I haven’t read ‘Alien Legion’ since the mid-80s when it was printed under Marvel’s Epic line. Some of the stories I recognise here so it makes this book a good one to buy to understand this reality and read before the next volume which will have all new material. Double checking, this volume looks like it was pulled from the second volume from the Epic run in 1988 and contrary to what you might have read elsewhere, it is 448 pages making an enormous read for little comparative money.
Nomad Force is where you might be put if you’re a bit unmanageable in the rest of the Alien Legion, which is the military force used to keep the Tophan Galactic Union of three galaxies safe from various menaces that haven’t joined up and have their own agenda. Nomad also tends to get some of the dirtiest and dangerous jobs and its commander, Major Sarigar, loses his team on one planet and forbidden to initiate a rescue. So he resigns his commission and does it alone initially before getting finance from one of his team’s rich father and succeeds. Old snake tail is truly formidable and you can see why his team respects him.
This is all build-up for what happens next when Sarigar discovers that they are being manipulated by the Union itself to keep them out of the way and then get embroiled in a massive conflict. As this is the main part of the story and spoilers abound, it makes for an involving story.
Even after all this time, these stories hold together well with a lot of political manoeuvring and intrigue. All characters of Nomad Force are distinct and, for some, definitely alien with a strong dash of attitude, especially Jugger Grimod, who must surely be considered a break-out character, especially when he gets a promotion that he clearly didn’t want and punches his way to demotion but that’s all part of the plot. The main dozen characters get a lot more depth than the others who literally become cannon-fodder which would be my main criticism. On the other hand, the depth given to the main characters probably compensates. It’ll be interesting to see where this leads in the new material.
As military SF goes in comicbooks, ‘Alien Legion’ is truly unique and it’s so nice to meet old friends again. Now that military SF is considered a sub-genre, ‘Alien Legion’ was in the forefront of this in the 1980s and I suspect it will get a lot more fans now. After all, you can’t keep a bad bosper down unless they are heavily armed. Well, only when you’re under fire by Nomad.
(pub: Titan Books. 448 page graphic novel medium softcover. Price: £19.99 (UK), $24.99 (US), $27.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-78276-068-9)