Sweet Heart, published by Action Lab – Danger Zone, written and created by Dillon Gilbertson, with art from Francesco Iaquinta, letters by Saida Temfonte, and colors by Marco Pagnotta. Over the last three issues, the series has showcased how horror and fantasy can be used to tap into very real fears in life by using allegories for chronic illness and fantastic illustrations that live in both genres. Last issue jumped to 20 years after first contact and introduced to a new Maddie, one that is fighting the monsters stalking her town directly, instead of letting them win. Now, Sweet Heart #4 Maddie’s life is put into even more danger.
The beauty of Sweet Heart #4 is its surprise, which will make this review hard to write. This issue is shocking, upending preconceived ideas I had about where the story is heading and shows Maddie both at her most vulnerable and her most fierce. In the same issue we see Mattie knocked unconscious, close to being eaten, and attacking a Bruiser. The back and forth from safety and assurance to fear pulls you through the pages, keeping you engaged. Additionally, Sweet Heart #4 ends with a cliffhanger to end them all.
This issue also stands out because of Iaquinta’s art. This issue, more than any other, allows him to flex his horror muscle while also bringing our extremely emotive facial expressions from characters cycling through a range of emotion. Because of this, we also have to point out Pagnotta’s deep and dark use of colors that continues to shape the atmosphere of the story without every feeling muted. Additionally, blood and gore in comics is hard to do well, often panels and characters become lost in a sea of red. That said, Pagnotta is able to pull off the violence of Sweet Heart #4 with great ease.
As a penultimate issue, Sweet Heart #4 has to be climactic enough to make readers eager for the finale while also being reserved enough as to not overshadow the final issue. This is a balance that is hard to strike and thankfully, I think Gilbertson and company have struck it. This issues raises the stakes, transforms Mattie as a character, and has opened the door wide enough for the final issue to walk right through and continue to blow audiences away. While my reviews are usually longer, this issue is one that best left unspoiled by any means and with so many twists executed in its short length, I can’t wait for you to jump in.
Sweet Heart #4 is available digitally through ComiXology, with the final issue publishing via the digital platform next week.
Sweet Heart #4
As a penultimate issue, Sweet Heart #4 has to be climactic enough to make readers eager for the finale while also being reserved enough as to not overshadow the final issue. This is a balance that is hard to strike and thankfully, I think Gilbertson and company have struck it. This issues raises the stakes, transforms Mattie as a character, and has opened the door wide enough for the final issue to walk right through and continue to blow audiences away.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.