Story and Art: Luana Vecchio
English Adaption: Edward Caio
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October 26th, 2022
Lovesick #1 delves into the darkest corners of the internet (and the soul). It’s a world of dominatrices, snuff films and red rooms, where viewers with extreme kinks pay a monthly subscription to watch Domino, dominatrix extraordinaire and the main character of the story, torture and abuse willing male slaves. Above all else, it’s a fascinating look into a war (of sorts) between extreme BDSM lovers and the malevolent ever-present incels who attack them.
I’m a huge fan of Luana Vecchio’s art (having enjoyed her previous work on the Bolero series, also from Image Comics), and Lovesick #1 is the start of a new masterpiece by her. Much like Ed Piskor’s Red Room series, Lovesick focuses on an extreme corner of the dark web. But where Red Room shows different stories each issue with different characters in that universe, Lovesick is all Domino’s story.
What I know about BDSM culture and the dark web wouldn’t fill a thimble, but I feel this book captures it pretty realistically, even the most extreme moments. And when I say extreme, this book is EXTREME. Lots of brutal violence and gore, combined with frequent nudity, and all choreographed by Domino like a conductor leading an orchestra.
I liked Domino. At most times throughout the book, she seems like a shrewd logical business woman, running her subscription service and snuff videos like she were running Amazon. But when she starts recording a video and giving punishment to one of her “piglets”, she becomes ecstatic, including dancing wildly amidst the havoc. Yes, this is a business, but why can’t she have a little fun while she works? As with most areas of the internet, the trolls and incels periodically invade her video feed.
At one point in the book, as a new show starts, the viewpoint brilliantly switches to the POV of someone watching the show from their computer, as the video rolls on the left side and comments scroll down the right side. Littered among the comments are typical incel attacks, but we soon find that Domino has a bone-chilling surprise for them.
The comments (from both the incels and Domino’s fans) rung so true. Anyone who has watched a video feed on YouTube or frequented Facebook knows how 80% of the comments are usually pretty crazy or hateful, and this is reflected here. It’s a great way to put the reader into the story, it makes you feel like you’re part of this world.
I hope next issue we get to see more of Domino’s life outside of the dark web. We get a small interlude showing her life off-camera, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Luana’s art on Lovesick #1 is both erotic and terrifying. The female form is rarely lovelier than when she does the art. Her characters look realistic, like people you’d see on the street on an average day.
Domino’s design is enchanting, with her thick bangs and big doll-like eyes that always seem to reflect some type of deep pain within her. The torture rooms are drawn disturbingly sparse, with grimy tiled walls, metal posts and chains and a small variety of chairs dotting the area. When the blood starts flowing, it’s drawn in a hyper-realistic way that’s perfectly gruesome and enhances the horror of the book.
Lovesick #1 is the beginning of another great series. Luana Vecchio does the art and story, and it’s a perfect combination of horror and eroticism. Domino is a fascinating character and the world of this story is wonderfully complex and dark. Highly recommended.