To get some idea of the scale Valentine’s Day has taken over America, one could look no further than comic books. Romance comics have been around forever—Love Fights is one of my favorite comics—but romance in superhero comics is much harder to come by. In most cases it’s a money grab by the publisher. Who doesn’t want to see their heroes smooch? Eh? DC Comics released Young Romance: The New 52 Special #1 this week at a price of $7.99. Considering it’s 49 pages with an additional two pages of Valentine’s Day cards…is it good?
Young Romance: The New 52 Special #1 (DC Comics)
Written and drawn by six artistic and writing teams the issue looks great. Each artist has their own style and it works. Okay there, that’s the good part.
This comic never reaches a romantic moment, not really, mostly due to the matches they’ve used in this issue. Most of the characters either are starting a relationship like Superman and Wonder Woman or have a fleeting one like Catwoman and Batman. I suppose the title says it all though as this is about “young romance,” which in my mind means naive, budding relationships. If that’s the case they’ve hit their mark, but don’t expect to find any fulfilling stories within.
Fogged windows? Not on this cop’s watch.
The first story takes place on Valentine’s Day “long ago” as Catwoman recounts meeting Batman. With the help of a tenant from the Sunnyside housing project, Catwoman is going to steal poor people’s possessed electronics. Kinda low, Catwoman…anyhoo, Batman shows up and there’s a brief fight.
Ah romance…her scent, her looks, her dirty boot smashing my chin. That’s love!
Anyone expecting anything remotely close to the hot and heavy scene we got in Catwoman #2 should steer clear of this issue. Frankly of any comic DC produces you’d think this would be the place for a scene at least marginally similar to that one. Considering this issue also contains Valentine’s Day cards, I suspect DC is marketing this to a younger crowd which is unfortunate.
Note the Batman narration. His view of the world is a little old, no? “…her man” strikes me as odd.
The second story is between Aquaman and Vera and is a complete throwaway tale. It doesn’t really even deal with them, but a sailor lost at sea. The third story is equally odd, as we witness Batgirl and a man named Ricky make out. He pretends to rob a car in order to lure her in, a gang shows up and she beats their asses. She gives in to this odd looking guy and gives him a kiss. The end. There are no sparks, nor is there any real point to it.
Sexy Batgirl is sexy.
The fourth story is the only one that comes close to romance, although it’s more about a guy who’s obsessively looking to hook up with a villain. Apollo from Stormwatch is looking for Midnighter to…I don’t know, hook up? Apollo cruises some gay bars, can’t find him and then comes upon him literally killing people. It ends with Apollo sad and emotionally alone.
Interesting look for Midnighter. Very S&M.
Nothing gets me hot and bothered like a dude breaking necks!
After a throwaway Nightwing story which is more focused on a gang fight than anything else and also ends with Nightwing alone. The final story delivers a very unsatisfying date between Wonder Woman and Superman. There’s an introduction of WW’s cousins (the Sirens) which is neat, but really it’s again focused on fighting and not love or romance. One of the villains also oddly wakes up from being mind controlled and admits to being used…then a few panels later tries to shoot Superman. Huh?
The perfect date!
…If, of course, you prefer brawling in your dates.
Final Score: 2
- 6 well drawn stories
- No romance to be seen
- No character development
- Mostly pointless fight scenes
Seriously DC Comics, you can do better than this. There are many incredible examples of comics doing a good job with romance. Look at one of the most popular comics in the last 10 years, Blankets, and you can see global sales that are through the roof. What this comic does is insult romance comics. It’s mostly pointless fight scenes that won’t even be enjoyable to non-romance fans as they are pointless and vapid.
Is It Good?
No way. The fact that this is $8.00 tells me it’s a money grab and nothing more.