Story: Paul Allor
Art: Paul Tucker
Letterer: Paul Allor
What They Say:
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 mechanice brought in to work on EL’s suit. Mateo sees LK in a way no one ever has. And what’s more: Mateo offers EL an escape.
Hollow Heart reunites Tet creators Paul Allor and Paul Tucker for a queer monster love story about the choices we make between giving our loved one what they want and what we think they need.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
I haven’t had a lot of experience with Paul Allor works previously beyond Monstro Mechanica so I was definitely curious as to what Hollow Heart would bring. Allor’s script works a whole lot better for me this time around as it feels a llittle more straightforward and the potential for something a bit more cohesive as it’s keeping things small at the moment with the cast and overall intention. Working with Paul Tucker, the artwork is solid overall as it goes for a really good look with the main character of EL, making him look very unknown and interesting all while only revealing the smallest bits about him. The rest is fairly standard in a way but it helps to heighten the interest in EL.
We don’t get a lot of story here to explain what’s going on but the focus is on EL, someone or something that is in this oversized protective metal suit. It has a tether in it that keeps it on the base that it’s secured in so that if it got away it would cause him to cease functioning any further as a failsafe device. That doesn’t stop EL from trying to get out because as those around him are starting to realize, getting out isn’t the intent. He wants to get past to end his life and whatever it is he may be feeling, which is likely a lot of pain. The visuals for this paint the picture with the distorted head and design, but we also see with the chest casing off that he’s a mix of flesh and wires and electronics that’s kept together through spit and ingenuity. Everything about his existence looks painful and the small emotion we do get out of him reinforces that.
Our exterior story from EL comes in two ways, first with Donnie, who seems to be the standard security type that’s in charge of EL and bringing him back when he does get out of his environment. There’s a kind of weary and tired aspect to him that’s tied to an interesting childhood story that I’m not sure who that’s connected to. But we see how Donnie does his job and tries to not think about it after work, when we see him drinking. That’s where we get part of the tie-in with another character, Mateo, the mechanic that works on EL and who had a relationship with Donnie in the form of a date that didn’t go anywhere a year ago. Mateo’s kind of playing both sides here in keeping the company bosses pleased with his work on EL but also potentially providing him with an out because of his own feelings on keeping someone/something alive in captivity that is just not handling the situation at all. It’s hard to place any of them in real categories at the moment of good or bad but we see them making choices clearly at the beginning here that helps to shape our view of them.
There’s plenty of mystery to be found here in Hollow Heart as no real questions were answered and the setup didn’t provide for a lot. Who or what EL is will be answered sooner than later and I’m curious to see what’s involved in there that created such a thing. Allor’s script is pretty good as we get a solid handle on who Donnie and Mateo are and that they’re not just cardboard characters to deal with and that leaves us with a lot of potential. Tucker’s artwork is interesting with the color design we get and while everything comes across well, it’s again EL that interests the most. And there’s enough across the book as a whole to make you want to come back for more to see if it’s going to tantalize some more or begin answering questions, and asking new ones.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: February 17th, 2021