A-Force assembled during the most recent incarnation of Secret Wars, as an all-female superhero team protecting the land of Arcadia. In the post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe, one of the remnants of Battleworld -- the character Singularity -- brings the team back together. As of this writing only the first issue of the new A-Force has hit the stands, but starting with #5 this Spring, a new creative team will take over the book and start a new arc.
The "old" order changeth, as writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Jorge Molina hand over the creative reigns on the book to writer Kelly Thompson (Jem and the Holograms, Captain Marvel & The Carol Corps) and artist Ben Caldwell (Justice League Beyond, Batman Beyond Unlimited). Thompson says that the core cast for the book (She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Medusa, Dazzler, Nico Minoru, and Singluarity), but will also feature:
"… a couple exciting—and new!—guest stars"
She reiterates this later in the interview when talking about how tied to Secret Wars the book will be:
"… we do have a couple really cool—new!—Secret Wars characters showing up in arc two, but we don’t want to live in the past or make readers who perhaps didn’t read Secret Wars feel unwelcome, so the goal is definitely to let the book stand on its own with ease."
The first arc is said to be focusing on Singularity and laying the groundwork for the team, the second arc will bring some focus on Dazzler and Nico:
"… Nico and Dazzler have no interest in the leadership of A-Force at the moment, they are both going to have some focus in the second arc. Things that happen to them in that arc cut them pretty deeply in both good and bad ways and really change things for them. It’s exciting to be able to tell emotional stories with characters that have been a bit underused in recent years and especially with Dazzler, picking up on some cool threads that have been built up in other books in the last few years and finally getting to explore them."
Thompson says she won't focus specifically on gender, though the team is made up of all women:
"… the team happens again simply because Singularity is just trying to find her friends. There’s an organic build to that narrative that I love.
That said I don’t have a lot of interest in necessarily seeing stories “unique to women” in the comic. It’s a comic about super heroes saving the day, plain and simple, and I approach writing them like I would writing anyone. These ladies are heroes just like any of their male colleagues. They want to punch things into oblivion and also kiss people, they want to battle dragons and also go out for burgers, they want to save the world and also party all night long—which sometimes just means playing video games until they can’t see straight—same as Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, Captain America, or any other hero.
Certainly there is something unique about the bond they form—and we can call that sisterhood—and on some level they both recognize and appreciate the specialness of this particular team, but it’s not something that I intend to focus on in any plot specific way. I hope it will just grow organically as the relationships do.
Mostly A-FORCE will be punching things, telling jokes, and trying not to die."
On the new artist Ben Caldwell, Thompson has much praise:
"Ben excels at everything but I’m particularly a fan of his character work and the movement he brings to a story; it’s so expressive and fun and I just wanted to give him as much room as possible so he can do what he does best. And that means a creative villain he can cut loose with and lots of punching and jokes. Ben’s also one of the best artists you could ever hope to have with an all female team as he really knows how to distinguish faces and body types and give each character fantastic individuality before I even put any words in their mouths. It’s tremendously exciting to be working with him on this and I hope everyone loves it as much as we’re loving doing it."
Caldwell echoes Thompson on some of his focus and also hints at the focus on Dazzler and Nico in his upcoming arc:
"The most exciting design work, for me, is really selling the individual personalities of these characters. And of course the first step in doing that is to consider how their visual designs help to sell this. As well as avoiding the interchangeable-body-type phenomena that is so popular. In terms of costume design, of course I’m generally just following orders. With Nico and Dazzler there was more room for adjustment, but these are also the characters [that] are in their most transitional state right now! Without spoiling anything, these two needed designs that reflect the fact that they are evolving. So there was a lot of consideration of how to give them distinctively new looks, but ones that still fit into their characters and fan expectations. As much as that is possible!"
A-Force by Ben Caldwell