Darkness surrounds you. Although a drone watches your every move overhead, it doesn’t give you comfort when your foot gets stuck after digging in a large crater, and there are explosives set to detonate soon. Second by second, your slow movements drag you up to the surface. A bluish-green planet stares out to the void of space, while your commanding officer orders you to run, and then to “get down on your stomach.” Did you make it? Were you far enough away?
The Forever War #1 is a comic book adaptation from the original, award-winning Best Novel (Hugo and Nebula) from Joe Haldeman. Along with multiple nominations and winning several other awards for multiple titles, Haldeman reintroduces William Mandella to Titan Comics in single comic book form. Mandella is one in a selected group of exceptionally fit geniuses to become an elite fighting force and defend against an unknown enemy. His accounts of the trying experiences after joining the United Nations Exploratory Force perfectly capture the ghastly conditions set within this futuristic science fiction tale.
Issue one takes the reader along Mandella’s journey as he describes the hazardous environments that come with journeying through space, building a base, and exercises meant to hone defense tactics. Haldeman’s straightforward approach blends well with artist Marvano, who captures this story with imagery that stands out: gigantic space vessels and planets; devastating accidents with coloring that amplifies the effects; and varying sized panels that help determine the pace of the story. One sequence occurs with small panels one right after the next, making you want to keep going to see what happens next. Other larger illustrations are crafted with such detail, worth taking a little more time to appreciate. Overall, the illustrations absolutely convey the misery Mandella and his comrades go through during the course of this long deployment.
There is a defined sense of determination among this elite group. Despite injuries, death, and constant reminders that survival isn’t necessarily a given, this group marches on to complete their tasks and continually move forward toward their end goal: to help defend against the aliens. This one notion provides symmetry for the entire story, battling against the unforgiving conditions that might make anyone tuck tale and want to run away; however, their unspoken dedication shows the reader that there isn’t another choice. It’s the only thing to do – follow orders and hope that their success means saving everyone else, and perhaps themselves.
This chapter comes with several different alternative cover pages, all of which have amazing bursts of color and continue with larger-than-life images seen throughout the pages of this issue. Haldeman and Marvano capture your attention with a gripping tale of survival that has yet to show the faces of the enemy. Their destination has not been reached, their fight has yet to start, and the next comic book cannot come soon enough.
The Forever War #1 is available now to pre-order in print and digital form prior to its scheduled release on Wednesday, February 15.