Heartbreak Quadrant: Phase One Review: Space Travel And Strong Female Leads

The sci-fi genre provides endless possibilities, from time travel to galaxy exploration. But some sci-fi stories get too caught up in trying to explain the mechanics of the world. They forget about the people and leave them as empty as the space that surrounds them. Barrett Stanley’s Heartbreak Quadrant: Phase One isn’t one of those stories. The comic follows two antique dealers called Ida and Kumi as they navigate a galaxy filled with smugglers, space pirates and their own fears. Stanley sent a copy of Heartbreak Quadrant: Phase One to The Comic Vault in exchange for an honest review.

The comic begins with Ida receiving a message from local smuggler, Ben Braces. Braces is trying to settle his debts and urges Ida to sell her partner Kumi. Kumi is a ‘blank’ and her kind are a valuable commodity. Ida wakes Kumi up and they figure out a way to screw Braces over and get to safety.

Meanwhile, Braces dispatches his crew, who are led by a mysterious woman named Nim. Ida agrees to bring Kumi to the meeting and Kumi is sedated. Nim suspects that Kumi was a student of the Acid Lake Institute. Kumi was experimented on and given enhanced abilities. Kumi demonstrates her skill by waking up and taking down Braces’ crew. In the chaos, Nim is shown to be special agent who was investigating Braces. She and Kumi engage in a brutal fight while the ship starts to break down around them.

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The relationship between Ida and Kumi is well-written and it’s implied they’re intimate with each other. This doesn’t take away from their respective personalities. Kumi is strong-willed and free-spirited, while Ida is more practical. Both women are strong leads and they inject the story with a lot of humour and heart. Nim’s a great character as well, refusing to listen to anyone’s authority but her own.

Stanley takes the time to explain his world in a way that doesn’t feel forced or cliched. One of the best scenes is where Kumi uses a weapon called a ‘switchbug’ which produces a long blade when squeezed. There’s a lot of creativity at work and it makes the comic highly entertaining. The art is eye-catching and features a lot of colour. Some of my favourite panels show space ships on a starry background. It’s beautiful imagery and fits with how elegant Kumi and Ida are.

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Heartbreak Quadrant: Phase One is an action-packed space adventure that’s worth reading. Stanley is also running a Kickstarter campaign to get the second issue into print and you can support him by donating now.

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Author: thecomicvault

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