Warning: This article contains spoilers from 2020 Force Works #3 by Matthew Rosenberg, Juanan Ramirez, Federico Blee, Guru EFX, and VC’s Travis Lanham, on sale now.
Force Works is a black-ops team put together by Maria Hill of S.H.I.E.L.D. that is comprised of former or inactive members of the Avengers. While Force Works doesn’t have the most illustrious history in the Marvel Universe, the team’s latest incarnation consists of Jim Rhodes’ War Machine, John Walker’s U.S. Agent, Mockingbird and Quake, the Inhuman Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Over the course of 2020 Force Works, the team has been dispatched to the island of Lingares to deal with problems related to the artificial intelligence uprising that’s happening in the Iron Man 2020 crossover. And when two of Marvel’s mechanical menaces merge in 2020 Force Works #3, the War Machine armor is donned by an unlikely source in a last-ditch effort to save the day.
Upon arriving in Lingares, the Force Works team is shot out of the sky and stranded on the island. After fending off an army of Deathloks, the team realizes that they have to face an even greater threat in Ultimo, a giant robot that’s been menacing Iron Man and the Avengers since Stan Lee and Gene Colan’s Tales of Suspense #77.
As Force Works managed an escape from captivity, the team was approached by an unlikely source: the villainous M.O.D.O.K., who offered his help in defeating Ultimo. With the inhabitants of the island in danger of being destroyed by the giant robot, Force Works accepted his help. M.O.D.O.K. provides the Force Works team with a weapon designed to stop Ultimo. The unfortunate side effect is that the weapon has to be powered by the War Machine armor and would leave the armor almost completely devoid of power after it is used.
As War Machine uses the weapon to incapacitate Ultimo, the team learns that M.O.D.O.K. is the behind the creation of the Deathloks and has a master plan to take Ultimo’s giant body for himself. Unfortunately, the revelation comes too late. Once the head of the robot is destroyed, M.O.D.O.K. assumes control of the robot and turns on Force Works and the inhabitants of the island.
Sensing that their failure is imminent, U. S. Agent insists that Quake use her powers to sink the island in order to keep the destructive robot from reaching American soil. Quake adamantly refuses, unwilling to sacrifice the thousands of people living on the island. However, War Machine comes up with a way to jump-start his armor and tells the team that once the armor is started up it will slowly replenish its power cells. This will give them a small fighting chance against the robot.
Knowing that she is the only member of the team with inborn powers and that her powers had an effect on the robot, Quake dons the armor while it is still very weak and flies out to face the newly dubbed “ULTIM.O.D.O.K.” by herself.
Thinking that she is nothing more than a weakened James Rhodes, ULTIM.O.D.O.K. grabs the armor out of the sky and forcefully takes off the helmet. Once Quake’s face is exposed, M.O.D.O.K. realizes his error, but it is too late. Quake uses the full force of her powers against the villain, an attack which ultimately leads to his defeat.
In this issue, Quake becomes one of the few people besides James Rhodes to don the War Machine armor joining Tony Stark, who originally developed the armor and the Punisher, who wore the armor in another S.H.I.E.L.D.-sanctioned campaign against criminals after Rhodes was killed in Civil War II.
With this issue, Quake not only joins an elite group of individuals, but she also shows why she’s still one of Marvel’s most underestimated heroes. In this issue alone, she faced down an overbearing teammate and took a moral stance about refusing to sink the island and kill its citizenry. She also risked her life in taking possession of the War Machine armor to face the combined might of M.O.D.O.K. and Ultimo, two villains that have given entire teams of heroes trouble more than once. With impressive achievements like these, it’s not hard to see why Quake was recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers at such a relatively young age, and it’s clear why she belongs among Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
As part of Marvel's Iron Man 2020 crossover, Force Works sees another Marvel Cinematic Universe hero suit up in Rhodey's War Machine armor.