Review: Heart of Steal #1 (Cabal Comics)

With the conclusion of its kickstarter campaign just around the corner, we take a look at Heart of Steal #1, Fraser Campbell and Katie Fleming’s futuristic heist comic about three friends all being on different sides in the midst of a robbery. Can this new title be a steal with fans or will it struggle to ‘blow the bloody doors off’ (as the most famous of heist movies would put it)?

Publisher: Cabal Comics
Writer: Fraser Campbell, Harry French (Editor)
Artist: Katie Fleming (art), Rebecca Homer (Colours), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou
Price: Currently funding on Kickstarter

Heart of Steal tells the story of Toni Doinel, a teenage cat-burglar who makes a daring raid on her home of Alpha City’s biggest gang lord in order to acquire an item which could make all the difference in saving her little brother’s life. However, this job turns out not to be as easy as maybe Toni hoped when her two oldest and best friends, cop Oscar and gangster Michael, begin their chase in order to catch her, although both have different plans for her once that happens. So, now Toni must evade her friends and their respective loyalties while traversing the eclectic and strange locations of Alpha City before it’s too late.

The first issue of Heart of Steal is a fast paced story which plays out like a teen version of the Deadpool movie with a lead character telling her own story with an ongoing 1st person narration. Fraser Campbell writes an engaging action story with this issue, as the plot is reminiscent of chase scenes from great video games like Grand Theft Auto (primarily the cop chase scenes). These are helped by the implication of Rene, Toni’s brother, facing an imminent demise, which ramps up the implied need for haste and makes the pacing far greater as a result.

The characters are interesting, especially Toni who comes across as a Robin Hood-esque character and allows readers to invest in her ‘crook with a heart of gold’ shtick. Meanwhile, Michael and Oscar are equally intriguing for, while it is made clear which side of the line both stands, their dialogue and actions which Campbell imbues them with implies that their black and white, good vs evil viewpoints may not be so clear cut.

Meanwhile, artist Katie Fleming does a great job of imbue the visuals with a light-heartedness which helps with the enjoyment of the story. As such, Heart of Steal looks very similar in look to I am Hexed, which itself was a very optimistic looking title, although in this one the character work does look a little rough (though not enough to diminish enjoyment). Rebecca Homer’s colour palette here is also intriguing, giving the whole title a very grungy, almost Mega City One (from Judge Dredd) look, which seems to ground the book, ensuring that it doesn’t stray too far from the more serious underpinnings which it’s fun plot is built on. Finally, the inclusion of a city map at the end is a nice touch, giving the series a vision of world building and hinting at greater things to come in the future.

Heart of Steal #1 is truly enjoyable comic which has a great story written atop of a very simple premise and beautiful art which imbues a sense of fun. It is these things, coupled with cool characters and an intriguing cliffhanger ending, which will bring readers back for another dose of cat-burglarizing escapades.