Review - Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 (@ImageComics)

"This is a city for hustlers! Don't I always say that?"

The perils of a depression are well-noted. People lose their homes, find it difficult to put together a meal and typically have difficulty finding new work. Throw dragons into the mix and things get a whole lot more complicated. Image Comics likes complicated in Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1. The issue is written by Joe Kelly, illustrated by Max Fiumara and lettered by Thomas Mauer.

Launching the second arc in the critically-acclaimed story of a boy and his dragon on the hunt for revenge in Depression-era New York City. The training begins.

As far as set-up goes, there really isn't much in Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 aside from giving the reader a glimpse at Giacomo's new world--that's not to say it's not a good first issue as it is. Giacomo Savarese is the main character in the story and Kelly uses his youthful innocence as a vehicle for both he and the reader to get into the world of dragon-fighting. Much of the issue is focused on Giacomo learning more about the underworld that is dragon-fighting, all the while Kelly informs the reader of how many are coping with the depression in New York City. The dialogue in the book is very appropriate for the era Kelly is tapping into and adds another level of curiosity to what is already a book full of wonders. There issue ends on something of a cliffhanger that suggests there's more to one of the characters than Kelly is willing to let on at first.

Characters in Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 are defined by sharp angles and exaggerated body types. Fiamura's style is fantastic and beautifully captures the trying times of depression-era Chicago and New York as the players all look the part. The expressions on Giacomo primarily capture the sheer amazement at realizing there's more to the world than previously understood and Fiamura uses those expressions very well. There's a greenish-blue hue cast across the entirety of the illustrations that further dulls the atmosphere, making the illustrations even more appropriate for the book. Rendering the dragons with the same recklessness and ferocity that defines them, Fiamura allows them to spill over and across panels, effectively reinforcing the notion that despite efforts to train them they're still fierce beasts.

Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 is a fantastic first issue that blends together everything very cleanly. The setting is turned on its head with the addition of dragons, making the Depression that much more terrifying. Kelly's script is moderately paced and gets the reader where they need to be by the end, which is most likely intrigued as to what comes next. Fiamura's illustrations are clean and embellished, contributing to the book's unique look and feel. Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 is a great start to an imaginative story.

Four Eyes: Hearts of Fire #1 is in stores now.