Writer/Artist: Robert Hazelton
Space... the final frontier... Where people can safely travel from planet to planet. Unless, of course, their ship is sabotaged by a surprise agent. Aria, Natasha, Beatrice, and Captain Miranda run the HMS Hestia, and the powers that be feel like the attack on the ship as well as a few other incidents deem the Captain incompetent to lead. Starting from the beginning, Miranda tells her higher ups about how these incidences came to be. It all started with a mission of recruitment, as the Hestia was getting ready for a spec ops mission by enlisting some extra help from a prison station. Once the dangerous, unpredictable Willow Dane was recruited... the problems really began.
Hazelton has formed a galaxy and government with an uneasy history. This leads the reader to believe that sabotage and problems in space are not only possible, but probably. Aboard the Hestia, the crew is a fun set of personalities. Whether it's the banter between Natasha and Aria, the steadfast nature of Miranda, or the intellect of Beatrice, there is always fun dialogue to be had between the lot, and not a single one of them takes crap from anyone. The main scenario, Miranda explaining how things became the way they were to her superiors, is a fun frame to the story that raises the feelings that things are about to get real bad real quick. Besides a bio for each of the characters and their dialogue, we don't immediately know their personalities. That being said, very quickly Hazelton gives hints as to who these ladies are and what their skills are. An added feature to this book that I wish more would accommodate is using the names of characters in text boxes without characters in them. This eliminates any confusion or chance of misinterpretation. The only complaint I have is the text balloons. The text just feels a little large and kind of crowds the balloons they inhabit.
I typically am not a fan of computer illustrated comics in this style, but I through caution to the wind and am glad for it. A lot of the environments look familiar to sci-fi aficionados and space will always look like space, but the character definition is where Hazelton really shines. Each member of the crew is very distinct, whether it be their colorful outfits, or very unique (also colorful) hair styles. More importantly, the expressions are easy to read and make sense with the dialogue, a trait that tends to lack in this style of comic telling. Hazelton uses every feature of the face (especially the impressively rendered eyes) to portray accurate emotions, and it's refreshing.
The Hestia Chronicles is an intriguing new look at an intriguing new universe. With interesting characters showing us how a situation turns really bad really quick, it's a lot of fun. Robert Hazelton knows how to make some great 3D renderings, and the result is a read that's stellar to look at and easily accessible to any reader wanting to try out this art style. What's more, you can pick it up digitally for only $ .99 from Indy Planet!