Comic Vine Review

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Young Romance: The New 52 Valentine's Day Special #1 - Think it Through; The Lighthouse; Dreamer; Seoul Brothers; Another Saturday Night; Truth or Dare Review

3

Even our favorite DC heroes need a bit of romance!

The Good

A little romance can be good, and since inter-character relationships are such a big part of the comics w read, it only makes sense that DC would release a Valentine's Day Special issue of YOUNG ROMANCE. A little bit of background on YOUNG ROMANCE: the first issue of this title was written by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby and released back in 1947, so it's nice to see this Valentine's Day issue pay homage to that in a way. The question is, however, is the issue any good?

The issue is made up of six short love stories, each one focusing on a different comic couple and written and illustrated by a different creative team. This means that while some might be really great, there is the potential for some bad stories.

I think it's interesting that not all of these stories focus on the characters we know in love. In the case of the second story in this issue, a parallel is drawn between Mera and Aquaman and the original light house keeper's daughter. It is not only a sweet story that focuses on a love lost, but it is also romantic the way that it shows Mera and Arthur doing ordinary things like reading together. That's not a scene we see these two characters share, ever, and it's a sweet way to sort of ground their relationship. They may be heroes, but they sometimes do very ordinary things.

I really enjoyed the Midnighter and Apollo story. I think the writer really captured the tension and sensibility between these two characters and I felt it played out pretty well on panel. The tone of this particular story is also very different from the rest of the stories in this issue. It feels a lot grittier and darker the way it is written -- very minimalist in terms of dialogue. I liked the grittiness and one dimensionality of art.

The Nightwing story was great. I loved the fact that Dick is having this entertaining banter with a girl he is, or had been, dating but in the meantime he is kicking major butt. I like the dynamic of this scene a lot. The set up for this story where Dick appears to be the ultimate ladies man is entertaining, but what makes it really funny is the end. Poor Dick Grayson just can't catch a break.

The issue ends with Superman and Wonder Woman, and it's not a bad story. The story teeters on the border between romance and action, but it becomes very clear very quickly that these two just can't catch a break no matter what happens. I liked that writer Andy Diggle took from the current Wonder Woman story when he wrote this. For example, the use of Eros (who has become a prominent character in her current ongoing) was nice to see. It felt like Diggle was trying to connect concepts that exist in both series and bring them together in a rather eloquent way.

The Bad

The issue opens with the story of Batman and Catwoman's first encounter. First, this is hardly a love story by any means. Second, it's really, poorly written. CATWOMAN writer Ann Nocenti pens this story that doesn't seem to make very much sense at all. I can't help but compare this version of Catwoman to versions of her character that I've read before. The dialogue is very poor, making Selina not only seem dimwitted, but Batman just does not sound like himself. The story is short, not romantic, and very awkward. The only redeeming quality is the art which isn't bad.

I'm not sure whether the Batgirl story was worse than the Catwoman and Batman story, so I will just say that they were equally as bad. The story writing and dialogue was lazy and boring, and the character that Barbara meets up with has no real connection to her save for a brief scene they shared in the BATGIRL ANNUAL #1. The scene we saw in that issue where Batgirl kisses a hood named "Ricky" should have been the beginning and the end of that particular relationship; there was no reason why that story needed to be expanded on. Additionally, I was not a big fan of the art in this story. Batgirl's proportions were all wrong and I felt there was no real

Although overall the Wonder Woman and Superman story was sweet, the art and some of the dialogue was a bit forced and not the greatest.

The Verdict

I think the best way to review this issue was to break it down and focus on the stories individually. Overall, for $7.99 you're getting six stories featuring some of your favorite DC characters. Most of these stories fall outside of continuity and don't really matter in the grand scheme of things and I think that can be good and bad. There are definitely some positive things about this issue. First, it is accessible to new readers. You don't really need to have a whole lot of background information on the characters and concepts we see in this issue. It's great because you get a variety of different stories featuring many of our favorite characters all in one place. So what's bad about this issue? Well, unfortunately, not every story is going to be very good. In fact, a few of them are really very bad. The issue is also pretty expensive; after taxes it costs you over $8.00. That's a lot of money for an issue that contains stories you may not necessarily like at all. So while a couple of these might be fun to read, it doesn't exactly feel like it's worth it.

32 Comments
Posted by velvetmeds

"CATWOMAN writer Ann Nocenti pens this story that doesn't seem to make very much sense at all."

Just like the Catwoman series then.

What a shame...Catwoman really needs a "reboot" and a new creative team

Posted by Reignmaker

$7.99 for a bunch of forced, mediocre Valentine stories from six different creative teams? No thanks.

Posted by The Stegman
@Reignmaker said:
$7.99 for a bunch of forced, mediocre Valentine stories from six different creative teams? No thanks.
Posted by Batnandez

I just became a Marvel fan wtf, 8 dollars and rated teen?

Posted by impossibilly

Good review, Sara. With that $8 price point, I think I'm going to stay away. The preview art didn't wow me, and it sounds like enough of the stories won't either.

Posted by detective38

If it has Nightwing in it then I'll get it I'm a fanboy like that

Posted by Trevel8182

Really sad about the Batman Catwoman story, there my favorite fictional couple and since the new 52 there relationship just hasent been the same.

Posted by Vitaeleous

For the record, you can't like "the one-dimensionality of art". The first dimension is a line, on it's own, not even placed on a surface. Once you put it on a surface, it's two-dimensional. So, either you like the two-dimensionality of the art, or you just need to find a real way to express your critiques on comic art.

Posted by ccraft

thanks for the review, you just saved me $8

Posted by Kal'smahboi

I was actually considering getting this. Oh well. Thanks for the fair warning, @Babs:

Posted by johnqestion

The Supes/Wondy and Mera/Aquamn ones were the best. If you like these two couples buy it.

Posted by Markus_Langbourn

The cover on its own is enough to justify self-immolation.

Posted by lifeboy

Wondey is a stunner on that cover.

Posted by Dark_Guyver

I find it hard to pay 8 bucks for any comic, regardless of how many stories are in it.

Posted by War07

I really enjoyed the supes/wondy and Aquaman/mera story

Posted by Mbecks14

Since I loathe the Superman/Wonder Woman relationship very strongly, and the Batman/Catwoman story isn't even good, I will gladly pass on this.

Posted by OutlawRenegade

I wish the stories were:

Superman and Lois Lane

Batman and Rachel Dawes

Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor

Flash and Patty Spivot

Green Lantern John Stewart and Katma Tui

Cyborg and Sarah Charles

Posted by Stormbox

@OutlawRenegade said:

I wish the stories were:

Superman and Lois Lane

Batman and Rachel Dawes

Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor

Flash and Patty Spivot

Green Lantern John Stewart and Katma Tui

Cyborg and Sarah Charles

What, are you serious rachel was hands down the worst thing from the nolan movies i sure as hell dont want her in my comics

And john and katma, what is he gonna do date a zombie?

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Do you know who wrote the Midnighter and Apollo story?

Edited by supersmith

Fave couples SM/WW and BM/CW. I can see the bias clois fans would hate on sm/ww but Andy Diggle did an excellent job considering he had very limited page count to work with. But we finally saw a bridging between Azz's WW and the rest of the DCU and truth being a pivotal factor in the sm/ww blossoming relationship. Clark can't hide behind excuses as of old or needing to protect her etc and Eros does not define love. Good stuff. I really liked Diggle's writing of Diana. Finally we see some real vulnerability with her because in her book she's just getting on with business and looking after everyone else. The art wasn't as good as I would like but didn't detract it WAS a sweet story. One of the better ones. In fact I think fans of the sm/ww ship will love it and it does actually move their relationship in a forward step.

Shame about the bat/cat one but nice art.

Posted by UltimateSMfan

@johnqestion said:

The Supes/Wondy and Mera/Aquamn ones were the best. If you like these two couples buy it.

Agreed and....

Superman essentially caught Cupid's arrow....Caught It!!!! i literally 'LOVE' that part!! :D
Superman essentially caught Cupid's arrow....Caughit It!!!! i literally 'LOVE' that part :D
Posted by Decoy Elite

Good review and excellent point about the price.

Not a fan of romance myself so I'm certainly staying away from this one.

Posted by KnightRise

I want my future wife to be designed by Rockafort

Edited by Xenigma

Picked this up earlier, and my experiences lined up pretty much perfectly with the review: some fun stories, but not enough bang for your buck, especially with BM/CW and Batgirl (with SM/WW to a lesser extent) dragging it down. What isn't mentioned is the valentine cards in the middle: a lot of groan-worthy puns in there, but a few (especially the bottom-right one on the first sheet) are worth a good laugh, so do check them out at your LCS.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Apollo/Midnighter story get referred to in Stormwatch #17: no important continuity or anything, but it's nice to see Milligan tie it into the current events of the regular comic.

Posted by cagedleo730

@Babs Ricky's first appearance was in issue 10 of Batgirl. His leg got caught in a bear trap set up by one of Knightfall's goons. She left him in their "care" thinking he would get medical attention. next time she sees him, his foot has been amputated. She feels responsible for him. That's a connection.

Posted by zachkastner

God, I shouldn't hate a person's writing as much as I do... but dang Ann Nocenti needs to get the heck away from Catwoman, Batman, and DC Comics. She's so friggin' awful.

Go dig up some Brubaker Catwoman to make yourself feel better. It washes out the Nocenti crap. Promise.

Posted by Ravager4
@cagedleo730 Ricky is also no older than 16 while Batgirl is 21, and yet they're kissing for fun in this issue (with further interactions teased in the future). No one thinks that makes Batgirl look a tad creepy? What about if it were a 21 year old man making out with a 16 year old girl?
Posted by akbogert

@Ravager4: Hey, love ignores all borders, including age and legal, right?

Haha. But no, it's true, the idea of Babs chasing jailbait doesn't really make sense. Nor does her having any interest in some two-bit street criminal, reformed or otherwise. I never got the sense that Simone wrote that guy to be in any way a love interest (she loves Barbara too much, and let's face it, Barbara is kind of her avatar anyway). And on that subject, Simone had nothing to do with this story (it came into being right around that brief "you're fired jk people like you too much so you're rehired after missing two issues" fiasco), and I'm sure she will completely ignore it and go right alone writing good stories with Batgirl in them.

It's kind of a shame this volume didn't come out better. Not only does it come across as a shameless cash grab, but it squanders an actually potentially interesting premise. I wouldn't have minded picking this up if it had been good, even if miniature romance tales aren't exactly my cup of tea.

Posted by Mister_Sensational

@ccraft said:

thanks for the review, you just saved me $8

Me too! Nice try DC, trying to sucker me in with that Kenneth Rocaforth cover. Thank you Sara for giving us the true rundown in this review.

Posted by GamerGeek360

I guess I won't be picking this up then. I was interested for the Batgirl and Catwoman stories. Why can't they get a good writer on Catwoman?!

Posted by danhimself

Batgirl kissing Ricky was probably the worst thing about this book and then they say he's back in issue 17...ugggggghhhhh

Posted by akbogert

@danhimself said:

Batgirl kissing Ricky was probably the worst thing about this book and then they say he's back in issue 17...ugggggghhhhh

I'm just going to chalk that all up to Gail Simone having been fired. She's back at the helm in issue 19 and I respect her enough to believe that whatever damage is being done here will swiftly fade away.