Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Comic Review -- Teen Titans #5-6 / Scott Lobdell, Brett Booth, & Norm Rapmund

Teen Titans #5: Over Before It's Begun
I think the main reason I enjoy this cover is because Bart is featured wearing the red iteration of the Robin costume while running roughshod around Superboy.  I also like some of the faces he's making while he does it. Amusing, without being too obnoxious.

The Titans take on Superboy... and it doesn't go so well.  Kid Flash gets super-charged on his speed, faster than his body can tolerate, before Wonder Girl kicks him loose.  Bunker gets a few shots in before Superboy uses his own psionic gloves to knock him out. Red Robin actually knocks him down, but wastes time trying to persuade Superboy to change sides, and Superboy knocks him out.  Wonder Girl ropes him, but gets dragged underground to the subway, where the train's impact presumably knocks her out, but not Superboy.  And finally, Solstice tries to reason with him, and nearly gets through to him, before he knocks her out.  Victorious, Superboy is nonetheless confused, and heads back to his N.O.W.H.E.R.E. masters, without Wonder Girl, intending to get some answers from them.

This disastrous first outing, while not unexpected, was well plotted.  It shows how each of the team members think, as well as showing that Superboy, for all his power, is far from invulnerable.  Aside from the physical chinks in his armor, it seems the best weapon any of the Titans had against him was persuasion and the ability to make Superboy doubt his station as a N.O.W.H.E.R.E. agent.  In the end, it actually seems to work, as Superboy returns to them without Wonder Girl, their intended target, or any of the Titans, even.  So, in a way, it was a victory, albeit a moral one as opposed to a tactical one.  Tactically, they get their butts kicked.

I was a little disappointed that Skitter didn't show up at the last second and support her new comrades, but I'm hoping she'll make an appearance in the next issue.

Favorite line of the issue belongs to Wonder Girl: "The bird kid just beat the crap out of the super kid!"

Artistically, things continue to be stellar.  This art style is pretty much exactly what I like in superhero comics,  realistic but slightly cartoony.  I think it makes for a good combination of expressiveness, epic action, and some exaggeration when it's occasionally needed.  The brawl with Superboy itself was well depicted, and Booth consistently turns out good work.

Overall, I think this is a good chapter to what is turning out to be a lengthy intro to the team.  I don't think we'll be wrapping this story up next issue, which is fine, but I do wonder how long this will go on.  With that said, as long as things are kept this interesting, I'll definitely be along for the ride.  Highly recommended.

Teen Titans #6: By the Light...
Fairly epic cover, though it's another "this scene isn't in the story" cover.  Red Robin actually never takes on Grymm, and there's certainly never any danger of the skirmish landing on Kid Flash and Static.  Still, it's a good action shot, and it lends some context to Bart's condition in the aftermath of the Superboy skirmish.

The Titans are starting to limp away from their fight with Superboy, when the N.Y.P.D. try to arrest them.  Skitter shows up and webs them all up, and Kid Flash starts to spark and vibrate violently.  Red Robin takes him to a nearby S.T.A.R. labs office, where Virgil Hawkins, a.k.a. Static, is on duty.  While he works on finding a way to stabilize Kid Flash, Wonder Girl and Bunker square off against another metahuman imprisoned there, named Grymm, who takes over Skitter's mind and tries to use her to escape.  They knock him out, and Virgil uses a prototype suit designed for the Flash to keep Bart stabilized.  It works, and he makes his debut in his new yellow costume, confident and cool.  The team starts talking about a rematch with Superboy, but Red Robin vetoes the idea, saying they need to return to base and prepare for a war.

I'm guessing the character of Jocelyn Lure will be somewhat significant later, especially considering she's apparently some kind of alien (along with Kid Flash), but her appearance is too brief to glean much more than that from her.

The overall story remains interesting, but I wasn't too terribly impressed with the Grymm side-story.  We get almost no explanation of who he is, he repeats key pieces of information unnecessarily and awkwardly, and his existence is never mentioned once Bunker and Wonder Girl get him under control.  I think that story could have been tightened and structured better.

I enjoyed the appearance of Static, who I don't know too much about but have an overall positive opinion of based on the little information I know about him.  I was also amused by Tim's connections to the Justice League, and the fact that he came to Virgil only after trying to get in touch with them.  It makes sense, and furthers the idea that, while Red Robin may be just a kid and not even metahuman, he, like Batman, brings a lot to the table where his team is involved.

Art-wise, I loved Kid Flash's new costume, and the cool debut pose he strikes while wearing it.  Grymm was interesting visually, but odd.  He has a weird mouth line, and apparently never opens his mouth, even though he has plenty of spoken dialog.  I wonder if that was an intentional choice on the part of the artist or writer.  Overall, things continue to look stellar.

Overall, this respite from last issue's high-octane action keeps the character development going, and continues to develop the team's abilities to work together.  I'm curious to see what Red Robin means by preparing for war, but I'm sure it involves dealing with N.O.W.H.E.R.E., and possibly Superboy.  Can't wait to see more of that.  Highly recommended.

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