Lovesick #5 Review

Story and Art: Luana Vecchio
English Adaptation: Edward Caio
Publisher: Image Comics
Price: $3.99
Release Date: February 22nd, 2023

We go back in time to Domino’s youth in Lovesick #5, where we see Jack keeping her as his “pet”.  They have a dom/sub relationship where Jack has promised to cannibalize Domino as he alternately demeans her and builds her up.  It’s a fascinating and disturbing psychological study of Jack and Domino, their dance of abuse, reward and surrender, that shows the beginnings of the formidable woman that Domino will ultimately become.

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The Story

You know a book is fearless and boundary-smashing when it references the Pier Paolo Pasolini film ‘Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom’ and Tinto Brass’s film ‘Salon Kitty’.  Both films feature fascists subjugating and demeaning people in the most horrifying and sickening ways.  ‘Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom’ is so unnerving to watch, it makes ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ look as innocuous as ‘The Brady Bunch’.

Much like ‘Salo’, Lovesick #5 not only shows us young Domino’s weeks of abuse as Jack’s sub, it puts us in a headlock and shoves us right into the middle of it.
My heart broke for Domino as the issue progressed.  She’s a teenager here, far from the stone-faced tower of strength she’d eventually become, and from time to time she confesses her feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness.  At one point, she even begs Jack in tears to go ahead and eat her, she wants to die in the most brutal way possible, thinking she deserves it.  But Jack, finding it more agonizing for her to NOT eat her, ignores her pleas.  As abusive as he is though, at other times he’s downright tender with her.  As we watch his manipulation of her continue over time, you start to understand how Domino could fall under his control.

Perhaps in a future issue we’ll see how Domino’s parents treated her as a child.  It’s obvious they neglected and bullied her and that’s why she’s relinquishing herself to Jack.  I imagine if Domino had had decent loving parents, her current life filled with deviants, Red Rooms, murders and mayhem would instead be a life of contentment, occasionally having a bad day where she’d have to politely reject advances from the same perverts she now bleeds out in her Dark Web broadcasts.

This series, and especially this issue, aren’t for the squeamish.  There are forced body modifications, cannibalism, and a brutal killing with something you’d find in a toolbox.  Nothing happens “off-camera”, we see every bloody nauseating moment of everything that happens, and why not?   You can’t tell a story about an abuse victim without witnessing the abuse.  At the climax of the issue, Jack drags Domino into a party that you’ll have to see to believe.  It’s alternately hilarious, disgusting and terrifying and this issue is one you won’t soon forget.

The Art

Luana Vecchio’s art on Lovesick #5 is filled with beautiful people in horrifying situations. There’s a cleanness to her art and Domino is drawn incredibly cute, with her wide eyes and dark bangs framed with a violet streak.  Domino looks so adorable that when the violence comes, it’s jarring, and Ms. Vecchio coats the panels with blood and gore. I was a huge fan of Ms. Vecchio’s work on “Bolero” and her work is just as good (if not better) here.  Her art gives the issue the feel of a fairy tale combined with a 70’s-style grindhouse film, and one scene in particular (where Domino walks into the woods in the middle of the night) is incredibly haunting.

Final Thoughts

Lovesick #5 takes us back to young Domino’s time with Jack, giving us more insight into her relationship with Jack and why she has succumbed to him.  Domino is one of the most fascinating characters to come along in a series for a long time, and if you’re a fan of her, this issue will have you loving her even more.  Highly recommended.


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