[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
As Valentine’s day approaches, DC is giving us a romance collection with a series of stories from some recognized names as well as a few new creators. This review will go through each story in order, to judge each story individually as well as rate the book as a whole.
‘An Apokoliptian Love Story’
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Jesus Merino
Darkseid is. For his Apokoliptian love story James Tynion IV highlights the wretchedness of Darkseid. A short tale as sorrowful as this one should be expected from any story set on Apokolips. As far as openers go, it doesn’t exactly hook readers in but there are sufficient twists to entertain as a nostalgic sci-fi tale. UK readers may see a resemblance between this story and the 2000AD Future Shocks. Far from the best short in this collection, it is still a pleasantly dystopian love story.
‘Old Scars, Fresh Wounds’
Writer: Kyle Higgins
Artist: Cian Tormey
Two stories in and Mysteries of Love in Space is out to get your hearts! If you’ve ever wondered how Kilowog’s dating life was, this is the story for you. Like the previous entry in this collection, this story takes a different approach to love. Instead of focusing on the romantic aspects the cover would imply, this story focuses more on the painful loneliness of demanding jobs. It looks at how people act and suggests that sometimes, a lack of romance may be the cause of apparent anger. This isn’t a story for those susceptible to tears.
Writer: Saladin Ahmed
Artist: Max Dunbar
Bizarro finally gets laid in this ‘fun’ take on the romantic genre. Bizarro as a character works so well with both comedy and tragedy, something writer Saladin Ahmed uses perfectly to his advantage. Readers will have their heart strings pulled by the end and those who have recently gone through a breakup will be struggling to read the book as their tears make the ink run from the page.
One of the best things about these compilations is that it gives newer artists a chance to shine, and that’s exactly what Max Dunbar does here showcasing a great style that works perfectly with cartoonish characters like Bizarro.
Writer: Cecil Castellucci
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Finally a story that doesn’t end in heartbreak. It’s Valentine’s Day and Hawkgirl is the only one in the Hall of Justice when a distress signal comes in. It’s up to her alone to save the day, since everyone else in the League has a hot date. That is until Jessica Cruz and Starfire show up to turn it into a girls night out. What this summary fails to do is surmise how fun this story is. By this point in the collection there was dire need for a moment of levity and this story delivers that.
‘GPS I Love You’
Writer: Aaron Gillespie
Artist: Max Raynor
Space Cabbie in Her (2014). This is probably a wild shot, but ‘some’ readers out there may notice a similarity between this story and one of Grant Morrison’s early Future Shocks. ‘Some’ being a stand in for ‘someone else’ and is followed by a silent presumably. Anyway this is a fun story that beefs up the romance for a change. The standout here is Max Raynor’s artwork, this is a man who should be given more work at DC.
Writer: Andrea Shea
Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan
After a moment of happiness this Valentine’s anthology is back to its depressing roots. Unfortunately this is the weakest story yet with a very thin plot to stretch out over ten pages. It’s disappointing that the story with LGBT representation is also the least fleshed out and feels a bit like an add on. Although the story is predictable the artwork again is fantastic. Relative newcomer Amancay Naheulpan showcases some fantastic talent in this otherwise disappointing story.
Writer: Jeff Loveness
Artist: Tom Grummett
With ‘Glasses’ Loveness and Grummett contribute the most romantic story of the collection. As a collection of stories, it’s commendable that DC have chose fairly unpredictable characters for the most part. It makes sense however that, if DC were to use any popular character for a romance collection, it would be Clark and Lois. Told through a love letter Lois hands Clark, this story is sure to remind readers about what makes Superman human, and why he’s so many readers’ favourite character. The classic style artwork by Tom Grummett fits the tone perfectly. Together these creators close out the book with a classic DC love story.
‘The Planet and the Pendulum’ A Holiday Encore
Writer: Gardener Fox
Artist: Mike Sekowsky
But there is an encore! This classic Adam Strange love story appears reprinted at the very end of the issue. As an icing on the romantic cake for DC fans.
Overall this is a fun book for those that love DC. With some varying takes on the romance theme there’s something for everyone here, and make no mistake you will tear up at some point between these 80 pages.