Story: Paul Allor
Art: Paul Tucker
Letterer: Paul Allor
What They Say:
As their escape draws near, Mateo shows EL a different way to live: free from constant pain, and filled with pleasure, sex and new sensations. But these lessons serve to underscore the cruelty of EL’s captors and to awaken a new level of anger within him. Meanwhile, Mateo tests the limits of his own empathy in increasingly dangerous ways.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The opening installment of this series definitely had me interested in what kind of story it was going to be. Paul Allor didn’t tip his hand too much but offered up some interesting ideas that could go in a lot of directions. Paul Tucker gave us some disturbing visuals mixed in with the everyday work/life material so you couldn’t be sure what you’d end up with. It definitely had a strong hook and that does continue here as we learn more about EL and what he’s capable of – right alongside EL itself – and that just ups the curiosity even more.
A lot of this installment is focused on Mateo as we see events largely unfold through his point of view. He’s plotting things at home in order to achieve something with the device/weapon that he has but it’s hard to discern what it is. The bit we get is that he may not be exactly viewed well by neighbors and the like because he comes across a bit weird, but it helps to reinforce that he’s kind of out of place in the big picture of things. When we see him coming in to work on EL’s suit once again, it definitely feels like he’s an outsourced contractor coming in to do the work that isn’t being watched anywhere near as closely as you’d expect him to be. His time with EL is also very humanizing for both of them in a way, but it lets EL become something more than just the creature in the suit, even as we learn through some other minor scenes that he’s a strange creation that was basically given more life than they should have allowed him to have at this point.
What makes for the curious points here is that Mateo is clearly preparing to help EL get out of here and that he definitely has a plan for something that will work for him. EL is very unsure about all of this simply because it’s impossible to imagine anything else beyond what he knows at this point. But the weird part is that Mateo is able to do some adjustments on him internally that gives EL a way to view things… differently? I’m unclear on what he was able to show him through his helmet other than the faces of people but it was enough to push EL into a bad place because not only was it completely unexpected but it was something that could have been given to him at any point during his existence and it would have been a gamechanger for him.
Hollow Heart asks more questions than anything else here and it certainly doesn’t give us any real answers to work with. Which is fine, I can go a few issues with teasing and tantalizing, exploring some of the other characters and digging more into what it is that makes EL tick. But it’s definitely going to need the right kind of payoff in order for it to feel like we get progress when we do. Allor’s script leaves a lot of curiosity here and has me really unsure of where it’s going to go, which is appealing, and I definitely have a fondness for Tucker’s artwork once again as his design for EL is just fascinating and I want to see more of what makes him function.
Age Rating: 15+
Released By: AfterShock Comics
Release Date: April 7th, 2021