Review – Four Eyes: Hearts Of Fire #2 (Image Comics)


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Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Joe Kelly
Artist(s): Max Fiumara, Rafael Ortiz
Release Date: 24th February, 2016

As explained last month, Four Eyes: Heart of Fire is the second arc in the story of Enrico, and his baby Dragon, the eponymous Four Eyes.

Enrico saw his father killed by a dragon in the previous run of Four Eyes, and ever since then he’s had a burning desire to see dragons die. To this end, Enrico wants to train Four Eyes to fight in the illegal underground battles that are put on in this alternative reality depression-era America, and this issue explores the real start of this training journey. Be warned, this isn’t Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon. Enrico isn’t Hiccup, and Four Eyes damn sure isn’t Toothless.

This issue starts with Enrico failing in an attempt to make Four Eyes turn right and Fawkes taking him to see other dragons being trained for the arena, and it isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s downright brutal.  This issue also explores the developing relationship between Enrico’s mother and Giuseppe Jorge, the local greengrocer. It doesn’t go well for Enrico nor augur well for his future, and his encounter with the “stupid fruit man”, as he called Mr Jorge, is a catalyst for how he moves forward with Four Eyes’ training.

Joe Kelly had my stomach in knots with this story. His exploration of a young boy trying to do well by his dead father and his ineffectual mother is superb. His further exploration of a young boy’s relationship with his “pet” dragon is a story as yet unfinished, but still truly absorbing.

Rafael Ortiz stretches the human head and torso into some very unrealistic shapes in Four Eyes, but the characters seem all the more human because of it. It’s as if the distortion allows the characters to emote more on the page.  As good as Rafael’s art is, it’s truly brought to life by Max Fiumara’s colouring. Mainly done using a monochrome palette, his occasional use of muted colour really stands out and feels just right for this story.

This is not a particularly heartening story. Perhaps it will never be. What it is though, is a magnificently considered study of what Enrico feels he has to do to honour his father, and provide for his mother in an unforgiving world.

It’s also utterly heartbreaking.

Rating: 5/5.

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The writer of this piece was: John Wallace
John Tweets from @jmwdaredevil

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