Many of you reading this review are doing so for one reason and one reason only: you want to know about the guy fucking a dog. I have some bad news for you: there are maybe three panels in this entire comic that feature any kind of sex, and none that show nudity.
So if there’s no bestiality in this comic, what does it contain? It’s right there in the title. This isn’t called “Our Sex Is Great” or “Our Lust Is Real.” No, it’s Our Love Is Real. In its own way, this is a strange little love story.
In the future, sex with animals is considered okay. This, it seems, has opened the flood gates, so that people are now having sex with plants, crystals, robots (okay, this is probably already happening), and who knows what else. Our main character, Jok, is a cop who draws the line just past bestiality — it’s okay, but everything else is perverted.
Then he meets Brin.
Brin is a mineralsexual. No, that doesn’t mean having sex with rocks, at least not exactly. Mineralsexuals meditate to merge their auras with the crystals – their form of sex.
This is a perfect example of one of the reasons this book works: the details. Humphries could have left it at “mineralsexual” and just let people assume it was sex with a rock. But he gives it an explanation. Vegisexuals don’t just have sex with plants, they first feed the plants “illegal growth thylakoids” afterwards “manipulating them with ultra spectrum heat lamps.” Were this story just being played for shock value, these explanations wouldn’t matter, but since Our Love Is Real is more than that, these details matter. It reminds me of Y the Last Man in that it’s taking what can be seen as a one note joke and giving it complexity.
Not to be outdone in the detail department is Steven Sanders. I’d only seen Sanders art on the short lived Sword book from Marvel, and what I saw didn’t really appeal to me. Perhaps working on a project he owns has brought out the best in him, or maybe I’m just enamored with his fantastic grey tones, but I’m wondering if I need to go back and find his mainstream work.
Sanders’ art is frantic, too, moving at lightning speed, but it’s never confusing. It matches the story perfectly. Humphries and Sanders are strafing your brain; they have no desire to set up house there. They’ll leave that to the rubble they leave behind.
As I said, this is ultimately a love story, albeit one focused through the prism of sex. In many ways, it’s about how love can transcend physical restraints, a point that’s taken quite literally by the end of the book. It is, however, also a point that is undermined with the last line, a way of avoiding a conclusion that’s too pat and unearned.
Humphries and Sanders clearly know their book will be judged by its cover, or in this case its tagline. They embrace it. Read the back of the book and you’ll see exactly what I mean. But this doesn’t stop them from taking the material seriously and crafting one of the more interesting comic book stories of the year.
And, if it helps, there’s still about 90% less bestiality than in Preacher.
You can find Our Love Is Real online at its official website.
Kyle Garret is the author of I Pray Hardest When I’m Being Shot At,” available now from Hellgate Press. His short fiction has been published in the Ginosko Literary Journal, Literary Town Hall, Children, Churches, & Daddies and Falling Into Place. He writes comic book reviews here at Comic Bulletin and blogs for PopMatters. He can be found at KyleGarret.com and on Twitter as @kylegarret.