Coronary #’s 1-2

Coronary is a roller coaster. What I imagined would be a story of models and rich personalities pushing for the “perfection” of humankind turned out to be more of a disorienting trip into madness. Where for most of these two issues I was unsure of what was a part of the story, and what perhaps was in the main character’s mind.

And I think I liked it.

I will say, the disorientation of the main character’s psyche turned up to eleven really threw me off at first, however as I got more used to it the more interesting I found the story to be. There’s a lot going on in these issues and if you’re not paying attention to every little detail you may miss the contents.

My nitpicks with the story as is so far mostly stem from the incredibly quick pacing. The first issue starts out at a nice, atmospheric slow and silent pace that really got me excited for what’s to come but about halfway through as Justin Sharpe, our main character, begins to “zone out” things quickly take a fast turn and from there-in the rest of the issue and nearly all of issue #2 go at a breakneck pace with very little time to slow down and take-in what is actually going on.

I do however appreciate the writing and how scaled back it is. A restraint not many writers hold, even big time professionals. It shows that Burke cares more about the art telling the story rather than his words, and instead of letting you into the character’s heads with unnecessary thought caption boxes, we get the whole story played out on screen and it’s up to the reader to be more interactive in figuring out how the puzzle pieces fit together themselves.

I like stories like that. And it puts Coronary right up my alley.

The art as well, by Saavedra is incredibly fluid and dynamic, it’s not overly detailed but hits angles in a way that really gets the eye flowing in exactly the right way it needs to go. I never once had trouble figuring out what I needed to look at first and that is a real good testament to the power of Saavedra. There were however a few times that I felt the panels could have been more innovatively laid out, but that’s not a huge deal.

Coronary is a masterstroke in letting the art tell the story, so that the words can have character’s purely interacting, as it should be. Sadly though it’s offset by the rough and quick pacing and often disorienting nature that comes with trying to figure out what’s real to the character and what’s all in their head. I also wish there was more focus put on how this world at large is actually effected by the overreaching beauty standards that the summary sets up.

Overall, I do recommend this series. It’s an obvious labor of love and has some really interesting things going on. Burke’s writing is full of fun character interactions and nuanced dialogue. Whereas Saavedra’s art is great to look at with fantastic noir-style colors by Peñalba that brings it altogether. There’s also some neat extras that flesh-out this world a bit more at the end of each issue.
Final Score: 4 BeautX Pills out of 5

Coronary recently launched a Kickstarter for issue #3 that you can pledge to now. Check it out, and support this book!

Coronary #’s 1-2
Writer: Ryan Burke
Illustrator/Letterer: Joel Saavedra
Colorist: Damian Peñalba
Reviewer: Derrick Crow

Summary: Plastic surgery is free. London is gripped by madness, dominated by cosmetic surgeons, lifestyle coaches and pill-pushers. Within this insanity, a neurotic businessman reconsiders the course of his life when a freethinking outsider crashes into it. But she doesn’t want him, or anyone.