Marvel has assembled quite a crew for its newest series Strikeforce, and it's a combination that shows much promise. The team led by Blade consists of Spectrum, Angela, Spider-Woman, Wiccan, and Winter Soldier. They are vastly different in some ways, but writer Tini Howard looks to spotlight their many similarities. While the first issue just scratches that surface, it's easy to see the potential, especially with someone as hard-edged as Blade at the helm. That said, this concept doesn't fire on all cylinders until the comic is at its end, killing the momentum.
Strikeforce still starts out strong with a compelling mystery involving this diverse group of heroes. You're hooked from the opening page and, even as the Avengers take some of the page space away, Howard keeps you hooked with some intriguing ideas until the central cast can return to the narrative. Howard does a lovely job of writing the Avengers, but the real magic occurs when these characters are on the same page working as one unit.
When that finally happens, you can see the potential this book possesses, but the transition between the hook and the team's formation is rough. For whatever reason, it's hard to buy Blade's fear as genuine. After all the disturbing and screwed up things he's seen in his career, I can't see how this threat, at least as it's presented here, is something that stirs so much fear in the vampire hunter.
Perhaps part of that disconnect lies in the artwork of German Peralta and colorist Jordie Bellaire. Their depiction of those pivotal moments are memorable, but they don't deliver an impression that would seemingly scar someone like Blade. This disconnect takes some air out of the concept, but luckily Howard gets things back on track once we find out a bit more about the threat. Once readers discover more, it feels like the initial introduction of the villains could be scrapped in favor of something more direct.
It's near the end where the book picks up the pace, and it's also in this phase that Peralta's art shines best. When the focus is on the action, Peralta and Bellaire's combined efforts gleam, especially with the gorgeous purples, reds, and oranges filling the page in the final moments. Peralta and Bellaire are perfectly suited as this team's power set, and if future issues are as vibrant as the second half of Strikeforce #1, we're in for a treat.
When the team is actually together, it's hard not to smile at the banter between them; you can see the promise this concept holds. However, aside from the opening pages, Strikeforce #1 is uneven across its first half from a story and art perspective. Once it kicks into gear later, it's just as fun as you'd expect, though. If Strikeforce can keep building on this foundation, readers are in for a very entertaining ride.
Published by Marvel Comics
On September 25, 2019
Written by Tini Howard
Art by German Peralta
Colors by Jordie Bellaire0comments
Letters & Design by Joe Sabino
Logo by Jay Bowen