Sweet Heart #2 Review

by Nick Devonald on April 05, 2020

Writer: Dillon Gilbertson
Artist: Francesco Iaquinta
Colours: Marco Pagnotta
Letters: Saida Temofonte

The debut issue of Sweet Heart read like a children’s book through careful and deliberate word choice. Yet the subject matter made it very clear this wasn’t a children’s book, it was aimed at adults. Full of twists and turns, and a genuinely scary monster, it really stood apart from other comics and has all the making of a classic. Yet it’s very clear from this second issue that the first was just about the world building. It's purpose was to introduce us to a world where monsters are everyday occurences. Monsters who choose a human and stalk them for years until they kill them. It’s here, in this second issue, that the story really begins.

There are two things going on here. On one level it’s a story about a town filled with monsters and could be read as such. However it’s very clear that’s not what the story is about. Rather it is a clever analogy for illness. There are two kinds of monsters, Bruisers and Stringers. Bruisers are the more common and are preventable. Stringers on the other hand, once a victim has been chosen, will haunt them until they strike.

It’s an age old adage that the best stories are metaphors for real life. In Sweet Heart the reader is in no uncertainty about the themes being explored, and it’s a fantastic format for exploring the feelings and emotions of those suffering from terminal illness. And having it from the point of view of Maddie, just a child, makes it even more hard hitting. The feelings of alienation, of unfairness, are brilliantly explored.

Of course, on the other level, where it’s just about monsters picking a victim and following them, it’s also an entertaining story. And if that’s all you’re looking for then you won’t be disappointed either.

Francesco Iaquinta’s art is a perfect fit for the story that’s being told here. The monsters are suitably menacing in their own right, and as an allegory of chronic illness work even better. He manages to capture characters facial expressions really well, some early interactions between Maddie and the school Bully Justin early on stand out in particular. His work manages to focus on the main characters and everyone else fades into the background. This works incredibly effectively at focusing the story on Maddie and her ‘illness’ which is what the story should be doing.

Marco Pagnotta’s colours build on this, managing to make the less important parts of the setting fade into obscurity a little. His colours during some outdoor rain filled panels are excellent and help set the ominous horror tone.

This comic works incredibly well as a metaphor for chronic illness, dealing with the emotions and impact on the victim, the alienation from peers, the struggles of family. It’s incredibly effective and well done. Also, it’s an entertaining story in its own right. The art and colours are a good match to the tale being told. All in all a good comic where you can’t help but be sympathetic towards Maddie.

Our Score:


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