Writer: Tom King
Art: Elsa Charretier and Matt Hollingsworth
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: August 10th, 2022
Tina Turner once sang “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”. With Love Everlasting #1, everything! Yep, and like love, this book will try your patience. It’s a bizarre combination of “Groundhog Day” and every sappy romantic 1950s film you’ve ever seen. And I’m not talking about good sappy romantic films like “Roman Holiday” or “Born Yesterday”, I’m talking about the real schmaltzy stuff that makes you roll your eyes and fidget, praying for the film to mercifully end. But what’s the dark menace buried within this seemingly innocuous love story?
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Love Everlasting #1 is the comic book equivalent of washing your hair. Wash, rinse, repeat. Wash, rinse, repeat.
That’s what we get throughout the 3 and a half short stories in the book. Why 3 and a half? Because the last story is abruptly cut off as it begins.
The main character of the book is named Joan Peterson, which is a hilariously generic name for her, the equivalent of “John Smith” for a man. She’s the one constant throughout the 3 and a half stories in the book, and frustratingly, we never learn anything else about her other than her name.
As each romance story ends, a new story begins, with Joan being the main character in each. The stories always involve Joan pining for a man that fate seems to keep her from having. This repetition of stories grows to be a bit annoying, but what’s also interesting about them is Joan remembers what happened in the previous stories.
As Joan becomes more bewildered throughout the book, and occasionally calls a man in the current story the name of a man from a previous story, we’re confused as well. It’s like the book is dragging us kicking and screaming along with Joan as she’s tossed from one tale to the next.
What saves the book from the jaws of total monotony are the dark moments towards the end, particularly when Joan runs off into the desert, rattled by what she’s going through, and some pretty bad things happen. It’s here that we get the tiniest fraction of a hint of what might be going on, something that hopefully will be expanded on more next issue.
I read the issue twice in an attempt to understand what Tom King was trying to accomplish here. At first, I thought he was parodying the old romance comics of the 50s and 60s, but there’s more to the book than that. I feel ultimately it’s going to turn into a “Twin Peaks” type story that may always be as bizarre and puzzling as this first issue. Time will tell.
Elsa Charretier’s art on Love Everlasting #1 is her usual wonderfully unique style, reminiscent of classic artists such as Steve Ditko and Ramona Fradon. Her art fits the retro story in the book perfectly, and as the stories jump from time period to time period, Charretier’s art captures the feel of each period, with my favorite part of the book being the first story, set in the 1950s. The hairstyles and fashions make the time periods come alive.
Love Everlasting #1 is a frustrating read, with a lot of repetition as we follow Joan’s story. There’s a sinister level beneath the main story, though, that hints at a grander over-arching plot to come, and those hints are just enough to keep interest for what happens next.