Heartbeat #1 is published by BOOM! Studios. It comes from the creative team of writer and artist Maria Llovet with letters from Andworld Design.
Heartbeat #1 opens with Eva, a young woman who attends the Lenox Fragnard Institute, a prestigious private school. Her mother works late hours as a maid and the two rarely see each other. At the institute, Eva is considered an outcast. She hates attending the school and sneaks in through the service entrance rather than going through the front doors. Despite her attempt at stealth, she is stopped by Violetta, another student and Eva’s personal bully. Before Violetta can say anything Eva sees a boy and pushes past her.
The boy is introduced as Mack and he is looking for his sister Amber. While Eva is talking to Mack she spots a mysterious and handsome male student. The student sees a dead bird on the ground and he picks it up. Once inside the building, Eva goes to class where she is tormented by fellow students. But she secretly confesses that she is inexplicably drawn to the mysterious boy who is also in her class. Soon enough Eva’s fascination with this boy leads her to certain macabre discoveries. But once these discoveries are made Eva’s life changes forever.
Llovet’s script for the first issue of this new series is mysterious and tense. Eva is a student at the brink of toppling over the edge of despair. This is perfectly displayed through her inner monologue and its poetic, bleak nature. The dialogue isn’t particularly meaningful, but neither are Eva’s relationships. Overall the writing and story beats feel like a blend of movies like The Hunger and Heathers. Eva is a quintessential goth character and her character arc’s trajectory seems clear.
Llovet’s art, meanwhile, seems to seek beauty in agony at every turn. Eva’s constant misery is crystal clear on her face and in her body language. Despite this, every panel is gorgeous. Even during periods of graphic violence, the focus on beauty is ever-present. There is a certain doll-like quality to everyone’s faces that crops up from time to time, but that does little to detract from the whole. The lettering from Andworld Design is equally lovely and contains a few visual flourishes that really enhance the work. Including, but not limited to, the ribbon-esque laughter of Eva’s bullies.
As a fan of horror and horror comics, I enjoyed Heartbeat #1 quite a bit. It seems to wear its inspirations on its sleeve. But what helps it to stand apart from those is the wonderful art. Llovet’s style is reminiscent of Czeck painter Alphonse Mucha, which gives the comic a very classical feel. If you’re a fan of 80s goth horror or vampire flicks this is a home run for you. If you like horror, in general, I’d definitely still recommend you pick it up.
Heartbeat #1 can be found where comics are sold.
If you’re a fan of 80s goth horror or vampire flicks this is a home run for you.