Heartbeat #4 is published by BOOM! Studios. It comes from the creative team of writer and artist Maria Llovet and letterer AndWorld Design. Issue #4 picks up the morning after the end of the previous issue. Eva and Don, still wrapped in each others’ arms, are discussing the girl he murdered. Eva gets a text from Mack asking her to meet with him and she leaves Don’s house. When Eva sees Mack he demands to know why she is with Don and says he is worried about her.
Eva then becomes upset that Mack is spying on her and storms off. In her anger, she confronts Violetta and reveals that she knows Violetta has feelings for her. Soon Eva’s life begins to spiral out of her control. Now with her friends turned to enemies, she makes a crucial mistake that could cost her everything.
With Heartbeat #4 we finally see the once-promising story descend into pure trope-filled and cliche territory. The threads of a more interesting plot seem to be entirely lost and what is left is something that has been done many times before. Falling back on tropes isn’t always a negative when it comes to storytelling, but that’s only if the resulting story is interesting.
Sadly, Heartbeat just isn’t. The characters have had very little real development and their interactions lack meaning. For a comic that wants to be as steamy as possible, it lacks the boldness to do anything exciting. Also gone is any real semblance of horror that this comic had. Now the plot more resembles a romance paperback novel than anything intended to terrify.
Llovet’s art is still lovely. The very clear visual symbolism is ever-present and keeps the pages interesting to look at. The blend of modern and gothic settings helps to keep it visually appealing even when the story stutters. Unfortunately, the letters from AndWorld are, honestly, a little lacking. There is plenty of action on the page, but never any sound effects to accompany it. The text boxes are clean and understandable, but unremarkable.
Overall, I just don’t like this series. I was very excited at the beginning, but the things that made it appealing have all but been abandoned. I’m willing to chalk this up to me expecting more than was promised. But at the end of the day, this was billed as a horror comic. But we are four issues in and I don’t see much horror. The circumstances surrounding the central plot are rooted in a murder, but nothing horrifying has happened since then. It is because of this that I still want to follow this narrative. There must be some great horrors waiting further into this series, and I’m hoping that by the end I am proven wrong. But as it stands I can’t recommend this unless you want a sexy pseudo-thriller featuring teens.
Heartbeat #4 is available now, wherever comics are sold.
Overall, I just don’t like this series. I was very excited at the beginning, but the things that made it appealing have all but been abandoned. I’m willing to chalk this up to me expecting more than was promised. But at the end of the day, this was billed as a horror comic. But we are four issues in and I don’t see much horror.