Sweet Heart #5

by Nick Devonald on April 28, 2020

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

Sweet Heart #5 had a lot riding on it. As the concluding issue to the series it had to wrap all up the different story threads, as well as give a satisfactory ending. And how do you provide a satisfactory ending to a series who’s primary themes have been about fighting against chronic illness, or depending on how literally you’re reading the story, monsters who can’t be killed, only kept at bay.

Dillon Gilbertson crafts the best issue in the series and does it with a confidence that makes it seem easy. There are plenty of drama filled scenes, whether it’s the action scenes where the characters face their monsters, or the emotional scenes where we get to see mothers guilt over their children’s illnesses, each scene manages to hit all the right beats. As a series that has worked well by drawing parallels between the monsters and chronic illness, it’s nice to see more parallels in this issue, this time between Maddies grandmother and mother, and how they both have different reactions to their children’s monster, or illness. There are also parallels with the paramedics showing up to help Maddie after her car crash in the past issue, who help to hold her monster at bay. It’s effective and clever.

For reasons of spoilers I will avoid revealing anything about the issues conclusion, but I couldn’t imagine a better ending for the series than the one that Gilbertson gives us. Readers most likely aren’t expecting a happy ending after everything that’s come before, but the one thing that this comic leaves us with is a feeling of hope. It leaves a message which is sure to resound in the minds of people suffering from chronic illnesses, and their families.

Even the most unfeeling of readers are sure to have a tear in their eye at some point in this issue. The emotional scenes come thick and fast, and are hard hitting. Every reader is sure to be able to relate to, or know, at least one person in real life who’s gone through similar.

CTG recently got the chance to interview Dillon Gilbertson, check it out here, and we can see that the reason these thoughts and feelings are so brutal and hard hitting is because Gilbertson has gone through them himself, being a type 1 diabetic. And it’s so clear here that, despite being a story about monsters, that this is an incredibly personal story and is so effective as such.

Francesco Iaquinta’s art has been good throughout the series and he outdoes himself here. Initially his art worked so well because of the way he drew his monsters and characters, really capturing the horror elements. As the series has progressed and the story has developed there has been much more focus on the characters and their emotions, in between the horror/action scenes featuring the monsters of course, and Iaquinta does a great job of capturing the characters and telling us more with a look than the dialogue does. Then there are a couple of pages of action where there is no text at all, and Iaquinta does a fantastic job of capturing these action scenes and really raising the stakes as we near the end of the series.

Marco Pagnotta’s colours have likewise been a great part of the series as well. His colours complement Iaquinta’s art really well, managing to really bring the horror when needed, but knowing when to tone it down a little for the quieter moments. Then there’s the blood against the snow, it really makes it stand out and work effectively. He also deserves recognition for the snowy landscapes this series is set against, snow is difficult to get right in the pages of a comic and by subtle uses of light blues he captures the snow really well.

A fantastic conclusion to an excellent series, this is sure to hit the mark with readers suffering from chronic illnesses. A surprisingly emotional and hard-hitting final issue, it shows the way the stories adapted as the series has progressed, from a full on horror into something much more poignant. The overwhelming message coming away from this comic is one of hope, and it is incredibly well done and affecting. A highly recommended series.

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