Review - Forbidden Love

"I must take what little time I have to tell you..."

Love is a special thing. Forbidden love is a trifling thing for some. And murder is a dangerous thing. All that and more took place in the wild west, which makes Forbidden Love something of art imitating life. The short is written by Jesse Young, illustrated by Artyom Trakhanov and lettered by Thomas Mauer.

The old west was a pretty tough time for anyone to live. One man learns that firsthand, as he's wrongly convicted of murder in that setting. He writes a letter to his love, revealing that there's a lot more to the night in question that just a wrongfully accused man.

Forbidden Love opens with a pretty dramatic scene, dropping the reader at the end of the tale somewhat. Young purposefully remains relatively light on the dialogue, instead allowing the panels to carry the emotional heft of the story. It's a fairly familiar story, but Young's approach makes it feel slightly less conventional than what most readers will likely be familiar with. At first glance, it may feel like just another western, but there are many different themes layered within, such as innocence, perceived guilt and, well, forbidden love. The book feels pretty gritty when it's all said and done, while somehow managing to feel romantic in some way.

Trakhanov's art is very pallid in a way. It's full of pretty morose colors in blues and oranges, which makes the atmosphere feel somewhat morbid. There are certain panels where certain characters relevant to that part of the story are called out via outlines of their faces, which works to pretty great effect. He also does a great job depicting the crime that the man is on trial for, offering up a scene vague enough where even the reader isn't sure if the man on trial actually committed the crime.

Forbidden Love is actually a pretty deep comic when it's all said and done. Young's story is very powerful, deceptively packing an emotional punch within a western trial of a seemingly innocent man. Trakhanov's illustrations are a very appropriate match for the writing, conveying the eeriness of the story. One of the predominant themes in many forms of literature is love and Forbidden Love offers it in a rather intriguing way. If's there's one complaint it's that the book is a little short, but honestly, the length feels really appropriate considering the content of the book. Making it longer is slightly selfish, in that as a reader you just want more of this great world.

Forbidden Love is available now via Young's website here, along with the rest of his work here.