If you're a fan of Maria Llovet's work, you're familiar with how often her art blends together sex and death. One of her most well-known projects, providing the art for the Brian Azzarello-scripted Faithless and Faithless II, featured copious amounts of both lustful and unsettling imagery, creating one of the more provocative and boundary-pushing efforts from BOOM! Studios. Her latest effort, Luna, sees her pulling double duty, serving not only as the artist but also as the writer, with this debut issue offering only hints at where the overall narrative could be going, though it's sure to be the type of journey you'd expect from Llovet, with teases of bigger things to come.
Unfolding at "the ends of the '60s," Theresa awakens and finds herself being cared for by a group of strangers, all seemingly involved in some sort of cult-like community. Given the era in which this story unfolds, Theresa isn't turned off by her encounters with its various members, nor with its mysterious leader. As Theresa spends more time with this cult and learns about their traditions, she has unexpected visions of mystical worlds, with a drug-influenced experience possibly unveiling a dark reveal.
Anyone familiar with Llovet's work will immediately recognize Luna as the culmination of all of her previous efforts, as there are few more effective ways to subtly blend sex and death than in a bizarre cult, as seen not only in countless horror films but also, sadly, in the real world. Most such stories immediately make an audience wary of the narrative, often leading them to think, "How could someone get involved in a cult?" Well, thanks to Luna, we have at least a semblance of how easily one can become ingratiated in that lifestyle. With the reader merely knowing the Theresa was found in the desert, all we witness from the cult is acceptance, freedom, and support, which are all ideals anyone might be looking for. The big accomplishment is that Llovet shows a restraint to the narrative in this first issue, only giving us brief glimpses of the story's future, allowing readers to be less apprehensive about the traditional ulterior motives we see in other such stories.
There is a drawback to Llovet's restraint, unfortunately, as we're left knowing little more about this story than what we were given in its debut panels. While we do know there is something mystical unfolding, we don't know if this is Theresa's past, future, or an alternate reality where otherworldly forces are at play. Surely some readers will be drawn in by these ambiguities, while others will be frustrated with how little we know of what's to come.
Llovet's art feels destined to toe the line between sensuality and the supernatural, with Luna fully embracing her strengths and trimming away the abrasiveness of the subject matter found in her other works. The sexuality feels far more romantic than lustful, making the transition from real-world encounters to the more spiritual sequences feel seamless. Fans will recognize her signature style, though we get to see many more flourishes of color and liveliness than some of her other projects as she fully leans into the psychedelic nature of not only the era it takes place in, but also of the trippy direction that the story could be going.
Luna is both erotic and evocative, offerings glimpses of bigger forces and bizarre mysteries at play, yet fails to give any real indication of what direction the book could be headed. Devout fans of Llovet will surely savor every panel, as each illustration offers everything readers love about her work, but newcomers might be tougher to win over with the book's ambling narrative.
Published by BOOM! Studios
On February 3, 2021
Written by Maria Llovet
Art by Maria Llovet
Colors by Maria Llovet0comments
Letters by Maria Llovet
Cover by Maria Llovet