COMIC BOOK REVIEW: ALIEN LEGION: UNCIVIL WAR / AUTHOR: CHUCK DIXON / ARTIST: LARRY STROMAN, CARL POTTS / PUBLISHER: TITAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
A civil war between the Harkilon Warlords and the Harkilon Imperium has broken out, and hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing the fighting in a fleet of spaceships warping into Union space. Force Nomad are assigned to search the vessels to establish that their populace are truly seeking asylum from the war, and if any are using the mass exodus as cover for their own nefarious purposes.
If all that doesn’t mean much to you, you are unlikely to be the target audience of Uncivil War. There’s nothing in the way of backstory to acclimatise new readers to the galaxy-spanning world in which they’ve been dropped, and no character introduction beyond a few early panels namechecking the principal protagonists. However, this isn’t meant as an origin story but a continuation of the original series, of which this is the first new miniseries in over 20 years. Anyway, the story itself is actually pretty lean, and is really not much more than a set-up to the sci-fi action underway relentlessly by page 10. From then on, myriad characters are thrust into the foreground for a few pages before the action jumps elsewhere as Nomad battle armies of drug smugglers and religious fundamentalists.
Essentially a sci-fi equivalent of the French Foreign Legion, Force Nomad are amassed from a mismatched assortment of renegades and outcasts, and as such they may not especially like each other, but in the long run that really doesn’t matter. They’re all a bunch of hard enough bastards that when the bullets and lasers begin to fly, personal feelings become irrelevant in the battle to kill whatever is trying to kill them first.
While the story is one of basic simplicity, the artwork is a truly spectacular blaze of hyperchromatic hypnosis. The types of alien creatures vary from one page to the next, each portrayed in a dazzling array of colour and countless variation in physical attributes. Outside, the vast blackness (or rich purple) of deep space is ignited by the flare of engines, the rainbow flashes of laser cannons and doomed spaceships detonating into vibrant explosions of fire and metal.
Existing fans of Alien Legion will have no trouble diving right into Uncivil War, but anyone approaching the series for the fist time would do well to check out earlier instalments in order to get a better feel for who (and what) everyone is.
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