When I heard that there was a comic book based on MMA (Mixed Martial Arts), I started to dance around like a crazed man. Blair Butler, the writer, is definitely after my heart when she decided to combine two of my passions that I love the most. Heart is written so well that after reading this book it will make even the laziest couch potatoes think about joining a gym, even if it is just for a second.
Heart is the story of Oren “Rooster” Redmond and his journey through the MMA world. First off I would like to say that I love the title. If you ask any MMA enthusiast they will tell you that the number one thing a fighter needs, above athleticism or being an expert of a MMA style, is heart. It is something that cannot be taught. You have to be in love with the sport (and slightly crazy) to want to punish your body everyday just to get a chance to be thrown into a cage with someone else and go to war hoping that your hand is the one that is raised at the end. Blair Butler does a tremendous job of portraying this kind of dedication to the sport. She makes Rooster’s character very identifiable, to me at lease. He is just a guy who watches MMA on T.V. until one day he gets an offer to train at a gym. He hesitantly joins, and is rewarded with a strenuous workout and sparring session, leaving his body battered. Afterwards, Rooster realizes that he has finally found his calling. Thus, the journey begins.
Kevin Mellon’s art is an amazing compliment to Blair’s story. The art is all black and white, but I think that the shades and shadows add to the grittiness that is the sport and life of MMA. I love how they have the breakdown of the fighters before the fight begins, giving you their weight, fighting styles, and even their walkout music. This helps to make you fill like you are front and center, watching the fight. And the idea to have the timer for the round in each panel during the fight is genius. It definitely gives you a better fill of the pace and intensity that is going on in the cage. The cover look amazing, giving you the same gritty art but with a splash of color that gives you a fill of what you are about to read.
I highly recommend this book. With the sport of MMA quickly becoming mainstream, this book kind of gives you a behind the scenes look to what it is like to be a fighter, everything from the dream, the training, the punishment, and the reward. And as an added bonus to buying the book, you are treated to wonderful story with great characters and great art!