I have long been a fan of the military science fiction of David Weber, especially the Honor Harrington series (or “Honorverse“). Tales of Honor volume 1: On Basilisk Station by Matt Hawkins, Jung-Geun Yoon, Sang-Il Jeong, and Linda Sejic, brings the printed word to the graphic novel format.
Told as a flashback while Honor is held captive during the events from In Enemy Hands (the seventh book in the original series), the first few pages of the graphic novel may briefly confuse you if you are expecting it to start where the original novel (On Basilisk Station) starts. However, the story works well in this presentation format, and helps the reader understand some of the foreshadowing which happens in the novel.
Hawkins did a good job translating the story into one suited for a graphical format. The story flowed well and introduced the characters at appropriate times. I thought the parts which were cut from the novel (mostly long discussions and the exposition Weber is known for) were appropriately removed as they don’t work well in this format. Tales of Honor volume 1: On Basilisk Station was a very good read.
The background art throughout was gorgeous, and served to replace some of the previously-mentioned discussions and exposition. A lot of care was taken to match up the descriptions in the original novel with beautiful images created to immerse the reader in the Honorverse. There were a couple spots where the images were not as close to original descriptions; a couple of the interior shots depicted huge wastes of space which would be unlikely in these warships. Still, the art fit in just fine, and the images looked stunning and awe-inspiring.
I had only two real complaints: Yoon and Jeong seemed to have a limited number of facial expressions to draw on when depicting the various characters. It isn’t uncommon for characters drawn by the same artist (or group of artists) to have similar features and lines, but these seemed almost cookie-cutter in their similarities. Additionally, every character had a very serious look on his or her face pretty much all the time. No smiles at all that I could remember, at any time, which just doesn’t match up with the story.
My second complaint was with the depiction of Nimitz, Honor’s treecat. Rather than being covered in fur and looking somewhat cuddly, as described multiple times in many of the books, Nimitz looked like a strange, skinless lizard-thing, something which would have quickly frozen to death during the long, cold winters on Sphinx, their home planet. Now, this was acknowledged in the back of Tales of Honor volume 1: On Basilisk Station, and apparently the design changes for the second volume. Still, for something so obvious, I’m surprised this wasn’t brought to the attention of the artists before the original issues were published.
Overall, however, I really enjoyed Tales of Honor volume 1: On Basilisk Station, and I am looking forward to reading further volumes as they come out. This is a great introduction to the Honorverse, a way to get your toes wet testing the waters before jumping into the fairly-long (and growing) series. I recommend this book.
Release Date: November 25, 2014 (USA)
ISBNs: 1632150204 (9781632150202)
Publisher: Image Comics / Top Cow
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (social drinking)
Language: 1 (very little, minor)
Nudity: 0 (though only via creative camera angles)
Sexuality: 1 (attempted rape, not graphic)
Violence: 3 (some graphic death, explosions, intense battle)