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With a sour taste still in my mouth from my last review of “The Fall of the Sith Empire” you wouldn’t expect me to have a glowing appraisal of “Starship Troopers” but it’s actually pretty good, I was pleasantly surprised. I borrowed it from the library just expecting it to be a bit of no brainer entertainment and I was right it is totally no brainer but in the best way. Although “Starship Troopers” is a licence product released to tie in with the film it rises above what is generally a pretty dire sub section of the comic world. The reason it pulls this off is it sticks to the basic ethics of the film which if I remember rightly was rollicking good fun, tongue in cheek and unashamedly an action film. The basic premise is a race of giant Bugs are bent on destroying humanity. Society has changed since democracy was too weak to deal conclusively with the alien threat a more militaristic government replaces it and the only people who can vote them out are citizens. The catch is you can only become a citizen after serving with the forces, this plot is a sideline to the excess of gore a violence but it’s quite a nice one. The book is split into three sections collecting two prequal stories and the Robert A. Hienlein story Paul Verhoeven’s film was based on. Although the first two stories do lack the satirical edge the original film had they do make up for it with pace and pretty sassy dialogue. “Insect Touch” written by Warren Ellis and Gordon Rennie is about the first contact with the insect menace. It’s a pretty simple deal a little reminiscent of Aliens, basically a bunch of troopers head off for the Bug Planet after an abortive attempt by the Bugs to populate earth. Of course they are on a suicide mission which they seem to be quite happy about, it’s all very gung ho and to be honest it’s pretty good fun. The artwork by Paolo Parente and David e Fabbri is the stand out feature of this story, it is all very stylised and with thick clean inking, I haven’t seen anything like it in comics before, to be honest it reminds me a little of Graffiti art more than comic art and although it took a little getting used to I really like it. “Brute Creations” written By Jan Strnad develops a backstory for Jean Rasczak, the Hard assed trainer played by Michael Ironside in the film. Rasczak is pulled from teaching duty to train a colony of Mormons deep in Bug country. Apparently they can’t become full troopers and thus citizens with voting rights unless they have received History and Moral Philosophy classes from the charming Mr Rasczak. A bit of dark humour raises it’s head long before the blood starts to flow (come on you expected as much) when Rasczak and a child look on a Terran Federation park where under the banner “Peaceful coexistence “And the lion shall lie with lamb”” Lions and lambs really are lying together. “How do they do that?” gawps the kid, Rasczak quips “It’s easy, now and again they throw in more lambs.” The story is another simple one with slightly more savvy than the first story but again the stand out feature of this is the artwork again. With pencils supplied by Tommy Lee Edwards and inks by Robert Campanella they actually manage to make Rasczak look exactly like Michael Ironside. Which considering the style they have adopted is quite an achievement. The inks look like they have been done with a chunky marker pen another style I’ve rarely seen but it works really well giving a very gritty atmosphere to the story. The final story is the film adaptation “Starship Troopers” written by Bruce Jones with Pencils by Mitch Bird and inks by Andrew Pepoy. To be honest I enjoyed this the least I suppose it doesn’t help that I already know the story. Bruce Jones adaptation of th e film is adequate, the story is simple a group of diverse students join up with the troopers and get split up into pilots, ground troops and psychic corps to face the Bug threat and eventually come together on the home world. It could have done with skipping over the training section a bit quicker and getting onto the action a little quicker and it could also have included a little more of the propaganda present in the film. Of all the artwork in the book again this is the weakest, granted it is a little more graphic than the others with dismemberment a plenty, but that doesn’t make up for the fact it failed to hit any of the major characters from the film on the head. That said the colour supplied by Jim Brown is far superior to the more basic palates of the first two stories, though it does lean towards the primary. This comic does have the feel of a movie cash in more than the other two but it is still pretty good fun. As a collection it is blatant cash in on a blockbuster movie but to be honest it’s a good one in a part of the comic industry which is littered with bad ones. The artwork throughout is very graphic and I wouldn’t recommend it for preteens but past that it’s surprisingly good fun. Starship Troopers is published by Dark Horse Comics; ISBN: 1569713146 and costs $13.56 @amazon.com
A movie tie-in featuring both the comic-strip adaptation of the film Starship Troopers and a prequel which describes the events leading up to the greatest intergalactic conflict of all time - a time when Earth's forces clashed explosively with insect-like creatures.