Mysteries of Love in Space #1 – James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Saladin Ahmed, Cecil Castellucci, Aaron Gillespie, Andrea Shea, Jeff Loveness, Gardner Fox, Writers; Jesus Merino, Cian Torney, Max Dunbar, Elena Casagrande, Max Raynor, Amancay Nahuelpan, Artists; Tom Grummett, Mike Sekowsky, Pencillers; Adriano Lucas, Bernard Sachs, Inkers; Romulo Fajardo Jr, John Kalisz, Paul Mounts, Jordie Bellaire, Hi-Fi, Trish Mulvihill, Adriano Lucas, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Solid stories but not all are romantic
Ray: DC’s seasonal anthologies have been a fun, offbeat treat from the company every few months – combining short stories from top talent with a great spotlight for up-and-coming creators. That continues with the eight stories in this sci-fi Valentine’s Day special, although it at times feels like a bit more of a shaggy dog than previous volumes.
Corrina: Overall, it’s not as strong as some of the others. Part of the problem I had is that when I think “romance,” I think of a “happily for now” ending at least. And these tales may be romantic but, on the whole, they’re rather sad and melancholy.
Ray: It starts off strong with a chilling tale of Apokalips from Tynion and Merino, about two star-crossed lovers in the planet’s underground who try to make their escape but pay a terrible price. This isn’t really a hopeful or romantic story, but it’s a great one in terms of driving home what makes this world so scary.
Corrina: The reveal at the end of the story, well, it’s definitely not romantic, unless you call complete tragedy romantic. It’s a good story but I wouldn’t have put in in a Valentine’s Day anthology.
Ray: Less scary but no less melancholy is the second story by Higgins and Tormey, focusing on Kilowog. Kilowog’s status as a widower has always been a big part of his backstory, but we’ve never seen him try to move on before this. As we follow him through a date and a GL rookies training session, it’s a great look at what drives the gruff training officer.
Corrina: It’s a great look at Kilowog. But, again, it’s barely a love story, at least the romantic interest is dismissed right away. This would make a great tale in a Green Lantern anthology. But here, it’s about the bond of brotherhood, which has it’s merits, but it’s not quite with the theme of what’s advertised on the cover of the book.
Ray: The writing debut at DC for Saladin Ahmed and drawn by Max Dunbar, the Bizarro story that comes third was probably my favorite of the lot. A surprisingly sweet tale of Bizarro bumbling into a world where the Bizarro-skinned superheroine guardian can understand him fully and sees him as the good-natured would-be hero he is, it won me over instantly and left me feeling Bizarro’s pain.
Corrina: This is a melancholy story but it’s on theme because it’s about the impact lovers can have on each other, how knowing someone can, perhaps, bring out one’s best self. And it is a lovely tale with some hope at the end.
Ray: There’s a lot of melancholy stories in this volume, so the fourth – “Galentine’s Day” by Castellucci and Casagrande – was a nice change of pace. A story of how Hawkgirl spends her first valentine’s day since the messy end of her relationship with Hawkman, it has a very nice emphasis on the power of friendship over romantic love.
Corrina: Hey! I noticed the Shade the Changing Girl reference! Also, it would be nice to see more of the ladies of the JL interacting.
Ray: Easily the most bizarre story of the volume but an enjoyable one, the Space Cabbie tale by Gillespie and Raynor focuses on the galactic hack getting a new AI installed in his old cab – only to fall in love with it. He then goes on a crazy space chase to prevent her from being wiped for being obsolete. Interspecies cyber-romance? Okay, I guess!
Corrina: Aw, this is exactly the kind of story that I was expecting with this book. Sure, it’s a bizarre love story but it’s SF! Why write a SF love story if you can’t have a little fun with the medium? Plus, happy ending!
Ray: The sixth story, “Crushed” by Andrea Shea and Amancay Nahuelpan, focuses on Crush and seemingly confirms that she’s LGBT like most people speculated. It’s also a great story that gives her far more depth than she’s gotten before and has a lot of fun elements involving alien fight clubs. Can we just give Shea the writing duties on Teen Titans ASAP?
Corrina: It is a good story about what drives Crush but…it’s certainly not a happy story. Or even a love story. It’s a nice origin story but, damn, it’s brutal about love.
Ray: Jeff Loveness and Tom Grummett take us back to the classic days of the Superman and Lois Lane courtship for a sweet story titled “Glasses”, that seeks to explain how Clark’s glasses fooled everyone for so long. While it’s a romantic story, it’s also a brilliant look at the loneliness someone like Superman would feel every day.
Corrina: This was a sweet story of Lois and Clark’s growing relationship and I wanted to totally love it, especially how Lois is drawn to Clark’s kindness, which is its own superpower, but there was a line about how Lois was aloof or detached from the subject of her stories and Clark showed her that empathy is okay and…that’s not Lois. Lois is the reporter who cares too much. That’s what drives her. She’s not detached at all. She’s passionate about fighting for people, which is part of what attracted Clark. (It also goes with Superman assuming the Clark role so he’s not lonely rather than Clark assuming the Superman role.) So, it’s sweet and lovely but I side-eye some of the assumptions about DC’s most famous couple.
The art is terrific, however, particularly the final panel of them in the sky.
Ray: Oddly, the last story isn’t an original but a reprint of a classic Adam Strange story by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky. An Odyssey-inspired take of Adam Strange hopping from planet to planet to get home to Rann and Alanna, it’s a fun classic tale but definitely old-Altogether
together, this is a particularly odd group of romantic stories, but ultimately comes together into a great package.
Corrina: I wouldn’t say “odd.” I would say it’s an eclectic group of stories, well-written, but many not fitting with the theme.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.