Pullbox Reviews: The Love She Offered- Delivers One Gut Punch After Another…

Six weeks ago, Brian Thompson’s daughter Julia was murdered, stabbed several times with a knife and left for dead right outside her home. The police questioned her ex-boyfriend Sean, but he was never charged. Brian, however, is convinced that Sean is the killer. He knows it. And he wants justice for his daughter. Together with his brother Earl and his best friend Ross, Brian comes up with a plan. They kidnap Sean and bring him to a remote cabin. Their goal: To make Sean confess his crime. Everything goes to hell from there…

Julia Thompson’s life was cut short in a brutal murder, and the police have yet to bring anyone to justice. Her father Brian, however, has all of the information he needs to convict Julia’s boyfriend Sean, and won’t let anything or anyone come between him and the truth. In a plan hatched over a few too many drinks, three men- Brian, his brother Earl, & best friend Ross- will dig until Julia’s boyfriend confesses his sins. All of them.

Don’t let the title of this one fool you, kids… The Love She Offered is as far away from a romance as you can get, and might be more in line with a scene from True Romance (also not very romantic…) and Pulp Fiction than anything else. We’re dropped into the story a little past the halfway mark, and are filled in on everything that led us up to this over the course of the three issues. In the end, I don’t think there’s a character among this ensemble who can say things ended “well”.

I’ve got to give serious props to writer Glenn Møane for taking this very small story, most of which takes place in a remote cabin, and kicking all expectations squarely in the teeth. Sadly, I can’t really tell you very much about why The Love She Offered was awesome, because most of what I’d point to would be leaning heavily into spoiler territory. What I can tell you is that from one chapter to the next, everything is spiraling out of control. We can see it, we know that there’s a metaphorical bomb under the table, but the tragic cast of characters is oblivious to it all. What Møane did better than many indie writers was to make sure that every character has a secret he or she is desperate to keep. Regardless of whether or not that secret comes out in the current story, this desperation serves to hold everyone’s blinders firmly in place. It’s in that tension that a reader might find themselves cringing as they turn the page, maybe just a little bit nervous about what new layer of messed up Brian & company have uncovered in their quest for “Truth”.

Keeping everyone good and uncomfortable, the artistic team of Tirso Llaneta & Katherine Lobo have attacked their work with all of the subtlety of a root canal. Llaneta invests the characters with specific physical traits that help identify who they are and the role they play in the story. Brian is the straight laced, salt of the earth kinda guy, maybe a little rough around the edges but still the one in his circle of friends that you’d go to with a problem. Earl is… okay, well he’s pretty much what you’d imagine a guy named “Earl” might be (no offense intended to any Earls out there), sporting his dude-bro power mullet. The visuals are given the polish as Lobo adds color to this world of stark revelations, and she helps maintain the characterization by assigning specific color themes to fit everyone’s role.

Sadly, a story like this doesn’t give much for a letterer to play around with, but Marco Della Verde does get a little room to move in the third act. Again, I can’t really say what he does well without giving away plot points, but things get a little trippy and Della Verde reflects that in his work.

Finally, I have to comment on the covers by Armin Ozdic & Katherine Lobo, as each one gives an inkling of what’s happening in the issue. It’s a great tactic to use, because it contributes to the sense that the story is happening, that no one in the pages is sitting around waiting for a reader to happen along. Things are going to get bad, and it’s all right there on the cover… minus the details of “who, what, where, or when”.

The Love She Offered isn’t a happy story that’s going to leave you with positive feels. It’s a messy little tale of murder, revenge, & the price people will pay for the secrets they keep. There are dark, heavy, mature themes throughout the book, and some will find them a little off-putting… which is good. Honestly, if you’re okay with some of the things brought into the light in this book, I’m going to respectfully ask you to seek some help.

My final score: 8.5

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