Sword of the Legion: Galaxy's Edge #5
by Jason Anspach and Nick Cole
Kindle Edition, 332 pages
Published October 25th 2017 by Galaxy's Edge
I keep being surprised by Cole and Anspach. I have said that before, but I'm going to keep on saying it as long as it keeps happening. Right now, the Galaxy's Edge series is hot stuff in the "Space Marines" category on Amazon. When I read Legionnaire, I thought I knew where the series was going. It turns out I was mistaken.
Let me explain my continuing surprise regarding the Galaxy's Edge series by recourse to Gurren Lagann. Gurren Lagann is a 2007 series by GAINAX, one of my favorite Japanese studios. At the beginning, Gurren Lagann is the story of two boys, Simon and Kamina, who are bored with their rote and regimented life, and who act out in predictable ways. Then, Simon stumbles on an artifact of great power, the core drill. This sets in train a sequence of events that culminates in a battle for the fate of the galaxy.
However, none of this is apparent at first. The core drill and its spiral power is a metaphor for what is going to happen. Each revolution of the crank brings you to a higher level, but the spiral itself is unchanged; it simply grows in diameter. Gurren Lagann is a brutal sendoff of mecha anime, and often uses puerile humor to mask its subtlety. Simon and Kamina are teenage boys, after all. But the total effect is a fascinating story that happens on multiple levels simultaneously, while keeping its essence unchanged throughout.
Galaxy's Edge is much like this. You think, space marines, OK, this is Tom Clancy in space! Or Tom Clancy with Star Wars! We will get elite soldiers who kick ass, some political intrigue, and we all get to be heroes in the end, right?
As it turns out, all of the real heroes are dead. [Spoiler alert. I'm not kidding about that.] They don't give out the Order of the Centurion posthumously 98.4% of the time for nothing. Each book in the series feels very different because each one is a turn of the crank, expanding beyond the gripping tale of the survivors of Victory Company in Legionnaire, to something much, much bigger. New secrets are revealed, deeper connections forged to things that seemed incidental at the time. Yet, we are also getting something much the same: space opera competently done, with a touch of dark humor and military action-adventure
And, by the way, I agree: it is never a good idea to give weapons strong AI, even if they make interesting observations about poetry.