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"Hollow Heart #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Vault Comics


Written and lettered by Paul Allor
Illustrated by Paul Tucker
2021, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on February 17th, 2021


EL is trapped in a few different kinds of prisons. What's left of his body is held together by a bio-suit he can't escape. He's stuck in a building he can't leave. He's trapped in a life he can't end despite constant pain. EL's perspective changes when he meets Mateo, a mechanic who doesn't see him as a monster or a tool.

Hollow Heart is tragic from the start. Writer Paul Allor pulls you into this fascinating story. We don't know all the answers yet as to how EL got into this position or what this overall world is like that would create something like this. We don't need them yet. The characters are what shine through. Everything else kind of fades to the background as EL and Mateo become the center of this universe.

This book is described as a “queer monster love story” and it definitely delivers on that front. These two lost souls found each other in a strange way, yet have this instant connection. It's beautiful, but again, a little tragic given the circumstances involved.

Click images to enlarge

During their first interaction, EL and Mateo have an interesting and nuanced conversation. I love how Allor occasionally changes certain words or phrases from EL into a pink font, implying a different context to his otherwise robotic-looking speech. I imagined him trying to whisper some of these instead of speaking at a normal tone.

Artist Paul Tucker gives EL a classic robot look and feel. He's big and bulky yet eerie, as we see his skull glowing pink through the helmet. There's a chilling sequence where Mateo opens up EL's chest plate revealing a few ribs and an assortment of organs. This fills me with questions as to how all this works. It's also tinged with sadness, as this is what remains of someone who might have once been human. Imagine a life like this.

Click images to enlarge

Despite his robotic nature and macabre appearance, EL shows a lot of emotion. You can see how this situation has weighed him down in how he carries himself. He doesn't stand up straight. Instead, he slumps over, like he's trying to appear smaller or avoid notice. Tucker has some choice panels with a close-up of the pink-hued helmet that show the tiniest changes in demeanor as EL speaks with Mateo and a bit of hope creeps in.

Hollow Heart is a beautifully tragic comic. It grabs you early on with this fascinating world and intriguing character-driven story. While I have quite a few questions, I cannot wait to have them answered as this series continues. This is one book you don't want to miss.


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Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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