REVIEW: The Forever War #1

Can Titan deliver a pulse pounding, intense science fiction tale that will grab you by the collar and pull you into the depths of space?  We learn that the Earth is faced with an unknown alien adversary, dubbed the Taurans, that may have the potential to eradicate the human race.  The powers that be, have established an organization that will train and deploy elite soldiers to strategic positions throughout the reachable universe.  Through the eyes of William Mandella, a soldier in training, we are quickly introduced to the world of,  The Forever War, “a story of humanity, frailty, and the horrors of war”.

Immediately, the reader is thrust into the dangerous cold world of Cerberus, training grounds for the soldiers of the United Nations Exploratory Force, (U.N.E.F.).  We follow, William Mandella, an aspiring physics teacher, who was drafted into this elite task force with the knowledge that the enemy is unknown, the environment is perilous, and death is inevitable.  On Cerberus Mandella is witness to these perils and learns how fragile the line between calm and horror could become.  Mandella favors us to the true severity of space travel and the limitations that bind us to the planet that bore us.  We trudge through basic training with Mandella’s troop, as members of the team succumb to grim ends and the last members emerge ready for the battle to come, or are they?  Before this issue concludes the team learns that their deployment zone may be more inhospitable than their training provided.

I could not have asked for a better science fiction story.  This is a cross between Starship Troopers and Independence Day, while offering an even more treacherous undertone.  Our heroes are about to endure impossible odds, in a fantastically unstable environment, against an enemy we have not yet been introduced.  Joe Haldeman’s description of this world arrested my attention thus fostering true concern for his cast.  I was very uncomfortable throughout the telling of this tale and loved every sobering minute of it.   The art complimented the story well, as Marvano masterfully breathed life into each character.  Marvano’s ligne claire (clear line) style could be compared to that of Steve Lieber (The Fix) or Matt Kindt (Dept. H), as he superbly captures the emotion of each moment which allowed me to feel and almost smell the environment.

The answer to my initial question, “can Titan deliver a pulse pounding, intense tale?”,  Yes they can.  I am on board for the retelling of the 1988 Belgian graphic novel, of the same name, by Joe Haldeman and Marvano.  Should you enjoy this book as much as I, there has been a modest amount of chatter about the possibility that this story may be adapted to a live-action movie.  Big names like Ridley Scott, and Channing Tatum have been attached to this project however, it seems the project can not sustain itself and has typically stalled with every attempt.  For now I will be satisfied with this new and fanatic title from Titan, and I give it 4 1/2 stars out of 5.

Writer: Joe Haldeman
Artist: Marvano

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