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Universal War One: Collected Edition h/c

Universal War One: Collected Edition h/c Universal War One: Collected Edition h/c Universal War One: Collected Edition h/c Universal War One: Collected Edition h/c

Universal War One: Collected Edition h/c back

Denis Bajram


Page 45 Review by Stephen and Jonathan

Deeply satisfying sci-fi originally published in France in which the Purgatory Squadron encounters The Wall and gets quite the education, whether they need none nor not.

The Purgatory Squadron is an eminently expendable group of space soldiers each awaiting Court Martial for a list of offences whose specifics are kept secret from each other. You really don't know who you're bunking up with or why. Unnerving, much...? They're led by Lt. Colonel Edward Kalish, a genius who was formerly the head of the United Earth Forces' Space Physics Research Division.

The Wall, on the other hand, is an immense and seemingly impenetrable black barrier defying analysis which has suddenly appeared in the middle of our solar system cutting off access to any planet beyond Saturn. Three billion kilometres in diameter and filling a third of the night sky, its centre appears to be Oberon, a moon of Uranus.

Given the existing tensions between the governing United Earth Forces and the Colonization Industrial Companies which control the various off-Earth outposts and colonies, the UEF suspects the CIC of testing some top-secret weapon from their research facility orbiting Oberon, and accuses the CIC of wanting to secede thus raising the spectre of a potentially catastrophic civil war.

But when our Purgatory Squad figures out the physics and learn that it's a form of inverted worm-hole, Earth's military encounters a fleet of space ships within, which they should be able to take on quite easily but can't.

Why? The enemy fleet appears to be uncannily fast and uncannily accurate whenever they fire. And there's a very good reason why: it's just a question of time...

It was at that point I really started to enjoy myself when I read this on holiday six years ago - so much so that my notes came to an abrupt end.

But it becomes a philosophical debate on cause and effect, and a complex murder mystery for quite early on one of the squadron, Balti, emerges from The Wall a mere minute after he went rogue and flew in there. But he does so in a brand new ship, different clothes and a great big hole in his chest.

Written, pencilled and inked by Denis Bajarm this was the best straight science / speculative fiction graphic novel which our Jonathan had read for some considerable time. If you're a lover of prose sci-fi you'll greatly appreciate Bajarm's detailed and intricate plot and his extensive characterisation of the Purgatory Squadron members and the UEF and CIC big-wigs. His art too is epic and exquisitely detailed and, without giving too much away plot-wise, the sequences inside the barrier are genuinely unnerving in the sense that you really feel people are messing around with potentially galactic-shattering forces that aren't even remotely under their control.

This hefty edition collects both previous volumes published by Marvel's abandoned Soleil imprint, while this review is complete mash-up of our previous efforts back in 2009 to the extent that single sentences have been spliced together and I'm currently experiencing an entirely apposite identity crisis.