Quick summary of Issue #1: Love Stories #1 includes two short stories in a double issue. The first story, “Bloodlust: Deceiver of the Gods,” follows Erik Skullsplitter, a Norseman who seeks shelter in a Christian church in Friesland. In exchange for food and shelter for the night, he offers his men’s services in protecting the church from demons desperate to steal one of the treasures. “Symptom of the Universe,” the second story, takes place on a space ship that is minutes away from self-destructing in an attempt to defeat the aliens that have boarded. Frank, the man who has turned off the coolant system, is fighting his way across the ship to return to his wife and the final, two-person escape pod; however, will she be waiting, and what is the cost of the desperate gamble?
I am not the target audience for “Bloodlust.” The artwork is what I consider classic comic book: heavily-developed muscles, heavy use of primary colors, and a type of stylization that is almost hyper-realism. Most of the plot development focused on battle scenes and conflict, and the basic story line seemed a little trite; however, the plot managed to surprise me by the end, and while “Bloodlust” wouldn’t be at the top of my reading list, I would be curious to see how it continues.
I enjoyed “Symptom of the Universe” more than “Bloodlust,” because it was a more character-driven story, although violence and death were integral. The art style was more unique, as well, and I enjoyed the warm browns, oranges, and yellowish creams that dominated the color palette. Even the greys and blues used in the story seemed infused with heat. Unfortunately, the length of the piece was its greatest downfall in my opinion. I wanted to connect to the characters even further before the final moments. Ultimately, “Symptom” worked for me almost completely, but I was never fully absorbed in the world.
Overall, Love Stories (To Die For) #1 is a comic for readers who can appreciate action and violence, as well as human stories, in a single issue. I never entirely was drawn into the world, but I’m sure it will speak to readers who search for a different experience than me. If you find axe-wielding Norsemen whomping demons more riveting than Saturday morning cartoons, climb on board! Love Stories #1 has exactly what you’re searching for!
3.5 Blows to the Head out of 5