Titan Comics begins reprinting the 1988 graphic novel adaptation of Joe Haldeman’s science fiction novel The Forever War in serialized format this month. Forever War #1 introduces Private Mandella, one of an elite group of highly intelligent, physically exceptional humans chosen to battle an unknown, as-yet unseen alien force in outer space that has attacked one of Earth’s exploratory spaceships.
Haldeman scripted his novel into graphic novel form himself, with Belgian comic illustrator Marvano providing the ligne claire artwork. The dialogue is tough and often blunt, sometimes incorporating sarcasm and dark humor into the mix. The story is told from Mandella’s perspective, and he has ever-decreasing optimism about the military force with which he is involved and the maddeningly deadly situations in which he and his fellow soldiers are placed — and this is only during the training phases. Death is never far away in the remote areas of the universe where Mandella and his fellow soldiers are, and the interstellar travel is never pleasant.
Haldeman creates a universe where tragedy can strike at any moment, and Marvano brings the proceedings to vivid life. In Forever War #1, the bolder and more colorful panels are usually filled with fire, explosions, or blood. Darker hues tend to rule the moment-to-moment drudgery and highlight the bleak worlds on Earth and far beyond, and the absurdities of a military force training soldiers to battle an enemy that could be the size of either giants or ants.
As readers might expect from the debut issue of an ongoing series, a good deal of time is spent introducing various characters and the predicaments in which they find themselves. Haldeman makes sure to add in a sufficient amount of action along with his scientific explanations, military training angles, and political commentary. Overall, Forever War #1 is a well-paced introduction story with marvelous artwork. The series should appeal to fans of high-concept science fiction with an emphasis on character study. Titan Comics’ Forever Wars series features new covers from a variety of talented artists.