There are moments after a big fight with a significant other where the realization hits by either side that the relationship is on its tail end. Things are said that can’t be taken back, feelings share that were just small details at the beginning and kept away in the hope to be forgotten. The fight happens and takes a toll neither one is willing to admit to, so the couple gets back together, the status quo is restored but the nagging in the back of the head remains that it may be time to move on. One last job is planned so Callie can finally go into retirement and enjoy the few extra years Mercer’s heart gave her. Callie and Mercer try to pick up and glue back the pieces of what was broken in New York, after all they can’t really be without each other, can they? The first half of this comic had me a little worried about the page count and that everything might have had to be rushed to a conclusion. A lot of planning and talking, especially between Callie and Scout who are agreeing on Otto not being a great third for the crew, and mainly Callie and Mercer talking through what’s happening between them during last issue. Carefully planned and well thought, it leads to the moments the previous issue have been through before, without recapping them. Issue #5 fills in the gaps to make a whole story on to what his first arc led up to in an organic way. It gives out the details that were missing in order to have its audience put the final stage together to add them to the events that transpired through the last pages of issues one through four.
Callie has a wonderful journey ahead of her with one purpose in mind: she wants to be free. She was always waiting to be freed of whatever was in her way at the moment, she was waiting to be freed of her disease, she was waiting to be free of her job, her compliance, and she turns that into determination from the first issue that grows stronger with every event that happen during these five issues. She refuses to give in like she did before the heart transplant. Instead, she powers on with a plan that she shapes and refines throughout her escapades with Mercer and her crew. Callie is fully fleshed character whose journey happens organically, which makes for a relatable protagonist with a visible change a reader can relate to. The frustration of Callie and Mercer’s relationship was well communicated. It felt as with a friend you deeply care for is in a pretty bad relationship but no matter how much you let them know, they don’t want to ruffle the feathers of their current status quo.
Art maintained a standard it set since issue one. With a period piece like Heartthrob, Wilson and Filardi captured an ever-changing Callie who goes from giving up on her life to fighting for it with everything she has. Scout transforms from the crew driver who stays out of other people’s shit to Callie’s trustee and philosophical advisor. All of these happen because of a great capture of expressions and changing mannerisms. I compared the tone of the finale to this story with a Dog Day Afternoon-like series and it remains true, but it keeps control of its influences and owns the story to bring it back to a climax that could only be delivered through this story.
Heartthrob relit this reviewers love for Fleetwood Mac, and proves that a romance comic can be gripping and gritty without being sappy or falling into clichés.
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Heartthrob #5 Writer: Christopher Sebela Artist: Robert Wilson IV Colorist: Nick Filardi Letterer: Crank! Publisher: Oni Press Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital