DC Pride 2023 #1 – Grant Morrison, Leah Williams, Nadia Shammas, AL Kaplan, Josh Trujillo, Jeremy Holt, Mildred Louis, Rex Ogle, Christopher Cantwell, Nicole Maines, Writers; Hayden Sherman, Paulina Ganucheau, Bruka Jones, AL Kaplan, Don Aguillo, Andrew Drilon, Mildred Louis, Stephen Sadowski, Skylar Partridge, Rye Hickman, Artists; Marissa Louise, Tamra Bonvillain, Enrica Eren Angiolini, Dearbhla Kelly, Bex Glendening, Colorists
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: DC’s Pride one-shots have been among the best anthologies the company has put out for the last few years, and this year’s installment looks stacked. How do the ten stories within shake out?
“Love’s Lightning Heart” by Morrison and Sherman is probably the most hyped story in this volume, as Morrison continues the story of Hank Hallmark, aka Flashlight, from their acclaimed and surreal Green Lantern run. As the alternate world’s lantern goes on a mad quest across the multiverse to find answers about what happened to his lost love, Morrison takes us through a bizarre tour of a world that rarely makes sense—but is grounded by an intense sense of love and loss. Like always, Morrison’s stories are unique and stunningly beautiful.
“And Baby Makes Three” by Williams and Ganucheau is a much lighter tale, with cartoony art that finds Harley and Ivy enjoying a vacation on Dinosaur Island when Crush crashes into the island. The two mature, happily coupled gays proceed to bond with Lobo’s queer daughter and help her sort out some of her issues with her own relationship—until their jet goes missing and they wind up stranded there. Naturally, Harley’s insanity has something to do with that, and this story is a fast-paced, funny bundle of joy.
“Hey, Stranger” by Shammas and Jones reunites Tim Drake and Connor Hawke, as the two young legacies team up on a dockside mission, while Damian is off doing his own thing. They have the chance to talk over their own coming-outs, as well as Tim’s hard feelings over Connor being gone so long. It’s a little hard to figure out the context and timeline of this at first, but I did enjoy the dialogue between the two and it’s just excellent to see Connor being reunited with his old partners in crimefighting one at a time.
“Subspace Transmission” by writer/artist AL Kaplan continues the story of the new superhero, Circuit Breaker, who is the new bearer of the Still Force and was introduced in Lazarus Planet. But this story also teams Jules Jourdain with the fan-favorite non-binary Flash Jess Chambers, except their powers don’t exactly sync up nicely. This leads to a unique adventure that also delves nicely into Jules’ unique personal background and faith. These two are just a lot of fun, and a nice double-dose of diversity in the Flash family.
“Anniversary” by Josh Trujillo and Don Aguillo pairs Midnighter and Apollo, maybe DC’s longest-lasting gay couple, as they confront the backsliding of the world’s tolerance in the way only they can—with violence. But as Midnighter wants to push things further and Apollo hesitates, a visit from Alan Scott helps them see a different way forward. This story can be a little didactic at times, as Alan Scott takes us through some of the history that got us here, but the ending has a really great emotional moment of renewal.
“Lost & Found” by Jeremy Holt and Andrew Drilon focuses on Xanthe and Batwoman. The non-binary swordsmaster seems to be be becoming a breakout character, and this story fills us in a little on their backstory as they help Batwoman deal with a particularly nasty band of grave-robbers targeting the crypt where Kate’s mother is laid to rest. This is a faster-paced story than most, with a lot of action, but the creative team does a strong job of getting some really meaningful dialogue in amid the punching.
Mildred Louis’ “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work” is a unique story focusing on Natasha Irons and the couple of Nubia and Io. As the Amazons come over to test Natasha’s new combat simulator (partially recruited to help get Natasha out of her lab), Nubia makes clear she’s not impressed and insists on testing out the program herself—only to get more than she bargained for. Nubia’s written a little differently than I expected here, particularly haughty and intense, but this is a really fun story featuring a group of characters I didn’t think of together.
“The Dance” by Ogle and Sadowswki is another unexpected team-up—Ghost-Maker and Catman. The latter hasn’t really played any role since Secret Six. This is very different from any of the other stories in the book—it’s entirely about Ghost-Maker being horny on main as he bails Catman out against some assassins, thinking the entire time about how gorgeous he is. They save the day, and proceed to have epic sex. And you know what? Good for them. This one is entirely sexy, romantic assassin hookup fun, and we deserve a bit of that.
“My Best Bet” by Cantwell and Partridge has another unlikely team-up—John Constantine and Jon Kent. But it’s not exactly a team-up—Jon is in a fight against a demon summoned by Constantine, as part of an elaborate bet with Felix Faust for high stakes. If this sounds out of character for Constantine, it is—but only a little. There’s a great twist near the end that sums up just how Constantine operates, what he’s fighting for, and why Jon is a slightly different kind of Superman from his father.
Nicole Maines and Rye Hickman wrap things up with “Bad Dream: A Dreamer Story,” a preview of the upcoming Dreamer graphic novel. This is just a few pages, but nicely sets up Dreamer’s powers and internal struggle, with some brilliant art well-suited for a YA graphic novel. Add in a powerful intro by Phil Jimenez, and a heartbreaking text tribute to Rachel Pollack, and you have a recipe for—once again—one of the best anthologies DC has ever put out. There isn’t a bad story in this.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.