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Christmas Comics Cavalcade: Force Works #8 (Marvel Comics)

Posted in christmas comics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

ChristmasComicCavalcade

In the inaugural week of 2013’s Christmas Comics Cavalcade, we’ll be looking at Force Works #8, a holiday themed issue of the superhero team series published by Marvel Comics in 1994.

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This book was written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with art from Stu Johnson and Don Hudson.

It’s weird to think this in 2013 but The Avengers haven’t always been such a big deal. While the team is now the preeminent name in superhero comics and movies today, the property had major ups and downs over the years. The early to mid 1990’s were a particularly fallow period for Avengers comics creatively… which is from whence this week’s yuletide-themed comic hails.

By the mid-1980’s, The Avengers’ place as the center of the Marvel Universe had been usurped by The Uncanny X-Men and its’ various spin-offs and successors. By the early ’90’s, the various X-titles had become sales juggernauts. Force Works seems to be the Avengers’ answer to the success of X-Force. The title was meant to replace West Coast Avengers and high concept for the book was a trope that genre comic writers rake up every few years: the proactive superhero. Force Works was to be the team that stopped disasters WAY before they happened rather than waiting for the super-villain to attack. This approach is rarely successful; much of the fun of superhero comic is in the over-the-top theatrics; covert teams seeking to circumvent that process rarely generate a lot of interest from readers.

This was the 1990’s, remember – most comic readers (myself included) would buy ANY new comic series that had a number one issue… even better if it had some kind of cover enhancement. For the record, Force Works #1 had a pop-up 3-D cover that was one of the stupider of those things.

…but we’re not talking about Force Works #1… we’re talking about #8, and look at that cover! Surely everyone can anticipate what this comic’s going to be about before you even begin reading it, yes? That distinctive pointy cowl… that suggestive hand posture… even the phrasing on the book, “Guess Who’s Coming to X-Mas Dinner?”  C’mon. That’s Wolverine, y’all! Wolverine was a big goddamn deal in the 1990’s and just a brief cameo from the character would shoot a book’s sales into the stratosphere.

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