Heartbeat #1 -- BOOM! Studios (2019)
Heartbeat #1 by Maria Llovet, Andrea Rosenberg, and AndWorld Design
Reader Rating0 Votes

In Heartbeat #1, the main character Eva is stuck. She hates her school, her life, her everything. Desperate for an escape, she’ll do anything to getaway. Maria Llovet, the writer and artist, has created a world within the first few pages that I am eager to know more about. With the help of the lettering studio, AndWorld Design, and translator, Andrea Rosenberg, this first issue truly sings.

Who Is Responsible For The Bad Things That Happen To Us?

It’s very obvious from the very first panel that Eva has a rough life. Her mother works long hours and passes out after consuming copious amounts of prescription pills. She goes to a school her family can’t afford and is made fun of by the “popular” kids. It doesn’t seem like she has many friends and the people who do talk to her quickly blow her off for more important things.

Throughout the issue, we get a glimpse at her mind, as she narrates. She speaks about her uncertainty between good and evil. On page 22, she narrates,

“Who is responsible for the bad things that happen to us? You can’t believe it’s always someone else’s fault.”

With a nine-panel page of various bad things happening to Eva, this leaves us with the question, whose fault is it? Who is doing this to her? Just a few pages later, after Eva thinks to herself, “I wish she were dead,” she comes across the scene of a murder. She’s seen by the murderer, and immediately takes off, but not without her evidence. A picture, taken by accident.

Is Heartbeat #1 Horror?

From the first issue, I didn’t get the taste of the horror that I was expecting from the synopsis. But, that doesn’t mean the comic or the writing was bad in any way. This is definitely a series I can see myself picking up. However, the tone of the story didn’t convey horror. I was afraid of what was going to happen next or waiting for a monster to pop out of me. It was sullen, almost depressing.

Eva is clearly going through things, and you can feel that emanate from the pages. It doesn’t feel like horror, but that’s not missed either. Where it is missing the horror quality, I feel it makes up for it in heaviness. The art conveys that notion quite well. Everything is dark and well defined. The colors chosen are dull and help convey the boring world that Eva lives in. It makes me think that she’s been waiting around for something more exciting.

As Heartbeat #1 carries on, it does settle more into horror. We see Eva abused, we see bruises and scars. We see murder and all the while we contemplate, who’s good and who’s evil? It’s clear that Eva deserves something better. We don’t know who’s hurting her or much of her backstory. For all we know, she could be immoral herself. It all comes down to what she’s going to do with the murder evidence. For me, that’s the driving factor in my decision to pick up the second issue.

Is Heartbeat #1 Worth The Read?

The beautiful art and the elaborate yet secretive writing styles are the biggest pluses for this comic. The world that remains being spun into existence by Llovet is so fascinating. There’s a thin line between not knowing enough, and wanting to know more, and I find myself teetering between the two. Everything is more or less thrown at you in a very short amount of time, and because of this, Heartbeat #1 feels kind of all over the place. There are times when the narration picks up on a new page, continuing the same thought from the last page, and I have to back up to remember what she was talking about.

However, the characters and the plot are both fascinating enough that I didn’t mind the slight messiness of the first issue. I want to know more. Heartbeat #1 was a solid first issue, and it definitely left me with questions. Hopefully, the series holds answers.