Wednesday, May 27, 2009

1984 - Strikeforce Morituri

We Who Are About To Die ...

Strikeforce Morituri #1-5
Writer: Peter B. Gillis
Artist: Brent Anderson

Set in the future (circa 2070s), the Earth finds itself terrorized by an alien race of plunderers called the Horde. The Horde, while more technologically advance than humans, are content to run raids throughout the world taking what they need while humans are helpless to stop them. That is until Dr. Tuolema develops a super-power granting process, dubbed the "Morituri Process". Unfortunately, the process has one draw back in that it kills the subject within a year.

The first issue provides a wonderful introduction to the Earth of Strikeforce Morituri from Harold Everson's point of view as he volunteers to be among the first generation of the "Morituri Process". It also challenges Harold's convictions as he learns that the propaganda about the Morituri process was misleading. The second issue kicks it up a notch as the first generation of heroes are sent into the "Garden" a Danger Room-like environment meant to help stimulate their emerging powers. Our band of heroes are pushed to their limits and perhaps a bit too far testing the convictions of those running the Morituri program.

The next couple of issues didn't hold my attention as much as the first two, but they did succeed in bringing the issue of their imminent deaths to the forefront, culminating in the death of one of them. I felt that this theme resonates beyond the sci-fi aspect to our daily lives reminding us how precious life is and while our life spans are quite a bit longer than those subjected to the Morituri Process, it's just as terminal. Issue #5 deals with the fallout of the death of one of their own and they have to deal with a new alien threat.

Initially, I steered clear of this series as I hadn't enjoyed anything else that Peter B. Gillis had written (Defenders, Eternals miniseries, and Dr. Strange). Having recently picked up these issues in a bargain bin, I was pleasantly surprised with them. I found the overall concept rather intriguing in that Marvel would green light a series in which its characters would only last half a dozen issues or so.

For those of you that enjoy Astro City, you'll get a kick out of seeing some early art by Brent Anderson. Unfortunately, the paper quality does rob some of the art's luster.

Peter B. Gillis and Brent Anderson stayed on the title until issue #21 when James D. Hudnall takes over as writer along with a variety of artists, including Mark Bagley. Strikeforce Morituri would run until July 1989 and end with issue #31. In less than a year, it would be followed up by a five-issue miniseries called Strikeforce Morituri: Electric Undertow.

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