Friday, May 06, 2005

FORCE WORKS #3 Marvel Comics, 1994



Force Works was an Avengers spin-off created by writing team Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning that never took off, primarily because it blows.

See if this sounds familiar: Some heroes from Earth's main super-team get frustrated with the way things are done in the big leagues, so they break off into a splinter group that plays by its own rules. Operating out of a base full of mysterious technology, our new hero team consists of a couple of "star" heroes, a couple of heroes nobody cares about or has ever heard of, and the team asshole. They pick a stupid name and embark on a series of "radical" adventures before they are cancelled after around twenty issues. Yes, Force Works is basically the Marvel version of Extreme Justice.

You know, I don't even want to get into criticizing Force Works in terms of story or concept. It just didn't work for me. I usually like Abnett & Lanning's stuff - their recent run on Legion of Super-Heroes was awesome - so they get a free pass. Let's just say that the entire series didn't work for me, particularly because of the rotating artists on the book. Force Works was sort of a weak idea, but the inconsistent art didn't help.

Tom Tenney pencilled the first four issues before he was replaced, and I can see why he was swapped out. The art in this comic book is absolutely ghastly.

A charitable take on the art in Force Works is that Tenney is actually a really bold artist who was trying something new with his work, and people just weren't ready for it. Either that, or I missed the issue where everybody gets a dose of Smilex. Seriously, the art is bad. All the male characters in this book look like grinning, cadaverous freaks.

Behold the psychedelically hideous art of Force Works:



Ladies and gentlemen, the beat poetry of Zombie Tony Stark.

The entire book is like that. I don't even know what to say - art like this completely destroys the story. You can't even focus on what's going on. It's like, "I think they're fighting aliens b-but - why does Iron Man look like that?!!" Tenney draws women slightly better - if you think women should all have long Gandalf eyebrows, that is. Still, they fare better than the male characters in the book, who all look like The Red Skull.

You want more? Check out US Agent, below. What the fuck is up with his mouth? Whose teeth look like that?



I think he should be yelling "Face melt!" I mean, he looks like Bill the Cat. That's a deal-breaker - no crazy-eyed Bill the Cat heroes for me, thank you.

20 comments:

Ian said...

I believe Force Works took place in Ventura, CA. No comment on if the team decided to quit and just start a bunch of blogs about comic books.

Anonymous said...

It's both a comic-book title and a philosophical statement.

Shane Bailey said...

Hey! It's Zombie heroes. The (should have been) dead hereos band together to fight the evil that lead them to their graves!

You keep making me laugh out loud when reading your blog. Which really jeapordizes my job here at work because I should be, you know...working.

Greg said...

I'll tell you what's sad. I actually enjoyed Abnett and Lanning's take on Fate. Not great, but okay. Am I the only one?

You have waaaay too many crappy comics (says the man who just said he likes Fate).

Steve Mohundro said...

Force Works later was lampooned/homaged/referenced by the "Work Force" team in the early LSH reboot era (1994 or so). Before Abnett and Lanning, of course.

DHuber said...

Just found this blog -- and it made this former 70s-80s comic collector's day! I was laughing my arse off at your Force Works critique. Dead on the mark, man. Keep up the great work!

G. Bob said...

Of course, comics might have gotten smarter than Force Works but I'm not sure if they got any better. At least things blew up in that comic. Now it would be six issues of zombie Iron Man getting a team together than a two panel fight scene. You know, it's what the kids are into today.

Anonymous said...

It was a dire time when every other superhero book not from Image was obviously going for the Liefield and Such look. Like DC's Extreme Justice, and more than a few Marvel titles like Punisher and such and it seemed more small press superhero team books than you could shake a stick at.

And one thing that happened a lot was you'd see people with tiny chiclet teeth like US Agent there, way too many of them. Especially odd to see when they're drawn all clenched together.

RTO Trainer said...

You bought #3? Ye Gods! I stopped at #2.

Mark Hale said...

I had way too many issues of Force Works. I'm not even sure what happened to them. Quite possibly I threw them in the trash.

I had a friend in high school who hated Force Works and every associated with it. Why? He loved Wonderman and they offed ol' Simon in the first issue. My friend ran for the comfort of Image Comics and never looked back. Sad story, really.

And how about that ship that ran on Wanda's Chaos Magic Hex Power, huh? Ye gods.

Anonymous said...

I think Wonder Man died in the issue where everyone gets the flesh-eating virus.

Chad Parenteau said...

RTO bought 1 and 2? Kee-rist! I stopped at the comic rack in the convenience store!!!

(I know someone out there replying "You saw this in a regular store?!?"

David Campbell said...

I, um, actually bought #4, too.

Woody! said...

One of the funny side things I remember from this title was an ad from DC poo-pooing this title. "Without Justice, Force Never Works." I know, brilliant. And that ad was for Extreme Justice.

I felt like Paul Harvey there. I wanted to slip in a "Page 2" before I wrapped up my dull story.

Adam Reck said...

On the art - looks like an early incarnation of Jae Lee's original horrific styling.

David Campbell said...

It does, doesn't it? It's sort of a hybrid of Jae Lee, Jim Calfiore, and poo.

Dan Coyle said...

Wonder Man died in the first issue- and IIRC, Marvel had a whole big thing where they were killing off and canceling one of their character's titles at that time and giving out a fake solicitation, al la the Ultraverse's Exiles. Of course, at the time Marvel had a metric fuckload of titles nobody read or cared about, so...

Martin said...

Also, the perspective on US Agent's mouth is all wrong, and what's he doing with his tongue? Can normal people do that?

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