Early Review: Bolero #1
The elevator pitch for Wyatt Kennedy and Luana Vecchio’s Bolero goes something like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets Locke & Key. If that doesn’t sell a comic, what does? But to lay claim to that comparison means setting expectations sky high. Fortunately, the comic more than lives up to the stories it namedrops.
Bolero #1 follows Devyn “Dagger” Dagny, a tattoo artist that gets her heart very, very broken—shattered, even—by Natasha, the person that Devyn will go through a whole multiverse to either get back with or forget.
By multiverses I mean literal multiverses. Devyn is given the opportunity to travel precisely 53 universes using a mother key, given to her by a very curious and cuddly creature, that allows her to move between them. A set of rules comes with the mother key, all which are basically set up to be broken later on. These range from not speaking to the being that offers the key to not traveling beyond the number of universes agreed upon.
Kennedy, who scripts the story, takes most of the first issue to lock the emotional hooks in place for Devyn’ multiversal journey, in which she’ll experience the different possibilities and forms her relationship with Natasha could take. The jumps in time, space, and bodies the comic promises is in short supply in this first entry, but the premise is well put together and shows no signs of letting up on the emotions-shattering rollercoaster ride Kennedy hopes to take us on in future issues.
Vecchio’s art possesses a dream-like quality to it that lends itself perfectly to the type of universe-hopping experience Bolero is aiming for. Characters move across the comics page with a floaty sense of rhythm that imbues the storytelling with a kind of musicality to it that makes everything come together beautifully. Moments of bliss are magical, whereas moments of pain feel like someone is prodding inside you with a cold and indiscriminate medical apparatus without anesthesia. Vecchio’s work is quite simply a marvel to behold in Bolero.
The art is given an extra bump in the magic department with a similarly dreamy and light approach to the lettering, made possible by Brandon Graham. Dialogues unspool like memories one plays over and over again in their mind after a particularly bad breakup. Graham takes the concept and applies it with a careful use of hazy lines and unstable word balloons that capture the raw emotions that hang over every word. It’s a highlight of the book and it shows deep consideration for the vision of the story.
Bolero #1 is a primer on love, pain, and loss that prepares readers for a deeply intimate and rough story that is sure to connect on many levels. It’s a world of possibilities I can’t wait to dive into, no matter how hard things will most definitely get for Devyn and Natasha as they go through 53 variations of their doomed relationship.
Story: Wyatt Kennedy Art: Luana Vecchio Lettering: Brandon Graham
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy along with a box of Kleenex and a bucket of ice cream.
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review