“Lovers and other Dangers” concludes Dick Grayson’s visit to Key West, but what a great cameo he has in this tightly written dense crossover compliments of Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti. If you didn’t already pick up Starfire No. 7, you should–this has been a wonderful two-part story that any comic book fan can enjoy!

Last month’s issue had us ending on a tender note as Kori and Dick finally share an intimate moment after being chased, fired-upon, and nearly blown up by n’er-do-wells after a dangerous briefcase in an espionage intrigue straight out of the pages of Grayson.

This issue picks right up from there with that brief kiss interrupted by still more explosions.

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Never a dull moment!

Grayson’s mission isn’t quite over and he and Kori will spend the rest of the issue trying to wrap up not only their relationship, but the thugs who are after them.

Conner and Palmiotti do both: nimbly and satisfyingly–and with plenty of dash on the part of our favorite former Robin.

Love and Danger DO mix!

The best part of this book is how honestly and realistically the relationship between Dick and Kori is treated. They were once lovers and they have an affection for one another still, and it shows. But Dick is now chin-deep in Spyral and has no time nor interest in reigniting an old fling, while Kori is actually trying to move forward with Sol (though making a bit of a hash of it due to her awkwardness with human social customs).

Her first date with Sol was crashed by Grayson and she basically ditched him on their cruise. Now Dick reminds her that maybe she should check in with him since that wasn’t exactly a cool thing to do. I love the lack of jealousy and the mutual support these characters provide for one another.

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And Kori is just funny!

We also get to see Sol’s side of things. He’s in a complicated morass of emotions because of the loss of his young wife, his newfound attraction to Kori, and his friendship with Rave. All of this could be eye-rolling melodrama, but the writers keep the characters from histrionics and the relationship triangulations are actually well-integrated into the action of the book. The story is as much about the intrigues as it is about the interplay between Kori and her new friends in this new life. It makes for a balanced and interesting mix, without any clunky seams between the almost rom-com antics, the fight sequences, and the sci-fi elements.

Teamwork in and on this Book

The chemistry between Dick and Kori and Kori and Sol and Sol and Rave is all very nice: well-written, and dramatically tense without being soap-opera. But let’s talk about the teamwork outside of the story:

Emanuela Lupacchino continues to be a huge part of why I got hooked on this book (even before Grayson made his appearance). Mirco Pierfederici (assists) and Ray McCarthy (inks) also deserve credit on this book, along with Hi-Fi’s colors and Tom Napolitano’s letters. This is team that works beautifully together and the book literally effuses with radiant intensity. Even the scenes in which nothing is blowing up and we don’t have the luxury of Kori’s flaming mane show characters who are full of life. The beautiful sunrise moment between Sol and Rave isn’t just beautiful because of the sunlit colors, but the nuanced expressions of the characters: Rave’s fear and resignation is so lovely.

Also look for the Dave Taylor coloring book cover variant–it’s really cool and actually looks like it would be fun to color!

Recommended If…

  • You want to see Dick Grayson being his classy self.
  • You liked the Dick and Kori coupling and would enjoy something like closure for them since Dick’s “death”.
  • The mix of spies, sci-fi, and romance sounds like a big win (it is!).

Overall

I’ve never been inclined toward any of the gene strong-points of this series (strong female alien superhero, romance, slapstick humor), but Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti work magic with all of the characters they bring to life and Emanuela Lupacchino is a fantastic match to the aesthetic of this kind of storytelling. Starfire demonstrates her strength in this issue by holding the focus of the storyline even up against the magnet that is Dick Grayson. This is what a crossover/cameo should look like: an opportunity for fans of one or the other book to get invested in something they aren’t reading, but should be.

SCORE: 9.5/10