Sweet Heart #3 Review

by Nick Devonald on April 13, 2020

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

This issue picks up 12 years after the second issue. It’s an effective story telling device for the kind of story being told, covering such spans of time as the story progresses. Dillon Gilbertson has been using the monsters in Sweet Heart as a compelling allegory for chronic illness, which continues to work really well in this issue. It’s done subtly enough that the story works on its own, but the parallels between the monsters and illness add an extra depth and meaning to the tale being told.

Now that Maddie is an adult, we can see some of the differences between her and her dad. Where he did his best to pretend the threat wasn’t real and live his life as normal, she is taking an active interest in figuring out how to defeat the threat that the Stringer holds over her. This comic works incredibly well, the similarities highlight the differences, making the story and the ideas in it linger in the mind long after you’ve put the comic down.

This issue succeeds in bringing the horror back as well. The end of the comic delves a little deeper into the biology of the monsters which haunt the town of Ellicott City. A lot of this series it feels like the monsters may represent Diabetes, of which Gilbertson suffers, with all the talk of sugar and diets. But then we delve a little deeper into the biology of the monsters which brings to mind a more malignant cancer. Cancer personified? A genuinely terrifying concept. And even if that isn’t the comparison that you draw from the description the stringers are still equally terrifying.

Francesco Iaquinta’s art has been good throughout the series and this issue’s no exception. The time jump narrative has given Iaquinta the added challenge of having his characters grow as the series progresses but he never falters and all of his characters are instantly recognisable as older versions of themselves. The last few pages of this issue are classic horror and that is in no small part down to his chilling art.

And of course I can’t recommend Iaquinta’s art without mentioning Marco Pagnotta’s colours. They really help set the tone, and some of the creepier horror moments in this comic only work as well as they do thanks to the excellent choice of colours.

A genuinely scary comic, charting the seemingly futile struggles against an enemy which can’t be defeated only kept at bay, this comic works on many levels. One of the most chilling comics you’ll read, and some of the themes and concepts will linger on after you’ve finished reading. It should be praised for its mature approach to tackling complex issues surrounding illness and the various stigmas attached to it. The art fits the comic brilliantly and makes this a really great comic for horror fans. But it also works equally well for comic fans either suffering chronic illness themselves, or who have loved ones who endure similar suffering.

Our Score:


A Look Inside