cloudguy's Strikeforce #1 review

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Marvel tries to pull off a Memento style story!

It’s been a while since I last posted anything, so, with it now being 2020, I figured it would be a great time to start taking my blogging/reviewing a little more seriously. Normally, this sort of comic wouldn't really interest me, but the fact it stars two of my favourite LGBTQ characters, Angela & Wiccan grabbed my attention.

Writer Tini Howard does a great job of establishing our ensemble cast of colourful characters, although some do have a more prominent role compared to others. Bucky, Spider-Woman and Spectrum take the backseat this issue; however, it’s not necessarily a bad thing as characters that don’t often get the spotlight are the forefront of the issue. But, that’s the problem with an ensemble cast, some characters have to be side-lined.

Like any first issue, it needs to set up its characters, story and villains. However, we're thrown into the story halfway through a plot beat and most of the issue plays catch-up, trying to explain what's going on and set up half a dozen different plot threads. And it's not subtle, most of the story is exposition as to who the villains are or might be, what they’re capable of or how they got to Earth. Hell, they’re not even that original, they’re just knock-offs of something we’ve seen hundreds of times but with a mystical element instead of sci-fi. It’s even acknowledged in the story.

The story uses ideas from the film Momento, where a major plot point has already happened and they need to work backwards to find out what happened. Normally this would intrigue me, but with some of the powerhouses on the team, especially Wiccan, who, if you read Tini Howard's Death's Head comic, can view other timelines and see what's possible. Which leads to the question, why can't he just view the past? It can't be that hard for him?

Now, I can't say that I know Howard's best work, but she seems to be in her element here; feeling as if she knows where the story is going and setting up plot points which will eventually be revealed later down the line. Something that she didn’t do very well during her Death’s Head run, since most of the plot threads didn't lead anywhere exciting or changed the story.

Germán Peralta’s art personally isn’t the strongest, but suits the mystery-horror vibe of the issue. Peralta’s art lands in the weird middle ground between detailed and lacklustre, Environments are dull and boring, mainly hidden away by the overabundance of single colours that fill panels; characters are lifeless and expressionless, unable to change facial expression. However, Jordie Bellaire’s colours bring the art to life, with vibrant blues and reds that make you feel part of the environment, although becomes tedious by the end of the issue.

The panelling in this issue is all over the place, with an average of six cluttered panels per page, slowing down the natural reading flow, even if it is easy to follow. Whether this is down to the overabundance of expository dialogue or just trying to convey too much information at once, it becomes overwhelming to look at a page.

Strikeforce didn’t have the strongest start, but it has potential if it sticks to the mystery element that it’s building. Based on the afterword by Howard, it seems she's going to be leaning towards the use of the Capgras Delusion to break the natural trust heroes seem to have each other for better or worse.


First posted on my personal blog on 05/01/2020

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