arranged in Iron Man #322, to discuss why Iron Man seemingly framed Hawkeye last issue for the murders of Marilla and Rita DeMara in Avengers: The Crossing.

A man in a technological retreat has located Hawkeye and friends. He gets permission to send Strike Team Decimal Four to kill them, despite this revealing things prematurely.

The Crossing continues in WAR MACHINE (1994) #21.

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> Force Works: Book info and issue index

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Yvel Guichet
Rey Garcia
Ian Laughlin
Yvel Guichet (Cover Penciler)
Rey Garcia (Cover Inker)
Letterer: Jack Morelli.
Editor: Nel Yomtov.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Hawkeye
Hawkeye

(Clint Barton)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)

Plus: Amanda Chaney, Apocryphus, Cybermancer, Fisher Todd, Moonraker, Rachel Carpenter, Spider-Woman (Julia Carpenter), U.S. Agent, War Machine (James Rhodes).