The World of HEARTBREAKERS
The Historical Context of HEARTBREAKERS
Series One: Dark Horse Presents #35/36/37 (1989)
At the lab, they link up with the sensei and arms supplier of the Heartbreakers, Tex Takeda. The goal of the surviving clones and the doctor is to get to the spaceport and hijack a shuttle off-world. At the close of the DHP#36, all hell breaks loose, with BioVoc soldiers storming the lab, as one element of the Heartbreakers engages them, while the remains of the Deltas, some of the Betas, Sorenson and Tex all make down the sewer pipes. While in the pipes, they encounter the racial street gang Black Sting led by an old girlfriend of Tex's, and she agrees to help them out escaping from Ward and BioVoc. Again, another desperate battle is fought by the Heartbreakers at the spaceport. During this bloody battle, Queenie, the commanding Beta clone of the Queen of Clubs, is wounded, but the lose of more sisters is worth it, Sorenson and some of her clones make it off-world, just as Ward also takes BioVoc off-world to their new HQ on Titan.
My Take on Series One
Back in 1989, this was my introduction to the world of HEARTBREAKERS, and after reading the other two Dark Horse HEARTBREAKERS comics, this is the most seminal work of these cloned lady warfighters. The background was not fleshed out, so in some ways that drives the mind of the reader to seek out answers and dwell on the work long after you've read it (especially if you're me). Plus, the art is rich and prefect for the black&white format, the Heartbreakers look like Colonial Marines, and the military aspect is stronger here than any HEARTBREAKERS works hence. Seriously, you can stare that the panels and pick little details on the gear of the femme fatales. Everything here is tightly controlled due to the limit of the space, and it really works. Considering the other two series that followed, I have to say that I enjoyed this story much more, and I count this 1989 comic as one of my influences for my own military sci-fi stories, and the story itself still holds up.
Series Two-Dark Horse Presents #50/51/52 (1991)
My Take on Series Two
Series Three-The HEARTBREAKERS Limited Series (1996)
The clone cyborg assassin Rusk is being trained against clones of Queenie, and Queenie and Tex hook up. Due to the media attention, some people have approached Tex and Queenie about becoming Heartbreakers themselves. The matrix is used again, transforming these volunteers into Heartbreakers. Queenie instead of Tex goes out to buy some more arms for the new gals when she is captured by Rusk and hauled back to BioVoc. Ward, now on Earth, wants Queenie to be the bait for Vector to come and rescue her, so he can have Sorenson's cloning research and the matrix. So, a rescue mission ensues. Rusk is injected by Malinthe's lab with the matrix, and he goes fucking nuts, and nearly kills Malinthe, but she infected with the matrix. During the rescue attempt, Malinthe, now horribly mutated attacks and kills Ward. During the last few panels we see the truth behind Ward and a connection to the old First Comics military sci-fi series Dynamo Joe. At this point, the new Heartbreakers ally themselves with LONE, and rush off to help out clone workers. Thus ends the last of the HEARTBREAKERS comics.
My Take on the HEARTBREAKERS Limited Series
Oh gods...where do I start? In a word, series three is a mess. While the story of clone rights and the battle of the belt by BioVoc is all very interesting, it is smothered in over-the-top-John-Woo gun-play that the reader can plainly see is all to worship the Queenie character. Realistic military tactics be damned! Queenie jumps in the line of fire, dual-wielding pistols, and spray the landscape with leads. All of these is played for style points, and it rings hollow. It just is too much, and causes the comic to lose focus and the theme of the original 1989 series. It also doesn't help that Paul wasn't doing the art in issue #3 and #4, and that entire subplot of the matrix and the Rusk cyborg clone assassin. None of these events were organic, and come off to be self-serving. All of this was just too much for me, and the reader feedback mail in the back of each comic supports the same issues that I had. Out of all the HEARTBREAKERS series published by Dark Horse, this 1996 series is the most disappointing. Very quickly after this series was published, Paul and Anina abandoned the John Wood gun play style, for more kung-fu clones actions.
What Happened to HEARTBREAKERS?
The Impact of HEARTBREAKERS
Is HEARTBREAKERS an "Forgotten Classic"?
My Experience with HEARTBREAKERS
Back in 1989, I was in middle school, and beginning my exploration of darker science fiction that the my normal doses of Trek, Wars, and Asimov novels. ALIENS introduced me to a world of science fiction that was more real and dealt with topics that peaked my interest. Around this time, Dark Horse Comics was publishing their ALIENS and Predator comics, which I was collecting, and they were teasing the upcoming ALIENS vs. Predator limited series in a prequel storyline in the pages of Dark Horse Presents. Plus, it helped the sources that Paul and Anina drew from, like Full Metal Jacket, ALIENS, and BLADE RUNNER were all favorites of mine, and still are. In was in those pages that I discovered HEARTBREAKERS. However, the HEARTBREAKERS story was only in two of the ALIENS vs. Predator DHP comics, and therefore, I never read the ending of the 1989 series one HEARTBREAKERS until just recently. When I started FWS in 2010, I decided that HEARTBREAKERS should be mentioned, and I began to research the world of HEARTBREAKERS. Thankfully, Lone Star Comics had all of the back issues, and I bought series two and three, along with the conclusion to series one. Instead of being a teenager reading the adventures of the cloned soldiers and scientists, I was in my 30's, writing my own MSF, and that may have altered my POV on the comics themselves. As I said above, HEARTBREAKERS was one of my influences on my first military sci-fi novel.
What's Next on FWS?