By Katie Skelly, Alex de Campi, Magen Cubed, and Sarah Horrocks
Twisted Romance is a new anthology mini series from Image comics is going to take over February, with a new book every week. This series is coming out just in time for cupid’s birthday, isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is? Anyway, as we all run out to buy flowers, candies, and negligées for our sweethearts, Image wants to help set the mood with Twisted Romance. The concept of this anthology gives multiple creators the chance to tell stories, without the burden of multiple issues or creating arcs, and these characters and stories can live within a short few pages. The first issue features three stories, two in more traditional comic formats and the third is pure written words, like a book. The overarching theme is love is complicated, messy, weird, and really a universal feeling to anyone who feels it.
The first story in Twisted Romance #1 is Old Flames, which is written by Alex de Campi with art from Katie Skelly. We meet Misha, a man with a scar who runs “Heartbreak Incorporated”. A woman that wants him to get to the bottom of who is stealing away her husband, a successful nightclub owner, hires Misha. This cheeky story takes a left turn midway through that takes this story from predictable to slightly science fiction or paranormal. This delightful twist gives this story the right amount of weirdness to keep it interesting and out of cliché territory.
The second story is Leather & Lace, a complete story with words and no pictures, which feels a little out of place in a comic book. The story is solid from Megan Cubed, following a vampire who falls in love with a monster hunting human. A classic mismatch couple, we see them encounter normal situations of jealousy, fear, and anxiety every relationship goes through. Dorian and Cash, the handsome human and vampire duo, go on a Wendigo hunting spree. The Wendigo are hunting humans while dealing with their evolving relationship, it is starting to shift from the casual phase into a more serious commitment phase. As the danger increases so, do their feelings for one another. The story is solid from Cubed, but the entire issue you cannot help but wonder how they both look or how the Wendigo would look while attacking.
The last story is Red Medusa from Sarah Horrocks, she double tasks the art and the writing. Maybe this goes over my head, but the story is a little hard to follow. The letters and art overall is chaotic, the crude writing and art style is intentional to show the primal nature of the story. It is the story of two lovers and after one dies, Medusa feels betrayed by the other and her affection turns to scorn or spite. Once they are reunited, she is compelled to change her mind. The frenetic art, makes it hard to follow who is who, the colors change and designs change, which contribute to the intense emotions she is experience. The story itself is not safe for work, or young children. There are some scenes that upon closer inspection are very sexual, but at first glance your eyes are busy trying to make sense of the crazy colors and lines.
Twisted Romance #1 is a sure-fire way to spend the lonely days leading up to Valentine’s Day whether you are happily coupled or unattached. The set up of this series, a rapid-fire series will release an issue every week of February with each issue having a new set of stories. This format feels fresh, it is original and it is really fun. You honestly could not have paired three more diverse stories in this premiere issue, and somehow they all connect with the overarching theme of love.