The Forged #1 ADVANCE REVIEW: a sci-fi rumble backed by an expansive world and stellar visuals
Story: Greg Rucka & Eric Trautmann, Art: Mike Henderson, Colors: Nolan Woodard, Letters: Ariana Maher, Design: Eric Trautmann, Edits: Alejandro Arbona.
Image Comics' upcoming The Forged #1 initiates a new series steeped in science fiction that revels in brash words and over-the-top violence. In other words, it's a fun read that warrants your attention. Set in a vast universe, The Forged #1 situates its reader with a group of mech-wearing, trigger-happy, elite soldiers on a haywire mission from their empress. What are they called? You guessed it: The Forged. What follows is an immersive read that expands its world through narrative interactions, showing rather than telling. The visuals are epic and grand, selling the gargantuan size of this new universe. Seriously, the end of this issue contains a map of the story's universe as well as encyclopedic entries that more depth. This is all optional to the story at hand, a decision that implies grand intentions for future issues.
The Forged #1 does little in the way of linear storytelling. Rather, it expands, leading with its expansive universe and anchoring the reader with down-to-earth characters. Dialogue weaves between rough language and terms unique to this world. This can be off-putting in the beginning as you may feel pretty excluded by the book's decision to just throw you into the story. It only takes a few pages before you notice yourself piecing it all together. The story eases you in, though it won't feel like it at first. The majority of this issue is about engaging with key characters and building a connection with them. This is executed well with some characters but not with others. The importance of certain people is made apparent, though this is all assumption based on a singular issue. I hope we get some more time with this issue's aggressively fun characters.
The visuals in this book are epic in scope and precise in detail. A healthy blend of ethereal and rustic colors brings together the grounded and sci-fi elements while solidifying the uniqueness of the world. The depictions of space and planets were especially jaw-dropping, with rich coloring and diverse linework generating a truly beautiful cosmos. Character art is no less impressive. Each individual is emotive; a heavy emphasis on eyes lends more emotionality to each scene.
The Forged #1 is a fun and inventive beginning to what I think will become a dynamic and expansive series. Though the script leans too heavily on brashness in certain moments, this does not deter from the well-executed introduction of both the main characters and an alien universe.
The Forged #1 earns itself 4 out of 5 POPs!!!!
Be sure to pick it up from Image Comics (here!) or from YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP(!!!) when it releases on March 15th.
I've kept Greg Rucka on my radar since I inhaled the entirety of his Gotham Central run so I was excited to get my hands on a new title of his. If you've not read Rucka's unique take on the Batman universe, I highly recommend it. In the same vein, if you'd like darker fare I'd recommend Rucka's work blending the occult with the detective genre in Black Magic.
Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.