Review: New Romancer #3
New Romancer #3 picks up the pace and the humor as our heroine, the Romantic poetry loving computer programmer, Lexy and Lord Byron dodge robots named after classical mythological allusions from his poems, and fight Casanova, who is pretty much a sex vampire. Byron also tries to get acclimated to 21st century women, and Lexy’s little lessons in feminism for him are some of the comic’s highlights.
Writer Peter Milligan plots New Romancer #3 like a picaresque novel meets Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage (Lord Byron’s famous travel poem.) , but with more jokes and artificial intelligence. Not merely content to have the Byron and Casanova conflict play out for an entire issue, he introduces a Bachelorette-style contest for Byron’s affection that also helps get the New Romancer app off the ground as well as a new character, Mata Hari, an exotic dancer and spy in World War I. (Ada Lovelace, the mother of computer programming, and the originator She has somehow assembled a legion of zombie-like husbands, who have been caught cheating on their wives with online sex bots in a playful riff on the Ashley Madison scandal. However, Milligan’s zippy, rhythmic dialogue and focus on the budding romance and chemistry between Lord Byron and Lexy keeps things in the midst of the plot threads flying from everywhere.
And it is Brett Parson’s art and Brian Miller’s colors that truly the sparks kindling between this 19th century poet and 21st century tech wizard. For example, there is the first splash page as Lexy swings into Casanova’s lodging like a swashbuckling hero. She is willing to risk life and limb to save the man she loves and even stabs Casanova in the eye with a sausage, which turns out to be Casanova’s penis in a funny bit of slapstick. (This comic is pretty strange.) And every time, Lexy’s with Byron, her eyes are open wide like she still doesn’t believe that she is going on adventures with her literary idol. And Byron looks like he’s having fun too in contrast with the six panel grid of speed dates he goes on with various women, who are less than enamored with him. Even after Lexy’s pointers, he still doesn’t get gender equality and feminism, oops. The soft pink backgrounds during the speed dates also pale in comparison with the dark purple fire and cute yellow stars that Parson and Miller use as Byron and Lexy start their “date”. (Which is inevitably interrupted by her still controlling father because what’s a good piece of literature without a healthy dose of daddy issues.)
New Romancer #3 has wild and wacky art from Brett Parson to match the insane situations that Peter Milligan puts his cast of characters from one of Lexy’s workmates dressing as a “sexy” cupid in an ad for the New Romancer app to the earlier mentioned phallic weaponry and cheater husbands getting decked by their wives. The comic does a decent job balancing the romantic melodrama of Byron’s writing and thinking with modern day wit and sarcasm. It’s a romantic comedy that is actually funny, far from formulaic, and has some clever historical references to boot.
Story: Peter Milligan Art: Brett Parson Colors: Brian Miller
Story: 7.8 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy