Review – Heartthrob #2 (Oni Press)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Art: Robert Wilson IV, Nick Filardi
Release Date: 25th May, 2016

After a brilliant debut issue with an absolute corker of a cliff hanger, it looks like the mind of Chris Sebela has birthed another interesting and bizarre idea to keep up happy as his other title comes to an end this week. As one doors closes…

With Callie now free of the shackles of responsibility, she is devoting herself heart and soul to Mercer and her new lease on life. This is kind of my main complaint with Heartthrob, and I think it’s perhaps a personal preference. To my mind, it’s too fast and too complete a surrender. I think Chris should have made Mercer work a bit harder for Callie. It’s quite obvious that he’s (ultimately) going to be bad news, and having Callie fall so hard and so fast doesn’t quite sit right (with me). I’m just not sold on it, although that may be more my cynicism than anything else, yet it does affect to how I react to reading their relationship in the comic.

What I love though is the heist angle. In issue two, Mercer starts teaching Callie how to be a thief, and this is wonderfully shown through a series of lessons starting from small acts such as shoplifting through to a solo bank job. If you are a fan of 70s style film you’ll love this section, I could practically hear Sabotage playing in the background as Callie cycles through varies forms of larceny as she learns the ropes. Callie seems to have a natural affinity for this lifestyle and thinking on her feet. She graduates with a bank job and comes up with a creative solution to escape the Police. Mercer decides she’s ready for the big leagues.

Next phase: form a team. Callie reaches out to some people in Mercer’s world to form a team for their big heist, Chris has a bit of fun here with Callie trying to work on cues from Mercer (on what to say), and fumbles more than a few lines while trying to look cool. It’s in situations like this that the script really shines, and it’s kind of cool to see the humour he (Sebela) works into his Tweets also work in his writing.

The art by Robert Wilson is rock solid. Lines are thick and smooth and he really manages to nail the spirit of the time, everything from fashion to cars. His graphic style is expressive and uncluttered which works well in a time that is less busy that today’s hectic world. Curiously, Robert seems to draw character’s eyes slightly out of proportion to their face here – just a tad, but it has the profound effect of giving a sense of life an emotion to the scene. Two panels in particular stood out – Mercer, forming a rectangle with his fingers (much like a photographer or director) casing out the bank target, oozing determination and Cassie, trapped in the bank, looking over the lip of the counter wondering where Mercer is looks so abandoned and lost. Accompanying Wilsons art are the colours of Nick Filardi, and he’s nailed the 70’s ethos here, his palette really joins the writing and art together and sells the story.

Heartthrob issue two is an interesting continuation to the story. There are a lot of brilliant individual elements to the comic that work really well. Unfortunately for me, the fundamental part of the story that should tie everything together – our two main characters being crazy in love – I’m just not totally sold on, and it has made me that wee bit hesitant. I know if I could reconcile that, I’d be all-in.

Rating: 3.5/5.

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13043453_10154167818863408_9180033184388957427_nThe writer of this piece was: Andrew McGlinn
Andrew Tweets from @Jockdoom.

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