Twisted Romance #2
Writers: “Twinkle & the Star”: Alex de Campi; “Back at Your Door”: Vita Ayala ; “Would You Even Know It?”: Meredith McClaren
Artists: “Twinkle & the Star”: Alejandra Gutiérrez; “Would You Even Know It?”: Meredith McClaren
Publisher: Image Comics

A review by Brooke Ali

The second instalment of this four part series comes out on Valentine’s Day (what a nice coincidence that the holiday is on a Wednesday this year) and it absolutely brings it with the romance! The feature story, Alex de Campi’s “Twinkle & the Star,” is the story of Twinkle, the clever assistant to a star photographer. She’s used to being surrounded by stick-thin models, but when actor and “pretty white boy,” Nick Powell, comes in to do a photoshoot they seem to connect. But why would he want her when he can have any woman he wants?

This seems like a rather tired trope: “plain” girl feels insecure, falls for some star guy, she usually gets a makeover somewhere in there (goodbye ponytail and glasses, hello gorgeous), and his attention gives her affirmation and self-worth. Not this time, folks! It wouldn’t be a Twisted Romance story if it didn’t break with convention. Of course, I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s sweet and brings some representation to an under represented group in the romance genre. I adore the art style by Alejandra Gutiérrez (Love is Love): the light pastel colours, the character design is on point, the homage to the manga style for representing surprise or shock, everything about it is sweet and whimsical and fun.

“Back at Your Door” is my favourite prose contribution so far. Vita Ayala’s (Batman Beyond) story of pre-law student Luz Lopez trying to navigate school and simultaneous crushes on two girls is relatable to anyone, whatever your orientation or if your crushes come one or two at a time. McClaren’s descriptions of the pleasure/pain, excitement/insecurity of a crush is altogether too real. She nails the physical descriptions of Luz’s emotions so well I actually found myself sympathetically reacting to Luz’s struggle. And the ending is just what I wanted it to be.

“Would You Even Know It?” is the most cerebral contribution to the series, so far, and very much of our modern age. Meredith McClaren’s (HINGES) nameless protagonist finds herself in an online relationship with someone she’s never met, someone who could be an AI bot. Together, they try to figure out what it means to be human, what it means to be in love, and what they feel for each other. With AI becoming more of a reality every day, how long before we’re tackling these questions outside of fiction? The art style uses muted colours and a whimsical character design that really works. There’s so much variety in the panel design that you hardly notice that almost the whole comic takes place in the protagonist’s one-room apartment.

Buy it! Another successful issue in the Twisted Romance series, continuing to explore themes of romance that are unique, yet relatable. The art styles of both comics compliment each other really nicely and the whole book has more of a cohesive feel than the first issue did; certainly not essential, but nice all the same.

Brooke Ali
Brooke grew up in Nova Scotia on a steady diet of scifi, fantasy, anime, and video games. She now works as a genealogist and lives in Toronto with her husband and twin nerds-in-training. When she's not reading and writing about geek culture, she's knitting, spinning, and writing about social history.

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