Hollow Heart #1-6
EL used to be human. Now he’s a jumble of organs in a bio-suit. El is also in tremendous pain and has been for a very long time. Hope arrives in the form of Mateo, a mechanic brought in to work on EL’s suit. Mateo sees EL in a way no one else ever has.
Why is institutional abuse so rampant within human “progress” (specially medical progress)? What does violence mean? Is power related to physical strength? Can you love someone you’re hurting, manipulating, gaslighting?
A giant monster is the main character of Hollow Heart. He’s way more empathetic to the reader than everyone around him, as the strings of their flawed, human, sometimes plain unethical decisions hurt the monster. The monster hurts back, and we see him kick, possibly kill more than one human. But he feels pain, he has emotions, he falls in love. As this book progresses, the monster is less and less scary, and the horror part of this book comes from how the scientists are willing to let it all slide with a justification: for the monster’s own good, cause it’s the best we can do. A man falls in love with the monster, and that doesn’t mean he hasn’t got his own excuses. Their love is queer in more than one way, and, in some of them, one of the two wields the handle.
Hollow Heart is a queer Frankenstein, and I mean this as praise.
This comic is absolutely a risky proposal, from themes to the way the narrative shifts in different planes of “what’s real”, “what can we expect”, “how is this happening”. Similarly, the creative team bets on a rough, expressive and kind of coarse art style that fits the roughness of the story. I say creative team but what we have here is a duo, with Paul Tucker doing pencil, inking and colors by himself, while Paul Allor writes the story and letters. And, while I think sometimes the art comes a bit too rough and the connection between the visuals and the narrative fails in a couple of places (specially in the beginning of some issues, as every issue begins with a fable told over some introductory visuals, and when they hit they hit hard, but sometimes it’s more difficult to make the connection), the final result is an absolute success cause all of the themes are perfectly channeled by this roughness and abstractness.
Throughout the 6 issues, all the harsh questions and the morality issues and the passion and pain get through in this very rough, sometimes sketchy, style that pays more attention to characters’ emotions and responses than to action. And I have to say there’s one aspect of the art that I think reaches perfection in the way it communicates the different scenarios and feelings: the absolutely enchanting colors. From daylight to closed labs to fire through EL’s window at the end of the story, the colors get through to the heart of the story, and I can’t wait to see more of Tucker’s colors in other projects.
Hollow Heart takes a Frankenstein story that deals with our (in)humanity and puts queer glasses on it, making you feel the nuances through queer tremors. It fathoms in you from the dark moody art and fable narrations and it hits right in the guts.
Hollow Heart #1-6: Sink Into That Place
Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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