Femforce 161

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Things have been too quiet for the FEMFORCE for too long. Why, it’s been SO long between threats to the world as we know it, that the team members have been able to take some time off. But the holiday is over, and now it’s time to get back to work. And once those “What I Did On My Summer Vacation” essays are written, the order of the day for those glamorous super-gals MS. VICTORY, NIGHTVEIL, SHE-CAT, SYNN, STARDUST and TARA is to find that mysterious trouble-maker from a few years back known as RENEGADE. This seems straightforward enough, until that unpredictable wild card known as RAD gets pulled into the mix. Then, you never know what you might end up finding when you go digging around in other people’s genes. It’s old faces in new places, the crank-up of a couple of new storylines, guest-stars, mystery, revelations, laughs, and even some action in “Hot Fun In The Summertime”, written by Mark Heike; with art by Rock Baker and Jeff Austin. Then, the long-talked-about vampiric villainess WAMPYR finally surfaces to start her plan for global domination- in a very different place- and in a very different way than you would ever imagine. And is the shadowy figure who seems to know her a threat or an aid to her master plan? Find out in “See No Evil”; scripted and inked by Mark Heike, with pencils by Eric Coile. Next, it’s SYNN going undercover at the Orlando Municipal Library to ferret out an otherworldly threat in “Book ‘Em, Synn”, written by Mark Holmes, with art by Rock Baker and Jeff Austin. After that, we dig back into the casebook of untold stories out of the FF’s past. It’s the summer of 1970, in the steaming jungles of Southeast Asia, and the US military “Welcomes The Femforce”, in a very offbeat tale written by Erik Matthews ( Because Steven Stills, Roger McGuinn and Eric Burdon were unavailable), drawn by (ex-serviceman) Eric Coile, and inked by Scatt Shriver (because he’s a really good inker). But that’s not all. This issue also features ” The Iron Claw of Fear”, starring TEAM PARAGON, in an “elseworlds” type of story postulating ” what if the AC Comics Universe never existed, and Bill Black’s original Paragon Publications line had continued telling stories?” It’s a team up of the ORIGINAL Paragon versions of four AC characters; “Captain” Paragon, Silva Synn, “The Girl From LSD”, alien female powerhouse “Dr Mara” and a very different Scarlet Scorpion. They face the threat of the villain known as The Iron Claw in a story that builds on continuity from the old Paragon Publications line. (Most recently seen reprised in this year’s “Bizarre Thrills: The Paragon Publications Story” TPB.) Written, penciled and inked by that creative dynamo, Eric Coile. Also- ROWENA, the gentle giantess of the Middle Ages is back, facing new danger from that necromancing nincompoop Deoban in “Doppleganger”, written by Eric Lindberg, with art by Rock Baker and Jeff Austin. Finally, this jam-packed issue closes with the latest saga of DINOSAUR GIRL. It is still the early 1940’s; the dark hours of World War II. But this issue Vivian( DINISAUR GIRL) Strand and her husband Rex are stateside, enjoying a little West-Coast R&R; but things take a horrible turn when they decide to spend “A Day At The Zoo.” Written and drawn by Rock Baker, with ink finishes by Jeff Austin. Once again, it’s 80 pages of brand-new, never-before-seen comics thrills, adventure and cheesecake, in the BEST value in comicdom, Femforce #161. Black and white interiors with full-color covers; 80 total pages, saddle-stitched, standard comic book size- NO ADS!! Released by AC Comics in 2012. (And get ready for FF #162, coming in Januaty, 2013!! A special 30th birthday of AC Comics issue with lots of extras and surprises!! More details on it in the editorial in this issue.)



The Official Home of AC Comics : Comic Book Publisher. We publish the long-running superheroine comic, Femforce. We also publish Golden Age superhero and Horror reprints. We are now publishing Big Bang Universe here as well and hope to have other revivals and new series soon.

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15 thoughts on “Femforce 161
  1. Jimjohnston

    My comic shop Preview orders have been placed .
    Now all I can do is wait -and try not to go insane waiting to read to appreciate all the excellent stories you have described here.

  2. Erik Matthews

    Hmmm, while it’s nice to be linked to legends such as Eric Burden and Steven Stills, I have to admit I don’t get the joke.

  3. Eric Johnson

    Sounds like a good issue.

    Already had it ordered through my monthly comic service, but I also ordered one right away through the AC webstore for getting to read it sooner.

    My eagerness and impatience is to AC’s benefit. 🙂

  4. Eric Johnson

    Good issue.

    Interesting reveal in the main story. Seems like it would be a tough thing for Joan to not know about. There must be an interesting back story there.

    I found it appropriate that Stardust supervised the science effort, without being directly involved, since biology is not her specialty.

    I agree with Stephanie’s shout-box, that would have been neat to have Dr. Carol Heisler involved in the biology science team, but good to have the callback to Dr. Chang, and the Dr. Forrester tribute character.

    Vietnam era FemForce is a neat area to look at, and the USO tour makes sense.

    And the “Paragon Universe” continuing on is awesome to see, with Team Paragon.

    Synn undercover is an amusing set-up. Nice little side story.

    An exciting editorial. Looking forward to issue 162 and the color section to celebrate the big 30th.

    Rowena and Dinosaur Girl had fun, light-hearted stories.

  5. Mark G Heike

    If any interested parties want to check their copies of the Untold Origin of Femforce from 1989, you’ll see what Joan Wayne THINKS she knows about the conception of Jennifer. There are compelling reasons why what REALLY happened may have nothing to do with what Joan has always believed. All the facts will eventually come out in future FF stories, but you’ll see that this “reveal” didn’t just come out of nowhere, but fits with everything that has been established in continuity for decades.

  6. Mark Holmes

    A really solid issue. The art is first rate through out the issue. The first couple of stories bring up more questions than they answer. Lets hope we see more of Dr. Chang and Forrester in a “not to distant future.”
    Having re read my FemForce Origins I made the logical assumption back then but I can now see another option.
    I’ll have to pass on commenting on the brilliant story telling in the Synn solo story 🙂
    This is my first comic book story ever to see print.
    I was very lucky to have really talented people handle the ball after I passed it to them.

  7. Jimjohnston

    I would like to make a few brief comments and observation regarding the ” See No Evil ” story
    Speaking generally-I thought the art in this story was excellent and really suited the story. I really like the story because it re introduces a new character(Cianose Djad a voodoo boker -first seen in FF 3154 ) and further develops and establishes the presence of Wampyr ( the Vampire Queen first seen in FF #158) in the current continuity/storyline/ Fem Force Universe.
    To my eyes the on going presence of these two new characters represents a significant development namely a whole new ( and powerful set of villains to confront our heroines . These villains are unlike any thing the team has faced before This has the potential for all kinds of new and un foreseen situations and conflicts( unlike the same old/ same old match up we have grown used to seeing from other comic book companies ) which could lead to many new entertaining and engaging stories.
    Commenting specifically
    Page One – We see that Wampyr is making a life for herself in the world and has established herself as a powerful (and dangerous) motion picture executive .It looks like things are going very well for her

    Page Two This attitude is confirmed in the top left pane where, in an elevator she mentally remarks how much she enjoys our modern world and observes how” Moving pictures that travel through the air” aka movies and television aka modern media will make it much easier for her manipulate and control ” the teeming masses” ( the population of the whole world ) Thus does the story quietly remind us that the character is intent on taking over the world for her own benefit and feels confident that she can easily achieve that goal
    Then in the very next panel(top left) it all falls apart Cianose Djab barges into the elevator car she is riding , making the Vampire Queen feel very uncomfortable.And in the last panel in this page (bottom right)he reveals that he know who she really is . Th fact that he makes this statement in the final panel if the page is a nice little mini-climax and very good bit of story construction.
    Page Three- the Voodoo Bokor states that they have business to discuss and is not impressed with her denials and explanations of who the Vampire says she is (Elsie Rothrock -vice president in charge of intellectual properties at Century Studios)The fear and confusion that the Vampire villaness is feeling is very well reflected in the tight close-up of her face in the middle left panel( wide eyes and open mouth the strands of hair in her face is an excellent touch.)
    This fear is effectively contrasted By Cianoses’s triumphant attitude and gestures and stance as he steps out of the elevator That point is really driven home in the final panel (bottom horizontal quarter page)which depicts a tight close up of the villain’s nasty ,leering ,winking, smiling face framed by the closing elevator doors, This last image a nice bit of panel construction and a very effective piece and an effective end to this sequence.
    Page Four and Five.This sequence depicts “Elsie” /Wampyr in her “vampire mode”. Begining on page four she is feeding on a inconvenient colleague(and clearing the way for another promotion -I thought that was a clever touch- Also a well done over head POV shot-upper left panel) Satiated she sits back and again remarks how much she enjoys the modern world and the mass entertainment media will make it so much easier for her to take over.All of the art on page four is well done but the tight close up of her blood splattered face ( middle right panel) is particularly chilling and effective.
    Then as she makes her way home she reflects on the need to be careful and worries about Cianose and wonders what to do, constantly second guessing herself and her action
    I must say that it is something of a revelation to see the character act this way and be presented in this fashion. Up till now she as come off as being supremely confident and all -powerful ,able to easily turn aside Night veils magic and showing( convincing?) the Sorceress Supreme that the entire Fem Force is no match her She looked like an unstoppable force. Now we see that might not be the case and she might not be everything she first appeared to be
    Now in this sequence she does look fierce and feral But(on page five) to see her covered in blood and scurrying through garbage strewn alleys,gazing at her own confused and exhausted reflection in pool of dirty water(top right panel) ( I thought Vampires cast no reflection) , wailing in despair about the threat of the bokor (Thin middle horizontal panel-a very nice image.)and finally crouched down in a corner of a dirty ally way covered with blood and looking sad and tired (Bottom right panel) she seems a bit less impressive.
    Page Five and Six That trend continues on these pages.
    Next morning, Cianose breaks into “Elsie ‘s” apt (Literally -through the window Top left quadrant /open panel -a very impressive image) and snatches her up out of her bed and leeringly “invites ” her to accompany him to his Lair ( middle right panel -he looks very powerful and threatening.Unsure and confused and still insisting that he is mistaken, Wampyr lets herself get carried off (stuffed into a heavy canvas sack to protect her from the sun light)
    Next(page Six) she is dumped out onto the floor of Cianose Djab lair Disheveled and clad in a flimsy tattered neglige she looks more like a victim than a villain(full length top 1/4 page – a nice image) The “host” reveals his back story and future plans to his “guest” (similar to her own he was brought to this world inadvertently but likes what he sees and intends to rule the world .He is a voodoo master and a necromancer. )
    I thought theses two pages were particularly well done and inventively laid out.)
    Page eight- Wampyr finally reveals herself
    upon hearing this In full Vampire mode( and looking as if she is attempting to recover some dignity ((top left panel) she offers to fight her captor (Top right panel-looking more formidable at last) who informs her that he seeks an alliance which takes her totally by surprise
    She agrees
    In the final panel ,in silhouette they shake hands even as each “partner mentally reveals that he / she intends to” eliminate the other when the time is right” I thought this silhouette device really drove home the treachery and was a clever and effective touch and made for a great ending for this story.
    I hope I am not too far off base in my observations


  8. Jimjohnston

    I would like to make a few brief observations and comments regarding the “Hot Fun in the Summer Time story.
    Because of the stories length (24 pages!) and time constraints I will have to break this review into multiple parts
    Part #1
    There was an awful lot to like about this one (I just hope my review does justice to the story and art.)
    Speaking generally – the major feature of this excellent story (by Mark Heike )was a “big reveal”/ surprise revelation about the relationship between Joan Wayne -Starret/ Ms. Victory and her daughter Jen/ Rad that could truly shake up things in the A C /Fem Force universe. That revelation really lives up to its billing and was completely unexpected and raises the opportunity for all kinds of new and interesting stories(which I really like . )
    Also beyond that “big reveal” there were all kinds of other aspects and details ( both large and small) in the story and art that I thought were just as significant and noteworthy and deserving of acknowledgement.
    Still speaking generally- The art was uniformly excellent . Mr Baker (the penciller /with Mark Heike ) has a real talent aptitude for Good Girl Art that really suits A C comics and the Fem Force .Jeff Austin inks really work well with the penciling .The heroines appear glamorous and realistic all at the same time

  9. Jimjohnston

    I would like to continue making a few brief comments and observations regarding the ” Hot Fun in the Summertime ” story
    Because of the length of the story (24 wonderful pages!) and time constraints I have had to break up my review into multiple parts
    Part #2
    Commenting specifically The first page/splash page depicts Joan Wayne-Starret , (big ,full page ,single image) on the deck of the condo she shares with with husband Chuck Starret -aka- Captain Paragon ,taking in the early morning sunshine shine. The text informs the reader that they are back from their vacation (as seen in FF #1160))and ready to get ” back to work ” This is confirmed by fact that Joan is( mostly)back in uniform.She is looking out over the landscape and sighing happily,thinking how much she loves her home (Central Florida ).
    This is a really successful image because to my eyes it depicts a woman who is happy to be where she and who she is and is very much at peace . I think it really “humanizes” the character ,that is to say it presents her a human being rather than a stock character or a stereotype .This has been one of the ongoing success’s of this comic from the very beginning and I am very glad to see this tradition continuing at the start of this latest adventure.
    Also after all the grief and stress she has been through in the recent adventures I am very pleased to see the character looking so profoundly happy and content.
    In the fallowing page we see her husband , Chuck joining her together they recount the events which are depicted in a visually pleasing way across the bottom 1/3rd the page. I thought this was a clever and efficient way to bring the reader up to date. I must also confess that view of Joan’s backside as as she bends over to pull on her boot (upper left quadrant of the page) is much appreciated ‘guilty pleasure”
    Page 3 and 4 features a similar “back story/ update” although this one might be helping set the stage for the upcoming adventure.On page 3 Joan recounts the appearance and exploits of the Renegade character and describes all the distress and disruption he caused the team , including the friction he created between her and Chuck . Joan expresses a desire to take the time (now that things are quiet and every one is rested ) to do a through investigation and to discover exactly who and/or what he is.
    To my eyes it is very significant that Joan seeks the comfort of her husbands embrace (upper left side of Page 3) as she recounts Renegades actions ( depicted in “flashback” images on the bottom of the page) and makes her proposal for the investigation. I really must mention the final image on this ,depicting a close up of Joan,s face as she mentions the the friction that Renegade created between them ,though small it is a very thoughtful and intimate look at the character giving a clear indication of her feelings and it is a very good piece of work. And putting Renegades image in the center of the page was a clever piece of page construction
    Continuing on page 4 Joan states that now would be a good time (since everything is quiet and they are rested )to do a through investigation ,but significantly she also states that she needs Chuck to be “on side with her in this undertaking . The image(top 1/3rd of the page ) depicting Joan as she makes this proposal is a very thoughtful and effective piece of work He agrees affirming that it is important to learn the true nature of Renegade and his origin. Even though he might agree with all aspects of his wife’s assessment of the interloper he stats he is on side and “100% with you on this ,Joan.” She replies that they ” will begin mapping out a search strategy today” In the final image on this page they again embrace.
    I really like that exchange because it quietly points out that a couple does not have to agree on every detail to have a mutually supportive loving successful relationship.
    I really these first four pages . To my mind comics do not generally do a very good job at portraying successful relationships (mostly the do not bother). But in this opening sequence the artists and writer have given us a mature and honest and intimate (though not salacious) look at the the loving and successful and mutually supportive relationship of AC Comics /America’s Premiere superhero/Power couple . I really appreciate that.

  10. Jimjohnston

    I would like to continue making a few brief comments and observations regarding the ” Hot Fun in the Summertime ” story.
    Because of the length (24 excellent pages) and time constraints , I was forced to break this review into multiple parts.
    Part #3
    Moving alone- on page 5 we see that the action has shifted to ” later that day at FFHQ in Downtown Orlando.We are treated to a an internal splash page /full page full frontal depiction of Ms. Victory and Stardust. The art is great and both heroines look very good.And I am pleased to note that Dusty is still sporting her her new (trademark) short hair style and her distinctive Rurian ears are clearly visible
    In this panel Joan thanks Dr.Mara for coming in on short notice and outlines the new project to track down Renegade..She asks Dusty to oversee that part of the project that will determine his “origin” . (Is he a cloned offspring of Joan and Chuck)
    I note that Stardust states that ” My first responsibility is to the Fem Force”. I really like the characters affirmation/ /declaration of team spirit / loyalty to ones comrades.
    I also note that Joan is clearly grateful and appreciative that Dusty is there for the team.I really like that the character is portrayed as someone who acknowledges the efforts and commitment of others.
    That attitude continues over onto the next page (page 6 )-when on ” the fallowing afternoon)( things are really moving fast), Joan greets the new staff brought on board to to do the actual testing once Renegade is brought in . Again she is appreciative that the new team has arrived on such short notice.
    We see that the team leader is Dr. Myla Chang a character who goes way back in the history of the team ,though we have not seen her in a while.
    As an aside I am must say that I am always happy to see old characters like this individual brought back into story and I am pleased that the writer took the time and effort to create a logical reason to bring the character in and have a plausible and useful job for her to do..I suspect that the story was allowed to unfold in a natural fashion and a space/ situation came up into which she would fit right in. To my mind it speaks very well of the writer that he would remember the character and put her back in the line up where she fit in so nicely.
    Dr. Chang has an assistant , Dr. Clayton Forester who looks very much like one of the stars of the MST3K T V series. I really enjoy these fun details/ cameo appearances which are a tradition of Fem Force comics that I am glad to see being carried on here.
    In addition to being a top notch scientist he reveals himself to be a dedicated/ obsessional fan of the Fem Force ( so much so that Dr. Chang has to repeatedly warn him to “calm down ” and “stop drooling”) .To my mind his actions and attitude gives an insightful look in to a world where super heroines really exist and postulates that they might have celebrity status and hard core fans similar to Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian in our world ( I must confess I see some of this character’s obsessional attitudes toward the heroines mirror some aspects my own behavior.
    The final panel provides a reassuring note as Dr. Chang re-assures Joan that Clayton is really very good and that they will both stay with the job for “as long as we’re needed”
    Speaking personally I really like that the A C universe is populated by so many helpful and committed individuals both old and new and primary ,secondary and tertiary.
    Moving along-to page 7- the action depicts She Cat’s attempt at” an under the radar” return to FFHQ being thwarted by Syn’s loud and joyous greeting/ acknowledgment of her comrades return..The top 3 panels which depict her surreptitious entry also reveal her reason for her lateness( too much drinking) As an aside I must say that as a fan I have been a little concerned the Feline Fury’s self destructive behavior though I will concede that this kind of negative behavior can make for a better more realistic character(every one has positive as well as negative aspects to their make -up after all and presenting Jess in this way makes her more “human ” and that makes for better and more interesting stories.
    Really liked the big lower left side panel depicting Syn’s loud and joyous reaction reaction to She Cat’s return as she rushes up to hug her friend.It is a wonderful image clearly depicting a a good hear-ted guileless person ,who is genuinely glad happy and excited at her friends return.
    I must also note in the fallowing panel ( small upper middle right)Jess does not reciprocate her comrades hug but she does seem to be glad to see her friend again (as implied by her small smile). I mention this point because during the “Living in Syn” story arc when it looked like Syn was going to be sent into exile or put into stasis or deep lock down Jess seemed genuinely unhappy, often referring to Syn as “poor kid” . But she always stood apart from her and everyone else and always seemed to be very uncomfortable around her stricken friend and did not seem to want to be around her for very long.
    I thought this was a very perceptive and realistic presentation of an individual (Jess) who is not comfortable in a situation were someone is hurting and she can not do anything concrete to help . There is no one to hit and no one to fight though she does get into a scrap with the J – Squad which makes her feel better( but that doesn’t help Syn) She has a really hard time expressing her emotions (or even recognizing and dealing with them)or opening up and communicating how she feels . She is unable to comfort her friend ( or even really admit to herself or anyone else that Syn is actually her friend)
    Now I do think that this is a logical way for the character to behave , given that she is the host to the Cat Demon she might well want to avoid becoming too close with any one ,lest she inadvertently hurt them if she loses control . Thus she constantly rebuffs and denigrates a a naturally friendly person like Syn and avoids long term stable relationships (as in the one she broke off with the Scarlet Scorpion( as noted later on this page ) and indulging in a lot of drinking and partying and risky behavior.She behaves like a “Bad Girl ” to keep the world at arms length and it also could be that she has been acting this way for so long it is reflexive and she really doesn’t known any other way to behave .
    Or it could be this is just simply the way she is , though I think that hasting the Cat Demon would aggravate those tendencies.
    Getting back to the story-However that previously noted little smile implies( to this reader at least )that the character is letting go” “a bit and becoming more comfortable with her feelings and herself , perhaps in part because of Syn’s unrelenting and unconditional friendship . which she is now able to begin to accept .At least that is what I would like to think.
    The fallowing lower middle right panel depicts Jess as she catches sight of Dr. Chang , which sparks a a memory of her relationship with the Scarlet Scorpion( Myla had a relationship with him as well) , Her facial expression in that panel( a very good piece of work) implies that she still has feelings for him and perhaps she realizes that she regrets that she broke off the relation ship. Syn naturally notices and asks about it in the last panel
    Though these last 3 panel are small I think the artist did an excellent job in portraying the the emotions of the character as she unexpectedly has to deal with these memories and her reaction to them .I thought the lower middle right panel which depicts the moment that sparked the memory was particularly effective .
    Moving along- Page 8and 9 depict Nightveils return to FFHQ and her confession/ revelation to Joan that she has inadvertently resurrected Wampyr and turned her loose an the world and Once again the back story is very efficiently and economically recounted ( bottom half of page 8)
    Joan is incredulous but because she knows and trusts Laura she accepts what she says and immediately agrees to track down this threat via conventional means ( Laura’s magic has been unsuccessful) This is depicted in the big top 1/2 page panel on page 9. The facial expressions and body stances and poses are excellent.
    But for me the most significant aspect of this part of the story is captured in the lower middle panel in which Joan recruits Laura the find Renegade via magic and says she will use every other means to track down Wampyr. and then “We’ll will stop her together “. To my mind this panel makes the point that no matter how strong or wise or capable or strong you are you can’t do it all by your self .You need the help of others . And often times that help is there for the asking. It is significant , I think that Joan accepted what Laura said and agreed to help her immediately.
    I note that these actions neatly echo the the 1st part of the story in which Joan sought out and received the support of her husband before she undertook the search for Renegade. Back then she knew she could not do it alone and that she needed Chuck’s support and found that support was there for the asking. And now in this part of the story Laura has come to a similar realization and received the same kind of unconditional support .
    To my mind this is an excellent and well thought out piece of story construction.
    Moving along -Pages 10 and 11 -Joan finally catches up with Jess and to the Feline Furies surprise and relief her leader is not interested in her lateness.
    As an aside To my mind the story makes the point that often times the thing you are most concerned about is not what really matters in the wider scheme of things.
    Getting back to the story – Instead the Patriotic Powerhouse asks her about Renegade -Does Jess know his whereabouts? she replies that she does not
    In the bottom of page 10 ,by way of She Cat’s reply we get another brief but efficient bit of back story, reminding the reader that Jess dumped the the young man after she learned he was a coward.We also learn that Jess does not know where he is is now.Joan accepts Jess’s statement and impresses upon her team mates that finding Renegade is now the teams Number 1 concern.(top left panel Page 11)
    In the fallowing panel as Joan leaves Syn gets in a gentle dig at Jess asking ” Gosh Cat Does everything revolve around your old boyfriends these days?”
    Which causes Jess to angrily storm off , tossing back a sharp( and rather mean) retort about Syn’s relationship with Mr. Mod.
    To this reader that response implies that the memories stirred up by these immediate events have unexpectedly and uncomfortably reminded Jess of all her unsuccessful relationships and driven home the fact that she is alone Hence her angry response to Syn’s gentle jibe.This is a very perceptive insight into the character presented in a nicely understated realistic manner. I was very impressed . The art in this part of the story ,especially in those big panel has really given the artists a chance to show case the GGA skills . They did not disappoint
    I hope my observations and conclusions were not too far off base.

  11. David

    I’ve been reading this comic since issue 8 and am glad I stuck with the title through some pretty dark days as recent issues have been great.

    I love Dinosaur Girl and Rowena by the way. Hope to see them again soon.