Titan Comics 2017
Written by Joe Haldeman
With Gay Haldeman
Illustrated by Marvano
Lettered by Cat Connery
As they touch down on the planet Aleph, Platoon 1 are about to put everything they’ve learned in training into practice. They are under orders to engage the enemy – the Taurans – whom none of them have ever seen before. Ready for battle, they set out across the alien world. The war is real now. They’re in it. But, like everything, the expectation and the reality are markedly different. The ideology that led them to this situation also led to decisions that none of them could have prepared themselves for – and the lucky ones who survive will never be the same again…
I love this for so many reasons! The fact that we’re seeing how all this is affecting the team through the eyes of one man is amazingly well done. I mean war is something no one should aspire to experience and from what we’re seeing it’s like these guys are there because of propaganda and fear not because of some very real threat. This alien world that has these elements of what we know against that strange alien backdrop really is striking. I mean that tree, if that’s what it is, looks like a termite mound and the wildlife are more like dinosaurs so it’s a very unnerving landscape for these first time out folk.
So the first encounter with the local wildlife left me shaking my head, I didn’t see the purpose of this happening. As far as we know they aren’t Taurans just local animals so why? Is this some kind of inherent human reaction? Is this how we behave in such a shoot first don’t think of consequences society? I mean I see the American Presidency being a mockery of all it was built to be and then I see this and think wow humanity really is not ready for a cosmic stage at all. Heck we’re not even ready for a world stage, one unified world. That this story is an adaptation and that we get what Joe is doing with his analogies and making the reader think and see through the obvious is why it’s such a powerful story.
I am a huge fan of the work Marvano is doing here. The attention to detail is utterly phenomenal! The use of page layouts with their angles, perspective and utilisation of backgrounds really brings us the bigger picture of the world and what’s going around the crew. The facial expressions are marvelous in showing feeling and emotion plus the creativity and imagination in bringing the alien parts to life are splendid.
This is a many layered story that continues to grow and evolve as we read it. From one man’s ability to see beyond their orders and understand that actions have reactions and struggles to understand the why of it we get so much more than we bargained for. This has that ability to make you think beyond what we see and then just appreciate what we are experiencing on the page as well. From a science fiction war epic to a much deeper look at human behaviour and our need to change what we get out of this is dependent upon the reader. Either way you see what’s happening here it truly is something special.