Monday, April 30, 2012

Comic Review -- Teen Titans #8: A Dark Omen! / Scott Lobdell, Ig Guara, and J.P. Mayer

I'm not familiar with the Ravagers, or why they're being reborn here, but I will admit that this is a pretty cool looking cover.  I'm already missing Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund on the art here, but they deliver a nice assembly shot of the team, and the Tron motif here looks pretty good.  Again, not to familiar with the Ravagers, but everything looks pretty stunning here.

The Titans have been captured by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and its leader, Harvest.  He has each of them subjected to Omen, a corrupted teen who seems to do some kind of psionic strip-mining of their minds while she manipulates reality around them in a water-filled chamber she calls her "womb."  The Titans begin to lose heart, arguing with one another, as they each become victims of Omen's whims.  Subjected to mental illusions and scenarios that keep them from understanding what is real and what isn't, the Titans are eventually led away by another of Harvest's people, Leash, who tethers them to himself and heads for a place called The Colony.  Harvest also refers to the Titans as his "New Ravagers," implying that they will serves him soon, if they do not already.

Okay, Scott Lobdell.

I'm seriously about an issue from dropping this title.  What started off as a somewhat slow-paced, but fun an promising assembly story has dragged on and on, without any real resolution, into a plodding, we-have-you-now tale that is failing to elicit any real emotion from me, and I suspect plenty of other readers at this point.  Now it's about to divert into a storyline called The Culling, and at this point I couldn't care any less about it.  What happened to the fun and action from the previous issues?

If you're going to drag a story arc on for this long, you have got to keep it interesting and compelling for your readers, and we have proof that this can happen.  Scott Snyder's run on Batman has accomplished that.  This story, not so much.  Oh, the Titans are being held helpless as they wait to be "psionically molested" by Omen?  I just don't care anymore.

This is one of those classic cases of how it's better to show than to tell in comics, and in good writing in general.  It might be more interesting if we got a little more exposition on Omen and what exactly her powers do, or if we actually saw some of these horrible secrets the Titans are having forcibly divulged from their minds.  Instead, we get this uppity girl simply saying, "Ooh, I've shown you all your fears and discovered all your secrets," over and over again.  Yawn.

This arc of the story is not helped by the art, where Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund's absence is immediately noticed.  It's not bad overall, and does a serviceable enough job of maintaining the look established by that team, but in some places things and characters look noticeably stretched and unflattering.  Bunker in particular looks a bit too "off" in this issue, like he's been sculpted from dough.  I'll give it another issue or so to settle into the new look, but so far I'm not terribly impressed with it.

Overall, I can't really recommend this issue for comics readers.  It could be my overall ignorance of DC and Teen Titans characters and lore, but it doesn't seem to really give me much reason to care about Harvest, Omen, N.O.W.H.E.R.E., the Ravagers, or even the Titans' fate at this point.  Add in middling-to-not-memorable artwork, and you've got an issue that really leaves you wanting.  Not recommended.

Fix this, Scott Lobdell.  Or I will take my money to another title.

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