Bolero is a new five-issue series that made better the less you know about it going in. At a high level, writer Wyatt Kennedy and artist Luana Vecchio’s series is about love, love lost, and finding yourself lost in your own life. Of course, it’s that and much more — there is a clear sci-fi fantasy twist that the story will further explore next month, but at its core, it’s a very human story that is relatable.
The story opens on a young woman named Devyn. She’s narrating her own life to the reader and we’re whisked off on a dreamlike adventure as she falls in love with a girl of similar age named Natasha. You see they reach a certain level of bliss, but Devyn is also a bit crass and maybe doesn’t appreciate what she has. Soon we learn they’ve broken up and Devyn spirals, breaking her sobriety, sleeping with a guy she just met and totally screwing it up. The story is very raw and feels real every step of the way.
Vecchio is a master at capturing the raw nature of these young girls in each moment. There are sex scenes that feel intimate and honest. The story takes its time letting you in on these girls’ lives before ever hinting at a crazy supernatural twist. You can also see manga influences in the art — a bead of sweat when Devyn cries out for a drink, for instance — with a good level of detail.
The story knows when to push in for close-ups, like with a tattoo needle or Devyn’s fingers sneaking into her panties — which helps slow down the story and let the reader reflect. Pair this with the clever and unique supernatural angle by the end of the story and I’d wager most will be on board for this ride. We’re promised 53 different versions of Devyn’s life, which is a tantalizing idea considering how realistic and raw she is on the page.
The book does push things a bit far, unnecessarily so at times. The sex scenes border on graphic, which don’t add much beyond shock value. It seems a bit out of place in one particular double-page montage. There’s also the use of the r-word at one point that feels offensive. Devyn calls herself this word, and she’s in a bad place, but it’s a hurtful word and one we’ve moved beyond in conversation and fiction.
Bolero is a tantalizing new series, taking the multiverse to a relatable human level. Its beauty is in how it makes its characters so real and raw, holding back its clever big fantasy twist to the final few pages. It’s a memorable experience with a mind-blowing hook you won’t want to miss.
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