REVIEW: ‘DC’s Crimes of Passion,’ Issue #1

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DC Crimes of Passion #1

DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 is this year’s DC Comics Valentine’s Day special. The anthology features work from writers Steve Orlando, Jordan Clark, Stephanie Phillips, Matt Groom, Sam Johns, James Tynion IV, Jay Baruchel, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Liz Erickson, Sina Grace, and Ram V. It also features artwork from Greg Smallwood, Kieran McKeown, Dexter Vines, Riley Rossmo, Anthony Spay, Jason Paz, Wade Von Grawbadger, Gleb Melnikov, Andie Tong, Paul Fry, Mark Farmer, Abel, Mike Norton, and John Paul Leon. It features colors from Adriano Lucas, Jordie Bellaire, Arif Prianto, Luis Guerrero, Steve Oliff, Jeromy Cox, John Kalisz, and Hi-Fi Colors. The anthology features letters from Clem Robins, Steve Wands, Troy Peteri, AndWorld Designs, and Tom Napolitano.

The most charming part of DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 is the fact it feels like am homage to the golden age of comics. All of the stories and even the art are reminiscent of books that were published in the 1940s – 1950s. However, the anthology still feels modern despite playing with an older aesthetic. The opening story, “More than Maybe,” from writer Steve Orlando, artist Greg Smallwood, and letterer Clem Robins, sets up this aesthetic perfectly. Orlando’s dramatic narrative features a Bruce Wayne writing a letter to a woman he loves. The longing gazes between Bruce and his lady feel like something out of Casablanca. Additionally, Smallwood’s artwork is the perfect throwback but the modern panel design keeps the pages easy to get lost in.

DC's Crimes of Passion #1
“More than Maybe,” from writer Steve Orlando, artist Greg Smallwood, and letterer Clem Robins

Riley Rossmo’s artwork in the second story “Pulling Punches,” from writer Stephanie Phillips, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Troy Peteri, is a fantastic segway. Rossmo’s art style is different from Smallwood’s but similar enough the transition isn’t jarring. Additionally, Bellaire’s coloring mirrors that older aesthetic. After “Pulling Punches,” the art styles of the various stories look and feel a lot more modern but the color palette remains consistent throughout the book which keeps the anthology feeling cohesive.

Outside of the artwork and coloring of the anthology, DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 features an eclectic group of characters; from stories starring Wildcat, to the Pied Piper, the supervillain turned hero who is usually associated with the Flash. Additionally, while being billed as a Valentine’s Day Special, not every story is full to the brim with romance. That being said, the best stories of the anthology are the more romantic ones including “More than Maybe,” “The Prettiest Thing” from writer Sina Grace, artist Mike Norton, colorist Hi-Fi, and letterer Troy Peteri, and “Out of The Past” from writer Jordan Clark, penciler Kieran McKeown, inker Dexter Vines, colorist Adriano Lucas, and letterer Steve Wands.

“Out of The Past,” starring Batwoman is a stand out because of Clark’s story. The romance between Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer is a fan-favorite. Their clear respect and love for each other never seems to be enough to overcome the various obstacles Kate faces as Batwoman. This sad, somber, but beautiful narrative is highlighted well in the story. That being said, McKeown’s pencils are rough at some points and often struggle to convey the emotional beats of the dialogue.

DC's Crimes of Passion #1
“More than Maybe,” from writer Steve Orlando, artist Greg Smallwood, and letterer Clem Robins

In contrast, “Knightfalls in Blüdhaven,” from writer Jay Baruchel, artist Andie Tong, colorist Steve Oliff, and letterer AndWorld Designs, carries its emotional beats primarily through Tong’s art. While the dialogue from Baruchel isn’t bad, it is very wordy and at times Dick Grayson feels out of character. Nonetheless, any angsty love story between Dick and Babs is a positive in my eyes.

DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 is a well thought out anthology. Fans of DC Comics looking for more tidbits into their favorite characters’ love lives should definitely pick it up. Additionally, the inclusion of lesser-known characters makes this issue that much more unique.

DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold and online.

DC's Crimes of Passion #1
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TL;DR

DC’s Crimes of Passion #1 is a well thought out anthology. Fans of DC Comics looking for more tidbits into their favorite characters’ love lives should definitely pick it up. Additionally, the inclusion of lesser-known characters makes this issue that much more unique.