War is hell, even in a future galaxy… Your Major Spoilers review of The Forever War #1 awaits!
Previously in The Forever War: Originally published in 1988 in Belgium, The Forever War is an adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s 1970s science fiction series about a war between humanity and the alien Taurans, a conflict that last for centuries due to time the time dilation of sub-lightspeed space travel. The series focuses on one Private William Mandella, who is conscripted into the war due to his exceptional intellect and physical prowess, and forced to fight for reasons he doesn’t know he understands…
AN INTERESTING MEDITATION ON CONFLICT
It’s been a long time since I’ve read Joe Haldeman’s ‘Forever War’, a book which fascinated me as a kid, taking some of the hardest science-fiction I’ve ever read and mixing it with social commentary, ruminations on human nature and cold-hearted assessment of mortality in a war setting. This issue tells the story of Mandella’s training for battle on Cerberus, a frozen moon that may or may not resemble the places they’re going to fight. We are introduced to this world with the death of one of the soldiers in an almost entirely avoidable accident, followed by more and more deaths during the training, and ending with their deployment on their first actual combat mission. It’s a very cynical, but utterly immersive experience, and one that reminds me of how into the original books I was back in my teenage years…
BEAUTIFULLY-DRAWN AND COLORED
Marvano’s work int these pages is breathtaking, featuring intricate depictions of technology, subtlety of expression and a storytelling eye that reminds me of Moebius. The opening sequence, featuring the zero gravity death of Private Bovanovitch is a terrible moment made into art, and the sight of her headless body spinning away is horrible and haunting all at once. The coloring is likewise amazing, using grays and muted tones to underline the story’s themes of death, futility and the folly of humanity. I especially enjoyed the amber lighting inside the issue’s spacecraft scenes, but every page pops due to the use of color. I really can’t believe that these stories are thirty years old, and moreover, I can’t believe that I missed them the first time around.
THE BOTTOM LINE: FASCINATING STUFF
Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about that, and I hope that Titan reprints the entire series, as it’s themes are still relevant today, perhaps more so than they have since the Reagan era debut of this comic in Belgium. The Forever War #1 is excellent stuff, delivering the whole package: Excellent art, beautiful coloring, and engaging story, earning a dead-solid perfect 5 out of 5 stars overall. If you’ve never read Haldeman’s work, you owe it to yourself to check this series out. If you have, then you’re probably already on your way to buy this one…[taq_review]