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"The Forever War" #1 from Titan Comics -
Earth is about to go to war - interstellar war. William Mandella was once a physics major, now a soldier conscripted to an elite force created to eliminate an alien threat: the Taurians. After discovering a form of FTL travel called "the collapsar jump" in the late 1990s, humans were able to begin to travel from star to star, allowing Earth colonies to begin to be spread past the boundaries of our solar system. We thought we were on the cusp of great things...Until exploration vessels were attacked and destroyed near Aldebaran more than 65 light years from Earth. In response, Earth comes together, forming the United Nations Exploratory Force (U.N.E.F.) to protect the colonists heading out into the unknown. The U.N.E.F. recruits highly intelligent, nearly superhumanly fit people to be prepared in deadly, merciless training and combat simulations to retaliate against the alien aggressors, and gather intel on them as well. Mandella is one of these troops. Still reeling from the loss of a big part of his team, Mandella now finds himself on an alien planet near a distant star about to come face to face with the unknown alien menace. Will he and his fellow troops survive? Or is this a war they cannot even hope to win?
Joe Haldeman adapts his sci-fi masterpiece, "The Forever War" to comics for the very first time, and it is a really gripping, gritty read. Haldeman intricately reweaves a few parts of the last few decades of human history in order to get humans to the stars, and into their first alien contact, which, unfortunately, but not surprisingly, turns out to be hostile. In most of human history, "explorers" have often turned out to be conquerors, so it seems that the Taurians aren't about to make the same mistakes that the Taíno, the Aztecs, and the Inca did - they treat the humans as an incursion force, and they terminate the threat. This riles up the natives back on Earth, who demand blood for blood. Hardeman shows more than his scientific knowledge and brilliant, amply resourced imagination in this comic, but he shows an intimate understanding of human nature as well, as he spins this tale from Mandella's point-of-view, effectively communicating his protagonist's fear, courage, cynicism, and his eerie detachment from everything and everyone around him. One gets the sense that Mandella would be much more at home in a classroom than in the cold reaches of space, looking for a fight with an unknown enemy. The author, Joe Haldeman, a Physics and Astronomy major who was drafted into the U.S. Army with service in the Vietnam War, understands Mandella's feelings intimately, seemingly pouring his own experiences into his protagonist to make him feel real enough to come alive on the page. I guess being a war vet myself, Mandella really resonates with me in a special way that makes me want to journey with him - and it makes me invest in him emotionally. I really don't want Mandella to die. Marvano's pencils are haunting, conveying the cold, loneliness of space, equally as well as he does the weariness in eyes of his characters, and the action in his cinematic panels - all of which that make this comic impossible to put down. "The Forever War" is a sweeping sci-fi tale of bravery, fear, discovery and loss - a story interwoven with the threads of human fragility in the face of the great unknown. If you love sci-fi, REAL, CLASSIC sci-fi, you will dig "The Forever War."
RATING: 10 out of 10. Amazing.