Every now and then I like to take a risk on something daring from Marvel. This week that just so happens to be Strikeforce #1. It helps that I am also a sucker for something dark. There aren’t too many of them out there from Marvel, but when they do do one, it tends to walk away satisfied. With that said, this one also grabbed my attention because it has one of the strangest cast of heroes. These may be heroes accustomed to darkness, but putting together Blade, Angela, Spider-Woman, Wiccan, the Winter Soldier, Monica Rambeau and Daimon Hellstrom on the same team? You definitely want to see how this plays out.
Now considering our biggest question involves the casting choice of this book, I found myself glad that the opening scene to this book laid those questions to rest quickly. I would certainly call the reasoning intriguing, because there was no way that you could have figured how they would actually bring these heroes together. I know in my head I pictured maybe Blade getting into something and then calling on their help, but I suppose that would have been too easy. So I’m glad that they added a bit of mystique to why we should believe this is possible. This made a big difference in peeling off the band-aid for those who had concerns with the likes of Monica or Spider-Woman getting themselves tangled up with a situation so messy. I mean, right now they don’t exactly come to mind when you think “No compromise, no mercy”.
From there, we began to understand why it is that Blade of all heroes is leading the team, and why it is that he is the one who has a past dealing with this threat. Just like our questions about this cast, this too they wasted little time trying to make sense of. Now obviously I should also point out that in most books it is never required that you explain things in the first issue. It never hurts to get things as you go. However, when your book is bold like this? You want to make sure that you are giving enough that readers will come back for more, rather than turn away because they are wary of what they are getting themselves into. That said, Blade’s story didn’t give you too much to go on aside from what kind of threat they were dealing with. After that you still had a string of questions that even knowing that stirred up. Fortunate for us, all it took was letting the story tell itself for everything to come into perspective as this newly formed team began taking steps towards figuring out what was lurking in the shadows.
When the moment came to reveal the enemy? That didn’t disappoint. I will admit that I had my reservations about this. Blade’s corner of the world is thrilling, but not always. It was hard to say if a problem for him would be appealing enough to carry a team book. I was glad to be wrong about how what kind of danger this enemy would pose to these heroes. For the heavy-hitters present? It would have to be someone pretty powerful. This villain turned out to be just that and then some when the biggest challenge this team finds themselves facing is believing what’s right in front of them.
This book is actually my first experience with the artwork from Germán Peralta, and I have to say I was impressed with what he had to bring to the table. His pencil work is familiar to some others who I have seen tackle books like Strikeforce. He’s detailed, can handle many objects sharing the same space and makes great use of perspective. What grabbed my attention more than anything else was the design of the enemy. It was a strong mix of something familiar with something new. though all the same terrifying for the decayed look that he draws perfectly. Something else which also stood out to me was the page layouts. When you have a book like this which you know is going to be action-packed, it goes a long way to make every flip of the page engaging. This means the overlapping of objects, shape of the panel borders, and even the choice to make the background behind the panels black instead of white. Once more Bellaire was in her element as the colorist as well. Always great range, a brilliant use of colors which set a scene, and can go wild with reds while never taking away from anything else going on within a given page. In general, her specific pallet of colors was perfect for bringing out the supernatural flavor of this book.
These aren’t the first heroes you would choose to face the darkness, but they sure do know how to raise hell! Strikeforce #1 served as an excellent introduction to this team, the villain that they will have to deal with, and the obstacles that are sure to make this mission easier said than done. Especially with one slip-up by the end that should make you anxious to see what comes next.