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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. Backward Heart 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? Galentines Day 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. Crushed 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. Glasses 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.



It’s never too early to get into that Valentine’s mood and, hell, it’s only two weeks away so why not dive into DC Comics’ $9.99 Valentine’s special? This special explores forbidden love in Apokolips, the tricky thing about romance when you’re a Green Lantern and more. So what’s it about? The official summary reads: Sometimes love can make you feel like you’re from another planet…but what if you actually were? Join Superman, The New Gods, Green Lantern, Starro, Hawkgirl and even the Teen Titans’ new sensation Crush for eight tales of romance that will whisk you to the moon and back! Why does this matter? This comic features eight stories running 84 pages so it’s a massive amount of talent contained in one book. It also plays around with current characters in creative ways and delivers a different kind of reading experience. Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it? It can’t be perfect, can it? As I said above not every story is a winner, but given this is an anthology you might like something someone else is sour on. Is it good? This is yet another great holiday collection by DC Comics. They seem to knock every single one out of the park whatever the season, whether it’s Halloween or Christmas/Hanukkah specials. This collection celebrates love in a variety of ways and will put you in the mood for Valentine’s Day.



Written by: James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Saladin Ahmed, Cecil Castellucci, Aaron Gillespie, Andrea Shea, Jeff Loveness, Gardner Fox Art by: Jesus Merino, Cian Tormey, Max Dunbar, Elena Casagrande, Max Raynor, Amancay Nahuelpan, Tom Grummet, Mike Sekowsky Colors by: Romulo Fajardo Jr., John Kalisz, Paul Mounts, Jordie Bellaire, Hi-Fi, Trish Mulvihill Published by: Mysteries of Love in Space #1 Re






When you think ‘comic books’, you think ‘superheroes’. Granted, there are comics of other genres but the capes are top dog, no doubt. It can be easy to forget, this wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, readers were all about romance! Real mushy, lovey-dovey, melodramatic stuff. Seriously, readers ate it up. DC’s “Girls’ Romances” ran for 160 issues. DC’s “Girls’ Love Stores” (a completely different title that ran at the same time!) lasted 180 issues. Of course, superhero comics reasserted their dominance and romance comics faded away. “Mysteries of Love in Space” #1 bridges the gap between both genres. Cover by Joëlle Jones Written by James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins, Saladin Ahmed, Cecil Castellucci, Aaron Gillespie, Andrea Shea, Jeff Loveness, Gardner Fox Illustrated by Jesus Merino, Cian Tormey, Max Dunbar, Elena Casagrande, Max Raynor, Amancay Nahuelpan, Tom Grummett, Mike Sekowsky Lettered by Clayton Cowles, Dave Sharpe, Steve Wands, Tom Napolitano Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr., John Kalisz, Paul Mounts, Jordie Bellaire, Hi-Fi, Trish Mulvihill, Adriano Lucas Sometimes love can make you feel like you’re from another planet…but what if you actually were? Join Superman, The New Gods, Green Lantern, Starro, Hawkgirl and even the Teen Titans’ new sensation Crush for eight tales of romance that will whisk you to the moon and back! “Mysteries of Love in Space” #1 is the latest in DC’s holiday giants, dropping with Valentine’s Day just around the corner. This issue contains seven new short stories as well as a classic story featuring Adam Strange. Now, the last two holiday giants (“Cursed Comics Cavalcade” #1 in October and “DC Nuclear Winter Special” #1 at the end of November) didn’t grab me. I liked a handful of the stories but felt indifferent to the rest. “Mysteries”, on the other hand, is pretty solid all the way through. Maybe two stories were just okay but the rest were really good. I appreciate that the comic is lighthearted and fun, sometimes even silly in the very best way. It has its emotional moments but isn’t some melancholy, heart wrenching affair. It’s a cute comic. It also highlights lesser-known characters, which is always appreciated. The giant begins with ‘An Apokoliptian Love Story’ which reinforces how bleak things are on that planet. It’s probably the darkest story of the bunch. It seems that Mr. Miracle and Big Barda were the only ones to get their happily ever after. A captured rebel learns the hard way that on Apokolips, Darkseid is love. Darkseid is everything. Darkseid is. Kilowog’s short stories was one of my favorites. Kilowog is the last of his kind, a teacher that can help a student reach out to others but can’t quite take his own advice. The final three panels hit the emotional note perfectly. In the first, his face is illuminated by the lovely date he pushed away. In the second, his face is shadowed and ends on just his silhouette. Poor poozer. Bizarro’s tale is similarly effective in conveying the inherent loneliness of the character. He finds love and loses it just as fast. His story dials up the silliness just a bit though (the guy talks backwards, is that ever not funny?) and ends on a cute note. The classic Adam Strange story with alien barbarians and giant death blades hanging from spaceships is pretty weird in retrospect. The absolute silliest story though is definitely Space Cabbie’s. He’s already an odd concept by himself but falling madly in love with his GPS A.I. is just…wow. I’m still chuckling as I think about it. I’m pretty unfamiliar with Crush (Lobo’s maybe daughter on the Teen Titans) but she seems cool in a ‘Lobo but PG-13’ kind of way. Falling for an alien MMA fighter and then fighting said alien in the octagon when things turn south is definitely something ‘the Main Man’ would do. It was a good showcase for her character. Hawkgirl, Jessica Cruz and Starfire wrestling an alien creature and spending a quiet Galentine’s Day together was a nice moment as well. The only real A-Lister in the giant is Superman. His story reinforces the fact that Lois and Clark are absolutely perfect for each other. ‘Glasses’ really humanized the Man of Steel and shows that when Superman needs to be saved, Lois comes to his rescue. It really is an effective story in just ten pages. Continued below There are plenty of different artists throughout the giant, each with their own style. All of them do good work. I particularly liked Lois’ expression when she put on Clark’s glasses, amused she could never figure out the secret. The space monsters (there are a few) are all fun to look at. The creative choice to put a restaurant in an asteroid was cool too. I also have to take a second and note that the cover is absolutely perfect. It’s so over the top with Superman’s thought bubbles, Lois’s dialogue and the advertised ‘cosmic agony and ecstasy’. It’s a spot-on parody of romance comics. “Mysteries of Love in Space” offers the best of both worlds. It focuses on superheroes while giving a little taste of romance comics’s long gone heyday. It’s nice that this giant chooses to laser in on the positive aspects of the DC Universe, like friendship and love. It might be a little corny, but it’s always appreciated. It makes the heroes more relatable, fleshes out their character. Somewhere in the multiverse, there’s a reality where romance comics still reign supreme. Since we can’t visit for the foreseeable future, this issue is as close as we’re going to get.



Well, wouldja lookit that: another ten dollar anthology by DC Comics! Does anyone actually buy these? I’m serious. There’s about three of these a year, and increasingly they don’t even have big names attached to latch on to. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy these if you want to, I would just love to know the reasoning. I, for one, was a huge fan of the anthology comics format, but after reviewing successive DC Comics attempts, I have to admit to being less so today. But perhaps Mysteries of Love in Space will turn that all around! Blind naivete is the same as hope, right? Check out my review! Explain It! “An Apokoliptian Love Story” Writer: James Tynion IV Artist: Jesus Merino Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr. Letters: Clayton Cowles A rebellion headed by a guy named Markus is quashed by Granny Goodness and the Female Furies, but when tortured, his girlfriend Saraqel will not divulge any information. This is good, says Markus, who transforms into Darkseid. And this somehow makes Saraqel an ideal Female Fury? I don’t understand anything about Apokoliptan bueauracracy at all. Awesome Kirby homage by the art team, though. 5/10 “Old Scars, Fresh Wounds” Writer: Kyle Higgins Artist: Cian Tormey Colors: John Kalisz Letters: Clayton Cowles Kilowog is forever alone because he’s thrown himself into being the Green Lantern Corps’ drill sergeant for good. When a hot-shot space marsupial named C’Jon makes fun of him, Kilowog takes away his ring—then later thinks better of it, because he knows C’Jon is the last of his people. Kilowog has the same backstory, so he gives C’Jon his ring back. And nepotism and “special treatments” continue to be a problem within the corrupt Green Lantern Corps! 5.5/10 “Backward Heart” Writer: Saladin Ahmed Artist: Max Dunbar Colors: Paul Mounts Letters: Dave Sharpe Cruising the galaxy, Bizarro finds a like-minded lady hero named Grotesqua, an ugly hero doing good deeds for an adopted homeworld. Bizarro pitches in on beating up some aliens, including a giant fire worm, then Grotesqua fucks him. The next day, she says she has to split, but leaves Bizarro with adequate afterglow so that he keeps doing good deeds back on Earth. 5.5/10 “Galentine’s Day” Writer: Cecil Castellucci Artist: Elena Casagrande Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Steve Wands Hawkgirl is alone for Valentine’s Day, since her boyfriend is a continually-reincarnating Ancient Egyptian/space cop. Being the only one on the JLA satellite, she faces an giant alien that slipped through a space rift but finds it too tough to tackle by herself. Starfire and Jessica Cruz show up to help her out, then the three of them drink some wine on the steps of the Hall of Justice and bond. A nice little story all around, if a little too long. 6.5/10 “GPS I Love You” Writer: Aaron Gillespie Artist: Max Raynor Colors: Hi-Fi Letters: Dave Sharpe Space Cabbie gets a new female-voiced GPS named A.I.D.A., with whom he eventually falls in love. When his cab company wants to upgrade the software, he’s worried that he’ll lose her forever, but luckily she uploaded herself to his phone. This is another cute story that is more about the moments than the overall conceit. 6/10 “Crushed” Writer: Andrea Shea Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan Colors: Trish Mulvihill Letters: Tom Napolitano Crush is enamored of underground meta-human fight club champion Ayana, who takes Crush on a private picnic to make out. Did I say “make out?” I meant to suck Crush’s life-essence from her body and throw her desiccated corpse off a cliff. You don’t take out a Czarnian that easily, however, and Crush comes back to clobber Ayana. I enjoyed this, particulary because I love this character in the currentTeen Titans run. 6.5/10 “Glasses” Writer: Jeff Loveness Pencils: Tom Grommett Inks: Cam Smith Colors: Adriano Lucas Letters: Tom Napolitano Lois writes Clark a letter to tell him how much she appreciates him. It’s based around the glasses that “make” him Clark Kent, how it’s his best attempt to be human and how that is the best part of him. Or something. It’s pretty touching, but a little shmaltzy. I guess this is the kind of book for it. 5.5/10 “The Planet Pendulum,” a Holiday Encore Writer: Gardner Fox Pencils: Mike Sekowsky Inks: Bernard Sachs Editor: Julius Schwartz And this…is a reprint of a story from Showcase #17 (December 1958), and even worse, it is steeped in the lore of stuff that has happened to Adam Strange and Allanna before it! I mean, if you wanted to introduce someone to his property, this would be a terribly story for it. Here, Adam Strange hops on the Zeta-Beam, to find Rann has been overrun by Moreans, and Alanna and her father are in some alternate place called Anthorann. Which is actually in a city called New Ranagar. Which is then attacked by the Moreans. Are you on the trolley yet? I have to think that someone—or given how long it is, two people––didn’t make their deadlines and they jammed this one in at the last minute, but lord someone should have read it first. You might as well have printed blank pages for all that people will get from it. 3/10 Folks, there are cash grabs, and then there are attempted stick-ups. You couldn’t drop the price of this thing, DC, considering the final story is a fucking reprint from 1958? You still had to squeeze the full money for this handful of thrown-together mediocrity? Your best bet is that well-meaning girlfriends will get this for their boyfriends who read mostly Marvel comics, and they don’t know the difference. The creators, by and large, did an okay job—some better than others—but DC should be ashamed of itself for trying to pass this off as a deluxe anything. This is a loss leader at best, and at the bare minimum it should be more of a gift to the consumer for a romantic holiday, not a grift to part people of ten dollar bills. Bits and Pieces: Eight stories, and one is a reprint from Showcase #17 from 1958. Even if the new stories were great--and they're not--this would be an unbearable cash grab for ten bucks. For shame, DC Comics.



Well, wouldja lookit that: another ten dollar anthology by DC Comics! Does anyone actually buy these? I’m serious. There’s about three of these a year, and increasingly they don’t even have big names attached to latch on to. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy these if you want to, I would just love to know the reasoning. I, for one, was a huge fan of the anthology comics format, but after reviewing successive DC Comics attempts, I have to admit to being less so today. But perhaps Mysteries of Love in Space will turn that all around! Blind naivete is the same as hope, right? Check out my review! Explain It! “An Apokoliptian Love Story” Writer: James Tynion IV Artist: Jesus Merino Colors: Romulo Fajardo Jr. Letters: Clayton Cowles A rebellion headed by a guy named Markus is quashed by Granny Goodness and the Female Furies, but when tortured, his girlfriend Saraqel will not divulge any information. This is good, says Markus, who transforms into Darkseid. And this somehow makes Saraqel an ideal Female Fury? I don’t understand anything about Apokoliptan bueauracracy at all. Awesome Kirby homage by the art team, though. 5/10 “Old Scars, Fresh Wounds” Writer: Kyle Higgins Artist: Cian Tormey Colors: John Kalisz Letters: Clayton Cowles Kilowog is forever alone because he’s thrown himself into being the Green Lantern Corps’ drill sergeant for good. When a hot-shot space marsupial named C’Jon makes fun of him, Kilowog takes away his ring—then later thinks better of it, because he knows C’Jon is the last of his people. Kilowog has the same backstory, so he gives C’Jon his ring back. And nepotism and “special treatments” continue to be a problem within the corrupt Green Lantern Corps! 5.5/10 “Backward Heart” Writer: Saladin Ahmed Artist: Max Dunbar Colors: Paul Mounts Letters: Dave Sharpe Cruising the galaxy, Bizarro finds a like-minded lady hero named Grotesqua, an ugly hero doing good deeds for an adopted homeworld. Bizarro pitches in on beating up some aliens, including a giant fire worm, then Grotesqua fucks him. The next day, she says she has to split, but leaves Bizarro with adequate afterglow so that he keeps doing good deeds back on Earth. 5.5/10 “Galentine’s Day” Writer: Cecil Castellucci Artist: Elena Casagrande Colors: Jordie Bellaire Letters: Steve Wands Hawkgirl is alone for Valentine’s Day, since her boyfriend is a continually-reincarnating Ancient Egyptian/space cop. Being the only one on the JLA satellite, she faces an giant alien that slipped through a space rift but finds it too tough to tackle by herself. Starfire and Jessica Cruz show up to help her out, then the three of them drink some wine on the steps of the Hall of Justice and bond. A nice little story all around, if a little too long. 6.5/10 “GPS I Love You” Writer: Aaron Gillespie Artist: Max Raynor Colors: Hi-Fi Letters: Dave Sharpe Space Cabbie gets a new female-voiced GPS named A.I.D.A., with whom he eventually falls in love. When his cab company wants to upgrade the software, he’s worried that he’ll lose her forever, but luckily she uploaded herself to his phone. This is another cute story that is more about the moments than the overall conceit. 6/10 “Crushed” Writer: Andrea Shea Artist: Amancay Nahuelpan Colors: Trish Mulvihill Letters: Tom Napolitano Crush is enamored of underground meta-human fight club champion Ayana, who takes Crush on a private picnic to make out. Did I say “make out?” I meant to suck Crush’s life-essence from her body and throw her desiccated corpse off a cliff. You don’t take out a Czarnian that easily, however, and Crush comes back to clobber Ayana. I enjoyed this, particulary because I love this character in the currentTeen Titans run. 6.5/10 “Glasses” Writer: Jeff Loveness Pencils: Tom Grommett Inks: Cam Smith Colors: Adriano Lucas Letters: Tom Napolitano Lois writes Clark a letter to tell him how much she appreciates him. It’s based around the glasses that “make” him Clark Kent, how it’s his best attempt to be human and how that is the best part of him. Or something. It’s pretty touching, but a little shmaltzy. I guess this is the kind of book for it. 5.5/10 “The Planet Pendulum,” a Holiday Encore Writer: Gardner Fox Pencils: Mike Sekowsky Inks: Bernard Sachs Editor: Julius Schwartz And this…is a reprint of a story from Showcase #17 (December 1958), and even worse, it is steeped in the lore of stuff that has happened to Adam Strange and Allanna before it! I mean, if you wanted to introduce someone to his property, this would be a terribly story for it. Here, Adam Strange hops on the Zeta-Beam, to find Rann has been overrun by Moreans, and Alanna and her father are in some alternate place called Anthorann. Which is actually in a city called New Ranagar. Which is then attacked by the Moreans. Are you on the trolley yet? I have to think that someone—or given how long it is, two people––didn’t make their deadlines and they jammed this one in at the last minute, but lord someone should have read it first. You might as well have printed blank pages for all that people will get from it. 3/10 Folks, there are cash grabs, and then there are attempted stick-ups. You couldn’t drop the price of this thing, DC, considering the final story is a fucking reprint from 1958? You still had to squeeze the full money for this handful of thrown-together mediocrity? Your best bet is that well-meaning girlfriends will get this for their boyfriends who read mostly Marvel comics, and they don’t know the difference. The creators, by and large, did an okay job—some better than others—but DC should be ashamed of itself for trying to pass this off as a deluxe anything. This is a loss leader at best, and at the bare minimum it should be more of a gift to the consumer for a romantic holiday, not a grift to part people of ten dollar bills. Bits and Pieces: Eight stories, and one is a reprint from Showcase #17 from 1958. Even if the new stories were great--and they're not--this would be an unbearable cash grab for ten bucks. For shame, DC Comics.