Bright World: A Review of The Hazards of Love

The Hazards of Love, Vol. 1: Bright World
Written and illustrated by Stan Stanley
Published by Oni Press
Available March 30, 2021
Ages 14+

Amparo knows they have to be a better person if they’re going to make their mother and abuela proud—and have a chance with their rule-following crush, Iolanthe. But where to start? They’ve already wound up with another suspension after pulling the fire alarm at school. When a smooth-talking, magical cat appears in Amparo’s window, it seems to be the key to figuring it out: all the cat needs is Amparo’s name and a drop of their blood. But then the cat steals Amparo’s body and name, and Amparo find themselves transported from Queens to a new terrifying, dizzy land called Bright World. This new world is treacherous: its economy is built on memories, and the world is full of magical creatures, all who want a taste of human flesh. When Amparo finds themselves nameless and ensnared in an indentured servitude scheme, they have to use their wiles to escape—even if it means seeking refuge with a menacing deer, El Ciervo, and taking on a new name, Fawn. The Hazards of Love is a fast-paced, delectable, creepy read. Stan Stanley’s Amparo-turned-Fawn is a wonderfully complex character, and the supporting cast are fully realized and intriguing. Stanley’s imagery, which splits its time between Queens and Bright World, is critical to the storytelling; Bright World is exactly that: filled with bright colors, as well as cars equipped with praying mantis legs rather than tires. But those bright colors are just at first glance. As Fawn gets closer to the truth of their new master El Ciervo, the images get more shadowy and steeped in noir. The panel storytelling divides The Hazards of Love into chapters, each chapter uncovering a new development in this long form mystery. The Hazards of Love is a collection of the first twelve installments of Stan Stanley’s black-and-white web comic; fans of Volume 1 can check out her website for regular updates.