(Top Cow/Image Comics, 2014)
Writer – Matt Hawkins
Artist – Jung-Geun Yoon
Letterer – Troy Peteri
Editor – Betsy Gonia
I grew up reading the Asimov’s Science Fiction and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, both the small, reader’s digest size magazines that fit so well into your back pocket or hid perfectly in that small front zippered pocket of your backpack. At the time I wasn’t that in to science fiction, in all reality I was most likely and unconsciously looking for another comic book type outlet, something “other” that I could sink my teeth into. Those seemed the obvious venues.
But over the course of years, I learned to appreciate good science fiction writing and the tenacity and sheer bull-headedness that it takes to build an entirely fictional world and make it seem like the science aspect of it works. (Hover boards don’t work on water, and there’s a reason for that, though I’m not sure what it is.)
Top Cow has taken point on the multi-media release of Tales of Honor, a sci-fi comic based on a twenty-year and still running novel series by author David Weber. The reins have been given to writer Matt Hawkins, who according to Weber has created a “focused perspective…while offering longstanding fans fresh insight…”to the story he first penned. This is also the first wave of a multimedia onslaught that will bring the “Honorverse” onto several platforms. There is a mobile game as well as a film in the works, and that they chose comic books as their jumping off point proves the relevance of the medium. (If it was still needed.)
The book is written in a series of flashbacks and forwards, showing the main character, Honor Harrington in her evolution as a Commodore in the Queen’s Navy. She’s been taken captive and tortured, and the book consists of her reflections, on the paths that led her to her current state. The format works well, condensing what would probably be the equivalent to chapters and chapters of exposition into one comic book, and that will help to move the overall story along later. There are just enough teasers to keep you interested through the slower, though necessary parts of the book. This is a cornerstone type of book, and it’s solid.
The artwork by Jung-Geun Yoon is stunning and immediately recalls for me those old Asimov covers, the painted look to many of them and the subject matter all role into one clear memory for me of literally choosing some of those magazine by their covers. The interior panels, especially the space battles, evoke nearly forgotten films like The Black Hole, which I recall watching on Betamax. It’s the feel for science fiction artwork that Yoon has mastered, and it makes the book a beautiful piece of artwork.
My main beef with science fiction, especially established science fiction, is that like long running comic books, it is nearly impossible to jump into a series in the middle. Therefore, unless I’m looking for something new or it’s recommended to me, I’m not likely to pick up the twentieth in a series of books without first going back and reading the first nineteen. (I’ll not read The Lord of the Rings without first reading The Hobbit. It’s just how I’m wired.) With Tales of Honor though, Hawkins has done a fine reboot, allowing you to jump in now, and enticing you to go back and read the previous twenty novels as well.
Click Image to Purchase “Tales of Honor” #1 From Amazon.com:
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.