What is UW1?
The story is set more than a century into the future with the solar system being settled and its resources utilized by the Colonization Industrial Companies on the behalf of the Earth. The United Earth Force is the in-space military force of the newly united planet. This relationship between the UEF and the CIC was falling apart with miners' riots and military interventions, then the "Wall" showed up blocking access to everything past Uranus, and then the CIC and UEF enter into a state of war. This wall was a three billion kilometer sphere, and what lays inside the Wall is a complete mystery. The UEF uses their Purgatory Squadron, a misfit space fighter unit of soldiers awaiting trial and needing a second chance, to probe the Wall. This is where the graphic novel opens. The seven soldiers of Purgatory Squadron are the core characters of UW1 and throughout the events of this First Universal War, they will solve the mystery of the black starless wall in deep space and the involvement of the CIC.
As I said above, UW1 is a mixture of elements of 2001, the Forever War, and Interstellar. Much like 2001 and Interstellar, the story loses power and drifts into a strangle waters towards the end of the comic, ruining the promising beginning. The story that was good in the first part of the graphic novel is twisted along with the originals of the Wall, and all of it ends up not what I expected, nor is it that a good thing. The end of the graphic novel is flat disappointing and lets down the rest of the story and my enjoyment of it. Oh, and the title is a lie. There is no real "war" to speak of in the comic. Yes, the slaughter of the 3rd Fleet of the UEF inside the Wall is the only real battle, but to me, that doesn't count after you finish the book and figure the mystery of the Wall. Then there is the countless dialog balloons about time paradoxes, time travel, and the physics of wormholes. While interesting, and does punch up the normal military sci-fi comic to a higher level, it becomes tiresome and self-important, dominating the rest of the graphic novel's other plot points.
Should You Read UW1?
Despite the beautiful art, good character and environment design, overall UW1 is simply not worth the price. If you could read this graphic novel for a few bucks or even free and the basic story interests you, than it is worth the read...but it is not worth much more than that. While is not the comic you expect, it is not the comic that you deserve. After reading UW1 a few times for this review, I am left being meh about the whole experience. I was just grateful I did not buy much more than a few bucks for the experience, and so should you. I will not be buying the sequel. I will be placing UW1 into my pile that if and when my comic collection grows beyond my space and I need to sell some comics. I simply do not see myself reading UW1 anytime soon or ever again, I just did not enjoy it as much as I had hoped. However, the art is simply stellar and I will be interested in seeing more from Denis Bajram that does not involve the Universal War One universe.
Next Time on FWS...