Writer: Blair Butler
Artist: Kevin Mellon
Oren Redmond’s rise to Mixed Martial Arts fame continues in round two of Blair Butler and Kevin Mellon’s mini-series. Even if you know nothing about MMA, what’s fun about this issue is the male fantasy thrill of quitting your job, kicking ass, and generally not giving hoots all stuffed into a taking-control-of-your-own-destiny burrito.
Pride radiates through Redmond’s many facial wounds after his first amateur MMA fight, and I couldn’t help but smile with him as he appreciates his little six sided secret that separates him from the normalcy and mediocrity of his lame desk job. This series so far has been like a great day dream for anyone who ever wanted to get tatted up and train jujitsu for a living, but sadly the story’s potential doesn’t feel like it’s being fully realized. A lot goes on in these 24-pages, and the result is a slightly underwhelming read through of what is more like the main character’s diary. We’re introduced to Redmond’s training pals, but instead of actually understanding who these characters are by experiencing their personalities, we’re simply told their names and get a vague sense of them through a few brief panels. This lost toys clan of fighters would be much more fun to watch by seeing them actually interact more with Redmond and other characters, but I can see how that’s a lot to pack in, along with everything else, given the page count.
But any misfortune Heart suffers is redeemed by Kevin Mellon’s impacting art. Even in the most simple scenes, each panel bears an emotional heft, and of course each punch, kick, and kimura can be felt. There’s not a boring page in the whole book.
Heart clinches the dreams of MMA fans and the spirit of the sport itself. Non-MMA nerds may not find this title the most interesting book on the shelf, but it continues to be a must read for anyone who ever enjoyed a good fight card.