Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Victor Ibanez
Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A post-apocalyptic horror about the last of humanity hiding from sanity-eating monsters. Think Pacific Rim but overrun with kaiju, forcing the remaining few to survive at any cost.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
We come across a group of the unlucky few that have managed to stay alive in San Antonio since the fall of humanity. It wasn’t global warming, nuclear warfare, or even self-destruction that killed off most of the human race, but instead huge kaiju-like monsters. These monsters aren’t your typical monsters you see, nothing could take them down. Not even bombs unleashed by the military in a last-ditch effort. Waves of giant creatures, some reaching as high as skyscrapers began to decimate city after city. After humanity tried to kill them off the result was bringing the end of the world to fruition. Much to the bewilderment of the remaining group of survivors, Rico brings home what appears to be a seemingly innocent young girl who is untouched by the outside world after being all alone? Caught off guard and heads over heels, he is blind to the fact that this mysterious girl named Lupe came out of nowhere and has survived outside with these monsters since their emergence.
Hopeless is able to strike a gripping balance between fear-eating monstrosities and the end of the World with the blossoming relationship between Rico & Lupe in a way that further amplifies the tension throughout the pages.
Victor Ibanez’s ability to design city-wide battles against armies of grotesque creatures all the way to the romantic sparks of Rico following heads over heels is second to none.
Addison Duke’s colors brought Ibanez’s pencils to life, painting the end of the world in colorful palettes. Duke brings each page alive with raw emotions as well as an additional layer of horror to the sanity-eating monsters.
Simon Bowland is the letterer for this issue and pulls no punches, capitalizing on bold fonts to enhance action-driven panels and well-timed expletives.
The bleak World he created was an abstract comparison to Lupe’s character, and the twists that follow will leave readers wondering what is next.
Introducing the events that lead to the world becoming overran by monsters was an unvisited approach that was executed brilliantly. While some areas were heavier with dialogue, the exposition was paced well throughout the issue.
The bleakness and desolation in each panel were detailed fully, with no stone left unturned.
Lupe’s arrival while appearing to be innocent, grows darker and more convoluted as the story continues. This offers a complimentary plot point that coincides with these monsters almost too perfectly, offering an exceptional cliffhanger.
The Flashbacks painted a darker childhood for Lupe, creating empathetic feelings that are in conflict with the idea she may be a succubus. The way she interacts with Rico and plays off his emotions presents many different levels of charm within all these different barren and devastated environments.
Characters were created with traits that set up different dynamics within the group of survivors in San Antonio. This offered diverse conversations that were organic.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Lupe and Rico’s initial meeting felt off, for someone who doesn’t know how to swim she only felt nervous about being dragged underwater after being caught off guard.
Rico is clearly suspicious of Lupe upon their first interaction but throws it all away after a kiss. Extending that time to build his trust would have had more of a foundation than the classic “teenage boy throwing it all away for a girl he just met'' trope.
Rico’s father was forced to beat his mother's head with a hammer in a flashback, yet welcomes Lupe in against the protests of others. Justifying it by remembering when he was 17 which felt out of character considering what he was forced to do.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Heart Eyes has several layers to it that will leave you questioning exactly what is going on before you have time to digest what's happening. There is such a sharp contrast between the ruins of the world and the survivors scurrying like bugs to survive when compared to Lupe’s happy-go-lucky demeanor.
Through the use of flashbacks, Lupe’s backstory is fleshed out to some degree, leaving the audience yearning for more. How is this individual able to step up to monsters that quite literally caused the societal collapse, even more so without fear? What role did her father have in their creation? What is a horror story without a love interest and Rico fills that part perfectly. He spends panel after panel following Lupe, apparently forgetting that his clan has been hiding in the cracks of a broken civilization since the bombs dropped and humanity was snuffed out. We are left with some burning questions which appear to be leading into issue 2, one of them most importantly being: what darkness has Lupe seen before this?
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Where Starships Go Die by Mark Sable & Alberto Locatelli
Nita Hawes Nightmare Blog by Rodney Barnes & Jason Shawn Alexander
Blood-Stained Teeth by Christian Ward & Patric Reynolds
If you like the art:
The Silver Coin by Johnnie Christmas & Michael Walsh
Angel by Christopher Cantwell, Daniel Bayliss & Patricio Delpeche
Entropy by Christopher Priest & Montos
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Hopeless has written for Marvel, Image, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Arcana Studio and Oni Press.
He worked in a comic store in the mid-2000s while trying to break into the comics scene before coming out with his debut GearHead in 2007
Won the GLAAD Media Award in 2016 for Outstanding Comic Book (Nominee)(forAll-New X-Men)
Ibanez has drawn for the likes of DC, Marvel
He started his USA comic book career with DC Comics (Robin/Spoiler, 2008)
Ibanez hails from the province of Barcelona, Catalonia
Duke graduated with a BGA in illustration from the Academy of Art University
He has colored for the likes of Image, Dynamite, Vault, and Heavy Metal Magazine.
Bowland has been lettering comics since 2004 and has worked for 2000AD, Marvel, DC, Image, Valiant, and much more.
Bowland was an Outstanding Comic Book Nominee for the 2022 Glaad Media Awards for The Dreaming: Waking Hours
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