Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Recommendation Arrow: Strikeforce: Morituri

(Recommendation Arrow is an occasional feature we run here at the Arrowcave, where I will recommend older, more obscure series that I enjoy)

It is 2069, and Earth is in trouble. The human race has been conquered by the Horde, a race of interstellar scavengers who steal resources, slaves and technology from their victims, doing little if any work besides the conquering itself. Even their ships and weapons were stolen from other species. In fact, they have to keep moving from system to system because they have no idea how to maintain the technology they steal.

Fortunately (sort of) for Earth, the Horde do not conquer the humans in the traditional sense. Instead, they destroy Earth's military might, then conduct sporadic raids for supplies and slaves. This leaves most areas of Earth functional and able to operate normally.

Unfortunately, none of Earth's weapons have proven a match for the Horde. In desperation, the Padeia, Earth's ruling body, turns to a scientist named Dr. Tuolema and his Morituri Process. The experimental Morituri Process grants superhuman powers to those who undergo it, granting humanity a chance to strike back at the Horde.

Again, unfortunately, the Process is not without drawbacks. Only a small percentage of the population is compatible with the process, and only those between the ages of 18-21 have much chance of surviving. Secondly, and most disturbingly, the process has a 100% fatality rate, hence the name (Morituri, roughly translated from Latin: "About to Die"). Approximately one year after undergoing the process, the subject will reject the treatment and explode. Yes, explode.

Despite the obvious drawbacks, the terror and destruction inflicted by the Horde on the human race means that there is no shortage of volunteers. The comic itself follows the adventures of the second batch of recruits to the program (the first having died in a blaze of glory while killing the Horde commander of Earth). Don't get used to these guys, though. The volatile nature of the Process means the cast turnover is quite high. In fact, one of the point of view characters dies in the fourth issue. This might seem like a drawback for fans used to years and years of the same character, but the book makes you feel for these characters, who accepted certain death in exchange for a chance to save humanity.

The series ran for 31 issues, from '86 to '89. There was a follow up miniseries a couple years later called Electric Undertow.

As far as I know, these issues have never been collected anywhere, but they make for an excellent read, and can be found in discount bins everywhere.


james said...

The first 12-20 or so issues of Strikeforce were amazing. The series did a great job placing superheroes within a hard science-fiction context, with exceptional characterization.

Anonymous said...

lol the horde reminds me of World of wacraft, yay i got no life, DEAL WITH IT!!!
yay i think i read these befor though

Anonymous said...

I loved this series back when I was younger. I hated losing heroes, but this was back when it was a big thing for a hero to die, so it made more of an impact. Now it's just something they do to sell a few extra copies of a book. I wish they'd put these in an "Essential" collection someday.