A-Force’s jump from a Secret Wars tie-in miniseries to a self-contained ongoing title has resulted in a big boost in quality for the book for two main reasons. Losing the constraints of the Secret Wars narrative gave the writers more flexibility and room to play, and adding co-writer Kelly Thompson to the creative team gave A-Force the warmth of Thompson’s Jem And The Holograms, specifically through the development of the character dynamics. Thompson took on full writing duties with last month’s A-Force #5, which also saw the debut of artist Ben Caldwell and colorist Ian Herring to the series, and the fun factor has only gone up as these creators throw new challenges at Marvel’s female superteam.
A-Force is still connected to Secret Wars, but in a less suffocating way. The team’s M.O. is fighting threats from Secret Wars’ Battleworld that have found their way into the regular Marvel universe, but they’ve had the good fortune of gaining an ally from Battleworld in the current arc. Dazzler Thor is a delightfully silly idea, but Thompson has used her effectively in the story as a foil to the team’s Dazzler, who is dealing with an identity crisis at the moment.
Caldwell has also done exceptional work with Dazzler Thor’s design (as evidenced by that kickass cover), and while his cartoonish style is a significant shift from previous series artist Jorge Molina, it’s a stronger fit for the lighter tone of Thompson’s scripts. These preview pages of next week’s A-Force #6 showcase Caldwell’s expressive character work, particularly in the first page of She-Hulk close-ups. Scott Hanna joins the book as inker/finisher in this issue, and he’s doing a great job maintaining the clean, animated quality of Caldwell’s pencils. There’s a lot of personality in the artwork, and this new art style has brought out the best in Thompson’s writing.