The rating I am giving for Bolero is a bit complicated. It is a 3 for the story and a 4 for art. There is a 2 for the obvious shock for shock value and a 2 for some oogy bits. There is another 4 for this is not an easy book, and I was not always in the moment, but I know I could be if the circumstances were more ideal towards reading. Therefore, it is a very solid three that had its moments and then didn’t, then did.
And that three is for a story I have no idea what it was about. And yet, I have an idea. Well, two ideas actually. The first is, it is about the author, Wyatt Kennedy, and their journey for their art. It plays out on the pages with a woman who knows the best way to keep the monsters at bay is to run away from them. Yet, those monsters know how to run faster and can catch up with her. The second idea of what this graphic novel is about, is that it is whatever you want it to be.
We follow Dagger as she drinks and sexes herself across multiple universes in her attempt to find the happiness she wants. We see how she is selfish, loving and both a horrible and wonderful person. Much of what happened made me lost. There is much in the way of supernatural, thriller and horror. This is not about the multiple worlds Dagger finds herself in, but the things that she does to sabotage herself and to help herself and others. It is about the monsters, the wants, the hopes, the desires. Is there a moral? Maybe, but you take away what you put in and hopefully a little more.
Obviously this is not for everyone because of the language and subject matter. And of course there is some frontal nudity for the top of women, one trans woman is full frontal nudity all the way, and there are drugs/alcohol use, mental health issues and family issues that can be triggers. There is some horror that isn’t gore necessarily, but it is oogy. This is partly because of the art of Luana Vecchio and showing things like literally opening up your heart to someone. However, they are perfectly matched with Kennedy’s words. The colors are mostly dark, they are busy enough to crowd everything into a mushed up mess. And yet, sometimes they are soft and sweet. They also can be a bit ugly. They are a mixture of styles and are emotionally connected to the arc of the story.
Some of the issues I had were that the characters of Dagger and Natasha sometimes looked the same and I was not sure who was which. And Natasha is mentioned having a dead name, but that is not explored (so honestly, I am not really sure why that was important to the overall story). The big one is the jumping through the multiple universes that Dagger does. Or should I say who really knows about them? There are scenes that make it seem like other people have taken advantage of this service of being able to leap (but only 53 times) into another reality. Yet it is not clear for me. Therefore, there are parts of the story that are disjointed for me.
Extras are included in this collection. All images alternative covers and/or for individual editions.