Friday, 12 February 2010

Titans #22 review

It's the final issue of The Titans. Well, sort of. The book continues next month with murdering madman Deathstroke helming a new villains-for-hire team, but no one cares. So let's say goodbye to Nightwing, Raven, Flash . . .

. . . hang on, none of them have featured roles here. Let's say goodbye to Starfire and Cyborg, and a brief seeya to a basically cameoing Donna Troy and Beast Boy. The storyline is that writer JT Krul, tasked with ending the run, fills pages with the old 'worst nightmare' shtick. Artists Angel Unzueta and Wayne Faucher make things look good and were likely delighted by the amount of big panels and splash pages required.

Oh the drama! The first few pages see Cyborg leading a team of Titans into a massacre, something all too believable given DC's handling of its teen heroes these last few years. But his worst nightmare? Surely by now said scenario is like counting sheep to the tin man?

What could Starfire's bad dream be? Being made to wear something that covers her body? Nope, it's being left all alonio - which might have made for some tension had special guest villain Phobia not announced this before we join Koriand'r for her unsweet dreams. A two-page spread of Starfire, terror-stricken because the Titans' Hall of Dead Types contains statues of Donna and co, is never going to be effective when we know going in that none of this is real. It's a pointless waste of pages, and my money. Even the characters admit Phobia has no specific motivation for her attack (click to enlarge). The book also fills more pages, unconvincingly, with an irrelevant recap of Phobia's history. It's horribly 'poor me' as she takes no responsibility for being a cold-hearted cow. The woman talks gibberish (click left). Phobia's recap features a reference to the rightly derided Salvation Run mini series of a year or two back. Bad mistake, DC . . . when something doesn't work, ignore it, don't keep reminding us. Let it fade. (See also the continued references to Amazons Attack, the very definition of crap comic scab picking).

The issue ends with Phobia defeated but Starfire miserable, wondering about her place in the universe blah blah - you know, the sort of issues she conquered decades ago. Presumably this indicates that Kory Needs Purpose, 'explaining' her joining the new Justice League; I'd rather DC simply presented Starfire as the strong character she's been for ages, and simply have her join the JLA because she fancies trying something new - being a superhero is her job, after all. Why not a change of company?

I really do hate phony angst. Yes, we're superhero fans so expect a bit of 'everything you know is wrong' or 'the end of the Titans!?' but this issue's cover line, 'Together . . . for the last time?' is especially rubbish. Together again? Nope, Starfire and Kory don't fight together here. For the last time? Not when we've already seen both joining the JLA earlier this month.

The creators on this issue are good. I've enjoyed their work lots in other comics. But assigned to make a bridge between one failed series - this Titans run never caught the readers' imagination - and the revamp of another, they've come up with an awfully weak construction.

6 comments:

  1. That's too bad, I've enjoyed Krul's Titans work more than I thought I would.

    I'm not going to complain about Cyborg, Donna Troy, and Starfire making the big leagues, I think they'll fit in quite nicely. I am worried about Wally West though. It seems like he's basically retiring!

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  2. I honestly hate it when comics are filled with random, incoherent jargon just to fill time a space before a major change in a certain title. BBOOOOO!

    Now, it seems like the league will no longer be a mature title, but a title filled with kids who are stupid and mativated by sex.

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  3. 'Stupid and mativated by sex' - that would be Roy Harper during his JLA time . . . mind, he was a Titan first. I'm not sure the new run will be that interesting to me - I like JLA revamps to contain heroes who've not really worked together previously, for new dynamics - but I can't see James Robinson writihg a teenage soap.

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  4. Ha! "Do people like her ever need a reason?"

    Wow! No wonder everyone thinks they can write comics - plots like this sure make it look easy.

    How weak!

    Remember Gail Simone's rubbish Rose and Thorn mini? She did something similar. One of the characters asked the journalist character how the plot had gone from nothing to mass showdown. The explanation, which never came, was "I'll tell you later."

    Ha! People (including me first time around) didn't notice because it was a mini series. I thought I'd missed an issue but it was just simple hackery in action!

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  5. Whenever I dip back into the Titans, I find a book full of squabbling folks overwhelmed by their lives and by the bad guys'n'gals they're fighting. When Super-Dog snarled into the Wonder Twins,it was a perfect metaphor, as well as a crap idea poorly expressed, for what's been going wrong for ages.

    I wonder if anybody ever looks back to the days when the Titans sold. On the whole, the Titans were competent and relatively mature. There was a great deal of soap, but the angst was rarely so explicitedly up to 11.

    It doesn't really matter who is in the Titans. What matters is the world that the reader is asked to engage with. Who wants to read, as you say, excessive angst and an often bare minimum of competency on the part of the nominal heroes?

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  6. Exactly. The New Teen Titans as was, when grouped together, are replaced in a loop of self-questioning over things they resolved decades ago. I don't mind story beats being repeated for a new generation, but not necessarily with the same characters, especially when they jar with characterisation in their solo strips.

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