REVIEW: ‘Force Works 2020,’ Issue #3 (of 3)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Force Works #3

Force Works 2020 #3 is published by Marvel Comics, written by Matthew Rosenberg and art by Juanan Ramírez. Federico Blee and Guru-eFX both serve as colorists while Travis Lanham provides the letters. Force Works 2020 is part of an ongoing storyline spanning several titles throughout Marvel, all based around Iron Man and rebelling A.I.’s.

The conclusion of this miniseries sees the Force Works team caught in the middle of a battle consisting of Deathlok soldiers and a giant Ultimo robot (a tall machine that must be controlled by an external force and usually found in Iron Man comics). U.S. Agent, Quake, War Machine, and Mockingbird must reluctantly team up with M.O.D.O.K. to try and quell their mechanized enemies.

Most of the plot is a large battle between the heroes and their foes, moving through several parts of the island as they are pushed back by the metal military opposing them. The big reveal within the book is incredibly obvious, as is another small twist on the final page. There are some attempts at developing emotional moments within the dialogue, but most of them don’t hit home because they’re presented during such frantic action. Particular examples involve the Deathlok soldiers, but their plight is hidden and muddied by what unfolds around them. While the plot isn’t very strong, the action is well laid out and drawn by Ramìrez, who brilliantly fills the pages with energy.

Rosenberg’s scripts are often made much better by his characters, and Force Works 2020 #3 is no exception. The four stars are all well-written; their interactions making this feel like a classic team-up. As a fan of titles such as Marvel Two-In-One and Marvel Team-Up, Rosenberg manages to rekindle some of my love for this style of comic. The chaos that comes with M.O.D.O.K. inserting himself into situations feeds into that fantastically.

Quake and U.S. Agent are pushed to the forefront of the issue, the former especially. I love Quake so seeing her in this mini-series has been great, and she serves as the focal point of the plot. The one negative is this insinuation that she is a rookie. Part of this suggestion comes from the word balloons of U.S. Agent, so it would be understandable that such an abrasive character would attempt to demean her. But Quake is an accomplished soldier already within this universe, and more could have been done to assert this. 

There are other negatives to the character usage within this comic. Mockingbird isn’t used well, as she is either used to hurry the plot along or to ask questions that lead to exposition. Another problem I had with Force Works 2020 #3 is that the characters never really feel like a team. They never feel like they work together well, as their actions are often performed individually as opposed to combined. They are all incredibly stubborn which leads to butting heads and clashing morals, and there’s never a feeling of togetherness within the book. I believe more synergy between the team could have adhered the reader to the team more firmly. 

Ramírez’s line art does make each of the heroes look fantastic, and his layouts manage to keep the action scenes easy to follow. His design of M.O.D.O.K. is impressive too, as a great amount of detail is added to the enormous face the character is cursed with. This detail is visible on other members of the team as well, including War Machine’s armour and Mockingbird’s costume, leading to both of them looking phenomenal within the pages. The colours by Guru-eFX and Blee help the characters to flourish, creating diversity within a superhero team with monochromatic uniforms. Instead, the shades of grey feel different for each of the four. M.O.D.O.K.’s bright colours define him against the greys and silvers of the other robots involved, highlighting how imposing he is.

Force Works 2020 #3 is a team-up book that struggles to work like a well-oiled machine. Rosenberg’s ability to write brilliant characters is evident from their interactions, and as someone who adores Marvel Comics’ entire roster of characters,  I appreciate the selection of this chosen quartet of heroes. While nowhere near minor, they are all characters that are often underused and definitely deserve more page time. There are many times when the team’s dialogue flows fantastically, but they don’t really empower each other. Their presence near each other can sometimes feel jarring, and it doesn’t really feel like there is any change as the comic wraps up.

It ultimately feels like an unimportant tie-in as opposed to part of an epic storyline. The art team is effective at keeping the reader’s attention and getting their hearts pumping at times, but it’s hard not to ignore the lack of any connection between the members of Force Works. I had hoped that this series would instill in me the same enjoyment Tales of Suspense: Hawkeye & Winter Soldier did, but this comic just left me feeling cold. 

Force Works 2020 #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Force Works 2020 #3
2.5

TL;DR

Force Works 2020 #3 is a team-up book that struggles to work like a well-oiled machine… It ultimately feels like an unimportant tie-in as opposed to part of an epic storyline. The art team is effective at keeping the reader’s attention and getting their hearts pumping at times, but it’s hard not to ignore the lack of any connection between the members of Force Works.