Love Everlasting #1 ADVANCE REVIEW: Tom King gives romance comics a mysterious mash-up twist

Writer: Tom King, Artist: Elsa Charretier, Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth, Letterer: Clayton Cowles.


Consecutive Advance Reviews by Mack Johnson and Austin Kemp.



MACK JOHNSON: Romance comics have never been a genre I’ve been interested in, but when I saw Love Everlasting listed Tom King (Mister Miracle, Batman, Batman & Catwoman) as writer, then I knew it would definitely be interesting.

However, when I started reading the advance copy of issue #1, the first story was composed of every cliched romance stereotype I’ve ever seen. I thought to myself: “There’s GOT to be more to it than THIS.”

And Tom King didn’t let me down.

Yes, King is fully embracing these cheesy romance tropes in every different era/different situation story chapter that follows. However, there is a mystery that will no doubt blend all this cheddar together beautifully, but it's one that will not be solved in the first issue, which makes issue #2 and beyond must-reads, just to see what the heck King is doing here. Is it sci-fi? Is it magic? Or is it simply mental illness? Oh, the possibilities…

I was also initially surprised to see the familiar art style of Darwyn Cooke. Very surprised, because the dear man passed away years ago. Turns out the art is actually by Elsa Charretier, who has clearly been heavily influenced by Cooke. Add the expert, mood-shaping colors by Matt Hollingsworth, and it’s like a trip back in time to see the late artist’s work again. Stylistic similarities aside, Charretier displays solid storytelling, with each page containing a focal point, with an occasional figure or object breaking the panel or page edge for added visual interest.


This will not be your mother's romance comic. I anxiously look forward to seeing what King has up his sleeve. I rate issue #1... 4 out of 5 POPs.



 

AUSTIN KEMP: Image Comics' new series Love Everlasting seeks to investigate the timeless tropes of the romance genre with delightfully horrifying results. With one eye on the past and one on the future, this creative team melds genres as a narrative blacksmith, hammering away until the product is sharp and to the point. A concise beginning to a new creator-owned series, Love Everlasting #1 does a fantastic job of ushering us into a world we can't understand while instilling enough anxious curiosity to keep us reading.



Charretier's art immediately invites you in. Whether you're new to comics or an old-hand, there's a certain nostalgia evoked on every page that works so well in contrast to the more horror-driven elements. Reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke's work in its effective mimicking of retro styles, Charretier, alongside letterer Clayton Cowles, creates time capsules with robust intro titles and period specific aesthetics. Hollingsworth's colors amplify this effect, but adds a dash of the sinister with heavy shadows that only make themselves known in retrospect.



I have a complicated relationship with Tom King's writing. King can saturate a page with information and meaning using only the bare essentials, but he also has the capacity to be too intuitive, leaving readers to feel "on the outs" with what's happening. Love Everlasting #1 is a bit of both. Characters are flat, but here they're supposed to be, and it helps sell the deeper ideas; however, someone not so steeped in comics genres may not continue to the ah-ha moments that King easter eggs throughout his work.


Love Everlasting #1 is a time capsule, bringing past comics ideas and tropes to the forefront of a readership that wants to interrogate those very ideas and tropes. Each member of the creative team exhibits curated care and attention, while effectively bolstering the efforts of their fellow creators. Despite my love for this book, I give it 3 out of 5 POPs due to, what I feel is, an inaccessibility to new readers.



I do highly recommend this first issue and if that matters to you, please pick this issue up when it releases on August 10th! Grab it from either Image Comics here or YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP!!!


If you liked the talent behind this debut issue, be sure to check out a few of these recommendations from the same creators!


The Infinite Loop (co-created by Elsa Charretier)

Hawkeye: The Saga of Barton and Bishop (colors by Matt Hollingsworth)

The Wicked + The Divine (letters by Clayton Cowles)

Mister Miracle (written by Tom King)


 


Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.


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