Review by Ian Keogh
HSE deals with a near future society where individuals who have enough faith in themselves to make money and who’ve passed HSE’s selection procedure can be listed on the stock exchange. As seen in HSE 1, Felix Fox has made the leap, becoming extremely wealthy in the process, but is just learning how intrusive his shareholders can be. Felix is motivated not just by the desire for a better life, but jealousy and revenge, and isn’t too good at keeping an eye on what ought to matter most to him.
This is again vividly brought to life by Thomas Allart’s sumptuous pages, at least over the first half of the book, after which things become a little sketchier. It’s as if Allart uses assistants, and they contribute too much of the art toward the end, or it’s all Allart, but he’s running out of time as the deadline approaches. Most of this volume requires showing the new level of life Felix has, and Allart’s at his best with surroundings speaking to both old and new money.
There’s no dip in the intensity of this middle section of Xavier Dorison’s satirical drama. Via HSE CEO Simon Sax he passes on a lesson about the most valuable commodity for a rich person in what’s actually a very well disguised satire about working conditions and the carrots dangled. Even if the intrusions into his personal life didn’t quite send a message, by the end of this volume Felix has been given a chastening example of how risking too much can have devastating consequences. Yet as is seen by what he does when running the company he used to work for, Felix has little sentiment or loyalty. Will that stand him in good stead when there’s a price to be paid in HSE 3?