On one hand New Romancer is a fun, interesting and relevant comic. On the other hand it feels cluttered, jumpy and distant. New Romancer is another Vertigo #1 to come out before the new year. I’ve been impressed with many of the books and New Romancer was actually one of the most anticipated of the bunch. Unfortunately I was not left with the satisfying feeling that so many of the other number ones have given me. There are definitely some funny concepts in here and a few solid jokes, but it seems to be at the expense of character development and plot direction.
The premise of the comic is that computer programmer Lexy, who has been fired by a large software company, is working for a small dating website and tampering with the idea of setting up fake profiles of historic characters with built in A.I. so it feels like you are actually chatting and flirting with these characters. Sounds lonely and sad. Which is what it is supposed to sound like. Lexy is herself, lonely and sad. She is obsessed with historical poets, which fuels her project with the company New Romancer. Lexy has stolen some A.I. software from her old company Incubator to make her vision possible. As she is putting the finishing touches on the A.I. for the dating website, a solar flare storm hits the city and the A.I. gets transferred into a few deceased bodies. Lexy is pumped because she is actually going to get to meet the man of her dreams, Lord Byron. Turns out the man of her dreams is a misogynistic horn dog. He ends up leaving her in the street as he hops in a convertible with some hot babes.
The book has a lot of promise. The concept of a lonely computer programmer “mad sciencing” her dream guy from the 1800’s and him turning out to be a jerk. It is the slightly raunchier, slightly more dangerous Kate and Leopold. What missed me was the choppy plot delivery and the shallow character work. After the first issue I should have a good sense of the book, but I don’t know what could possibly be coming in the next issues. I have no idea where they could take this plot for it to be interesting enough to carry a series. I’m not sure why Lexy was making this program for New Romancer in the first place, it sounds like a terrible idea and nothing was really said from her hard ass boss, except for if she doesn’t get her work done everyone is fired. What really has me confused is the calmness of all the characters. Why isn’t Lexy freaking out that she seemingly brought a dead poet to life and why isn’t Lord Byron concerned about this. He seems to be taking things pretty well for a guy who was just displaced through time and space. I do not feel like I know Lexy or Byron by the end of this, plus Byron is a dick so I really don’t care about him. The lack of character depth and plot development will be the reason I do not pick up the next issue. If this sounds interesting to you, by all means give it a shot, but it missed me too many times.