In the ashes of the old Marvel universe, co-writers G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett are building something unique. A-Force, an all female Avengers spin-off team is the resident peacekeeping force of Arcadia, a so-called “feminist paradise” where Marvel’s most powerful women congregate.
But even though Arcadia is, in the words of Bennett, “blessed,” there are still threats that come from both within and without. Newsarama discussed with Wilson and Bennett the characters of A-Force, the world of Arcadia, and how it all ties into Secret Wars.
Newsarama: What can you tell us about Arcadia, the territory where A-Force is based?
Marguerite Bennett: In the patchwork map of the world where Secret Wars takes place, there are a number of worlds, stitched together by borders that are absolutely inviolate. In the sea of this world, there is an island, Arcadia, where heroines from all over the Marvel Universe live, alongside their friends and families as well as civilians. They are led and protected by A-Force—and by She-Hulk, the Sheriff of the territory.
Nrama: The A-Force #1 by Jim Cheung cover is a veritable who’s who of the most powerful women of Marvel. Who are A-Force’s major players?
Bennett: They are led by the indomitable She-Hulk, with Medusa of the Inhumans as her second-in-command. Captain Marvel, Dazzler, and Nico Minoru complete the main team, though there are rotations and other heroines who assist A-Force in times of need, such as Jessica Drew, Lady Loki, and America Chavez. Then, there is a newcomer, crashed upon their island—the mysterious, innocent, and perhaps dangerous Singularity, who is a universe incarnate, and who is taken under Nico’s wing in the wake of terrible event.
Nrama: What’s the main threat we’ll see these women facing?
G. Willow Wilson: They face external threats--but some of their biggest challenges have to do with each other. One of the great things about this series is having so many different personalities, life experiences, and power sets interacting on the same team--it makes for a very, very interesting dynamic between the characters.
Bennett: Arcadia is blessed, but that peace is shattered by a series of violent, deadly apparitions that seem to be coming impossible places. A-Force must defend their homeland and hunt down the mystery of these apparitions—and solve the puzzle of the newcomer in their midst.
Nrama: Marguerite, how did you wind up getting the co-writing gig?
Bennett: Sass? That’s how most of my career turned up over the years. But really, Marvel editor Daniel Ketchum approached me around Christmas at a party after a Marvel retreat—we were all laughing and chatting and everything was decorated with poinsettias and candles and I met Willow for the very first time—I was such a fangirl! We got to chatting about a project that might involve the three of us, and a few days later, I got the first email about A-Force. I was over the moon.
Nrama: What is the working relationship like between the two of you?
Wilson: Marguerite is one of the most amazing talents in the business and I've been so impressed with what she's come up with. I feel very lucky to be working with her. When she sends script or ideas along, I just sit there mentally spamming that GIF of the girl shooting "Likes" out of a machine gun.
Nrama: Willow, will we see Kamala Khan show up in A-Force?
Wilson: Nothing is outside the realm of possibility, but there are no specific plans as of right now.
Nrama: Are there any characters you wanted to use who you couldn’t fit into A-Force?
Bennett: There are characters I wish I’d been able to secure a larger role—it’s a story that works best when you’ve seen the entire thing, I believe. I had an absolute laundry list of people, so in some places it’s come down to cameos and winks and nods. I have dreams of a Deluxe A-Force Volume One day, where you can see all the charming witty scenes we were forced to leave on the cutting room floor. The book is fiercer and brighter for the streamlining, though. I trust the fanfic writers to help us fill in all we weren’t able to.
Wilson: The great thing about A-Force is that it has built-in versatility in terms of characters and storylines--there are so many directions we could go. So there are tons of characters I'd love to use that we may have as guest appearances.
Nrama: How closely does A-Force tie into the main Secret Wars story?
Wilson: Since A-Force takes place in a very specific part of the Secret Wars geography, there is not a lot of overlap, but everything ties together in its own way...
Bennett: What we do in these issues leads directly into events in other books—forgive me, I’m not sure what I’m allowed to spoil! What we do does not occur in a vacuum, I will say. There are consequences to the actions of the heroines that send ripples through other titles—which I dearly hope you’ll check out, not just for our sakes, but because the books are going to be utterly brilliant. More on this story as it develops.
Nrama: Spider-Gwen showed up in the A-Force #1. Will we see her, or other characters from alternate realities play a role in A-Force?
Bennett: Yes! I do want fans to know, the characters promised on variant covers will appear, though maybe not in the issue in question. At the climax of the series, we are riding hell for leather and I hope you will see everyone, just everyone, this outpouring of love, ferocity, and glory that embodies the women of the Marvel U.
Wilson: Nobody is off-limits! That's the great thing about this event--we're seeing characters from wildly different parts of the Marvel U who would normally never have reason to interact, rubbing elbows with each other.
Nrama: Bottom line, why should fans check ou tA-Force, whether they read Secret Wars or not?
Wilson: A-Force is wish fulfillment at its best. Fan favorite characters together at last. Giant sharks. We've got it all. We're pushing the boundaries in some very unique ways and I hope readers will come along for the ride.
Bennett: We’re calling it A-Force because “Awesome Force” doesn’t roll off the tongue. (That’s a lie. “A” is for Avengers. But it is going to be awesome.)