Nemo Me Impune Lacessit

Monday, 25 August 2008

New Must-Read — Universal War One

Filed under: Reading — Tags: , , — mikewb1971 @ 5:39 PM (17:39)

While perusing the available titles at Noble Comics, I cam across a “new” title from Marvel Comics —
Universal War One, written, drawn and colored by French comic creator Denis Bajram. I say “new” because it was originally published in French in 1998, and only recently has it been translated to english and published in America.

The story takes place about a century from now, in the year 2098 or 2108 (Bajram’s website says 2058, even as the squadron’s personnel files on that page show dates of birth in the 2070’s, and charges being filed against some of them in the 2090’s). The main characters are military officers awaiting courts-martial that were put together into the “Purgatory Squadron” as a way of giving them each a second chance.

Purgatory Squadron’s mission is to break through “The Wall,” a spherical gravitational barrier of some sort centered around the Uranian moon Oberon. “The Wall” is three billion kilometers in diameter, and almost touches the planet Saturn. Anyone or anything trying to cross The Wall ends up being crushed or torn apart by tidal forces.

All told, Vol.1 was a compelling introduction to the five-volume limited series. None of the characters were the cardboard-cutout types often seem elsewhere, and Vol.1 ended with one of the main cast being killed.

Problems? Some minor quibbles — the capital-type spacecraft appear to be miles long, of the Star Wars variety. The fighters (?) flown by Purgatory Squadron are rather chunky. The hangar bay those fighters are berthed in is cavernous, and the crew pump the air in and out each time they launch and recover craft, which would take forever under combat conditions, considering the sheer size of the hangar bay. (Maybe they have really fast pumps?) Finally, the name of the mother ship (carrier?) is the UESS Genghiskhan — no space there, it should have been Genghis Khan.

Still — a very engaging read — the story line is solid for the most part, and the art is very well done, very detailed. This one definitely goes onto the must-read list.

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