Comic Review – New Romancer #2

  • Writer: Peter Milligan
  • Artist: Brett Parson
  • Letterer: Todd Klein
  • Publisher: Vertigo Comics
  • Release Date: January 13, 2016

One of the best things about New Romancer #2 is that Peter Milligan and Brett Parson kind of walk this tight balance of a story that blurs the lines between genres. Is it science fiction? Is it fantasy? Is it a ridiculous romantic comedy? Is it horror? Who knows? Who cares? Because it’s fantastic!

Last month in the first issue of New Romancer, we were introduced to plucky heroine Lexy who’s at least a little bit off. A super genius by birth and design, our clever girl is currently coding for an online dating program rather than dipping into the sort of science that she probably could be working on. After a mishap unleashes several of history’s most iconic romantic figures (that range from troubled libertines to spies to long-dead rock stars) into the city, she comes face to face with the poet of her dreams: Lord Byron.

NEW ROMANCER #2 Cover by Brett Parson
NEW ROMANCER #2 Cover by Brett Parson

The man isn’t exactly what Lexy’d been expecting though and neither is Casanova. One of the clearest antagonists in the series so far, the first time we see Casanova in issue one, he’s surrounded by dead bodies and guided by a burning lust to get back at Byron for slights imagined.

Things get better though (before they get worse).

Lexy and Byron meet again after he escapes from the clutches of some seriously creepy SWAT dudes. He’s still not entirely charming but I adore him. Because he has kind of the appropriate response to a young woman like Lexy who is obsessed with the idea of him and not the reality. That’s one of the things I like about this book, that Lexy is our heroine but she’s also weird and kind of creepy with regard to how she looks at Byron. She’s romanticized the romantic author to a point where she can’t really differentiate between the dream and the reality.

There’s definitely something I like about the fact that she’s just so weird and still so cute.

At the same time we have Lexy and Byron finding one another again, we also have Casanova being incredibly creepy on a level that isn’t cute. That’s where things get worse. Because that bone that Casanova has to pick with Byron is a pretty sharp one.

After Lord Byron is pulled into the New Romancer team and volunteers to go on a date with one of their clients, we find out that it was all a ruse. Instead of spending the night with a desperately single young woman, Lord Byron winds up in Casanova’s clutches as Lexy speeds away into the night.

I really love this book. I know I say that about a lot of things, but I really mean it here. I love that Lexy is the kind of character that tends to get carried away by her fantasies. She’s genuinely a weird girl but the narrative doesn’t punish her for it. It enfolds her. She’s great because she’s a genius and her area of expertise is Lord Byron and coding, because that absolutely makes sense.

And okay, I still seriously think that the idea of making Casanova a villain is inspired. I would have never gone with that angle for him, but with Peter Milligan, he makes it work. Casanova is actually scary, frightinign in a way that a guy who wears a powdered wig probably couldn’t have been before this series. And it’s amazing.

I desperately need more of this book. I need to see what happens next and what Casanova has planned. I don’t yet care that much about the creepy tech company or Lexy’s dad, but if we can find out more about them, I’ll be excited. It’s a really great second issue and I need anyone with an interest in history and science fiction should pick it up while it’s good and early.

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About the author

Zina Hutton

writes about comics, nerd history, and ridiculous romance novels when not working frantically on her first collection of short stories.

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