Mysteries of Love in Space #1 is a collection of several one-off stories from a huge array of creators, from the well-known, to the up and coming, to the lesser known. In spite of that, each story here is a great read, whether you’re familiar with the characters or not. If you’re looking for a fresh take on love stories in comics, this is a must buy this week.
An Apokoliptan Love Story
By James Tynion IV, Jesus Merino, Romulo Fajardo Jr., Clayton Cowles
There really couldn’t be a better start to this anthology. This story takes an unexpected look at Apokolips, Granny Goodness and – you’ll see once you get to the end. Tynion IV’s script and art from Merino and Fajardo Jr. come together for a realistic, dramatic style that fits the bill of An Apokoliptan Love Story perfectly. Although you may have never actually read a comic with some of these main characters, the team makes them, and their circumstances, seem intensely familiar.
Old Scars, Fresh Wounds
By Kyle Higgins, Cian Tormey, John Kalisz, Clayton Cowles
Next on the list is a story featuring a fan favorite Green Lantern: Kilowog. It’s a true inside look at what he gets into when he’s not flying in to save Hal Jordan or John Stewart, from awkward first dates to training sessions with hopeful new Lanterns. It feels like a genuine pulling back of the curtain, partially thanks to Cian Tormey’s art. All the visuals from Old Scars, Fresh Wounds are well thought out and impactful. Tormey draws just about every emotion Kilowog can have with finesse and consistently punctuates big moments with even bigger artistic flares from inks and layouts.
By Saladin Ahmed, Max Dunbar, Paul Mounts, Dave Sharpe
This is probably one of the best stories in the lineup. Bizarro, the backwards yet lovable anti-Superman, is one of the DC universe’s great underdogs. He’s misunderstood and oftentimes just trying to help out, but things frequently go the wrong way for him. He’s a character you just want to see get a win. That’s the journey Ahmed takes us on in Backward Heart. Bizarro wins, laughs and cries. Art by Dunbar and Mounts and lettering from Sharpe make it stand out, too. Told as a bar story, we see a cast of different aliens that are all given distinct looks and voices. Bizarro himself looks the best he ever has – or the worst he never hasn’t?
By Cecil Castelluci, Elena Casagrande, Jordie Bellaire, Steve Wands
Out of all the stories in this book, this one takes the cake when it comes to visuals. Elena Casagrande and Jordie Bellaire have a unique, tactile style with a horizontal layout that flourishes just when it needs to. There’s an action towards the end of this story that Casagrande and Bellaire handle perfectly. Being part of a holiday anthology, readers know these fights aren’t going to be anything groundbreaking, so it’s silly to try and build up life or death stakes, smart move on Castelluci’s part. Instead, the action layouts are more reminiscent of an Archie comic with its character spotlight panels. Castelluci slam dunks this story with a small cliff hanger (check out the Justice League Annual for more!) and makes me even more excited about her forthcoming Female Furies book.
GPS I Love You
By Aaron Gillespie, Max Raynor, Hi-Fi, Dave Sharpe
This story is a dark horse. In truth, there’s almost nothing grounding it in the DC universe. Not a named character, not a reference to a cape or a cowl, just a cabby driver and his one true love. In a really good way, GPS I love You looks more like a Star Wars comic than anything else. Raynor and Hi-Fi create huge star cites, aliens, future cars and asteroid belts to make any sci-fi fan swoon and, bundled up in all that, is a touching story from Aaron Gillespie. He takes the focal relationship through a few time jumps deftly, so by the end their feelings for each other are cemented, even though it’s only been a few pages.
By Andrea Shea, Amancay Nahuelpan, Trish Mulvihill, Tom Napolitano
When it comes to roller coasters, Crushed is the stand out. Andrea Shea’s story takes Crush, a character I only heard whispers about until reading this story, and carries her through an emotionally brutal, yet realistic and, dare I say hopeful one-off. Daughter of the notorious galactic bounty hunter, Lobo, readers join Crush as she’s trying to make a way for herself, to survive, alone on Earth. Nahuelpan and Mulvihill on art is the perfect combination, too, with layouts and style that iterate all the big moments of this story. Crushed, though not the happiest of all these stories, is an important and welcome entry here.
By Jeff Loveness, Tom Grummett, Cam Smith, Adriano Lucas, Tom Napolitano
Loveness, probably the most aptly named creator on this issue, puts forward a story that reads as a love letter to Superman from Lois Lane and his fans. Most of Glasses is narration over flashbacks. It’s a simple style, but made really effective thanks to emotional scripting and vintage art stylings from Grummett, Smith and Lucas. This story looks at Superman in a way that only someone intimately close with him can and it’s absolutely touching. As Lois is telling Superman all the things she loves about him, and the story of their relationship, you can’t help but smile and feel the same way.