Forgot about Young Monsters in Love! My thoughts:
Man-Bat in "Nocturnal Animal"
Interesting story, not exactly the kind you would expect for an anthology like this. There’s some of the idea of romantic love, with Kirk trying to regain the love of Francine, but in the end it’s more about self-love, and doing something that’s good for you, even if it hurts. It’s a decent metaphor for the battle addicts face every day.
Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E in "Pieces of Me"
I think one of the things I love about Frankenstein is that while he’s different from the classic creature from the story in some ways, he is steeped in the Gothic/romantic tropes of that time, and this is highlighted in his heartfelt and yearning letter.
The only critique I can say from this is that while the letter as an idea feels right, it seems a little off in terms of their history. In the past, Frank and Lady Frankenstein were husband and wife but separated. Here, the letter feels more unrequited, like something one would write to someone they’ve never been with but longed for, not someone who has been loved and want that love back.
Still, between that and the amazing art and action, this was a really good story.
Solomon Grundy in "Buried on Sunday"
Another nice story. One thing that I’m really liking about this anthology so far is that it seems less focused on the obvious sort of romantic love that Valentine’s Day is associated with, and here we get a humanizing moment for Solomon Grundy. Nice little moment.
Raven in "The Dead Can Dance"
I liked this story – Raven answering poltergeist calls is a little different, but fits her character, and I liked this moment of Raven letting loose and doing something normal like dancing with a boy, even if he is a ghost.
The only thing that nagged at me – is my colorblindness showing, or did they color Raven to have pink hair? That’s an odd choice, her hair is usually black with maybe some purple highlights.
Deadman in "Be My Valentine"
I really love this story. Paul Dini is such a great writer (I wonder if he’s willing to do more than just little stories for anthologies?) and Guillem March does some amazing work. The story I guess could be a bit hammy and after-school special-y, but I think it was well executed and the message is a good one.
Swamp Thing in "Heart-Shaped Box"
My thoughts while reading, “Wow…this is such a beautiful, heartfelt story. I wonder who…Mark Russel wrote this! No wonder!” While seeing Swampy with someone other than Abby was weird at first, and you kinda knew that things would not end well for the two, I thought this was really good. Swamp Thing’s dialogue was poetic and beautiful. The line of “Without love, my heart becomes a prison without a key” is going to stick with me for a while.
And the art…oh man, Frasier Irving is a GOD-TIER artist, his storytelling and use of color sets him apart from so many other artists working currently in the biz. I wish he would get more work.
Monsieur Mallah & The Brain in "Visability"
A nice story – while kind of standard “villain with good intentions gets persuaded to do things the right way,” but with solid execution.
I, Vampire in "The Turning of Deborah Dancer"
Decent story, AMAZING art by Stephanie Hans, who is a perfect fit for a character like Andrew Bennett. I’ve mostly only read his adventures in the New 52, so I was confused by this Deborah Dancer character, so I looked her up and found that she was from his original series back in the 70s, so it’s kind of cool to see them combine continuities a bit.
I do feel that while the moment of Bennett letting go of his fears to give himself to Dancer is nice, it feels…kind of empty without knowing what their relationship is. Like, I don’t have any attachment to them, I haven’t seen how they gotten together, how they act together. I think a story like this is too big for an eight page story.
The Demon in "To Hell and Gone"
Anything with rhyming Etrigan will always get me, especially if the rhymes are in sonnett and iambic parameter. The stuff with Rose was interesting – I wonder if that was history that was in the past Demon comics, or something they made up for this story.
The Creature Commandos in "Dear Velcoro"
The soldier getting a “Dear John” letter has been around since probably the invention of war, but seeing it happen with a vampire was kind of interesting. That’s about all I got for this one. Not sure if I didn’t have the right wiring at the time, or if this one is just boring. Oh well.
So yeah, overall some pretty good stuff in this one, glad to have read it.