Crush & Lobo and the Chance for Change
Sometimes a journey to self-discovery is a road trip. In space.
Crush & Lobo is a story about love.
Not between the titular father and daughter—ugh, as if—but the relationship between two very different people who really want to make it work. Most importantly, the GLAAD Award-winning miniseries is about Lobo’s daughter Crush starting a journey to learn to love and accept herself. Along the way, she’ll have to deal with unwanted flashbacks, meddling robot therapists, cigar-smoking alien babies, space lizards and the Main Man himself.
Buckle up! Crush & Lobo a wild ride and its now available as a complete graphic novel from Mariko Tamaki and Amancay Nahuelpan that’s, it must be said, pretty darn perfect for Pride Month.
Crush is an erstwhile member of the Teen Titans and certified “Best Girlfriend Ever.” Okay, maybe not officially. She’s dating Katie, a perfectly normal and normally perfect girl she met in the play area at a fast-food restaurant. (Now that’s a meet cute!) Katie is bright and bubbly and just about everything Crush is not. The former Titan is just one hot mess after another, from being three hours late to a Valentine’s Day date to accidentally destroying her girlfriend’s birthday party.
What really has Crush in a tizzy, other than the aforementioned destruction? Lobo. Need I say more? The Czarnian bounty hunter sends her a message offering to make amends, claiming he’s recently reformed after some therapy sessions in prison. Crush is ready for some closure in her “relationship” with her father, so she steals a jet from the Titans and sets off in space.
No, of course she’s not using Lobo as an excuse to run away from her problems with Katie. Why would you even suggest that? Well…maybe she is.
During her trip across space, Crush gets into a few fights, reads texts from Katie that she’s too scared to reply to and finds herself thrown in jail. You guessed it, Lobo’s talk of growth and reformation was nothing more than a particularly obnoxious way of conning her into switching places with him in space prison. Jerk.
Crush finally gets time to think about her relationship with Katie once she’s in the relative calm of a prison cell. Her thoughts of her girlfriend are warm, like a late summer evening, thanks to Tamra Bonvillain’s brilliant yellow and orange-tinged panels. She obviously still has feelings for Katie, but there’s one pressing matter to take care of before she can think about it for too long. Crush decides it’s time to leave prison and get Lobo back to where he belongs.
I don’t want to spoil too much, but suffice it to say that Crush doesn’t spend the rest of the series in jail. (That would be a bummer.) And the events that follow bring Crush face-to-face with some very toothy space lizards. Luckily, for some unknown reason, space lizards love Crush. If you take away one thing from Crush & Lobo, make it this: love yourself as much as space lizards love Crush.
Before the whole thing wraps up there’s more prison, more unacknowledged texts and a shocking amount of nude Lobo (consider yourself warned, although to be fair, for all his faults, it’s clear the guy hasn’t been missing the gym). And while it might be too much to hope for a traditionally happy ending here, Crush does realize she can be a better person—for Katie and for herself. All she needs is a chance.
So, after all this, does Crush love herself? She’d never admit it if she did. But it seems like she’s accepted who she is and what she’s good at. Crush & Lobo isn’t just remarkable because of the intensely likeable protagonist and her hilarious fourth wall-breaking narration, although those certainly are bonuses. Crush & Lobo shines because it’s honest, bold, original and pulls no punches—just like Crush herself.
Crush & Lobo by Mariko Tamaki and Amancay Nahuelpan is now available in bookstores, comic shops, libraries and on DC UNIVERSE INFINITE, where you can currently read the first three issues for free (with registration) as the DC Book Club’s Pride Month selection.