Sunday, February 26, 2012

Comic Review -- Teen Titans #3-4 / Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth, & Norm Rapmund

Teen Titans #3: Better to Burn Out... Than to Fade Away
I love how comic book covers can so often be a study in misdirection, if not the perpetual outright lie.  Red Robin and Bunker look great as they clash here, but the closest they come in the story is preparing for fisticuffs... right before Bunker gives Red Robin a great big hug.  They're friends from that point onward.

Kid Flash continues to vacillate between usefulness and idiocy, as he escapes N.O.W.H.E.R.E. custody quickly, with Solstice in tow, but slips and falls off a cliff in the Antarctic, causing her to have to save them.  Wonder Girl impersonates a nurse to intimidate one of the mercenaries from last issue into telling her more about their employers.  And Bunker just happens to run into Red Robin while hopping a train across America, coming across a cocooned Skitter.  They form an alliance, and Red Robin encounters a psionic junk heap called Detritus before having his memory erased of the encounter and being sent back on his way with Skitter and Bunker as if nothing had happened.  I'm sure nothing sinister will come of that.  Finally, as Kid Flash looks up from where he and Solstice fell, he sees a village in the snow, and tries to make for it before it's too late--in vain, the end of the story would suggest.

This was a better section of the story, for me.  While devoid of any real high-octane action, we still have a few significant moments of character developments as the Titans fight each other, bumble rescue attempts, and otherwise find bold ways to get themselves in trouble.  We only see one page worth of Cassie in this issue, but Lobdell makes full use of her appearance, using her hardcase nature and gift for infiltration to make a very believable threat against a man for information.  It makes me eager to see what she'll do with it in the next issue.

I had a similar reaction to Red Robin's incredulity at Bunker's appearance, but at least they were kind enough to lampshade the one-in-a-million possibility with Bunker's response about praying for it to happen.  Based on how his viewpoint was written, I don't think Bunker's some kind of evil N.O.W.H.E.R.E. plant, so I'll take that for what it's worth.  The Detritus skirmish kind of annoyed me, especially with how brief the encounter was.  I can accept that it got the drop on Tim--who doesn't occasionally get surprised and then schooled?--but it seems kind of tacked on or inserted unnecessarily in the story.  Finally, what the heck was a village doing in Antarctica?  Isn't that where Kid Flash and Solstice are?  I hope that gets explained, and quickly, next issue.

I did enjoy Bunker giving Red Robin a big hug when he found out who he was.  Tim was the picture of confusion for a couple of panels there.

Art-wise, I enjoyed Booth's depictions of the Antarctic cliffside, Kid Flash's multi-point escape and rescue of Solstice, and the brief appearance of Detritus.  No real issues with any of it--Booth seems to have gotten away from the occasional nose-lessness of characters that I saw in the last issue.

Overall, this was a good continuation of the story.  The writing was tighter, and the artwork was pretty good.  I'm eager to see the Titans come together, which should happen in the next issue or so.  Onwards and upwards!  Highly recommended.

Teen Titans #4: Danger Squared!
Now this is a fun cover!  Not only is the image of Wonder Girl and Superboy's clash pretty epic in and of itself, but it's making use of a large screen in Times Square to give a more detailed look at the slugfest going on right in front of it.  The art, the storyline suggestion, and the action all made the cover alone make me want to pick up this book.

The Titans--sans Wonder Girl and Superboy--finally all appear at Tim's home in the North Tower Penthouse of Lextower.  Wonder Girl tries pushing her way through a crowd in Times Square as N.O.W.H.E.R.E.--and more specifically, Superboy--track her and instigate a knock-down, drag-out fight.  As Kid Flash and Solstice mysteriously appear at Tim's door, Skitter bemoans her misfortune and the rest of the team gets to know one another.  Finally, footage of the fight between Wonder Girl and Superboy hits the media, and the Titans--minus Skitter--head out to Wonder Girl's aid.

Okay, I'm starting to get a little annoyed with all of the unexplained miracles that keep popping up in this story.  Bunker and Red Robin finding one another was okay, as long as it was that one instance (and was properly lampooned a bit), but now it's getting ridiculous.  What was that village that suddenly appeared to Kid Flash and Solstice in the Antarctic?  Why did it lead to Tim's door--exactly where they needed to go?  The continued occurrence of this kind of deus ex machina is annoying enough, but to not even attempt an explanation is really insulting to your readers.

On the other hand, I really did enjoy the fight between Superboy and Cassie.  The fact that they're attracted to each other didn't have any effect on how hard each fought--clearly the stakes are high for both.  I was a little surprised that nothing was made of the people who must have been in the buildings they demolished, but I can understand how that can be a tertiary concern when you've got two powerhouses intent on beating each other's brains out.  Wonder Girl's use of the lasso to save herself and redirect her flight back into Superboy was really clever.  Clearly this girl's a cunning fighter, even if she may not entirely realize it.

It was impossible for me not to imagine Superboy using Brandon Routh's voice during this story.  Nothing against that actor, but his voice comes off as kind of douchey to me, and Superboy's just such a... well, you know... in this story.

I also really enjoyed Bart's stealing of Tim's clothes.  It was a hilarious running gag, even if only for this issue.  Tim's freaking out and going all Prince Zuko on him was a little over the top for me, though.  There were other ways to show that Tim's a bit of a straight-laced jerk without going to that particular overdramatic place.

Finally... it's good to see the team assembled as they get ready to take on Superboy.  I'm definitely interested to see how this fight goes!

The art here was really good.  I especially liked the visual of Superboy in front of Lex Luthor's image on the big screen... it made him look especially sinister.  The Times Square slugfest was of course a lot of fun to look at as Superboy and Wonder Girl tore into each other.  Finally, the team assembly on the last pages was extremely well drawn.  Bart wearing the red Robin suit made me laugh out loud.

Overall, I'm very pleased with this story.  It provided plenty of action, lots of character development, and the promise of more to come.  Someone had better start explaining those miracle occurrences soon, though, or I'm gonna really lose it.  The artwork is good, the writing is good, and I've got to see how things turn out from this point.  Highly recommended.

No comments:

Post a Comment