Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Heartland


Garth Ennis (yes, I know) and Steve Dillon are one of my favourite combos ever. When I found out that there's a Vertigo one-shot called
Heartland done by them, I had to snatch it up. And now I'm going to review it.

Heartland is the story of an adult family living in Belfast, a slice-of-life story, really. It's also the story of how the troubles affect the person on the street (literal and figurative). It's also the story of the average Irish family being torn apart by the drink.

While every story isn't about guns and masculinity, Ennis shows that he can write something very personal and very heartbreaking. I knew that he could write something emotional (I've always felt my heartstrings pulled at the final four pages of
Preacher), but nothing this... immediate.

For 64 pages, there's a bunch of things happening: a family drama, a political drama, a religious drama, and a sociological comment on Belfast itself. But Ennis juggles it all deftly, moving from one aspect to the next with that same confidence and humour that characterizes his entire oeuvre.

It's incredible how tightly written the thing is. We get this snippets of flashbacks to the main characters' childhood and finally, at the climax, all is revealed, showing how everything we've seen previously has been put into place because of this moment in time.

Of course, Steve Dillon's pencils are immaculate as usual. There's not much to say about the artwork because I knew I was going to like it.

I think I might have to stop reviewing Garth Ennis stuff because this blog isn't about Garth Ennis. I mean, I read
Pride and Joy as well, but I don't think I'll review that (short review: covers the same thematic ground as Preacher, but without the religious aspects, or the great artwork). Also, I'm becoming biased. I can't review Ennis without fawning over him. I've become a fanboy. Yikes. I can still keep my critical faculties, though, can't I?

EDIT on 05/31/08: Apparently this is a spin-off from a storyline in Ennis' Hellblazer. Huh. News to me.

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