Review: ‘Hollow Heart’ #3, They’re All The Loneliest Numbers

by Cesareo Garasa

Overview:

Writer Paul Allor must be given credit in imbuing his story with a sense of poetry, a sense of elegant synchronicity that elevates the title from what it could have ultimately been without his ample consideration: an obtuse misunderstood-monster love story and Paul Tucker‘s lovely art and coloring is both hazy and clear-lined. The final few panels of Hollow Heart #3 are a great dramatic representation of a man trapped in his own isolation and contemplating either powerlessness or salvation from it.

Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10
EL and Mateo launch their escape, but it immediately falls apart as Mateo’s meticulous planning clashes with EL’s brutal desire to inflict cruelty upon those who were cruel to him. In the end, EL must decide whether to prioritize his own freedom or the destruction of others.

There’s a price to holding anger and resentment in one’s heart. It’s like a viscus poison that runs so thick in your veins it slows down your blood to simmer and boil. That venom is contagious as well. It infiltrates how we deal with others and infects them as well.

One of the best details in the Hollow Heart series are the stories recited like a Greek chorus over the ongoing actions. We read about the lives of EL, trapped and angry in a metal juggernaut shell, a lit pink shadow of his former self; Mateo, the sympathetic mechanic (or is it doctor?) who is intimate with EL in a deeply profound manner; and Donnie, the stern, lonely, guard whose rage is always ready to explode.

We read about their lives while we are told these parables – about a boy and his goldfish, a kidnap victim traumatized and twisted by captivity and a teacher transformed by the venom of resentment of a bitter, rich man – and note how they reflect the stories within.

In essence, we are being told two stories simultaneously while bringing our own stories to them as a third.

The art and coloring by Paul Tucker is lovely. It’s both hazy and clear-lined. The final few panels of the issue are a great dramatic representation of a man trapped in his own isolation and contemplating either powerlessness or salvation from it.

Writer Paul Allor must be given credit in imbuing his story with a sense of poetry, a sense of elegant synchronicity that elevates the title from what it could have ultimately been without his ample consideration: an obtuse misunderstood-monster love story.

Or worse: a salacious one. We do have a love story of sorts, between EL and Mateo who literally touched the former’s heart in a pleasurable and profound way (it’s a scene from issue #2 that’s done with an expert sense of balance and sensitivity), and Mateo helping EL in his wish to escape his captivity. But it’s tough to see any relationship in this tale come to a satisfying end. There’s just too much anger, too much futility between each of the main characters and even a Machiavellian sense of heartless cruelty from the two supervisors who watch over and manipulate the events unfolding, considering EL a “freak.”

A subtle theme behind Hollow Heart #3 is the anger, futility and resentment that resides in the humanity in every heart that carries them. None of us are exempt from volatile emotions and many of us have no way of how to deal with them. The point of this title, and of Hollow Heart #3 especially, is that it’s not just the acknowledgment of others’ pain that heals us, it’s in the awareness of our own.

Because much like the teacher in the second story of issue #3 who found her own bitter sense of closure (warped complications and expectations is another overarching theme), we are left seeing the world close around EL, Mateo and Donnie. Done so in such a constricting way that they — especially the fraying Donnie — have no other choice than to fight back or be crushed under the weight of their own loneliness; their own hollow hearts.

It’s a testament to Allor and Tucker that we care for them, reflected by the stories of our own, to do just that.

Hollow Heart #3 available now from Vault Comics; written and lettered by Paul Allor; art, colors and covers by Paul Tucker

Cesareo Garasa

Cesareo Garasa is a freelance writer and musician based out of Bakersfield, CA. He’s a Libra married to a Leo who enjoys watching movies, playing drums and re-reading old Heavy Metal Magazines. You can follow him on Twitter @cesareog or on Facebook.com/cesareo

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