- By James On February 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm -

Young Romance: The new 52 Valentine’s Day Special #1

Written by: Andy Diggle, Ann Nocenti, Cecil Castellucci, Peter Milligan, Kyle Higgins

Art by: Gene Ha, Emanuela Lupacchino, Becky Cloonan, Phil Jimenez, Sanford Green, Simon Bisley

Cover by: Kenneth Rocafort

Published by: DC Comics


This is a selection of interesting little vignettes. The characters are introduced, so I suspect there is an ulterior motive of capturing readers of other comics with this ‘romantic’ special looking to draw in new readers. There are six stories in total.

I was pleased to see a piece of period history. Aquaman and Mera in “The Lighthouse” by Cecil Casteluucci brings us quite a nice story when Mera finds a selection of letters from the past. We are brought to the 1860s and everything that goes with that era as the story of a lighthouse keeper’s daughter unfolds. The double page spread layout for this story with one wide panel at the top is really very beautiful, and the rest of the page, very nice comic work.

Nightwing has quite an upbeat story here. As he flies into action he is essentially standing up a girl who obviously likes him as she explains on the phone but is not really happy with, well, Dick Grayson’s hectic lifestyle. By the end of the action, Grayson meets Ursa, a protection specialist and they get on well, it seems, and engage in some light fun exercise although there is an irony about the ending which is really funny. I thought the story by Kyle Higgins was slick and tidy, while the artwork by Sanford Greene was clean and captured the action quite well.

Batgirl comes upon a chap up to no good, but she knows him, and he adores her, having once had a kiss that left him feeling quite wonderful. The story was an interesting idea, but I couldn’t get my head around the location. Initially we see a street, but when we see Ricky, the street is behind him, and then it’s behind Batgirl. I felt the characters, the face work and even the story were spoiled by this nagging that if two people are going to interact in one location, then that location should be worked out, laid out, and all the background views and perspectives aligned.

The image of Apollo flying over Soul is so graceful and beautiful. Apollo should have an incredible physique, and artist Simon Bisley captures that moment really perfectly. Bisley never fails to impress. His style is such that elements change within the frame but never fail to impart the story. Peter Milligan’s dialogue here is spot on as one would expect from this expert story teller. The action scenes are brutal and brilliant. There is great movement and the fight that Midnighter finds himself in works well.  The interaction between the Midnighter and Apollo is very well thought through, and an element from the fight continues through to these scenes. There is one page where the chiselled jaw, strong chin, exceptionally handsome good looks and stunning blue eyes of Apollo look out at the reader, and again here the artist is perfect. The story is an interesting one for this comic, reflecting in many ways the reality of relationships.

There is also a Wonder Woman and Superman story which doesn’t really live up to the fantastic cover of the title and was a little convoluted and complex, although it seems to tie into the ongoing comic, so there may be more to that.

I really enjoy these short specials, especially when stories hit the mark or artwork is really nice. I was very impressed with Emanuela Lupacchino’s work on Think it Through and the Batman Catwoman  story, which was romantic in the rose tinted sense. It is always good to see established creators having a go at a nice short comic story and doing it very well, as is the case with Milligan and Bisley.







  1. […] DC Comics’ “New 52” celebrated love in a Valentine’s Day Special. A review by the prolific James […]

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