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Preview: Young Monsters in Love #1

Young Monsters in Love #1

(W) Paul Dini, James Robinson, Jeff Lemire, Steve Orlando, Mark Russell, Kyle Higgins, Alisa Kwitney, Phil Hester (A) Guillem March, Frazer Irving (A/CA) Kelley Jones
In Shops: Feb 07, 2018
SRP: $9.99

It’s hard being a monster… and even harder being a monster in love. Sparks will fly and hearts will be broken when the ghouls and ghosts of the DC Universe assemble to bring you the Valentine’s Day Special that no one saw coming!

Review: Young Monsters In Love # 1

Here’s my pitch for Young Monsters in Love #2:

After a comic book company cuts down Poison Ivy’s favorite trees to make terrible Valentine’s Day special about their most popular supernatural characters in romantic situations, Ivy reanimates all the print copies as zombies to horribly murder everyone foolish enough to buy it.

This was originally supposed to be a short review but the depths of hatred inspired in me by reading the book cannot be easily contained within a mere paragraph or two.

Young Monsters in Love is one of the worst comics DC has ever published in it’s 80+ year history, ranking right alongside the original Super Sons stories from the mid seventies and All-Star Batman and Robin. Reading this book felt like a chore for the first sixty pages and like torture for the last twenty.

What you get for your $7.99 cover price is a selection of vignettes (I hesitate to call them stories) in which a variety of DC’s darker characters feel the tug of love at whatever passes for their heartstrings. It’s a solid concept and one that should have yielded a decent comic, especially considering the amount of talent DC assigned to it (far too many names to list). This is more like a box of cut rate,  dollar store Valentine’s Day cards featuring off-brand monster cereal mascots. It’s a cynical cash grab with as much earnest affection behind it as a box of chocolates purchased from CVS at the last minute because you forgot your anniversary.

The biggest problem here is the format. 80 pages is a lot of space, enough for four regular issues in fact. Yet most of the stories are simply too short. Some of them could have been worthwhile had they been given a little more room to breathe. The characters, as depicted here, are at best a vague motivation and wrapped up in a thinly veiled conceit of supernatural horror. They never quite develop as people and fail to establish the emotional connection essential to all good love stories. If you’re not already a fan there is no real reason for you to become one. Staring at a blank sheet of bristol board is more compelling than most of this stuff. 

The worst of the bunch are “Pieces of Me” a Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. story by Tim Seeley and Giuseppe Camuncoli and “The Dead Can Dance” a Raven story written by Colin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing with art by Javier Fernandez. The idea of a man (Frankenstein) pining for his ex-wife, who is now in love with another woman, should have been retired along with Friends and I can’t believe that a story in which the resolution of the plot requires a teenage female superhero (Raven)  to dance with a male ghost against her wishes is being published in 2018 of all years. In both cases what’s meant to be poignant comes off as tone deaf and creepy. 

The best story and the only one worth the paper it’s printed on is “Be My Valentine” by Paul Dini and Guillem March. This surprised me as Dini’s comics are hit or miss, I’ve never cared much for March’s faux manga style and the star character (Deadman) is someone I usually find at least mildly irritating if not downright annoying. Nonetheless this is a great story, a true diamond buried in a giant pile of turds. Deadman saves a little kid from being hit by a train and uncovers a case of bullying in the classroom which he puts right with a sense of compassion not usually found in the genre. Dini’s script recalls the holiday special issues of old and March feels like he’s channeling a bit of Neal Adams, the best artist to ever draw a Deadman story, to good effect. It’s a true classic and one of the best things I’ve ever read in a DC comic but sadly it doesn’t come close to justifying paying almost eight dollars for the rest of this garbage. Hopefully it gets reprinted in a better book.

I love DC’s supernatural characters so I was really expecting Young Monsters In Love to be a fun book. What it is instead is a collection of what amounts to back-up features that are as lacking in purpose as they are in heart. Oh and the story teased by the cover about Swamp Thing and Frankenstein’s bride? That never happens. For shame DC. For shame.

Story: Paul Dini, James Robinson, Jeff Lemire, Steve Orlando, Mark Russell, Kyle Higgins, Alisa Kwitney, Phil Hester, Tim Seeley, Mairghread Scott
Art: Guillem March, Frazer Irving, Kelley Jones, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Bryan Hitch, Javier Fernandez, Nic Klein, Stephanie Hans, Mirko Colak, John McCrea

Story: 0.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 4.0 Recommendation: Pass

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review