REVIEW: ‘The Hazards of Love,’ Volume 1 – “Bright World”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Hazards of Love Volume 1 Bright World - But Why Tho?The Hazards of Love Volume 1: Bright World is a full-color printing of Stan Stanley’s webcomic of the same name, published by Oni Press. Ampero is a bit selfish, maybe even a bit more-so than the average high schooler. But that selfishness came at a huge cost when they traded their name to a strange cat in exchange for some happiness. The cat, of course, was full of it, and stole Ampero’s name, body, and life while flinging the real Ampero into a strange dimension called Bright World.

First of all, this book is gorgeous. The human world is dingy and boring at the onset, but Bright World is colorful, full of bizarre creatures, and displayed beautifully through constantly unique page layouts. I was hooked on this book from the minute I saw Bright World, even before getting into the wacky and delightful plot. The characters also are drawn and colored with such clear personalities that I have very vivid characterizations of each of them in my mind.

The story is totally convoluted but in a great way. I cannot attest to fully understanding everything that is going on in the split story between Bright World and the human world, but that’s part of the point. There’s the tiniest bit of non-linearity to some of the book’s chapters that help draw confusion on purpose, occasionally to my chagrin, but mostly to my fascination. There’s also a time displacement between the two stories and how fast time flows in either that adds a layer of uncertainty.

What I do know is that The Hazards of Love is a deeply affecting story that’s constant twists kept me flying through pages to see what happened next. It’s a story about right and wrong, memory, love, and trying to make up for mistakes. Just when things seem to be settling in and something nice and wholesome takes place, something terrible and disturbing happens that throws another layer of intrigue into the story. I had no clue what to expect or where the comic was going at any given turn, something that the book gains from its original webcomic format. But I also never needed to have a sense of direction. I was just totally along for the ride.

There’s also an undertone in the book of characters’ muddlings through their gender and sexuality. Uncertainty over these aspects of themselves, or how and to whom to express it, aren’t the point of the book necessarily, though. And so when these topics come up, they come up in ways that feel deeply familiar in that they seem top of mind for the characters because they’re difficult things they struggle with. But they’re not their defining character traits by any means. It’s a part of them and a struggle like any other. An important one, but rather than being the focal point of the book, it simply enriches the already strong theme of love and its various dimensions. 

Lastly, the lettering in The Hazards of Love is fantastic. The font is a tad hard to read on occasion, but the subtle changes in font to emphasize characters’ emotions are good and the FX are consistently excellent. I’m not 100 percent certain why curse words are crossed out, but just barely because you can still read what words they are. The writing in the characters’ dialects is also appreciated in helping give characters their own voices.

The one thing I felt kind of odd about was a portion where the main character, now nameless, has their brain matured so as to act and think more like an adult than the 16-year-old they arrive as in Bright World. It felt like it was a decision made specifically to allow the character to have potential romantic relationships with other humans in Bright World who seem to be adults and not high schoolers. It’s something you can move on from and forget about, but in the moment, it feels like an uncomfortable reason to retcon the character.

The Hazards of Love Volume 1: Bright World is an utterly intriguing story and world with a few small blunders, but generally, an impressive ability to surprise and intrigue chapter after chapter. I’m very hopeful the second volume received a full-color print edition as well and cannot wait to continue reading this wonderful, weird story.

The Hazards of Love Volume 1: Bright World is available wherever comics are sold.

The Hazards of Love Volume 1: Bright World
5

TL;DR

The Hazards of Love Volume 1: Bright World is an utterly intriguing story and world with a few small blunders, but generally, an impressive ability to surprise and intrigue chapter after chapter. I’m very hopeful the second volume received a full-color print edition as well and cannot wait to continue reading this wonderful, weird story.