There aren't many comics on the market that surprise me anymore. The stories are original, but it's rare to find a comic that is truly out there risk wise. Four Eyes: Heart of Fire is one of those rare books. Joe Kelly and Max Fiumara have created a stylish and gritty look at a slightly different depression era America told through the eyes of a young immigrant boy trying to follow in his father's footsteps. Those footsteps are as a dragon trainer.
What stands out first with this series is the art of Fiumara. It fits the 1930s perfectly, like it was lifted off the pages of the New Yorker magazine. But there is no color other than some reddish-brown shading at times. The art brings you into the era and never lets you out. Even the fantastical elements feel grounded into the reality they have created.
As for the story, this could easily have been told as a young boy in the 30s growing up to be a jockey or train race horses. The fact that dragons are involved doesn't change the heart of the story. It's a time when poverty broke the color barriers and folks did what they had to just to survive. But adding in the training of dragons brings something else to the story… a bit of hope and fantasy. Though we see the dragons at their worst and we're not exactly sure what they are being trained for… racing? fighting? ballroom dancing?
This is the first issue of the second volume of Four Eyes and I have not read the first volume Four Eyes: Forged in Flames… but I don't feel like I'm coming into the middle of something. There are some things I'm not sure of, but no more than I would with any first issue of a series. But having my interest peaked by both the story and art, I now want to go back and read the first volume. What more could you ask from the start of a second volume?
Kelly and Fiumara have created something very unique and visually striking. You should take a look at it when you get to your local shops tomorrow.