DC Pride #1: Dreamer in 'Date Night'
Dreamer has a date with Brainy! But first, she has to figure out some sketchy stuff that is happening with.. the League of Shadows? Better not to worry Kara just in case!
As much as Nia tells Kara that she’s only dealing with a bank robbery when actually her newly found enemies are none other than the League of Shadows, this short story tells the reader that it is about a date when actually it’s primarily about the freedom that we can dream when we dream of LGBTQ+ liberation. Both twists in stories happen smoothly, beautifully and from an organic place of love for comics, superheroes and how they can make us both smile and thrive to be better. Nia in this story feels, in her kindness, wittiness, awkwardness and responsibility, like an already classical superhero you fall in love with every instant. She has that charm in her words and that clumsiness that makes the reader smile and identify with her, and, as a trans reader, I am really happy that she’s relatable in the wider storytelling way, moreso having in mind how very little examples we have of trans representation and how messy they usually are.
By these few pages, you can safely say Nicole Maines is as good at writing Nia Nal as she is acting her, hitting just the best jokes (shout-out to ‘oh, what in the gay hell’) and lines every time. Plus, Stott’s art and Angiolini’s colors capture preciously that wit and spontaneity of the characters, with rough lines, focus on action and an urban vibe that meshes everything together nicely. Some faces do feel a bit too caricature-ish or uncanny at times, but the pros overwhelm the cons by a great margin, with some panels being particularly astounding, like the one in which Nia dreams all her future movements, or the last panels of Brainy and her watching a movie comfortably.
I do have some issues with a particular line of the story, the part where Nia talks about the various challenges facing transgender people’s basic freedom, specifically the “the freedom to love” line. It’s a scene visually illustrated with Brainy and Nia kissing, and, within a story that doesn’t establish Nia’s sexuality, feels focusing a heteronormative lens on the freedom to love who exactly. It doesn’t help that this is not an anthology centering trans stories at all (in a year that needs it) and there’s no explicitly bisexual or lesbian trans woman on DC Pride #1. Barring this detail, the rest of the points made in the story and the way in which it showcases a trans superhero are just important, vital, challenging. Nia’s story shines greatly, even if we definitely need more lights to shine this way on DC’s part.
The creative team fits the tone of the story perfectly. And, I'm in awe for any bit more of Nia's stories, and specially for trans children reading this and future Dreamer stories and inspiring themselves in this superhero.
DC Pride #1: Dreamer in ‘Date Night’
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10
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