😍 😍 😍 😍 😍
Heart Eyes #1 from Vault Comics may begin and end with horrific monsters from the stuff of nightmares, but in the middle, at the very center of the issue’s heart, is a classic boy-meets-girl-meets-Lovecraftian-horror story. 😍
|Heart Eyes #1
Writer: Dennis Hopeless
Artist: Víctor Ibáñez
Colorist: Addison Duke
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Publisher: Vault Comics
Other than a big pile of money, blazing fast internet speeds, good governance, and the ability to teleport to any beach with pristine waters at any time, most people desire one thing: to be seen.
And in a world where survival is the top—and sometimes only—priority, one will find it extra hard to find other people who will see them for who they really are.
Heart Eyes is set in a world where creatures of different shapes and sizes from places still unknown have sprung up to wipe out humanity from the face of the planet. Like a lot of popular movies and TV/streaming shows in recent years, this is a post-apocalyptic story that skips or just briskly summarizes the apocalypse part and then goes directly into what comes after. In this case, we just get a couple of grisly pages showing the monster apocalypse before we get to the meet cute. 😍
Rico (boy) has been sheltered all his life by his overprotective sister, brother-in-law, and grandfather. Not alone, but lonely. Lupe (girl) has been living by herself for who knows how long, wandering around the empty streets of San Antonio with a smile on her face, and picking up random stuffed animals.
Boy sees girl. Boy meets girl. Boy takes girl to their hideout. Boy’s family members flip out. 😍
Writer Dennis Hopeless handles character interactions here like any post-apocalyptic story. There’s a lot of distrust, arguments and shouting. If you’ve watched at least one zombie movie or TV series before, you know what I’m talking about.
But he does make up for the typical survivors drama by wonderfully fleshing out the characters of Rico and Lupe without giving too much away about who they exactly are. Lupe specifically seems to have an exceptionally strange past that we only briefly see for a few pages.
Víctor Ibáñez draws truly horrific monsters, but he is also fantastic in drawing human expressions and moments of sadness, fear, anger and dancing with sombreros.
Rico and Lupe spend some time getting to know each other, and it’s the cutest thing. Even with some sad and distressing memories bubbling up from both their pasts, it all comes back to the joy of finding someone your own age in a room full of grumpy old people. But instead of just a room, it’s the entire world. And instead of just grumpy old people, it’s grumpy old people and Lovecraftian horrors eager to eat your fear as you descend into madness.
For the first time probably in his life, Rico feels that he’s not taking too much space. For the first time in a long while, it seems, Lupe feels safe and warm. Boy dates manic pixie nightmare girl. 😍
And after a fun little rom-com date montage, we then of course circle back to the monsters to close the first issue. Boy meets girl meets cosmic terror. 😍😍🦑
While I wanted to see more monster mayhem, because of the simple fact that I am a boy, the meet cute with Romeo and Juliet vibes part of this first issue makes it a satisfying read. Finding each other in the rubble of society is the heart and soul of this story, but it doesn’t overshadow the fact that the world, as we know it, has gone to the monsters.
This is further proof that romance comics isn’t dead, as well as a strong indication that horror comics is very much alive and very much willing to bring on the ghouls, the creeps and the existential terror.
Through this tale of a boy meeting a girl in the middle of a dreadful hellscape, we get to feel that intoxicating, elusive feeling of being seen. 😍
I give this 4 out of 5 tentacle monsters.
“Heart Eyes #1” is now available wherever fine comic books are sold.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver