Remake & Reboot: Strikeforce: Morituri

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

In an Earth several years ahead of ours, aliens have invaded and left humanity on the defensive fighting for their survival. A lone geneticist discovers a process to imbue normal humans like you and I with the gift of superpowers — but at a price. From the day you get your powers you’re a ticking clock, counting down 365 days until the day you die. But in a world where you’re fighting day-to-day for the survival of you and your people, that’s a cost a select few are willing to take.

That’s the concept of the highly-regarded but criminally under-rated mid 80s Marvel series titled Strikeforce: Morituri. The series ran for four years, from original creators Peter B. Gillis (Shatter, Micronauts: New Voyages) and Brent Anderson (X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, Astro City) to latter additions by future superstars like Mark Bagley and Whilce Portacio. Since it’s finale in 1989, the concept has been picked up by several television and movie producers for a potential adaptation/revival but has been unable to get into orbit. Some say it’s just hard finding a concept that’ll work, while others say thefull ownership of the book is in question between Marvel & Gillis. But if a movie/tv adaption can’t work, why not bring it back as a comic?

The Concept:

While on the surface the concept of the original Strikeforce: Morituri seems tailor-made to be a hit, the actual comic seemed labored down by the super-hero tendencies of the time. For this, I’d jettison any idea of capes and cowls and instead refashion this as a last chance at humanity’s survival in the face of an alien invasion. Mixing the human ingenuity of Independence Day with the shocking aliens of something like Alien, this could be a true science fiction touchstone waiting to happen.

For the format, I’d borrow the ideas set out by DC/Wildstorm’s The Authority as well as the rotating artist pool seen in Top Cow’s Artifacts. A twelve issue series — a season, if you remember Sleeper — written by one person with artists coming in for three issue stints before rotating off. This would ensure on-time delivery, as well as providing a sense of variety and new jumping-on points.

The Creators:

The Writer – Warren Ellis: To borrow a phrase, who better than Warren Ellis? Ellis is the resident sci-fi writer in mainstream comics and he’s become the mad tinkerer for old and disused concepts in the Marvel U with everything from Iron Man to Thunderbolts and newuniversal. Imagine him going all out in this genre, this format, and with these artists to play with.

Cover Artist – James White: To make this book stand out, it needs to be a step apart from traditional comic books on the shelves. I’d enlist designer/artist James White to come up with a look and feel for the packaging and covers of the book. From the covers to the recap pages and even working hand-in-hand with the letterer to some degree to make this visually appealing and stark.

The Artist (1st Arc) – Declan Shalvey: Shalvey has long been the second artist of Thunderbolts, and seems in line to get a shot at making his own mark. Partnering him with Ellis to kick off a new Strikeforce: Morituri series, and design the cast, aliens and ships seems right up his alley.

The Artist (2nd Arc) – Tonci Zonjic: Zonjic has done Marvel work before, but he’s best known these days for his Image series Who Is Jake Ellis? We haven’t seen him work in a future world with future tech, but with all he’s done to date I trust him to deliver.

The Artist (3rd Arc) – Steve Pugh: A former collaborator of Ellis and also someone who seems to be one of the most talented mainstream artists not working for the Big Two, Steve Pugh could deliver a big kick into the pants as the series hits the halfway point. His work takes time, so having the scripts done in advance for him would give him enough lead time if he starts drawing the same time his previous artists do.

The Artist – Pete Woods: I know he’ s a DC guy and has been for a number of years, but after seeing him go from doing an A-list book like Action Comics to Legion Lost in the New 52, I think it’s time for a change of scenery. Having him jump to Marvel — and the genre of sci-fi for a bit — could be a much-needed jolt to remind readers just how good Woods can be.



  1. I recently came across this series in my longboxes while cataloging comics. I remember how with each issue I’d almost be afraid to turn the pages in fear of a favorite character biting the dust. It was great to read a series where “No One Is Safe” was actually a true statement! I think that is also a sticking point in making the book into a TV series since you would never be able to keep a lead actor in the show to draw viewers.

  2. I would kill to be able to read a remake of this series. Electric Undertow too.

  3. Why would you give this comic to anyone other than Gillis and Anderson ? This book was as good as it gets when they did it back in the 80s . If you had to update it then give it Hickman and any other artist who does’nt try to ape the image style that is so popular at Marvel today .