"The Complete Love Hurts" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Kim W. Andersson
2015, 240 Pages
Graphic novel released on October 28th, 2015
Love is a burning thing. It burns even more when there's hellfire involved. That's just one of the elements at work in Love Hurts from writer / artist Kim W. Andersson. Dark Horse Comics has collected all of the short stories from this line, each featuring a twisted take on love while also including a vast array of monsters.
The first thing that I noticed in Love Hurts was the variety. There are over thirty stories included here, and they're all completely different. Andersson doesn't even repeat monsters. This book includes zombies, aliens, mermaids, alien mermaids, werewolves, ghosts, dragons, creepy undead babies, and so much more. There is seriously something for fans of almost every aspect of the horror genre. Don't let the title fool you either. While the stories deal with love, it's the dark, twisted version of it. This is the version with consequences. At times it's literally heartbreaking.
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Andersson plays with the tropes of the various horror sub-genres, turning the tables on them. The stories are tough to predict, each coming in with a twist ending that's both shocking and satisfying. There are times where you think you know where the story is going and then that turn hits and the end result is something far cooler than anything you could have imagined.
Although the entire book is illustrated by one artist, the style varies a bit. The design goes with the story setting. Andersson shows a real talent for art direction, creating some gorgeous shots. One perfect page that really encapsulates the essence of this collection is the final one in story #13 (they don't have separate titles, just numbers), which features two female warriors doing battle in the snow. I don't want to spoil the twist here, but it's an amazing sight that's framed symmetrically between the two women as their battle comes to a close. Andersson points out in the back matter of the book that this page is a favorite among fans, and for good reason.
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It's tough to pick a favorite in this collection, as there are so many to choose from. They're all good. Story #7 is an early one that stands out, featuring a happy couple showing off their little bundle of joy on a walk through the park. This two-page tale features an awesome twist drenched in dark humor. Number 14 has a séance gone wrong, but not in the way you'd expect. A woman tries to contact a deceased loved one and the results are actually pretty hilarious. That's the other thing about Love Hurts: it's really funny. Anyone with a dark sense of humor (which I'm betting includes you) will find a lot to love here.
Love Hurts is a solid collection that's perfect for fans of The Twilight Zone or Twisted Dark with a humorous twist. There is a bounty of stories to read through, each featuring an awesome turn that often results in bloodshed, not to mention the impressive variety in horror archetypes.
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