No, I’m just going to say screw it and kvetch about the Teen Titans Annual

With month nine of the reboot upon us, DC has decided to replace the recently cancelled books (RIP Static Shock) with a new wave of titles. I’ll be briefly looking at two of them today. I’m…not getting my hopes up.

I’m going to talk about World’s Finest and Earth 2 together. After the negative things I said regarding Paul Levitz’s writing on the Huntress mini, why did I decide to pick up yet another Helena Wayne title he’s writing? Well, let’s look at who else is attached to this book. I loved Kevin Maguire’s work on Justice League back in the day and, more recently, his parts in My Greatest Adventure and Weird Worlds. George Perez…what can be said about George Perez? His art on New Teen Titans helped to revitalize the old concept of a team of sidekicks. He was half of the team that gave us Crisis on Infinite Earths. I hear his drawing hand is insured for $20,000. One time, he signed my copy of New Teen Titans #1 and said he liked my Flash shirt. It was awesome. George Perez is the man. And yet…look. The idea that Helena Wayne and Karen Starr from Earth-2 are trapped on Earth-1 is interesting…but why is it even being explored? The reboot was supposed to do what CoIE did decades ago, erase continuity as we know it, condense all the various Multiverse worlds into one central Earth, and make things simple for new readers. By reintroducing the concept of the Multiverse within the first year of the reboot, DC is shooting itself in the foot. I’m saying this because both World’s Finest and Earth-2 were, well, your mileage may vary.
World’s Finest kind of felt like a slap in the face. In it, we learned that Huntress had been Helena Bertinelli, and that Helena had been alive once…but Helena Wayne stole her identity after she died. No info on how she passed, no indication that she was in any way the Helena Bertinelli we’d been reading and watching for years. Just a line about her death, the burning of a passport, and she’s gone. I’m not easily distressed when it comes to comic books. As a hardcore Flash Rogues fan, I’ve come to live with the constant pain of a character being mistreated. But that was how Paul Levitz decided to write off one of my favorite female comic characters? Sorry. I can’t. I hadn’t been following Mister Terrific, so Karen’s entire existence within the reboot sort of slipped under my radar. Luckily, she seems to have retained her personality, to an extent. But that costume…I know people have had issues with the boob window in the past, but damnit. Her breast looks like it’s staring at you, with David Bowie makeup on. You’ve got Kevin Maguire and George Perez working on this title, DC, and this is the costume they come up with?! Stop drugging your water cooler.
Earth-2. Well. The first half of the book was…Parademons destroying the world. Killed off or boomed away most of the heroes. Noble self-sacrifices, cameos that foreshadow future hero appearances, okay. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t terrible. Especially Batman’s scene, where he destroys the tower that’s keeping the Parademons in the air. But the second half? Well, Alan Scott comes off as a douchebag, and Jay Garrick comes off as a slacker. Let me backtrack a bit. This title is being written by James ‘Starman’ Robinson, and drawn by Nicola ‘Birds of Prey, Teen Titans, Secret Six I-am-an-art-goddess’ Scott. This is a fantastic team. [Please note, I am conveniently ignoring Robinson’s recent work with the Justice League (namely, Cry for Justice) for my own sanity.] So how, how, could he take two of the greatest heroes ever and make them…that?! I’m not even going to start on the trend of breaking up marriages in this verse. Lois Lane dead before the book even starts. Joan Garrick telling the man that, in another time, she’d been married to for over 50 years that he was ‘just a college boyfriend that I’ll explain away when my future husband asks who the guy in my old photos is’. What. What. No, stop. Go back. Erase. Rewrite. I’m going to sit over here, crossing my arms and judging you, James Robinson. The other book you’re writing right now is the best and most coherent you’ve been in years. Why couldn’t you just…stick with that goodness? I believe in you! Please, don’t ruin the JSA for me. Please. I’m begging you.

I sincerely have no idea what happened in this month’s Justice League International, mainly because I’ve never touched the Batwing, OMAC or Firestorm titles. I’m getting really tired of books crossing over randomly. The Bat-books I get. They’re all set in Gotham, all connected to Batman. Okay. No problem. But why the heck is a character from an unpopular, cancelled book like OMAC joining the JLI, even temporarily? I’m calling editorial mandate and, while I’m at it, dropping Justice League International down to in-store only status. Sorry, JLI, but you’re a bit more trouble than you’re worth.

If the first page of this month’s Animal Man didn’t make you laugh, get out. Well, that’s unfair. If you’re familiar with Grant Morrison’s run on Animal Man, and the first page of this month’s Animal Man didn’t make you laugh, then get out. Because really, if you’re not laughing at that little bit of continuity-sneaking, there’s nothing I can do to help your dead sense of humor. My hat goes off to Jeff Lemire for sneaking that old universe reference in, and also raising my hopes that we might see Buddy get to go against Mirror Master again. I’ll be raising my metaphorical hat again to Steve Pugh, who took over for Travel Foreman this issue. Either he’s a great mimic, or their styles are near-identical. Whatever the case, Pugh’s rendering of the Rot is pants-shittingly terrifying, way to go you. As for the actual progression of the story, Ellen Baker, what are you doing. I know you’re trying to be a good mom, but your daughter is the avatar of life itself. Just last issue, you watched her leave her body, jump into a fox, and turn the fox’s body into a new body in order to avoid death. The kid is destined for the capes and spandex life, but right now, she sort of needs to save the world. So why aren’t you letting her do it? Oh, for the love of…remember what I said, not even a paragraph ago, about comic crossovers becoming ridiculous? I already know I’m going to have to read Swamp Thing at some point, because that’s where this little Eldritch horror road trip is heading, but I only just dropped Justice League Dark! Don’t do this to me! I can’t handle magic books, they’re too illogical! But then again, John Constantine is a character that originated from Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing series back in the day. So maybe, just maybe, his appearance has less to do with magic, and more to do with the face that he feels like paying the big green guy a surprise visit?

I usually save the best for last, but…look. I’m not looking forward to reading the Teen Titans Annual any more than I usually look forward to reading anything else Scott Lobdell pisses out. So I saved it for last not because I think it could possibly be good, but because I’m expecting it to be bad. I’m expecting it to be mind-numbingly terrible, and I want to sit down in a well-lit area with a nice glass of vodka and go through it.
Don’t you judge me, this is how I cope.
Okay, let’s take inventory, here. We already know that the Legion Lost crew is going to be here, as are the Teen Titans, and the kids that have been solicited as being part of the new Ravagers team. So. Let’s get down to brass tacks and oh are you fucking kidding me. For those of you not in the know, DC’s most popular show, now that Brave and the Bold is gone, is this little epic called Young Justice. As of last Saturday, the second season began. One of the main characters from season one was not in the first episode. And now we know what happened to her. Damnit, Lobdell! It took Renee Montoya, Livewire, and Harley Quinn years to cross over from screen to print in the main DCU. To be fair, a version of Artemis Crock already existed in the old DCU, as the villainess Tigress, wife/babymama to the villain Icicle. But as this is the DCnU, and those characters were more closely affiliated with the team Infinity Inc, which no longer exists (as it was made up of the children of various JSA members, and the JSA hasn’t even formed on Earth-2 yet), of course he’d write in the newer, better known version. Or maybe he just never even knew about the other Artemis, whatever. This is Lobdell we’re talking about, here. I don’t want to give him too much credit. Jumping into the story. As usual, the dialogue sounds like it was written by a fourteen year old (who still uses noob?). And to be completely honest, the idea that no one there tried to talk it out before jumping into battle is ridiculous. Well, that’s not true. Tim tried to be the voice of reason, at first, but then whoops! Reboot Lightning decided to attack. Ugh. The fact that it was Superboy and Tyroc that came the closest to making the communication breakthrough instead of, say, the main peacemakers from both teams (Tellus and Kiran), is kind of ridiculous. Oh. Hold on. Here come more combatants! And…is it going to happen?! The book is hopping on its motorcycle, wheeling around towards the tank and…yes! Teen Titans Annual has jumped the shark! Ladies and gentlemen, nine issues and an annual, and the Teen Titans have their first casualty, Artemis! Wow. That…didn’t last long at all. Also, if I may, I’d like to officially guess that Harvest is actually the Time Trapper in disguise. He seems to be from the future, he wears a tattered cloak, and he hates teenaged metahumans. My other guess is that he’s a dimensionally displaced Mumm-Ra, because damn is that resemblance uncanny.

I’ve spent entirely too much time bitching about Teen Titans today. So much for a generally positive review, eh? Hope to see you back next week. If not, shh, it’s okay. I understand. I wouldn’t want to put up with me, either.

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1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Eric said,

    Jay and Alan were written based on EARLY Golden Age comics. Plus they’re younger and still growing. What has happened or what decisions the characters made aren’t set in stone.


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