Saturday, July 22, 2017

Strikeforce Morituri!

Vyking, Radian, Adept, Blackthorn, Marathon and Snapdragon are the names. Strikeforce Morituri was one of the finest comic book series in the history of the medium. It seems a little obvious now, but in the 80's such realistic storytelling was an up and coming thing. Science fiction was notoriously a low-sales effort for comics, for whatever reason. Though science fiction concepts underlay nearly all superhero series to some degree, the pure stuff did not find purchase save for a few clear exceptions, usually linked to movie or TV franchises.

But Strikeforce Morituri pushed into all of that. Adult-themed stories set firmly in a science fiction setting and gave us a delightfully fresh take on superheroes. One of the failings of most superhero books is the limited motivation which makes the heroes take such risks. They are given altruistic attitudes which work well enough but don't really speak to the broad spectrum of human motivations. This book dives right into that and gives us a range of answers to the question of why risk your life for others. In fact it goes further and asks why one would willingly and knowingly lay down your life for others. The reasons are patriotism, self-aggrandizement, love of family, and more.

These stories by writer Peter B. Gillis and artist Brent Anderson are superb. The pacing is amazing as we meet and follow the "heroes" involved with the Morituri process. Inker Scott Williams adds some wonderful gloss and Whilce Portacio steps in on a few issues to help out. This first volume collects up the first year of the series, thirteen issues which give us the stories of of these young people who could die at any moment. Some of them do as we see in the very first issue which shows the "Black Watch", the first humans to undergo the process and attack the invaders.

More tomorrow as we look at the second volume.

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