Thursday, 25 October 2012

Teen Titans #13 review

Cassie Sandsmark explains to Superboy and Red Robin how she came to be Wonder Girl. Accompanying her archaeologist mother Helena around the world, she was something of the master thief, stealing antiquities wherever they went. One day, a youth going by 'Diesel' steamrolled over her heart, and soon he was following the Sandsmarks around the world, snatching afternoons of sex with Cassie and joining in her crimes. When a mystical suit of armour threatened to steal his soul, Cassie took on the burden herself, becoming the super-strong Wonder Girl - but the longer she wears the invisible, whispering armour, the more of her own soul she loses.

And that's what passes for a superheroine origin in the DC New 52 - scumbag girl meets scumbag boy and their foolishness gets them into trouble. The message seems to be that greed plus hormones equals power. That Cassie has used the armour to help people since this comic began a year ago is nice, but it's redemption by default, as she's been rather the reluctant heroine.

The telling of Cassie's tale is motivated by an angry, power-hungry Diesel coming into her life again and taking the armour from her. The Titans trio are travelling halfway across the world to retrieve it, and Red Robin figures that knowledge is power, so Cassie finally reveals her background. I'm not buying that she's a daring thrillseeker, somehow worthy of sneaking admiration - she's a stupid kid with no respect for herself, her mother or others.

Of course, none of this puts the lid on Red Robin's crush; those Batman boys do like their bad girls. Thank goodness for the presence of Superboy, ever ready to puncture the pair's self-delusions with a bit of banter. He's the high point of a pretty dull issue ... Cassie's origin is far too drawn out, with the only real bit of interest being a surprise connection to a classic Teen Titan who made her New 52 debut this month.

The issue ends with a bit of story-setting involving Suicide Squad boss Amanda Waller and former Team 7 colleague Kurt Lance. I really am tiring of the same people popping up across the New 52, there are just too many mini-crossovers. We're over a year into this book and the first storyline still isn't resolved - how about DC wrap things up with mysterious bad guys NOWHERE before throwing new business at us?

To be honest, I'm tiring of this book. It's dragging, with no sense of focus. I can't remember anything that happened in the last few issues, other than that some dinosaur kids showed up. I know current penciller Brett Booth is leaving the book - apart from the sensationalistic cover, he's absent this time, but Ale Garza does a decent enough job of getting the story told. Maybe regular writer Scott Lobdell should go too. He's only half here anyway, supplying the story which Fabian Nicieza scripts. I'd like to see the reins handed over fully to former New Warriors writer Nicieza, and him given free reign to craft some storylines worthy of the Teen Titans legacy. The individual characters have potential - even Wonder Girl - but the book needs some tightly focused scripts, rich in incident, interest and theme.

If change doesn't come, I think I'll be leaving this series behind very soon.

8 comments:

  1. The "Bloody origin"?! This is so typical of modern DC. I wish it were self-parody. Apart from Grant Morrison's titles, which have their own drawbacks, New 52 books are dull and plodding with ugly, sensationalist flourishes. I hope this humourless 90s revival comes to an end soon.

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    1. I'm with you there, Doug. I wonder if this is a Bob Harras thing.

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  2. Sounds like there's nothing here that's of interest of me. I should have known by the words "Teen Titans" on the cover.

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    1. Every now and then, I'm blindsided by the fact that this franchise, which used to be the crown jewel of DC, has become something that seems to actively repel me. The characters on the team that I loved are long gone (graduated or just M.I.A. from the new 52), and the characters I like on the new team are unrecognizable from when I liked them (leather-jacket Superboy, Impluse Bart, and gawky, awkward Cassie). There's simply nothing there for me at all. The Johns and McKone run, even as I enjoyed it at the time, drained all my enthusiasm for the franchise.

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    2. There's nothing at all to disagree with here, Rob. Gawd knows, I should have given up by now, I just keep hoping, and hoping ... hmm, this could well be my jumping-off point. If I can pack in Wondy, I can certainly pack in this.

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  3. "there are just too many mini-crossovers"

    I wanted to like TT but gave up on it with the 'Culling' crossovers. Maybe it is too tempting to have these crossovers when team members like Superboy have their own book or are so affiliated with others (Red Robin). I still say the way to have a common event in different titles is like what Swamp Thing and Animal Man did for a while, common enemy and background, but parallel storylines, maybe culminating on one crossover issue for each mag. You could follow just one and be OK if you chose, and the references to doings in the other mag were neat.

    This Wonder Girl is just not Donna Troy, and so I don't care much for her at all. Any version of Robin is fine with me, and Superboy in this incarnation is OK, and I even like Impulse, but the Spider-Lady is just absurd and a poor replacement for someone like Raven, and this book misses a fun character like Beast Boy. I realize the New 52 is trying to be INTENSE but look at how Wolfman and Perez's Titans were intense while having well-fleshed out, essentially decent characters that we could care about.

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    1. And again, I agree Mr Whiskas. But never mind this Wonder Girl not being Donna Troy, she's not even Cassie. She's just an unlikeable angry kid.

      Raven showed up in Phantom Stranger #1, so I guess, given the Trigon hint thus time, that she'll be popping up soon.

      Which may get me to buy awhile longer :(

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