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Our Love Is Real One-Shot Review: Love Hurts

by on November 12, 2011

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I volunteered to review this one-shot. I was expecting something thought-provoking, cerebral, something that would make me wonder about ourselves and how we could become sexually attracted to other things than, well, other people. 

The final page of this comic says to file it under “Sci-fi/OMG/WTF”. And that was pretty much my reaction to the entire one-shot. It takes pleasure (heh heh see what I did there) in subverting expectations. Instead of something along the lines of Solaris or The Tree of Life, where more emphasis is on character development, atmosphere, and making you ponder such an environment, the comic is more of a Michael Bay film. It prefers excess and over-the-top action over truly exploring its core concept: what is real love? Perhaps the reason for this decision is because of the short page-count, 28 pages including the back pages, but it really gives off this feeling of a flubbed opportunity. 
 Sam Humphries is a writer on the rise, slowly but steadily getting a higher profile in the comic world. However, his characters’ dialogue is simplistic and borderline-stupid in this one-shot, perhaps to the point if I wonder if it was intentional. It conceivably could be, after all, the core concept is ridiculous as it is. There are some brilliant moments in the writing, especially where the lead character, Jok, frets that he is a homosexual, even though his actual sexuality, a “zoosexual”, is a person legally allowed to commit bestiality on a daily basis. The reversal of what is and what is not acceptable is a true double-take moment. 
However, again, Humphries doesn’t really take a look at the upside-down nature of his world. Just a couple of pages later, we’re back to Jok bashing faces in. Though some subtle irony is inserted into Jok’s character, although said irony is a bit generic. Despite being a police officer, Jok is more of a thug than the so-called “thugs” he’s pounding into the ground. There is also a nice analogy between “vegisexuals” and hippies too, after all, where do you think “flower power” came from? But little touches like that are not enough. 
Overall, the writing is Michael Bay without a PG-13 limitation. Just imagine what that sounds like. You think the dialogue in the Transformers trilogy was simplistic and crude, all three movies have nothing on this book. And that dialogue is what throws me out of the world more than anything else. It’s just mind-numbingly dumb.

The art is capable. Steven Sanders brings a nice stylized look to the characters and to Humphries’ world. The art is black-and-white, and Sanders seem fond of exaggerated faces, particularly when Jok has given said face a thorough bashing. 

Overall, there’s a manga aesthetic to how the action and characters are drawn, despite the basic Western look of the characters. Manga’s influence is particularly strong on Jok’s sideburns and the secondary character Brin’s overall dainty, Macross-songstress look. If nothing else, the quirky art is at least worth a look. The question is whether you want to look at posters advertising bestiality and telling you this “love is real”, along with reading the atrocious dialogue, in order to experience Sanders’ capable, dramatic action sequences. 
In short, I’m a bit disappointed by this offering. What I get from this is that this is a wasted opportunity at worst, or, perhaps, a pilot to something that could really explore the concepts behind this world. But after the dialogue, and the superficial way these concepts are handled outside of some good ideas, I’m not sure I would want to read a longer look at this universe, when the execution of this one-shot is just middling. 
And, overall, so is this comic. Just a middling disappointment.

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