Heartbeat is a disturbing and violent horror comic that follows the life of a viciously bullied high school student named Eva. Though she is a scholarship student at a prestigious school that her mother works hard to ensure she can attend, Eva equates it to her own personal hell. It appears that her life may only get worse as Eva happens upon the scene of a brutal murder of one of her classmates.
Heartbeat is a breathtaking piece of art by Maria Llovet. She manages to somehow find the beauty hiding within every panel and highlights it with bold colors and whimsical delicate details. Even when the subject matter is incredibly cringe worthy, the layers of intricate detail will keep you locked in place and unable to look away. Her decision making in choosing which parts of each page to emphasize really is on point and tells a story of its own. There is a certain appreciation in both the artist and main character for the sensuality and sexuality of the macabre. This story will definitely find an appreciative audience among those who hold the same fetish.
While the artwork is undeniably beautiful the story is a harsh contrast to it. The bullying that Eva is subjected to and the way Eva responds to it is so perfectly and accurately portrayed that any teenager or grown adult who has gone through similar experiences could find this account almost triggering. Llovet does an incredibly wonderful job navigating and portraying Eva’s emotions and its incredibly easy albeit uncomfortable to empathize with her.
While I may hold a personal distaste for Eva’s penchant for calling herself weak and even at one point wishing she were dead it does ring true emotionally for her age and situation. I can only hold out hope that given time she may find some inner strength. Because weak and beaten girls who fantasize about suicide and find beauty in death are a slightly tired cliché. Though Llovet’s art certainly makes up for that.
Overall I would say that Llovet has done something truly remarkable with how emotionally powerful Heartbeat is within only one issue. I look forward to seeing where the story goes!
Heartbeat #1 (of 5) A Beautiful Death
Writing - 6.5/106.5/10
Storyline - 6.5/106.5/10
Art - 9.5/109.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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