This Wednesday, Maria Llovet’s Heartbeat #4 from BOOM! Studios shows the aftereffect of Eva’s decision, as those close to her quickly figure out her dark secrets.
If you need a quick refresher, check out our reviews for the previous three issues here. Plus, Darryll Robson includes a great breakdown of a moment in Heartbeat #3 in his article, Silence Is Golden: The Wordless Panel.
HEARTBEAT’S END BEGINS
As the series comes to its inevitable end, Llovet doesn’t spend time wrapping things up; instead, she stacks onto Eva’s troubles. Nothing too extreme that couldn’t be wrapped up in a single issue, just enough to give Heartbeat an extra final beat. Being so infatuated with the mystery Don protrudes before her, Eva makes some glaring mistakes. First in Heartbeat #3, where she is caught by Mack. Next, when she loses her cellphone, that gets picked up by another.
The latter part seems a bit too convenient and unrealistic for Eva’s character. For someone who has damning evidence of a murder being investigated, why wouldn’t she freak out? It could’ve happened off-panel, yet Eva never goes back to grab her phone. If she indeed was worried, it could’ve been shown. Alas, at no point is she shown worried. Although on the other hand this could be Llovet showing how deeply Eva has fallen, with nothing around her mattering. Nonetheless, this small blight seems awkward in a tightly woven plot.
A MULTI-LINGUAL TALE
All creators since the beginning of Heartbeat have remained the same with AndWorld Design on lettering, while translated by Andrea Rosenberg. AndWorld Design keeps the same quality of maneuvering around Llovet’s art to keep the visuals intact. Without having read the original series or the other language additions, it’s hard to tell if Rosenberg changed much in translation. Yet, at no point does the information seem lost, or the integrity of Llovet’s story broken.
STEADY BEATING HEART
Llovet has kept the same top-notch quality throughout the four issues of Heartbeat. That in mind, it’s hard to mention anything new on the art. This is due to her work constantly looking gorgeous and her never “wasting” a panel. Instead, she makes use of everything in her arsenal. Each panel that portrays a single action either with/without words speaks volumes on her visual storytelling ability.
The few shots of the city besides the school feel empty and decrepit. Not to mention the locations, some of the students hang out vary in structure. Within those few shots, Llovet shows a world outside of Eva’s that may be in descent just as she. At first, these establishing shots seem just that, alas, these panels help show the world Eva inhabits. This adds in great visual layers into Llovet’s story that makes you want to venture deeper into her world.
Llovet keeps the subtle/real-world color palette seen in the previous issues. This palette keeps her world grounded while giving it an eerie feel. Her eye for colors and how they pertain for certain moments is keen. No moment in Heartbeat #4 has colors that don’t match the vibe or visual story she is trying to tell.
In its fourth issue, Maria Llovet’s Heartbeat continues to be a fantastic slow-burning story dealing with one’s moral decline and the consequence that follow. Instead of reading as a build-up to the climax of the series, Llovet presents Heartbeat #4 as a continuation while adding more elements. Llovet can draw the reader in by adding new elements and revelations before the finale.
As Eva’s story in Heartbeat is starting to wrap up, what have you thought so far? Plus, if you’re looking for more of Llovet’s amazing writing/art, check out her new Graphic novel, LOUD!