Sweet Heart #4 Review

by Nick Devonald on April 20, 2020

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

Taken as a whole this series has been a fantastic way to deal with the complex emotions that surround chronic illness, both on an individual basis and how others react to the sufferer, whilst also being a riveting story involving literal monsters that people live with. This issue takes everything up a notch. We get to see things from the point of view of a character whose role has been relatively minor up to this stage. It’s also a great way to explore the lengths that a parent will go to for their child.

This issue differs from previous ones with most of the issue focusing on one scene. It heightens the tension and, like all the best horrors, shows us that monsters aren’t the scariest thing out there. People are. Misguided, desperate, people. It’s well written, an incredibly tense scene which, like the rest of the series, works on several different levels at the same time.

This comic works on two levels. It’s an entertaining read if you take it at face value, a great horror story about being stalked by monsters. But as each new issue comes out the parallels between chronic illnesses and the monsters become clearer and clearer, and the human effect it has on everyone involved is more and more apparent. It makes for a great story. But it’s much more than that. It is, at its core, about the tragedy and unfairness of illness, and life. How people react and deal. And I can only imagine, for anyone who is personally going through this, reassuring that all of these thoughts and feelings are normal. That you aren’t alone.

As the penultimate issue in the series it has everything we could possibly want from it. The stakes are raised. Separate events are coming together and building to a confrontation. Will Maddie be able to beat her monster? Is that even the point of this series? Or is it more about coming to terms with dealing with a literal monster/metaphorical illness? It also ends on the kind of cliff hanger ending that are going to leave fans craving the final, concluding issue. Good news then that the digital release schedule is now weekly rather than monthly so readers won’t have long to wait.

Now that this series is nearing its completion I can’t imagine any other artist than Francesco Iaquinta working on it. His style works so well with the story being told. He manages to capture the characters emotions so well, bringing home the tragedy in these stories. Then there’s his monsters. The bruisers and stringers are both sinister and scary in their own ways. Marco Pagnotta’s colours also work really well, they complement Iaquinta’s art really well and the finished page looks really good.

Sweet Heart deserves to be recognised as one of the few comics that manages to be truly horrifying. At times that is due to the nature of the monsters in the story, the chronic illness metaphor given flesh. While at other times it works because of the suffering that illness brings to everyone it touches, the desperate measures and lasting effects. And it works because, at its core, this is an incredibly human story.

Our Score:


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