Death of Love #1
Written by, Justin Jordan
Art by, Donal Delay
Colors by, Omar Estevez and Felipe Sobreiro (pgs. 1-5)
Letters by, Rachel Deering
Reviewed by Tom Zimm
This is a story of a self-absorbed, misogynistic, jerk masquerading as a nice guy – potentially. The author explains in the exposition following the issue that the challenge is to pull out some relatable, but dark, aspect of the character in order to demonstrate a real life lesson about relationships. I love the premise and the way the creators developed the theme in this issue.
The issues begins as the protagonist, Philo, explains that he started taking pills to find love. He kept taking pills because it worked, sort of. Philo struggles with low self esteem and self-centeredness common in those awkward early 20’s years for men. An exchange between Philo and his best friend, Bob, about Philo’s love interest adds a layer to this narrative. Philo says, “Do you know how much stuff I do for her? I get her gifts, I listen to her talk about her asshole dudes..I watch her cat.” Bob points out that Philo doesn’t do nice things for him yet Philo is doing nice things for this girl? In addition, Philo knows things about Bob’s preferences, but he doesn’t know anything about the girl he’s supposedly interested in? The exchange exposes the dishonesty and hypocrisy of Philo’s efforts to attract this girl. And, how he’s out of touch with how to be a friend to a girl, and how he is presenting a false front just to “get the girl.” The lesson, Philo is not a nice guy, he’s a jerk.
The misogyny hits a boiling point when Bob and Philo attend a presentation for how to pick up girls. The presenter claims that women like the alpha male, “and you’re all betas.” Bob leaves the meeting after growing tired of the macho, he-man logic of the presenter. Philo stays, which leads him to go to a bar afterwards to try to pick up chicks. After failing miserably, he and two of his cohorts stick around to have some drinks. The group is propositioned by a stranger, “Aaron”, who offers them a pill that will change everything for him – mainly, it will give him a different perspective, which will help him find love. Or, at least that’s the assertion.
After numerous drinks, Philo works up the courage to take a pill, and, to put it spoiler-free, he sees things differently. The cliffhanger comes when he becomes the target of one of the evil-looking baby-angels pictured on the front cover of the issue.
I enjoyed this book because the relationship advice it provides isn’t preachy or scolding. Philo’s hypocrisy, presenting a nice-guy veneer with selfish motives, was exposed by his best friend Bob. True to life, Philo doesn’t learn the lesson easily and has to make mistakes to learn the hard way. This felt true to life. Narcissism is not something a young man shakes after a speech from a friend, or, by pursuing a girl.
In addition, the issue avoids the mistake of presenting a cookie-cutter prescription to solve Philo’s problems. First, his dishonesty has to be exposed. He must feel the pain of his ego being crushed, and then recovery can ensue. This book stayed clear from making a paint-by-numbers after school comic and showed use the train wreck, Philo’s failed attempt to use machismo to find a girl. In addition, Philo goes a step further and ingests the pill “from a stranger” in a bar to solve his problem. Now Philo must face the consequences of his choice. I’m in for the ride and would highly recommend this book.