THE FORGED #2
With their ride crashing down on top of them, The Forged are trapped on the hellscape of Gehenna where the locals are very hungry. The mission turns out to be a whole lot more complicated than a beacon retreival and Crazy Jo Loses and arm...AGAIN.
This comic is flawless, and you should all be reading it. If allowed to, that would be my review, but my editor would banish me, Gehenna, if I turned in that. So let me explain.
After the initial introduction of the first issue, Rucka and Trautmann switch focus entirely to Victory and her Forged team. The chapter pulls in tightly on the Scimitar 3 squad in the wake of their emergency planetfall at the end of issue one. The frenetic pace continues as the team has to deal with the impact of a massive starship on the planet’s surface and the unwanted attention of the local and very aggressive fauna. It’s action-packed, and Rucka And Trautmann focus heavily on showing us how Victory and her team cope with the incredibly hazardous environment they find themselves in. They do this with a superb and perfect balance of wild action, supplied courtesy of Mike Henderson and the rest of the art team, and pitch-perfect dialogue of a competent team of women who take the chaos they find themselves in, in almost perfect stride. But not too perfect, and that’s really what sells it. As well-trained as they are, the unexpected is always bound to happen. Rucka and Trautmann show how well The Forged work as a team when someone loses an arm or a sonar probe accidentally summons a bunch of voracious critters. There’s such a natural feeling to the dialogue between these trained women that perfectly sells the idea that they have been doing this as a team longer than we have been privy to their story. There’s a richness to their interactions that sells you the idea of who each one of them is and their place in the unit. The issue is almost entirely them in their suits coping with the environment and circumstances and then, towards the end, gears down as they track down their mission purpose, which ends up being a who and not a what as Rucka and Trautmann drop the bombshell of why The Forged are really on Gehenna.
Every so often, you can tell the art team is having an absolute ball with what you are looking at because it radiates off the page. Mike Henderson’s enthusiasm is positively infectious from page one of this issue. It’s decisive action-packed chaos from the get-go. I’ve already said how brilliant the art is in issue one; I want to discuss what Henderson pulls off with the paneling here. Remember that we follow a team of space soldiers in highly specialized suits. Hence, Henderson jumps back and forth between long narrow rectangular paneling at head and shoulder height with the team in their armor. Then he’ll pull out for a massive action splash page. The effect makes you feel like you are standing with the team in the middle of the chaos, moving with them, part of the team, even when Henderson pulls away and we back at the reader’s perspective view for the big splashes. The scale and angles Henderson chooses emphasize making you feel right there. Woodard’s colors are spot on and help sell the first-person perspective view that Henderson uses several times, again drawing the reader back in and making you feel like you are in forged armor yourself, looking out at the environment. Letterer Ariana Maher and Woodard color each member’s speech bubbles in their suits to help you track who’s talking on comms. Every aspect of the art is executed perfectly to the highest degree, page after page that you open to page one. You’ve read nearly 50 pages of superbly executed space opera action in a blink.
Then, as if forty-something pages of fantastic art and scripting aren’t enough, the team says hold my beer, we are not done with you yet, and expand the mythos of this far-flung future empire with another 12 pages that include individual Forged warrior profiles, a portrait of the Empress herself and an actual honest to god “scientific explanation” of how space travel has been achieved. Now it’s one thing to script a page and say the spaceship exits “T-space” and have the artist draw their interpretation of the idea. It’s another thing to write a fictional scientific treatise explaining it. That speaks of a level of time and energy spent universe-building by the creative team, which only serves to immerse you deeper and deeper into what they are creating in this series.
The Forged #2 is a perfect space soldier action comic. In every aspect of it's execution, from superbly well written character dialogue to huge bombastic action scenes on a hostile alien world, the creative team does an incredible job of immersing you as the reader in the adventure on the page. There is a unparalleled level of commitment made into fleshing out and universe building on display here. It's, to put simply, a perfect second issue.
THE FORGED #2: Situation Normal, All F@#$@$ Up!
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 10/1010/10
- Art - 10/1010/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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