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REVIEW: The Forever War #5

Cover of The Forever War #5 from Titan Comics

Cover of The Forever War #5 from Titan Comics. Art by Fabio Listrani.

BY Matt Vroom (@themattvroom)

The Forever War, is a comic book series published by our friends at Titan Comics. It was written by Joe Haldeman (who also penned the original novel,) and art was done by Marvano. This issue was published on June 21, 2017, and is now available on Comixology for $3.99.
This comic book is part of an adaption on the original novel of the same name written by the same author. It was published in 1974 and was the recipient of the Nebula Award in 1975, and Locus Award in 1976.

It was first adapted into a graphic novel format in 1988 in German, and later an English version was released in 1994 by NBM Publishing. That original graphic novel was divided into three parts, and The Forever War #5 by Titan Comics is found in the third part titled: Major Mandella.

Why am I telling you all this? Well mostly before reading this comic I had no idea that it had already been released over three decades ago. I’m not sure how Titan got the rights to reprint the comic, but I am sure glad that they did.

I have not read the original novel. However, I do know that when it was released that it made such a splash with scifi enthusiasts because of the social issues that it touched on. (A little more on that later.)

Cover B for the Forever War #4 from Titan Comics

Cover B for the Forever War #4 from Titan Comics. Art by Steve Kurth.

The official synopsis of the comic from Titan is as follows:

“The interminable waiting continues as Mandella treks across the void to his next assignment. Alone now, with Marygay light-years away, forever out of reach, he has only memories of the life he once knew.

Among his comrades and subordinates, he finds he is an oddity, as humanity has developed new social constructs beyond his comprehension. Some things, however, remain the same, and Mandella finds himself at the center of an outburst of the basest of human emotions…”

So now here is my review:

SPOILER ALERT WARNING – I will be briefly discussing about a certain plot point in this book. It is critical to talk about as this whole issue is impacted by it. If you wish not to be spoiled then I would say if you are into good military science fiction with political and social undertones then this comic is for you!

Cover C for The Forever War #5. Art by I.N.J. Culbard.

Cover C for The Forever War #5. Art by I.N.J. Culbard.

Okay now that that is over, we can get into the good stuff. The main protagonist of this story, Mandella, is unique to the rest of his comrades aboard the Masaryk. While he was off fighting space battles in faraway places, the civilization that he left had changed, and society as he knew it had evolved.

As mandated by the government sometime before this story takes place, they (the Government) believed that children should be genetically modified to eliminate certain diseases and so that population would be controlled. To ensure that their plans weren’t tampered with they made these embryos homosexual. Thus, ending the needs of the culture to reproduce the “normal” way.

Mandella was different in the fact that he was in fact heterosexual, and only one of a handful of humans that were. Everyone aboard the Masaryk, and every member of the military have all been “cured” of the plague of humanity. Mandella is an outcast, but doesn’t give into his sense of isolation.

I feel like this story is a very topical conversation and addresses the state the world finds itself in today. Particularly here in the USA. This comic explores the potential future of androgynous men and women, where the distinction between the two genders are few.

I only wanted to highlight this part of the story because I didn’t expect it. I have not been familiar with the source material before reading this comic. I feel like the story of Mandella is supposed to illustrate the same things a homosexual must have gone through in a predominantly gay-fearing society.

There were other things that I enjoyed about this comic. I love me some science fiction and this issue introduces a few interesting gadgets.

One of these cool gadgets was the ALSC, or the Accelerated Life Situation Computer. It can program a person with the ability to kill someone in over 1000 ways.

The Forever War was a good solid read. The art was pretty good too. Considering that it is over three decades old. I would say that it still holds up to this day. That is one of the wonderful things about comics. They do not seem to feel as dated as older movies do.

I give this comic 4 out of 5 stars. It was an exceptional story, and the art was good too. Nothing really stuck out as “amazing” or “awesome,” but it was worth the read.

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