Monday, 30 April 2012

Teen Titans #8 review

The creature called Harvest sets his lackey Omen onto the Teen Titans in his efforts to corrupt them into joining his Ravagers. Omen has the ability to manifest a person's worst fear, breaking mind and body. This brings revelations both external and internal - Red Robin fears turning into a literal red robin; Wonder Girl fears losing control of the invisible armour that gives her Olympian abilities. Kid Flash fears failure and insect critter Skitter, being parted from her host body ...

... host body? I thought the teen known as Celine turned into an insectoid, not that she was bonding with one. And did we know Cassie Sandsmark was wearing unseen armour? And how did Tim Drake get such a wacky fear?

As it turns out, and thank the stars, Red Robin's biggest anxiety is something else altogether, if I'm reading the issue's close correctly. Whether I'm right or not, I did enjoy the snippets of information we get here that let us know our tyro team a little better. There's even a revelation about the villain - Omen's real name is Lilith, seemingly making her the DC New 52 version of longtime telepathic Titan Lilith Clay, who did call herself Omen for a time. That it's the rarely-talkative Skitter who 'outs' her makes things even more intriguing.

There are a couple of other intriguing references in Scott Lobdell's lively script this time. Omen makes passing reference to Red Robin having 'stared into the hypnotic eye of Two-Face', which is a new one on me. And the Suicide Squad's Amanda Waller, at the scene of the Titans' recent spat with Superboy alongside some guy named Kurt Lance, alludes to them both having been members of (a version of) Wildstorm group Team 7, which Wonder Woman's pal Steve Trevor also had links with, according to Justice League #8. And Lance looks to be a renamed Larry Lance, husband of Black Canary and believed killed by her. I get tickled by these hints about the revamped DC Universe that are popping up in various books, and look forward to learning more - though a trick eye for Two-Face strikes me as terribly unnecessary.

Another thing I got a kick out of this issue was its, probably inadvertent, callback to one of my favourite Teen Titans stories ever, 'Through these doors pass the bravest Titans of them all' (hey, I never said the title was any good) in 1972's #38. That also saw Lilith causing Robin and co to face their fears, though for rather more benevolent reasons. It's a decidedly different superhero drama, and available for cheap viewing in the second Teen Titans Showcase volume.
But back to 2012 business. Regular artists Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund are absent this time (they're likely busy doing next week's Annual), allowing the very talented Ig Guara and JP Mayer to step in. The style appears pretty similar to my untrained eye, but this may be more due to the layouts than look of the characters; the Titans themselves are a tiny bit cutesier than usual. Guara and Mayer sell the action and reactions well, with the only disappointment being the depiction of Omen, who looks like a cross between a Nineties Goth girl, Miss Haversham and a parrot. So not a good look for a fearsome super-villain ...

Mind, the design is likely the doing of the aforementioned absent regulars.

Oh, hang on, Booth and Rapmund are indeed here, providing the cover, in which our heroes look like a particularly tragic Tron tribute act. Never mind, they'll be back to their normal selves after the starting-now Culling storyline is over. Not that the regular costumes are much better, mind.

Teen Titans #38 cover borrowed from the Grand Comics Database.

8 comments:

  1. Wonder Girl's invisible armour was addressed issues ago. Invisible bracelets mentioned at the start of issue 2, I believe.


    I do enjoy your reviews, I prefer your qualitative analysis to the dubious star ratings of most sites.

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  2. The thing that surprised me most was Skitter's claim that because Omen had separated the Skitter and Celine persona's "life on Earth itself is doomed!"

    Now that's a pretty big claim that needs to be addressed at some point down the line!

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    1. With luck she'll slide down a biiiiig plughole.

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    2. Not Feeling the love for Skitter, Martin?

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    3. Oh, I just want to know something about her. She's insecty, she has a sister ... we really need an issue of downtime to properly introduce Skitter, Bunker (ugh, that name) and the reworked Solstice.

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  3. I hope you're planning on reviewing the entire Culling crossover; I've decided to only by the Legion Lost chapter, but I admit I did like the LL "preview" chapter in issue 8. It'll be good to keep up with it through your reviews.

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    1. I dunno about the entire thing ... it depends whether there's something to say!

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  4. Well if there's nothing to say, I doubt I'll be missing anything, either! So all's well.

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