But, let’s get back to Diesel . . . in the opening shot, we encounter a majestic, flying ship and the voice of a seasoned Captain barking orders. Meet Diandra “Dee” Diesel. Dee is a “Fledgling Engineer” and NOT the captain of the “Peacetowne” . . . except in her own head, of course. Dee is set to inherit the Peacetowne, much to the annoyance of the actual ship captain, Cap Wells.
Dee is inheriting the Peacetowne from her father, a legendary engineer and former leader of this floating “mobile garage.” Tungsten Diesel was a larger-than-life person, and Dee feels the weight of living up to his reputation. We can sense that much of her bravado stems from trying to fill in the gap between her own accomplishments so far and the expectations that naturally follow from being his daughter.
Meeting Dee, I thought immediately of Toph Beifong from The Last Airbender. Both characters have the same gung ho, fiercely independent, irreverently confident attitude. Both have an overwhelming need to prove their abilities. Neither are ready to take no for an answer. The ending of this first issue brings the promise of significant upheaval to Dee’s world, but, like Toph, I don’t expect her to take it lying down.
Even in this brief opening to the story, we can see that Diesel is set in a world where there seems to be no limit to where you can go. It’s inhabits are explorers and inventors. We see hints of magical abilities and strange phenomena. Quite literally, the sky is the limit, and Hesse keeps us moving through it at a brisk narrative pace. The artwork, humor, and dialogue all work together to keep the audience on the move, and in true adventure-story fashion, it doesn’t take us long to get to the first full-page explosion.
Exciting adventure aside, I want to meet more of the inhabitants of the Peacetowne and explore more of the world it occupies. I see the potential for a wonderfully diverse cast of characters, like Steen Dillard, “Old-Timer Engineer,” who brings to mind an elderly version of Stith from Titan A.E. (another story that is worth comparisons with Diesel). Does Dee have friends her own age? What other machines and creatures are we going to meet? What evil villains are waiting in the wings? And, what the heck is a flying Teppan?!
The Last Airbender was a story filled with indelible characters, blistering humor, and infinite imagination . . . all with a powerful coming-of-age story at its center. Whether or not we can connect many dots between it and Tyson Hesse’s story in Diesel, I hope we see a number of the same themes of personal growth, self-sacrifice, and friendship. I am certain that with Dee at its center, it will be a lot of fun.
Tyson Hesse's Diesel #1 will be released on September 9th, so be sure to pre-order your copy at your local comic shop by Monday, August 17th.