Human Places Attract Inhuman Monsters – Sweet Heart #1 Advanced Review
Sweet Heart #1
Written by Dillon Gilbertson
Art by Francesco Iaquinta
Colors by Marco Pagnotta
Letters by Saida Temofonte
Published by Action Lab Entertainment
In Shops: Mar 11, 2020
Diamond Code: JAN201414
A trend in horror stories that has seen a recent surge in popularity is to make the situation the characters find themselves in scarier than the actual threat those characters face. Bird Box explores a world where the characters have to forgo their sense of sight in order to survive. In A Quiet Place the characters have to live silent lives in order to avoid the monster’s wrath. Sweet Heart #1, by Dillon Gilbertson, takes this concept several steps forward. Whereas in Bird Box and A Quiet Place the viewer doesn’t see much of the monsters, Sweet Heart puts them front and center. Then the characters are challenged to ignore their existence in order to survive.
The story follows Mrs. Parks and her son Ben as they go about their lives in a world filled with monsters. The comic’s premise is brilliant and the plot is original. This comic has some legitimately scary scenes. Yet the most striking thing about the writing is the element of drama Gilbertson inserts into the story. Both the drama and the horror are amplified by moments of complacency. Just as the reader starts to get comfortable absorbing the details of the narrative, the peace is shattered by a shocking moment. This narrative style fits perfectly into the comic’s themes. I also love the family dynamics in play and the generational aspect of the story.
As much as I loved Sweet Heart’s story, I was really disappointed by the artwork. The proportions of the human characters are noticeably off in many of the panels, making the figures appear odd. Often the colors are bright when they should be dark, and dim when they should be lighted. However, I did enjoy the water colored look of Pagnotta’s colors. As I was reading the comic, I got the feeling that the art team didn’t really think about the panels they were drawing from an artistic perspective. That being said, there are two positive things about the art that are worth mentioning. For one thing, the letters make the dialogue clear without obscuring the scenes they are superimposed over. The second thing I liked about the art was that the monsters look awesome. The creatures themselves are gruesome and terrifying. Unfortunately, one thing that makes the monsters stand out so much is how poorly drawn the human characters often are. The sub-par art actually speaks to the strength of the script, which still manages to deliver a creepy and comprehensible story amidst flawed artistic choices.
They say you can get used to anything if you’re around it long enough. The characters in Sweet Heart are going to need to take this adage to heart if they hope to survive to see another day. Sweet Heart is a well written horror story. It manages to remain both scary and dramatic even when portrayed with lackluster artwork. These days, horror comics are rare. It’s even rarer to find one with an original point of view and a unique voice. Despite its artistic flaws, you shouldn’t be scared to pick up Sweet Heart when it releases on March 11th.