Bio-terror, body-snatching action horror is on order in Strikeforce #1, out this week from Marvel Comics.
While we open the story with The Avengers, the action quickly shifts away from them to focus on our new team who, as the publisher explains, “fight the fights that no other Marvel team can take on.” That’s certainly one way to put it, as our heroes are tangling with a new foe originating from off-world, and familiar to only one member of the crew.
First off, we should note that Strikeforce #1 covers a lot of narrative ground. The book is a fast-paced and engaging read from beginning to end. In addition, the characters forming the core crew—Blade, Angela, Spectrum, Spider-Woman, Winter Solider, and Wiccan—provide a fun balance of divergent personalities.
A downside to the story’s pacing, however, is that a considerable amount of dialogue ends up dedicated to exposition. We’re setting up the dynamics of an Avengers story…then suddenly pivoting to an entirely different team. It’s not a major problem, but it can lead to some interactions feeling a bit stilted and long-winded to fit in a single issue. This might have been better-served split into two more even-keeled books that are allowed some space to unravel their narrative a bit.
Tonally, Strikeforce #1 hits a good balance between its horror and action aspects. The creatures facing our heroes are an interesting concept that really help sell the horror facet. Not to give any spoilers, but suffice to say they are, as one character describes them, “a virus of thought.” Writer Trini Howard describes the story as “a horror book about trust,” which, ultimately, is an apt description. The book contains elements borrowed from a classic Body Snatchers premise, but spun in an interesting new direction.
Despite a few qualms, Howard lays the groundwork for an interesting story with this first issue. The future’s looking bright for Marvel’s newest team-up.
German Peralta takes on art duties for the book, turning in a solid final product overall.
As mentioned before, we’re moving at a brisk pace in Strikeforce #1. While that’s alright for the narrative, it’s less than ideal for the artwork, as some of the pages can feel crowded. In an different setting, we’d have an even balance between those denser pages and more expansive illustrations that offer some breathing room.
That said, Peralta does still get some time to shine, particularly in the book’s last third. Here, as the action picks up considerably, the artist seems a bit more free to play with the images, rather than sticking to the tightly-gridded and cropped panels in the earlier pages.
The colors by artist Jordie Bellaire are stellar. The work is nice and vibrant, while remaining tonally cohesive and coherent. Pages are dominated by fiery reds, icy blues, and unearthly purples in equal measure.
Strikeforce #1 is not without its faults. However, it’s an above-average start for the new series, and it promises interesting things are in store. I’d recommend giving it a shot.