THE FORGED #1
In the 11th Millennium of the rule of the Eternal Empress, a squad of planet-smashing super soldiers find their routine mission to be anything but. These are the Forged. They take no prisoners but this isn't a regular mission and why is the Empresses Cassandra involved?
Greg Rucka and Eric Trautmann are no strangers to the genre of the elite soldier; in fact, it’s fair to say that Rucka and Trautman, to only a lesser degree, are experts at the elite soldier genre. You only have to look at The Old Gaurd and Lazarus for proof. With The Forged, this concept has been flung into the distant future, and we find ourselves in a science fiction universe where an Eternal Empress and elite soldiers rule the known galaxy are bred from conception to become The Forged.
What’s immediately striking about The Forged from a writing perspective is how Rucka and Trautmann have used the concept of evolving language over millennia to make you feel that you far from what is familiar. The way they describe dates and time radically differs from how we use them now; this kind of thought going into this far-flung future immediately engages the reader in the writing.
This is an establishing shot, and it’s ALOT of comic for the money. It smoothly lays out a society that has been molded by the rule of a single individual over Millenia and how humanity has discovered faster-than-light capability and the expansion that has come with that. Some things don’t change, and Rucka and Trautmann show this through the eyes of the elite squad that is The Forged. Exclusively women, genetically engineered and built like tanks to withstand the incredible rigors of operating the mobile armor platform that makes them the most fierce and feared units in the universe, the writers play on the mystique of the ultimate soldier and the trope of how they are both looked down upon but feared and respected at the same time. The Forged is immediately likable as a group. The camaraderie between them is natural and well-written, and some excellent and dirty soldier dialogue between them establishes their bond as a unit.
There are layers here too. This isn’t just space marines kicking ass and taking names, although that element is a huge factor here. Rucka and Trautmann also bring in the mystery element too. This is expressed through the character of Cassandra. The Cassandras appear to be genetically bred psychics who wear fewer clothes than Emma Frost and are less inhibited. They serve as the voice of the Empress. Cassandra has profoundly inherent psychosexual energy (oh, and folks, this is NOT A COMIC FOR KIDS) expressed in everything from her movement to how she interacts with the other characters. The Cassandra we meet in this issue steers the storyline as she enforces actions that seem to doom an entire spaceship yet save The Forged. It’s a futuristic play on the Greek legend of Cassandra in a contemporary sci-fi setting, and it’s pulled off with a very sexy aplomb. The why or motivations of these actions is yet to be revealed. Overall, The Forged feels like a well-crafted far, flung space romp with scale, strange aliens, and well-written characters.
The creative team doesn’t stop with just the regular comic portion, and your knowledge of the period you find yourself in is expanded with several prose pages covering everything from the structure and layout of the empire to a military precis on The Forged themselves.
Mike Henderson on line art, Nolan Woodward on colors, and Ariana Maher are the art team on this book. Henderson is in peak form. The story has an immenseness and scale, and Henderson masterfully captures this from massive spaceships and planets to hanger bays filled with robotic armored suits. His line work is so wonderfully clean there is never any confusion about where the eye needs to go next. His characters are distinct, and I love the contrast in body types. Our main protagonist and head of the Forged unit, Victory, is an attractive sizeable muscular woman, while Cassandra is a slinky seductress in the traditional comic book sense. All the characters involved are well-rendered, expressive, and distinct in their look and feel. Nolan Woodard’s colors run the gamut from the traditional military browns and greens around the Forged Marines to the ethereal glowing, luminous, mysterious colors of the Cassandra. Then, when the action hits on a superheated world with ravenous red alien locals, it’s all reds and burning yellows and oranges as we watch The Forged deal with the crisis they find themselves in. Henderson swings for the fences with the closing pages, which are pure action melodrama as he goes big with the paneling and splashes to emphasize the scale of things but then cuts back tightly on the faces of the Forged in their suits. Ariana Maher plays with the shapes and coloring of speech bubbles to emphasize different tones versus regular dialogue from Cassandra and when the Forged are in their cases, and that’s a tremendous psychological element that helps you hear those voices differently your head as you read. The art team comes together, much like The Forged, to deliver visuals where every aspect reinforces the other for a cohesive whole elevated to something exceptional.
The Forged is 64 pages cover to cover of a creative team firing on all cylinders. The result is a sexy adult, action packed, space opera romp filled with interesting characters, six packs, eyeball popping visuals and glorious science fiction on a marvelously grandiose scale that is elevated by every aspect of it's construction. Strap yourselves in folks and get ready for a hell of a ride!
THE FORGED #1: Highly Irregular
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
User Review( votes)