As I was initially reading Heartbreak Quadrant by Barrett Stanley, I knew that this was going to be one of my favorite comics of the year. It's such a perfect mixture humor, emotion, and high sci-fi. It establishes its universe in such a succinct manner without ever overloading the reader with exposition. Ida and Kumi are two of the best characters I've been introduced to this year. It's just a masterpiece of comic writing.
Heartbreak Quadrant Phase Two ended up being my preferred issue, and it is definitely for the snacks.
One of the things that really holds it together is the partnership of Ida and Kumi. They compliment and contrast each other in such a perfect manner. Ida is the more passive and reserved strategist. Kumi is the impulsive and hard-headed fighter.
Nim, who is one of the primary antagonists of the comic, is also very charming and fun to read about. She also makes an intimidating antagonist for our intrepid heroes.
There is also Duane, the knife-slug, and he is the cutest deadly weapon in the universe.
Heartbreak Quadrant also has a Wild West vibe to it due to the fact that much of the story happens in the middle of nowhere between smugglers and mercenaries barely evading G-Men, which are all corporate overlords by this point.
Barrett Stanley's artwork pulls it all together in a beautifully stylized manner. The characters each look unique, the overall design of the sci-fi elements like ships and weapons are distinct and consistent, and the colors all gravitate towards neon shades thanks to some great color art.
Due to the fact that Phase Two has yet to be released, consider all of this an equal endorsement for Phase One of Heartbreak Quadrant. It has all the same positive qualities of Phase Two sans the snacks and convenience store.
Heartbreak Quadrant is one of the most fun and memorable comics you could read this year. It's upbeat, energetic, and very unique. It's my favorite indie comic of the year, and, should you want to check it out, Phase One is available on Atomic Empire, the Kickstarter for Phase Two, and Storenvy.
Phase Two has been successfully funded on Kickstarter, but a release date has yet to be announced.