Review: New Romancer #2
With bright cartoonish art and a wicked wit, New Romancer #2 opens up with the worst date of all worst dates as bored socialite Felicity is set up by the New Romancer algorithm with Dwayne, who is into necrophilia. But for some reason she wants a second date because it’s more exciting than her usual rich guy wannabe boyfriends. And the pressure is on our protagonist Lexy, who must find Lord Byron (More precisely the A.I. downloaded into a body that looks just like Lord Byron), true love, and have her algorithm work all my Valentine’s Day. Plus Casanova is after Lord Byron for some reason having to do with his abilities and experiences as a lover that writer Peter Milligan doesn’t dig into quite yet. He’s an amusing villain though.
Through his art, Brett Parson definitely shows that he’s better at broad comedy than intimate emotion, which isn’t always a bad thing because New Romancer #2 is insanely hilarious at time from Felicity hurling herself from a yacht when Dwayne whips out his Casanova penis holder thing (Thankfully, it’s off panel.) to Lexy and her co-worker Mong’s reaction to her boss Raj saying he’ll buy “designer underpants” to go on a date with Felicity. This is because Felicity and her old money is the last, best home for the New Romancer online dating startup. Parson does unhinged very well in his art like a double page spread of Casanova cruising the California desert with the top down and speed lines in his wake. He and Milligan are definitely more interested in the comedy than the romance part of romantic comedy for now even if colorist Brian Miller goes all out with the pink when Lexy and Lord Byron is reunited. But instead of a soft kiss, her bloody awful poetry revives him from what seems like his millionth fainting spell of the series so far.
Lord Byron has a nice blend of timeless charisma with the awkwardness of being a stranger in the 21st century. (See the silly party hat that he picks up at the club he was at in the first issue and doesn’t take off until his date with Felicity.) He gets Milligan’s funniest and prettiest dialogue. Lexy’s dad Joe appears in his issue along with his complicated relationship with his daughter, who he both loved and experimented upon to make her the best programmer. He definitely has some major issues and is in prison for beating up a journalist, who called him a “cyber quack”. Milligan doesn’t pull any punches in showing that Joe had an abusive relationship with Lexy. Her dialogue is really sad in the flashback scenes as she tells her dad to fix her brain so that she can be normal. However, the goofiness of the art sort of ruins the seriousness of these scenes.
New Romancer #2 has an infectious, chaotic energy especially when Casanova or Lord Byron show up on the panel, and Milligan keep things relatable through the character of Lexy, who is having difficulties finding true love because of her idiosyncrasies and just how damn hard 21st century dating is for a twentysomething. Brett Parson also draws some funny facial expressions and gestures to along with Milligan’s wacky wit. Even though it often doesn’t know if it wants to be a romance, comedy, or serious exploration of relationships, New Romancer #2 is a pretty fun and unique read, especially with the promise of a face-off between Casanova and Lord Byron in the next issue.
Story: Peter Milligan Art: Brett Parson Colors: Brian Miller
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.3 Recommendation: Read