Warning: This review contains spoilers, so if you’ve yet to read Joe Haldeman’s novel, or this particular issue, be leery of the facts divulged.
Joe Haldeman and Marvano join forces to deliver a riveting adaptation of Haldeman’s own Hugo Award-winning science fiction novel of the same name, and while this may be a different medium, it’s a captivating piece of work all the same; Haldeman has maximized the effectiveness of a modern masterpiece, and that not only opens his story up to a demographic that may have missed his novel, it’s also worth serious applause. This is a true masterwork of fiction, plain and simple.
The story opens with the loss of a headstrong and promising member of the United Nations Exploratory Force; a life lost due to panic… a senseless loss, if ever there was one. The remaining crew members ache for their loss, but this is only the beginning of a war with the Tauran’s that mankind may have no chance of winning.
Readers are afforded a look at the damage that extraterrestrials had set in motion. And as we learn of this new war, we get a chance to know a few key players of the tale, namely, William Mandella, a promising physics student with an understanding that most lack. Mandella essentially fronts the mission to combat the Tauran’s, but even the brightest and boldest lack the proper preparation to wage war with extraterrestrials. Just the same, learning of Mandella’s personality and internal conflicts is magnetic. We the reader want to believe he holds a key piece of the puzzle, a piece that could bring an end to a terrifying war.
But shit goes bad, and it goes bad quickly. Sadly, it isn’t the actual war that begins the piling of bodies, it’s the preparation… and if preparation is this fatal, war can only be amplified to great lengths… and it is.
The entire first issue of The Forever War is intense, melancholy and unsettling. Many lives are lost before the United Nations Exploratory Force have even engaged in all out warfare with the Taurans, and when a story begins on such a somber note, it’s inevitable that chaos will only intensify as the tale progresses.
The book is extremely well-written, and that comes from a reader who enjoys science fiction, but only to a small degree. What triggers me, and what captivates me, is amazing character development, and we get a terrific dose of that in this book. There are still personalities to familiarize ourselves with, and heroes will continue to emerge. As it is, this introductory chapter is poignant, and something far more dangerous and relentless no doubts awaits followers of this tale.
Haldeman’s writing is engaging, and Marvano’s artwork plays a fine companion to the narrative. It’s impossible to feel optimistic about this mission after just a single issue, but the fact that the story immediately calls to the compassionate side of humanity offers extreme promise for this tale.
While I’ve never read Haldeman’s book, this introduction is enough to inspire extreme curiosity. How will this space war unfold? Who will live to tell the tale, and furthermore, can the Taurans even be stopped?
I’m excited for issue two!
Purchase the book right here.