Overview

Titanium Rain #1

Review

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Titanium Rain #1

Credits

  • Words: Josh Finney
  • Art: Josh Finney and Kat Rocha
  • Inks: Josh Finney and Kat Rocha
  • Colors: Josh Finney and Kat Rocha
  • Story Title: Alert Five
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Aug 6, 2008

In the distant future, China has become the hotbed with a civil war that spreads into World War Three. This becomes the backdrop for some philosophical ramblings.

Have I ever mentioned that I am a comic book junkie? I read a lot of comics. No seriously, whatever you think I read, I probably read more. I honestly picked this book up because of the publisher. Archaia Studios Press has never printed a book that didn’t at least intrigue me. They aren’t all winners, some are deeply flawed, but in the end they are brave and unique. I don’t know what I expected of Titanium Rain. After reading it, I am not sure what I expect of the book. However, I do know that what I got was utterly unexpected.

The cover makes it clear this book will be about war. Set in a World War that escalates from a Chinese civil conflict in the year 2031, the comic delivers on that promise. Beyond that, this first issue offers one of the most ambitious and coherent bits of epic exposition I have read in a while.

The book opens on the ground. The chaos of modern warfare is shown in great detail. From jargon that can be disconcerting to the general public to a reliance on technology that can prove faithful, this is what it is probably like for our troops fighting the "axis of evil". This quickly fades to a picture of a dead bird and an unclear narrator begins to philosophize on the nature of the life cycle and Darwinism. Then a poker game becomes a metaphor for strategic war.

Two things were striking about the exposition. First of all, there is the tightness of the squad at the center of the book. We’ve all seen the games on various television shows from the likes of Battlestar Galactica and such. The thing is, I grew up as a Marine brat and the comradery on display here feels right. This is how the guys sounded when they would come over to Gunny’s house for dinner or to help us out setting a new piece of home equipment, be it computer or VCR. These guys know each other and love each other and you know that they would do anything for each other. There is the definite feeling that this bond will come into play sooner than later. The dialogue only helps this, instead of cliched Top Gun, these guys sound like they are on actual R&R. They talk like real people.

The dialogue is all the more remarkable because the philosophy is so rich. The meditation on the life cycle is a great metaphor to the evils of war and to show that it is a direct example of Darwinism at work in the real world is a stroke of genius. The juxtaposition of the concepts of humans and the cold strategy of the art of war or even the ways of Mother Nature is a stroke of genius and a little more profound than what your average war comic puts on display. This is not satire. It is the bitter truth in all its ugliness. I am sure some writers will find it preachy and it is possible that it is, but it spoke to me in a way that most comics don’t. This one is going to be with me for a while. It is in my head making synapses fire back and forth.

The art seems to be computer rendered. Usually this is a distraction for me as I find that method of comic art cold and stiff. However, Finney and Rocha make it look like there are a bunch of pictures put together instead of stills from a video game. I am sure some if this is due to photo referencing which is acknowledged by a list of the faces used in the credits. Maybe, it is even roto-scoped, it feels like the emotions and postures of the characters are real, not posed or static. Again like the dialogue, it just feels real and in this medium of fancies, that is to be commended.

Titanium Rain is a different kind of war book, making statements about the politics and nature of war and not reducing itself to mocking the whole thing. The sense of foreboding that is not clearly written but palatable is also a thing to note. I have a feeling that this is going to be one heck of a ride.

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