And The Light Shineth In The Darkness: Heartbeat #1 (of 5)

by Brendan M. Allen

Eva, a high school outcast, finds herself witness to a horrible secret: the most popular boy in school enjoys the taste of blood and will kill to get his hands on it.
Horrified and intrigued, Eva lets herself be pulled into Donatien’s macabre world. He offers the escape she has been looking for…but how much is Eva willing to betray her moral code in order to find something that gives her life meaning? And will she—or Donatien—ever find redemption?
Maria Llovet (Faithless) presents a dark, violent, decadent, disturbing story, in which life and death, blood, and love are inextricably intertwined.

In Heartbeat #1, writer/artist/colorist Maria Llovet introduces Eva, an angsty teen who attends the most exclusive, posh private school in town. Eva’s got problems at home and school. Her mom is working a few jobs to pay what’s left of her tuition AFTER her scholarships. So she’s really poor and never sees her mom because she is always working or passed out.
Worse, one of her mother’s super rich employers pulled strings to get her admitted. And that employer’s snotty daughter also attends the school. Also, there’s that vampire thing. 

Llovet’s script really focuses on the personal turmoil of the lead character. Most of the narration comes from Eva’s dark and twisty inner monologue. The dialogue is intentionally vapid and shallow, reflecting the nature of most of Eva’s relationships. 
It’s worth noting this limited series was originally presented in Spanish. It has since been translated to French, Italian, and now English. Whenever a work is translated, there are bound to be at least a few little hiccups. Despite a couple spots where the dialogue doesn’t quite flow, Andrea Rosenberg does an excellent job bringing this story to an English speaking audience. If no one told you this was an import, you probably wouldn’t know.

The art of Heartbeat is attractive, and generally flows well. There are a couple spots where it seems like the action doesn’t quite line up with the script. That may be an issue with the translation, or it could be intentional on Llovet’s part, pushing the awkwardness of the situation with dissonance and slightly syncopated sequences.

There are plenty of teen romance drama tropes all over this thing. Poor kid from a single parent home overcoming adversity and punching above her weight class, unhealthy romantic relationships, monsters, and dead girls. If you’re a fan of stories like Twilight and Vampire Diaries, you’ll probably want to give Heartbeat a look.

Heartbeat #1 (of 5), BOOM! Studios, 20 November 2019. Story and art by Maria Llovet, letters by Andworld Design, translated by Andrea Rosenberg, unlocked retailer variant, one-per-store variant, and CBSN retailer exclusive variants by Mirka Andolfo, designed by Scott Newman, edited by Amanda LaFranco, executive editor Sierra Hahn.

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