Heart #1


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Heart #1


  • Words: Blair Butler
  • Art: Kevin Mellon
  • Inks: Kevin Mellon
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: Part One: Sprawl
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Nov 9, 2011

The growth in popularity of MMA makes it a ripe spot to set a new drama.  And one in which G4TV's Blair Butler makes her comic writing debut.

Sports stories are all about the underdog and Oren Redmond definitely fits the bill.  A young man who was just still trying to find his way in the world, Oren finds inspiration in his older brother, a popular local MMA fighter.  He starts training and seemingly finds his place, a place where throwing up twice on your first day is the norm; where beatings are forms of bonding; and where Oren suddenly feels good about himself.  Feeling confident and ready, he just has to prove himself in the ring.

There is a sense of authenticity and knowledge that goes on within the pages of Heart, appropriately titled as the book wears its own on its sleeve.  This only partly helps it to overcome its shortcomings as a comic book though.  Faced with telling an underdog story, Butler's work falls firmly into cliched melodrama.  The starting in the present then moving backwards in time is a familiar device which in turn neccessitates another cliche, the voice over narration, purposeful here to advance the backstory quickly. 

The main character is a simple character, but his voice goes from confident to sad in no time at all.  Another odd decision is that before going into the backstory, Oren wins a fight but seems not at all at peace afterwards.  But if that's the case, and he truly hasn't found himself in MMA, why go through with this whole backstory at all?  And wouldn't a trained MMA fighter realize that his trainers and other fighters would know when he just got lucky?

The artwork of Kevin Mellon does its job here.  His linework is solid, and he handles the action sequences well, a must for a book about mixed martial arts fighting.  His character designs are realistic and his storytelling works fine for the confines of the story.  But still there's something that seems like it's missing from the artwork.  It neither stands out nor detracts from the story, its just there.  

Which is a perfect description for the book as a whole.  MMA fans may find something to read and enjoy in the book. As stated earlier there is a sense of authenticity in there as if someone involved did some training and possibly had a fight.  But most readers will simply find something else on the shelves a little better done and a little more to their liking.   

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