Title: Lovesick #1
Writer: Luana Vecchio
Artist: Luana Vecchio
Publisher: Image Comics
Lovesick quickly makes its presence known with its explicit nature paired with a gritty, oppressive art style and color palette. The bloody reds pop off the page against the muted greens and blues. There couldn’t have been a better combination of colors which weave their way throughout the book. Luana Vecchio (Bolero) crafts a strong opening by dropping us directly in one of the Lovesick livestreams, allowing us the opportunity to meet Domino.
Domino is a dominatrix of a very particular sort. She’s equal parts attractive and violent in her livestream shows that heavily feature incel clientele. Her job? Give her clients the sexual gratification they so desperately want. Her and her girls do that in spades. But the show is only part of what makes Lovesick so great.
Issue #1 gives a damning look at some very specific aspects of humanity: incel culture/male rage, the not-so-subtle misogyny poisoning all media, that sense that humanity doesn’t care about the person behind the content, and humanity’s obsession with the pain of another.
Vecchio spotlights incel culture and its misogynistic tendencies in an online chat forum. The overarching need for attention from literally anyone. The fact that those being dominated call Domino “mommy” showcases how twisted their need for affection truly is. The chat logs in various panels also express their misogynistic personas, like when a user says she’s “not the same” or how she’s “aged.” Much like in real life, when that group doesn’t get what they think they should, they become even more vile.
I also can’t help but feel with the way issue #1 ended that Vecchio wasn’t pulling on that string on how humanity views certain professions. Again, Lovesick takes this to an extreme, but there are a few pages where we see Domino’s more human side, just a broken person trying to find a place where she fits. The chatters in the livestream only see sadomasochism and quickly turn on her when she doesn’t continue punishing. Vecchio certainly has put a lens on forcing the viewer to understand that, as in real life, no matter the profession, there are still actual real humans behind the content being produced.
The final theme is that of the depravity of content, and how there is an ever-growing appetite for such content. The news is the easy and obvious showcase of someone’s most vulnerable moments becoming popcorn fodder for users scrolling through their feeds. While Lovesick points to the darkest content found on something like the dark web, content pushing the line can be easily found anywhere on the internet. It encourages you to think how much do we need to see, or should we be seeing? There absolutely has to be a line… right?
Lovesick is dirty, bloody, and yet… somehow sexy at the same time. However, the sex appeal here deals far less in fanservice. It’s more to sell the world of Lovesick and to spotlight just how broken all the characters involved might be. Vecchio utilizes an oft criticism of the medium (rightfully so) and uses the sex appeal to sell the beginnings of a story of the intersection of two vastly different groups of people.