Review: 2020 Force Works

Calling Force Works! 

Written by Matthew Rosenberg, Art by Juanan Ramirez.

The big Iron Man 2020 event has come and gone. I checked out the first issue of the main series, Iron Man 2020, but I can't say I was too impressed by it and just resorted myself to what I usually do and wait until the entire event is over and out there and read it in one go. That has still to happen at the moment I'm writing this, but I have finished some of the tie-in issues. I already took a look at 2020 Iron Heart a few months ago, that was the one I was looking forward to the most as I'm always down for more Riri Williams. However, the runner up for 'F.T. Wolf's most anticipated Iron Man 2020 tie-ins' was 2020 Force Works. I have no prior experience with the 'Force Works' branding. I didn't even realize it was a branding Marvel had used before prior to during my research on this, but it was the characters on the cover that drew my interest.

From War Machine and Quake from MCU fame and the upcoming MCU character U.S. Agent, to a character I hadn't read since in a while like Mockingbird and the one character from Marvel I just love to hate: Maria Hill. Throw in a surprise appearance from the always weird M.O.D.O.K. and you got my attention! However, that you got my attention doesn't mean make necessarily make it any good and while I did enjoy 2020 Force Works, it's not for everybody.

When on a mission for the government-sponsored team Force Works taking down a ring of terrorist robots (yeah, that's a thing now; more on that later) Rhodey AKA War Machine attempt to resolve the conflict peacefully ends in one member of his team hospitalized and the other quitting. Fast forward a few days and Force Works leader Maria Hill dispatches former S.H.I.E.L.D. agents Daisy Johnson AKA Quake and John Walker AKA U.S. Agent to a remote island to relocate a missing operative. When they're plane is shot down by enemy fire War Machine swoops in, catching Quake mid-air while US Agent uses his shield to break the fall. Down on the ground, US Agent get ambushed by a militia made up of the local population but manages to overtake them with the help of Force Works missing operative, Bobbi Morse AKA Mockingbird. The team's mission turns out to be far from over however as the island is not just home to the locals and their militia, but also a horde of cyborg zombie known as Deathloks, the threat that the Deathloks were created to combat before they turned on the population and their mysterious creator.

Just like its fellow tie-in 2020 Iron Heart, 2020 Force Works is a book that uses the premise of the main event more as a backdrop to tell its own tale then actually be an integral part of the event. While the robot revolution in that series is part of this book, its impact really isn't felt much. I personally prefer this approach as it keeps not only keeps the important plot beats contained within the main event as well and allowing these stories to stand on their own. In this case, the book puts the focus on its style, the characters of its story and their dynamic. However, it does make it a bit of a poor tie-in issue as followers of the event won't really get any new insights and feel more like they tagged on the '2020' branding in the hopes that it would sell better. However, I don't think its that much of a problem here as the book manages to stand on its own and is enjoyable regardless if it is a tie-in or not, but I can understand that somebody might be dissapointed by how loosely connected it its to the wider event.

The VP's of the book is without a doubt the characters. Fans of these characters will surely be satisfied and for those unfamiliar, the book establishes who they are fairly quickly. What Rosenberg truly does well with the characters the dynamic the four have. Good team books are built on how the characters within them interact, how they play off of each other and what kind of growth and drama that can come from it. In other words, a have good, solid cast that is interesting when you bounce them off one another is key to a good team book and this is something the book delivers.

What I find the book does very well is that it manages to make the most out of the three issues it got. Often times, a book like this either stretches it premise out over too many issues or try to cram it in the very few pages it has. Both approaches can wreak havoc on the pace, with the story either moving to slow or too fast. 2020 Force Works doesn't have either problem, I found that Rosenberg's pacing was well throughout the entire story and didn't do anything to few or too much at any point. Is this a thing that most readers will notice? No. But it's something that I noticed and appreciated and as this is my review I'm going to mention it either way!

Hey, it could have been worse. Deadpool could have been there. 

Lastly, the art is pretty darn good. Ramirez's style is nothing that I think will stand out when put next to many other different comic art but it's pleasant to look at with a nice colour pallet and has good attention to detail when it comes to things like faces, body proportions and shadows. The book's action, which there's plenty of, by the way, is and reminds me very much to the type of action you usually see in an action movie.

Conclusion

2020 Force Works isn't a bad mini-series/tie-in, by no means. It has good art, colouring and knows how to make the most out of the three issues that it has. However, the problem is that it's not an exceptionally great or memorable book either. The story, and by that I mean the events and not the characters, is very much 'been there, done that'. I think a good comparison for this book would be one I made just one paragraph ago: that of an action movie. You have fun while you're in it, you like the characters and their dynamics and the action is exhilarating, but it's not something that really stays with you for long afterwards.

If you're interested with the book, you're familiar with the characters or either interested to learn more about them and/or want to read everything related to the Iron Man 2020 event (even if it doesn't have a whole lot to do with it) then you'll most likely be satisfied with what 2020 Force Works has to offer.

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