Saturday, October 17, 2015


Now we're talking!

I haven't been that big of a fan of this series, mostly because Bennett and Wilson have failed to answer pretty basic questions about Arcadia and the plot against it.  But, once they finally fill in the details, as they do here, it goes a long way to giving me the answers that I wanted.

We learn that Jennifer recognized that the portals that opened in Arcadia last issue were actually from Arcadia because she recognized them as part of the Rainbow Bridge.  As such, they were connected to an Asgardian:  namely, Loki.  Now, I'm not exactly sure how the Asgard mythology works in Battleworld, particularly since the Thors on this world aren't all Asgardian by birth.  But, I'm just going to go with the idea that the Rainbow Bridge exists somewhere out there in a way that works in Battleworld.  At this point, I'm already at saturation point in trying to understand the physics of "Secret Wars."

With the traitor revealed, A-Force assaults Loki in Arcadia's castle, just as the Thors are naming her Baroness (given Jennifer's fall from grace for crossing into another domain). She eventually falls after Nico attacks her.  Niko also rebuffs Loki's efforts to justify her actions as protecting Arcadia from Jennifer's indecisive and rule-bound reign.  She observes that the portals opened before the attack that cost them America, meaning that Loki was responsible for her loss.  The Thors accuse Loki of being a traitor and strip away her crown.  (This part made little sense to me.  The Thors knew that portals were opening in Arcadia just as Jennifer and the rest of A-Force did.  They never bothered to investigate the source?  After all, America got banished just for inadvertently sending something across a barrier and Jennifer lost her crown for using one of the portals.  Shouldn't they have been trying to find the source of said portals, given that they were facilitating illegal cross-domain travel?)  Her plan ruined, Loki gets her revenge, unleashing a bolt that shatters the Shield and opens the door to a zombie invasion.  As such, A-Force rallies to save Arcadia, possibly one last time.

Beyond finally getting some basic details about the plot, the best part of this issue is the overdue characterization that the authors finally deliver.  Niko telling the Thors that she's sorry as she delivers a beat-down, but Dazzler singing that she's not sorry at all:  it's these sort of exchanges that this series has been missing, reducing some of Marvel's best female characters into little more than chess pieces advancing a plot.  I'd need more than these brief flashes of personality before declaring this series a success, but it's at least a lot stronger of an outing than we've had so far.

*** (three of five stars)

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