Archive for Teen Titans

Reds and Blues

Huzzah! The air conditioner’s fixed! And my breath is minty-fresh!

Now on to the reviews!


Hulk #5

The Red Hulk kicks Thor’s butt, Iron Man and the Fantastic Four try to figure out if Doc Samson is really the Red Hulk, and A-Bomb (Rick Jones as the blue-skinned version of the Abomination) fishes the regular green Hulk out of San Francisco Bay.

Verdict: There’s not really much to the story, but I’m gonna give it a thumbs up. Ed McGuinness knows how to draw one heck of a slugfest. Conclusion of this storyline is next issue, so I assume they’ll reveal what faked-up and idiotic excuse they’ve dredged up to claim that Red Hulk is someone other than Doc Samson…


Teen Titans #61

Kid Devil and Blue Beetle team up to track down a supervillain called Shockwave. Kid Devil blames Shockwave for putting him on the outs with the rest of the Titans, while Beetle is after him because he’s targeting companies that used to be owned by Ted Kord, the previous Blue Beetle.

Verdict: Thumbs up. But mainly because a lot of the focus is on Blue Beetle, who’s just plain awesome.

Comments off

Red Hot!


Hulk #4

If you’re looking for a comic with subtlety and savoir-faire, this is not the book for you. I mean, lookit this:


Any comic that starts out with the evil red Hulk socking Uatu the Watcher in the jaw is, well, the type of thing that’s gonna make me giggle all freakin’ day long.

Plot? Red Hulk and Green Hulk fight. S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Clay Quartermain is found dead. We get a pretty definitive answer as to who the Red Hulk is. (And I was riiiiiight! Everyone do the herky dance! Ooo! Yeah! Shake it, baby! Yeah!) And we get a visit from the only other superhero who might have a chance of putting the Red Hulk down for the count.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Hulk battles, Uatu punching, and Scott being riiiiiight about the Hulk’s identity equals out to big fun. You know what this calls for, people? That’s right. This calls for Cameo.


George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards: The Hard Call #3

Alex is an electric-powered ace who wishes he were either dead or normal. Simon is his best friend, a ridiculous horndog who’s acquired the power to teleport through mirrors. Kira used to be the girl Alex loved from afar, but she’s been turned into a deformed joker — and she’s vanished mysteriously. And the dog-masked ace who killed a nurse at the Jokertown clinic and stole a batch of the trump virus is now secretly dosing jokers with the trump virus — but the trump kills more often than it cures. When Alex goes looking for the infamous Croyd Crenson, will he be able to help, or will the immortal superpowered speedfreak just make things worse?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The story is rocking forward, as the dog-mask’s plans become more clear, the mystery deepens, and the action picks up the pace. Alex is getting the hang of his powers, and Croyd looks like he’s heading for his usual oh-so-familiar amped-up psychosis. It’s also pretty cool how the cured jokers are addressed. Good fun, and worth picking up.


Gemini #2

Last issue, Gemini got his head blown clean off… but hey, he’s got a healing factor, so it heals right back. Unfortunately, with his mask gone, his government monitors can no longer track him, and he can see his own face. How bad could that be? Well, since he’s basically a controlled split personality whose two identities are completely unaware of each other, it’s started him questioning who he is, why he’s never seen his own face, and whether something’s wrong with him. His government trackers enlist another government hero named Lynx to deactivate him. But there’s another threat coming that has the ability to decommission him once and for all.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Fun story, great action, lots of intrigue. This Jay Faerber cat does pretty good writin’.


Green Lantern #32

We continue with this flashback retelling of Hal Jordan’s origin. We see creepazoid Hector Hammond get his powers, we see Hal get permission to fly planes for Ferris Air, we meet Sinestro for the first time, and we see the demonic Atrocitus start tracking down the man who will ultimately found the Black Lanterns.

Verdict: I dunno, all this stuff is kinda cool, but most GL fans already knew it already. Sure, you can say it’s a good way to introduce new readers to the characters, but this seems like the very long and inefficient way to do it. And I can’t keep thinking that maybe we could be reading some new adventures of Green Lantern sometime?


Teen Titans #60

The final showdown between the Teen Titans and the Terror Titans is, well, a bit of a let-down. Most of the bad guys don’t really put up much of a fight. The only one with any real skillz is Clock King, who can see far enough into the future to keep anyone from laying a glove on him. Ravager almost kills one of the bad guys, but is prevented by Wonder Girl. Clock King realizes that Ravager is a precog, too, so he asks her to join him. She turns him down, and the rest of the Titans make their getaway. But Robin and Wonder Girl decide they can’t have a potential killer on their team, so Rose gets the heave-ho and goes back to the Clock King. Bummer. And it means it’s time for yet another team membership revamp. Bleaaachhh.

Verdict: Most of it’s actually pretty good, but I think I’m going to give it a thumbs down. Rose Wilson was developing into a very interesting character, and I’m really not thrilled about removing the team’s conflict-magnet. And another team membership revamp? Bleaaachhh.

Comments off

Stand Up and Salute!


American Dream #1

The healthy young lady above is a character named American Dream, from an alternate future of the Marvel Universe. Her real name’s Shannon Carter, and she’s the daughter of “Captain America” supporting cast member, Sharon Carter. We get to see Dream take out a horde of arms smugglers, then we’re treated to a short recounting of her origin. She doesn’t have any friends or even much of a social life outside of the Avengers team she leads. And she doesn’t have any powers, which may end up making her a sitting duck for the supervillains stalking her in secret or the giant crystal monster who attacks her.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nothing real deep here, but the story is fine, the character is fun, and the action is pretty good, too.


Teen Titans #59

This is part of the “Dark Side Club” crossover that showed up last week in “The Flash” and “Birds of Prey.” The Terror Titans are actually working for Dark Side to capture the Titans so he can stick them into his underground fight club. They’ve already captured Kid Devil and Miss Martian, but they think Ravager is dead. Robin, Wonder Girl, and Blue Beetle start working to track everyone down, but they get ambushed and overwhelmed.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but just barely. The stuff with Dark Side isn’t nearly as cool as it was in “Flash” and “Birds of Prey.” It was nice to see a bit more info about the Clock King (he’s a precognitive), and the rest of the characterizations seem to be alright.

Comments off

Rule, Britannia!


Captain Britain and MI: 13 #1

The first issue of this new title hits during Marvel’s “Secret Invasion” crossover event. And for a Secret Invasion, it doesn’t seem to be very secret, what with all the Skrulls and Super-Skrulls running around out in the open, blowing up London, and all that. Anyway, our heroes here include British heroes like Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, the Black Knight, a speedster named Spitfire, a seemingly-normal physician/superhero fangirl named Faiza, and a guy called John the Skrull, who is a renegade Skrull who looks just like John Lennon.

No one knows why the Skrulls are hitting England so hard — there are a lot more superheroes and resources in America, after all — until someone realizes that the Skrulls are after Avalon, one of the primary sources of magic on Earth. Can the team stop the Skrulls in time? And why is Pete Wisdom hearing voices in his head?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m digging the characters, particularly John the Skrull and Dr. Hussain. Tons of personality there, and frankly, with all the other team members, too.


B.P.R.D.: 1946 #5

The conclusion of the series brings us American and Soviet soldiers fighting rampaging Nazi cyber-gorillas, Nazi cyber-chimps speaking German, an evil Nazi head in a jar, and Nazi vampires on a rocket to America! You cannot possibly read this story without your head exploding with 100% Pure Awesomeness!

Verdict: Thumbs up? Naw, thumbs up like craaaaazy!


Titans #2

There’s still someone trying to track down and kill the Teen Titans — like all the Teen Titans, current and former. Everyone figures it’s Trigon, so Raven goes off to psychically confront her dear old dad, finding him in really awful shape. But he says he’s still powerful enough to do serious damage to the Titans and to Earth. And Raven learns that Trigon has help in his quest to kill the Titans — namely, his other children.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Ye gods, this has gotta be the worst comic I’ve read in months. The dialogue is absolutely moronic, the plotting is determinedly dorky, and the art by Joe Benitez is just astoundingly, vomitously bad. I was willing to give this title a chance after the first issue, but this issue is way, way beyond my ability to tolerate. I’m dropping it, with a song in my heart and bile in my throat.

Comments off

Running to Catch up…

Thanks to having the blog shut down for a week and then spending most of last week promoting the Comic Book Expo, I’ve fallen way, waaaay behind on my comics reviews, so I’m gonna try to get as many of these out of the way as I can.


DC Universe #0

This is the one everyone was talking about last week. Superman hangs out with the Legion of Super-Heroes in the distant future, Batman hangs out with the Joker, a bunch of bad guys want Wonder Woman dead, the Green Lanterns are unaware that the Black Lanterns are coming for them, a minor villain called Libra is trying pretty weakly to get a bunch of villains to join the Cult of the Crime Bible, and Barry Allen comes back to life.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s an ad for “Final Crisis,” and it’s not even a particularly well-done ad. And was anyone here really jonesing for Barry Allen to come back? I wish DC would quit being stupid and quit screwing their comics up for no good reason.


Justice League of America #20

A nice little done-in-one story about Wonder Woman and the Flash taking on the Queen Bee.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Seems like the Queen Bee should be more of a regular threat — I thought comics thrived on things like hyper-evolved space bees, right? Still, fun stuff, some good speed tricks from the Flash, and a nice Silver-Age feel to the story.


Tangent: Superman’s Reign #2

The Tangent Universe’s Green Lantern gets her magic lantern back, restoring her youth, and the Tangent version of the Flash, along with the regular DCU Flash and Green Lantern come along for the ride. The Tangent GL summons the spirit of the Tangent version of the Joker, who was a superhero, to fill in the gaps of the Tangent Superman’s ruthless rise to dictatorial power.

Verdict: Thumbs up, but just barely. The characters are pretty interesting, but I’m having trouble accepting this as a story that needs 12 issues to tell. They could make it a heck of a lot shorter by cutting out those useless history lessons that take up about a third of the pagecount.


Teen Titans #58

We focus on Miss Martian, trying to make a life for herself and ignore the voice of her evil future-self, who has taken up residence in her head. On top of that, she’s also being stalked by the Terror Titans’ Disruptor, and Kid Devil is still being horribly tortured to try to get him to turn evil.

Verdict: Thumbs up, I think. I don’t much like the idea of Evil Miss Martian, but the story is well-done and does a good job of continually raising the stakes.


The Flash #239

The new supervillain Spin managed to use Keystone City’s fears about the Flash’s money problems to turn him, temporarily, into a superspeedy thief. Now everyone’s more afraid of Flash than ever. He also manages to mind-control Jay Garrick into attacking Wally. Oh, and Wally has gotten a legitimate job at last — watching videotapes at super-speed? Weird…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Spin is still a pretty dumb villain, but the scheme is getting better, bit by bit. Still, next time they want to use a supervillain with fear and mind-control powers, why don’t they just raid Batman’s rogues gallery for Scarecrow and Mad Hatter?


She-Hulk #28

She-Hulk gets arrested again after causing a ruckus at a football stadium while trying to apprehend the guy who knocked down an apartment building a few issues ago.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Dangit, this storyline completely vanished several months ago, then it’s back and running hard like we’re supposed to remember it again? Guys, please stop jumping randomly from one storyline to another.

Oookay, that’s enough for now. Another review-burst tomorrow…

Comments off

All for One, One for All

Titans #1

This is apparently the second half of the “Titans East” story from waaaaay back in November. Someone is attacking all current and former Teen Titans, including the current team, Nightwing, Starfire, Flash, Donna Troy, Beast Boy, Raven, and Red Arrow. There’s cheesecake for both guys and girls, as multiple characters get attacked in the buff. In the end, everyone gets out okay, finds out that most of the Titans East team didn’t get killed, just horribly, horribly wounded, and figure out who’s behind the attacks — of course, it’s a long-time Titans villain…

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’ve got plenty of quibbles. First, at this point, I don’t trust writer Judd Winick much at all. The dude’s got some weird addiction to randomly killing characters. Second, penciller Ian Churchill is a bit of an acquired taste. I didn’t really mind his artwork in this issue, but dangit, he’s sometimes shown tendencies toward Ed Benes/Michael Turnerisms, with cookie-cutter faces and plastic bodies. He’s at least good with action and facial expressions, and his monsters are pretty good, too. I’m gonna give it at least a few issues.

The Goon #23

The Goon and his various allies start mobilizing to find out what’s up with the local zombie population. Pub owner Norton is getting married to a gypsy so she’ll help him get revenge for the death of his mother — but the magic forces at work may be far too powerful for her to deal with. Lounge singer Mirna gets scared out of town by the reappearance of her dead brother, who also animates a giant body of sticks. We’re also treated to the brilliant line “Back off, youse mugs! I swiped this here salmon and I’m gettin’ the squeezin’s!” All that, plus creator Eric Powell is sponsoring a roller derby team! Huzzah!

Verdict: Thumbs up. Oh, Goon, how did I ever live without youse in my life?

Abe Sapien #3

More trouble for Abe, Hellboy’s amphibious pal. He gets chased by ghosts, giant snakes, and malign crows, and his only ally is a dead lady.

Verdict: Honestly, thumbs down. This issue felt like Mignola was padding his page-count to stretch a four-issue miniseries to five. Some nice fighting here and there, but all but about six or seven pages didn’t feel necessary to the story.

Comments off

Sketch Club News, Plus Reviews

Before I hit the reviews, here’s some late-breaking news from Will Terrell of the Lubbock Sketch Club:

Well, its another busy week with the Lubbock Sketch Club. I will be on NBC / KCBD channel 11 tomorrow (Thursday) at noon in the New Notebook segment. I’ll be talking about the Lubbock Comic Book Expo coming May 3rd. Tune if you get the chance!

Also, Make sure to come visit us Friday for our First Friday Art Trail! Here’s the blurb….

“Drawing on Inspiration! The Lubbock Sketch Club art show and Sketch Night! The First Friday art show where YOU are part of the fun! Visitors are invited to view the groups exhibit of cartoons, comics, and fine arts, check out the costumed figure drawing demonstration in the studio, and Sketch with the artists in the Sketch Club classroom. Located on the third floor of the Asbury/Hope Shalom building at 20th and Ave T, room 301, from 6-9pm.”

And with that out of the way, let’s hit a couple of quick reviews.

I picked up a couple of comics last week that I wasn’t expecting much from. Frankly, they’d both been so awful in recent months that I was actually expecting to drop both titles. But both surprised me with excellent stories.


She-Hulk #27

She-Hulk and Jazinda learn that Larry Ryan, the guy they saved last issue, is now in jail, accused of killing his wife. Outraged that he’d be falsely accused, Shulkie returns to try to convince the authorities to let him go. Unfortunately, she gets a bit too agitated and tears his cell door open, and that gets her arrested, too. She’s not in any serious trouble, but she’s no longer a lawyer, which was the only way she would’ve been able to get Larry out of jail. Luckily, she still has some friends — no, wait, they’re actually enemies — she can call for help.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lo and behold, She-Hulk’s entertaining again. Her characterization is back on the money, and we actually get her back in a courtroom, thank the heavens! Shulkie really is at her best when she’s kicking ass in battle and kicking ass in a courtroom. She just ain’t any good as a bounty hunter, and she’s even worse as an angst-ridden whiner. Sure, sure, she’s probably going straight back to bounty hunting next issue, but maybe this is an indication that she won’t be angsty or non-lawyerly for long…


Teen Titans #57

It’s a Ravager spotlight issue, as Rose Wilson takes on Copperhead, Persuader, and Dreadbolt of the Terror Titans. It’s pretty much wall-to-wall fighting. Sure, we see Kid Devil getting tortured, and we see Robin and Wonder Girl act like idiots… but forget about them. The bulk of this issue is Ravager beating people senseless, and it is very, very good.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Sure, Ravager’s completely insufferable most of the time, but it’s pretty clear that she’s a character who’s best suited to action sequences. Now if only they can figure out a way to keep her fighting next issue and leave Robin and Wonder Girl out of the comic for a bit longer…

Comments off

Stuff that Sucks

Ya know what sucks? These two comics suck. Let’s get reviews of them over with in a hurry.


She-Hulk #26

On the one hand, the issue starts out with people actually throwing bears at each other, which ya gotta admit is pretty cool. But after that, you’ve got She-Hulk, still insisting she’s not a superhero anymore, fighting an alien bounty hunter, even after she realizes they’re on the same side. You’ve got Jazinda the Skrull dying but coming back to life. You’ve got Cazon the evil mass-murdering prettyboy taking a completely useless hostage solely for the purpose of — actually, there’s no purpose. He didn’t need the guy as a hostage, and he’d already killed the guy’s girlfriend. And the girlfriend gets brought back to life, too, but only temporarily. You’ve got five pages of She-Hulk holding onto the side of a speeding spaceship — which really shouldn’t be boring but nevertheless is. You’ve got She-Hulk improbably losing her pants for the sake of clumsy and ineffective smirk-and-wink geek-giggles.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Good gravy, remember when this book used to be good? Shouldn’t a guy like Peter David be better at writing a comic book than this? Could someone please get Dan Slott back to writing this one so maybe it can stop sucking?


Teen Titans #56

Kid Devil really does have it rough. The other Titans come up with a plan to stop a bad guy, don’t tell him the plan, and then blame him for not knowing what the plan is. Wonder Girl’s a jerk, Robin’s a jerk, Ravager’s a jerk. Miss Martian’s getting all set to turn evil. Of course, Kid Devil’s also dumber’n dirt, so he throws a giant party at Titans Tower when everyone’s out, and sure enough, everyone who shows up breaks stuff, steals stuff, and prank-calls Batman. And after the rest of the Titans show up and act like jerks again, he runs into the only cool guy from the party, and it turns out he’s a supervillain named Dreadbolt, who’s working with a group called the, um, Terror Titans, run by, um, the Clock King. Oooo, scaaaary.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This comic is just absolutely inept. Why am I still reading it? Partly brand loyalty, I think, and partly because I want to see just how bad this one is going to get.

Comments off

Amazons vs. Nazis!


Wonder Woman #16

A flashback shows us how Queen Hippolyta’s royal guardians turned against her — they thought the birth of Diana threatened the Amazonian way of life. Meanwhile, in the present, the neo-nazi army gets stomped by Hippolyta, by Wonder Woman, by Diana’s gorilla pals, and by the escaped royal guardians. But there is at least one very important casualty.

Verdict: Thumbs up, mostly because people stomping on neo-nazis is always a good thing. However, I do wish they’d go somewhere solid with the story soon.


Teen Titans #55

Supergirl and Wonder Girl argue, and Supergirl leaves in a huff! Kid Devil likes Ravager, but she likes Blue Beetle instead! Miss Martian has her evil future self living in her head! Robin and Wonder Girl like each other, but (sob!) they can never be together!

Verdict: Thumbs down. Gaaah, the angst is absolutely murderous!

Comments off

The Swingin’ Sixties


Teen Titans Lost Annual

This is one of the maddest mainstream comics I’ve ever seen. And I mean that in a good way.

The whole story is set in the ’60s, and the original Teen Titans — Robin, Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, and Speedy — discover that President Kennedy has been kidnapped by aliens and replaced by a doppelganger. They travel to the aliens’ planet and discover that his abductors, a bunch of mod aliens with Beatles haircuts, have brainwashed JFK into believing he’s their general in the war against the hippie aliens. Wonder Girl romances one of the hippies for a while, and in the end, everyone makes peace, Kennedy is freed from his brainwashing, and everyone returns to Earth. And at that point, there is a plot twist so brain-breakingly awesome that I really can’t reveal it to you at all. Seriously, just go buy it yourself.

This story was written by Bob Haney, the co-creator of the Teen Titans, and one of DC’s maddest writers. He wrote the story a few years ago, and DC shelved it for way too long ’cause they thought it was too freaky to sell. Since then, there’s been a revival of interest in the Silver Age’s great comics madmen, including Haney and Bob Kanigher, and DC brought the story back into play. It’s illustrated by Jay Stephens and Mike Allred, who both have a good grasp of Haney’s style of geeky psychedelia. Unfortunately, Haney died about three years ago, so he didn’t get to see his last comics work published.

At any rate, the story really is grandly fun for all the wrong reasons. Haney, bless his heart, never managed to get the hang of the way teenagers talked, but his fractured slang and purple-prose narration actually work really well for the story. It’s a time capsule of Silver Age wackiness, reminding you of how wild comics could be back in the ’60s…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Grand fun, no question about it.

But some of the other comics I picked up weren’t near as much fun.


Justice League of America #17

What an irritating, depressing comic this is.

To understand what’s happening, you should know that there’s a DC miniseries going on right now called “Salvation Row” where the government is in the process of kidnapping every supervillain in the world and shipping them off to a hellish planet on the other end of the galaxy. So in this issue, a bunch of supervillains on the run go to the Justice League for help. And in a backup story, Vixen discovers that her weirdly messed-up powers are even more weird than anyone expected.

The big problem with the main story is that, if you’re not following “Salvation Run” (which I’m not, mainly because I’m tired of DC suckering me out of my cash for more miniseries), you have no idea what’s going on. You don’t know what’s driving the plot, or even who the supervillains are (and most of the story focuses on them). The writers make no effort to give any exposition — they just assume everyone is a long-time and obsessive comics fan who already knows what’s going on. And that’s really what’s wrong with so many DC comic books these days — the continuity is impossibly convoluted, and the writers assume that everyone knows what the heck is going on. It’s a rotten way to run a comic book company, because it actively runs off new readers who aren’t hip to all the history and crossovers.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The story is okay, but I can’t help being aggravated by the way this comic seems to be written only for the fanboys.


Green Lantern Corps #20

Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner are moving from Earth to Oa, partly to serve as members of an honor guard protecting the planet and partly to open up a bar. Meanwhile, the evil and already-very-powerful Mongul has been given a yellow power ring; he spends several pages of the story shouting at his dead sister’s decapitated and worm-eaten head.

Verdict: Thumbs down. When the most exciting moment is the supervillain having a screaming fit at his sister’s wormy skull, you know you got a booooring comic book.

Comments off