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June 19, 2010: I've launched a new version of this website as a Wordpress blog. This version won't be updated anymore.
If you don't see the images of a review, it means that I've transferred it to the new site.
The collection cover.

Havoc Inc.

An ongoing series, 9 issues published to date, Radio Comix, 1998-.
One volume collecting the first four issues, ISBN: 0-9707910-0-3.
You can buy the whole series on the publisher's site.

Category: adventure, anthropomorphised animals, fantasy.

Author(s): Mark Barnard, Terrie Smith.
Issue #9.
Chris and Chester.

An honored tradition in fiction is to put together two people with vastly different temperaments and see what happens when they stay together. The authors of Havoc Inc. did exactly that: while Chester is a charmer and a happy-go-lucky individual (or so he seems at first view), Chris is a far less frivolous kind of guy. And yet, they fell in love after meeting as soldiers during a big-scale war, and have been living as cargo transporters ever since.
But life with Chester has a tendency not to be dull, and both men have a heavy past which sometimes catches up with them.

That is the first thing one notices when reading Havoc Inc.: these fully-formed characters have already had a life, and obviously sometimes not an easy one.
The setting of the series, while being in a sci-fi environment and peopled with anthropomorphic animals, is in a fact a surprisingly realistic one. Chester and Chris struggle to not lose to debtors the ship they use to earn their life (well, Chris struggles... Chester buys pretty things), and the effects of war are not glossed over.
Another large part of the stories can only be described as screwball comedy. Ineffectual pirates, incompetent would-be world dominators... all of these cross the path of the two lovers, who never refuse to take advantage of them.
Although the general tone of the series is an optimistic one, there are darker sides, often linked to the less-than-glorious youth of the characters. The coherence of the various aspects of the stories is a testament to the skills of the writer, who can write realistic characters as well as Tex Avery-kind ones.

The art by Terrie Smith is equally appealing. Solid storytelling with tight line art, varied face expressions and body language... and she does draw very cute guys, even though they're not human.

So, come and join Chris and Chester in their never-ending battle against debts and Chester's pronounced tendency to get himself in very tight spots. Maybe you'll end up understanding what Chris sees in such a guy...

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