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DC LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD #1/ Stories by VARIOUS/ Art by VARIOUS/ Colors by VARIOUS/ Letters by VARIOUS/ Cover by KAARE ANDREWS/ Published by DC COMICS

Imagine if you will a fancy restaurant, with the cliché snooty waiter with a bad French accent…

“Ah! So good to see you again. Right this way. Have a seat. So good to see you here tonight of all nights!”

“The creator’s list? Of course! I regret that we were not able to tag them all tonight, but you see, there’s only so many tags you can put on a review before WordPress gets a bit wonky. But we have this image prepared for you all!”

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Forgive me the melodramatic opening, but DC Love Is A Battlefield #1 is a jumbo-size box of chocolates which requires such melodrama, if only because I want to properly credit all the creators. And this book has a lot of creators and a lot of stories, all built around the central theme of love. Not all of the stories are romantic, however, and not all of them end happily.

The last story is a prime example of this and I single out “The Heart Wants” as it is centered around a pairing that made me blink when I saw it in what I presumed was meant to be a romanced-themed anthology: John Stewart and Fatality.

For those unfamiliar with the characters, Fatality was a warrior princess and the sole survivor of the planet Xanshi, which John Stewart tried and failed to save single-handedly in a moment of arrogance. This gave Fatality a mad-on for all Green Lanterns and turned her into a prolific serial killer targeting the Corps, until she was captured by the love-powered Star Sapphires and brainwashed into serving them. She also fell for the man responsible for killing her people and it was suggested they would marry in one alternate future.

“The Heart Wants” is built around how utterly creepy all this was and John Stewart’s efforts to free Fatality from the control of the Zamorans; the alien race who run the Star Sapphires. I’m glad to see John Ridley tackling a subplot that never sat right with me during the whole War of Light storyline, though I suspect few comic readers care about the agency or characterization of someone like Fatality. That’s besides the point, however, and the story speaks volumes as to the character of John Stewart.

Most of the stories in DC: Love Is A Battlefield #1 are more light-hearted, such as the opening story in which Batman and Catwoman infiltrate a supervillain wedding, with Batman disguised as Selina’s henchman. The Wonder Woman story has Diana and Steve Trevor having a long-overdue chat about their relationship after Steve gets a little too honest after getting snared on the Lasso of Truth in the middle of a supervillain fight interrupting their date night.

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The story I imagine most people are interested in, however, is the Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy team-up “The Beginning.” It’s no secret that most Harley and Ivy fans are not happy about how DC Comics has handled the idea of a romantic relationship between the two heroines in the main universe, leaving any suggestion of true love to the cartoons and the alternate universes, like Injustice. This story is also set in a nebulous alternate future and has the pair looking back on their life together, but it’s a good one that rings true and Tim Seeley did a fantastic job on the script. The artwork by Rebekah Issacs and colorist Kurt Michael Russell is equally amazing and I hope to see more from them in the future.

I got a kick out of the Hawkman/Hawkwoman story written by Cavan Scott, which finds the two star-crossed lovers trying to stop an alien tomb from crashing into the Earth. I liked the Teen Titans story, though I don’t think one of the romantic pairings made much sense based on what I’ve read in The Flash. Another favorite was the unlikely story pairing Amanda Waller and Perry White, which, being a Mark Russell story, you can correctly assume was hilarious. I also liked the Sgt. Rock story, though I can’t really discuss “Able” without giving away the whole story. Suffice it to say it’s probably the most thought provoking piece in the whole anthology.

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The weakest story is probably the Mister Miracle and Big Barda one, which is heavy on action yet feels entirely inconsequential. There’s also something off about the Nightwing and Starfire story, in which Kory and Dick run into each other while fighting alien invaders, in what is apparently their first meeting since breaking-up. This story isn’t bad, but the dialogue (brought on by alien pheromones getting the two to open up) seems a bit forced.

In the end, DC Love Is A Battlefield #1 is like most anthologies. If you aren’t a fan of the characters or creators involved, there’s not much reason to pick this one up. However, as someone who likes seeing Harley and Ivy in love, a thrilling story with Hawkwoman kicking ass and comedic stories about superhero teenagers stressing over a first date, there was a lot for me to like here and there’s probably at least one story everyone can enjoy.

rating 4

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