Love And War #1
Andrew Wheeler writer
Killian Ng artist
Aditya Bidikar letterer
Cindy Leong designer
Comixology Original / $2.99
Love And War is a new mini series by writer Andrew Wheeler and artist Killian Ng. The idyllic Rosecastle — “A city of poets and soldiers” and “romantics and revolutionaries” — provides the backdrop for this queer sports rom com.
Here’s what you need to know! Love And War is a character focused story whose plot and tension revolves around the relationships of a small group of Aster Academy students who are all members of the school’s tug of war team. Yes, if you weren’t aware like me, tug of war is a competitve sport. Domo, the team’s anchor, and Nessa are best friends. Nessa and Jocasta are girlfriends. Gabe (or Gabriel) was the team captain. Gabe also kissed Domo in the locker room after their team lost the title match to King College. Now on the first day of classes after a two month break — two months during which Gabe was nowhere to be seen — Domo discovers Gabe has left Aster Academy. Gabe’s absence leaves the captaincy open but he’ll have to compete and win against Nessa’s very determined girlfriend Jocasta.
Here’s what to like! Queer love and relationships are portrayed matter of factly and are the only type depicted in the first chapter. Intuition tells me this will continue to be the case as the series progresses. That isn’t to say the love lives of these characters are drama free. Drama abounds with tension between Jocasta and Nessa because Nessa’s friendship with Domo has her caught in the middle as Jocasta and Domo are both scrutinized to become the new team captain. Domo’s emotions are already high over Gabe when he’s introduced to a new transfer student, the charming Emil Vargas. Readers looking for a variety of body shapes in their media will be pleased to find such representation in Love And War’s main cast and background characters, all of whom are deftly drawn by Ng. Leads Nessa and Domo are two of these characters. Even better is the creative decision to make Domo attractive to both Gabe and Emil who flirts with Domo almost from the get go.
In addition to comfortably drawing different body types, Ng’s line work is broad, confident, and emotive. Simplified backgrounds emphasize and ground the characters in space. Their compositions are enlivened by a pleasingly rendered, decorative color palette. One small detail stood out to me in my reading. That being the colors of the shoes worn by Nessa and Jocasta. Maybe the colors were just a choice on Ng’s part and not a subtle clue about either of them. I hope it’s a clue though.
How will Aster Academy’s team fare in its next match with King College if some of its members can’t pull themselves together?
Who will like Love And War? Wheeler’s and Ng’s collaboration fits squarely within the young adult genre and should appeal to readers who enjoy young adult series such as Fence, Backstagers, Lumberjanes, and Archies.
Love And War #1 is available now as a Comixology Original.