Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and to celebrate DC Comics has released a new anthology, Love is a Battlefield, to highlight some of the multivarious relationships sprinkled throughout the DC Universe. For good and for ill, it manages to capture how relationships are often utilized in comics. If a writer understands two characters and their motivations, a relationship can give readers the most heartfelt moments in an entire creator's run. But at the very same time, a relationship storyline can lead to some of the most awkward, head-scratching, bang-your-head-against-a-wall-in-frustration blunders when executed poorly. Don't worry, nothing in here gets that bad, but there are some weird moments that reminded me of what occurs when a writer profoundly misunderstands a character and then tries to make them fall in love.
Since this is an anthology, I'll cover each short story separately in rapid-fire succession. Get ready:
"Perfect Matches" — Batman and Catwoman infiltrate Maxie Zeus' wedding party to try and take down a few of Gotham's supervillains. It's always fun to see Bruce Wayne's alter-ego, Matches Malone, and we get a few funny interactions (mostly with Riddler). But at the very end the story dives back into the failed wedding between the two and, well, if you're still mad about that it might sour the whole thing for you.
"Bittersweet" — Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor get their date interrupted and wind up attached via the Lasso of Truth, bringing out some of Steve's biggest insecurities about their relationship that lesser writers (and some fans) try to use as justification for why she should be with somebody like Superman. Thankfully, writer Crystal Frasier isn't one of those people. There is, however, a tangent at the end about gender fluidity that comes completely out of left field and stumbles just as soon as it's introduced.
"Loose Lips" — An interrogation between Perry White and Amanda Waller somehow turns flirtatious. I threw my hands up at the end by how little sense it made, then was reminded that couples like Superman & Lois Lane and Green Arrow & Black Canary aren't in this book. Because reasons.
"A Tale of Two Titans" — a cute story about awkward first dates that winds up making a good argument for why Kid Flash should be with Avery Ho.
"The Beginning" — this one wins the whole anthology by how beautifully it's written. I won't dare spoil it, just flip directly to this one when you pick up DC: Love is a Battlefield!
"Together Forever" — A space tomb hurdling towards Earth piloted by two unconscious bird-like aliens somehow becomes all about how Hawkman and Hawkwoman life cycles... somehow. This one was bad.
"Anniversary" — A fun little story, but it still feels like nobody can nail down the Scott Free/Big Barda dynamic unless your first name is Tom (King & Taylor).
"Ex-position" — Mind-altering plants cause Nightwing and Starfire to vent about why their relationship ended. It really works, so much so that I wanted them back together by the end of it.
"Able" — An LGBT storyline set in WWII that hits like a ton of bricks once you find out what's going on.
"The Heart Wants" — The anthology wraps up by diving back into the complex relationship between John Stewart and Fatality. It's pretty solid, but only if you're familiar with their contentious saga.
Love Is a Battlefield doesn't break any new ground, but it's outstanding in certain moments. I'd recommend it for anyone who is a fan of the characters inside, even if you're in the "Love Stinks" camp heading into Valentine's Day weekend.
Published by DC Comics
On February 9, 2021
Written by Various
Art by Various
Colors by Various2comments
Letters by Various
Cover by Kaare Andrews