[Variant cover by Dan Mora]
Crush is a new character in the DC Universe. Even though she was part of the Teen Titans for a bit, she still needs a writer with a vision to reach her full potential.Crush & Loboshows that’s what Mariko Tamaki can and hopefully will be for her. The solo series fully embraces the DC Pride initiative and gives us a few more sides of Crush on a very entertaining journey.
Tamaki mentioned in oneinterviewthat working with letterer Ariana Maher and illustrators Amancay and Tamra has reminded her how ridiculously fun comics can be, which is easy to feel when readingCrush & Lobo. Every element is there to make it a pleasant read, from the vibrant colors to the narration and the characters. When narrating, Crush is a self-aware character; she constantly talks about the type of character she is, how ridiculous these situations are, and even thanks us for reading. But she doesn’t do that like Deadpool; it’s not a resource to make it seem like knows she’s in a comic book, it’s only a way to make her speak to the reader and turn the story into something even more enjoyable.
Like many coming-of-age stories, Crush is an edgy teenager that doesn’t fit in and is in self-destruct mode. She just quit the Titans, doesn’t talk to any of them, and keeps beating aliens up for her whole day. Her only meaningful connection is with Katie, her girlfriend. The first chapter is the cutest thing ever; Katie seems like a really easy-going person that loves Crush. And both of them can be themselves around each other. Saying the dance scene (in the picture above) is beautiful is an understatement. That’s why I wanted to see a lot more of Crush and Katie hanging out and having fun together, but that’s not the point of the book.
Everything Crush goes through in this comic helps her realize maybe it’s not too late to be better. And Lobo plays a big role in that realization, so let’s focus a bit on the Main Man.
You might have noticed I haven’t talked much about Lobo for a comic calledCrush & Lobo, but that’s because he actually doesn’t appear a lot, even though he is relevant. His importance to the comic is what he means for Crush and their father-daughter relationship.
Father-daughter dynamics are pretty popular in media. We have the perfect examples inThe Last of Us乔尔和艾莉，还有《x战警》漫画中的洛根和劳拉。在这两部电影中，有着痛苦过去的超然父母形象因为女儿而变得更好。随着时间的推移，乔尔开始暗示，他开始真正喜欢上了艾莉，她正在成为对他很重要的人。The story seemed to be only about Joel dropping a girl from one place to another, but it developed into a tale about a father allowing himself to love and be loved again and sacrificing everything – even the rest of the world – to save someone he loves.
Logan and Laura have a very similar relationship; they become so important to one another that Laura assumes the mantle of Wolverine, honoring her father’s legacy. But, in a way,Crush & Loboexists to break that dynamic. Even though it seemed that Lobo had changed, everything was a ruse. No matter what happens, he will never become someone better or sacrifice anything for his daughter. For Crush, being like him is a curse.
Lobo invites Crush to visit him in prison, promising he has changed. But he implants his monitor chip on her, making all the robot guards think Crush is her father. It works mostly as a joke, but everyone seeing her as Lobo has a deeper meaning. Even though the inmates know she’s not exactly her dad, they still act like she kinda is and call her things like “New Lobo” or “Other Lobo,” showing how she sees herself. To herself and to others, Crush is only a projection of Lobo. She can’t be better than him because she is him. His enemies are her enemies. His flaws are her flaws. That’s why when talking to Julia, the sole thing she thinks about is the time she hurt Katie; Lobo abuses and uses other people without batting an eye, he’s scum, so – in her eyes – that’s what she is too.
One thing I didn’t like much about this comic is that throughout basically the entire series, we saw Crush comparing herself to her dad and how awful they are, but we didn’t see many moments in which she changes her opinion and realizes that she might still have a chance to be better – only in the last issue. But she also knows that she can’t lie her way into being a better person, she actually needs to put in the effort. So I’m hopeful we will see more of that in a sequel.
At the end of the last chapter, we have been presented with some elements that will be part of Crush’s next story. She finally texts Katie, but isn’t given a definitive answer about their relationship; the new warden of the prison hires her to find and arrest escaped prisoners; also, the weird pink alien she fought a few times in the series calls someone and tells them to deal with Crush.
Crush is kind of like an empty canvas; her “world” is still small. Mariko Tamaki can, for example, develop what Crush will want to do in the future, her love life, and friends (connect more with Emiko or other characters). There’s a lot more that can be done and I want to be here to read it. To me,Crush & Loborepresents a good start to something that can be great.