Archive for Teen Titans

Sewage City

Well, the good news: Star Comics down on 34th has finally re-opened after their short Christmas vacation. Huzzah, I can get comics again! The bad news: my evening was a bit unexpectedly busy, and I haven’t even had time to read everything I picked up yet. And the worser-than-that news: the two I had time to read last night were dogs. The year is still young, but at least one of them is so bad, it may end up being the worst comic I read this year. So let’s get straight to the craptastic reviews…


The Flash #235

Well, the Flash recruits Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Black Lightning, from the Justice League, to help him take the fight to the aquatic aliens’ homeworld. Or homesea. Or wherever it is. It’s actually underwater, but the water there is so heavily oxygenated that it’s actually breathable. Yes, just like in “The Abyss.” So they’re all kicking sea monster butt until Flash suddenly realizes that they’re fighting illusions. He can’t get the rest of the heroes to break off their attack (because they’ve moved into “warrior-rage mode.” I’m sorry, but WHAT?!) so he heads back to Earth, since he figures the aliens have re-invaded the planet since they’re all distracted.

When Wally gets back to Earth, he finds that his son Jai has gone off on his own to fight the aliens. Flash finds him quickly enough and learns that Jai knows that the powers he and his sister have could kill them at any time. Wally tries to talk him out of his depression, then they go to fight the aliens.

Verdict: Thumbs down. I really can’t get over that howling bulldada about “warrior-rage mode.” Yes, a minute ago, a bunch of the world’s top-notch heroes were perfectly fine, after fighting for hours, and now they’re mindless berserker drones, and the world’s fastest man just can’t think of any way to break ’em out of the spell. Wow. That’s some high-quality monkey fertilizer right there, baby. And really, the rest of the issue ain’t all that great anyway. But “warrior-rage mode” was the 60-ton girder that broke the camel’s back.


Teen Titans #54

Most of the Titans and the future evil Titans Army have been taken over by Starro, who besides being an evil outer-space mind-controlling starfish, also has a Sinestro Corps ring. Umm, okay. The only people who are non-Starroed are Robin and Miss Martian (who both pretty much just watch stuff), Blue Beetle, and evil clone Kid Flash. Beetle and Kid Flash take out Starro, then the Titans Army all try to kill Beetle, Ravager, and Supergirl. Then some of the Army suddenly turn good. Then they all disappear. Then, um, something happens in the future, or maybe not, with some characters who are dead, and, and…

It makes no sense. None whatsoever. Holy cats, is this rotten stuff. I’ve been enjoying the recent “Teen Titans” comics, for the most part, so it’s a bit of a shock to see something this stupefyingly awful come out of this book. It’s just staggeringly inept.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Several thumbs down. Several dozen thumbs down.

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A Quintet of Quick Qualitative Queries

In other words: Five lightning-fast reviews:


The Spirit #11

It’s the final battle — the Spirit vs. the diabolical El Morte and his army of zombies!

Verdict: Thumbs up! Good art, good story, great drama. Next to the last issue of the brilliant Darwyn Cooke’s stories and art, so pick it up!


Sugarshock #1-3

As far as I can tell, this is only available on Dark Horse Comics’ MySpace page. It’s written by Joss Whedon, creator of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly,” and it’s about a really weird but really fun rock band and their long, long, long journey to a Battle of the Bands contest.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Holy guacamole, was this one fun. Just wild, wild fun. Tons of wonderful, awesome, funny stuff. Go read it — it’s pretty short and extremely entertaining.


Umbrella Academy #3

What’s left of the Umbrella Academy takes on the Terminauts. Spaceboy appears to be the only one of these guys who’s much good in a fight. Also, Vanya tries to rejoin the family, gets rejected, and runs back to the evil Orchestra Verdammten.

Verdict: Thumbs up. But not as good as the previous issues.


Teen Titans #53

The Future Lex Luthor (from the future!) unveils the all-future, all-evil Titans Army. Starro attacks everyone, Miss Martian kacks her future evil self, Robin mopes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’m a sucker for stories about future evil doppelgangers from the future.


Grendel: Behold the Devil #1

A sociopathic super-assassin/acclaimed novelist kills a whole bunch of people and is just too wonderful and smart and cool and unstoppable and perfect for anyone else. Oh, and he wears a stupid mask.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The “Grendel” series was one of the things that irritated the tar out of me in the ’90s, and ten years hasn’t made the concept the slightest bit more appealing.

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World War Hulk #5

It’s the last chapter of this series, as the mega-powerful Sentry shows up to try to take Hulk down. Completely spoiler-free review: There is a LOT of hitting.

Verdict: Thumbs up. There’s really no way they could’ve ended it with the big bang that ended every issue of this series, but I think it ended well. So many pure-action superhero epics end up devolving into plotless and characterization-less exercises in mindless brutality. This has been a high-quality and very exciting story all the way through.


Metal Men #4

Lots of stuff happens, both in the present and the past. The Proto-Metal Men defeat Chemo in the past, the current Metal Men have to deal with a new tendency to temporarily turn evil — or as they call it, turning into “radioactive werewolves.” On top of that, Lead has been transmuted into Gold and vice versa — so the old Gold is now a bit dumb and dull, while the old Lead is now a supergenius. The Missile Men make an appearance, though they’re now called the M-80s, Dr. Morrow is a robot imposter, and Dr. Magnus’ badass evil brother shows up.

Verdict: Well, I love the stuff with Lead, I mean Gold, I mean Lead… but the rest of it is confusing as heck. We’ve been told that this will start making sense soon, but if that’s the case, I wish they’d just published the full story all at once so I wouldn’t have to wait 30 days between chapters in the hopes that it’ll make sense. Thumbs down.


Titans East Special

Actually, I didn’t buy this one. The ending of this was telegraphed to just about everyone — they lined up a bunch of DC teenagers, including (ugh) Power Boy, Little Barda, the current Hawk and Dove, Lagoon Boy, Son of Vulcan, and Anima, and they just killed ’em all.

Why? I really don’t know. It’s not like the Titans haven’t had enough deaths in the past few years, what with losing Superboy, Kid Flash, Pantha, Wildebeest, Terra, and others. I think DC has a quota — “Must pointlessly kill X number of characters per week.”

One wonders if the people running DC right now are actually trying to destroy the company by killing off all their characters and simultaneously running off all their customers. Could someone please call Time-Warner Inc. and ask if they’ve checked in on their DC subsidiary lately? Maybe they’ll appoint a editor-in-chief who’s not crazy…

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Watch those Tentacles!


Teen Titans #52

The Titans are stuck in the crossfire between a bunch of mind-controlled villains and the evil Titans from the future. Robin’s plan to kill himself to stop himself from turning into Evil Future Batman is foiled by Prometheus showing up to knock him around. Blue Beetle has to contend with Evil Future Clone Flash. Miss Martian gets a beat-down from Evil Future Martian Manhunter, Kid Devil and Ravager have to fight off supervillains and Evil Future Red Devil, Wonder Girl isn’t getting anything but lectures from Evil Future Wonder Woman, Supergirl is fighting Evil Future Clone Superman. And there are even more Future Evil Threats on the way…

Verdict: Thumbs up, mainly because I dig stories about Future Evil Superheroes.


The Trials of Shazam #9

Freddy Freeman wants to move up from being just Captain Marvel Jr. to being the new Captain Marvel, but to do that, he’s gotta be tested by the various gods of magic — and Apollo wants Freddy dead for trying to take away his new, happy, mortal life. And Sabina is still plotting against Freddy behind the scenes.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Good fight scenes, a decent moral/philosophical backstory, and evil schemes going on in the background. This one should start accelerating very quickly toward the ending…


The Flash #233

The Flash Family gets rid of the alien invaders, with a little help from the Justice League. Later, Superman demonstrates some of the worst choice of wording ever (“We’ve come for the children” instead of what he really meant, which was “We’ve come to talk to you calmly and unthreateningly about our concerns about your children’s safety.” Superman is an idiot.) and Wally and Linda worry about how long the kids will live with their hyperaccelerated metabolisms.

Verdict: Thumbs down. It’s boring, and I’m a little tired of all this focus on the Flash’s kids. Isn’t it past time for the Flash to fight some Rogues?

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Doing it Quick like a, um, Beetle

More fast reviews! ‘Cause I’m a busy man! I got work to do! Meetings to attend! Candy to eat! So onward! REVIEWS!


Blue Beetle #19

The extremely tall Giganta, one of Wonder Woman’s enemies, shows up to take down local crimelord La Dama, who’s secretly the beloved aunt of Jaime Reyes’ friend Brenda. Whoa, complication! Can Jaime save La Dama and still preserve the secret she’s been keeping from Brenda? Umm, no, he really can’t.

Verdict: Thumbs up! Good action, good jokes, decent soap opera. Paco gets the best lines, as usual. Have I told y’all to start buying this? You’ve been ignoring me, haven’t you? Don’t make me beat you!


Teen Titans #51

Oh, spit! It’s the evil Titans from the future! But I thought they stopped existing? I thought Conner Kent and Bart Allen were dead? Oh, well, they’ve stomped on the Justice League and have now sent the current Titans off against a bunch of supervillains who are being mind-controlled by Starro the Star Conqueror. Of course, the future Titans have some twisted reasons for being there, but Robin has a plan to stop them — a pretty drastic plan…

Verdict: Thumbs up. The future Titans are good, wicked fun. Hope they can maintain the fun over the next issue or two.


Countdown to Mystery #1

I’d planned to skip nearly all these Countdown tie-ins, but decided to give this one a shot because I heard it had Plastic Man in it, and Plastic Man’s my homie. So in the first part, we meet the new Dr. Fate, who, like the first Dr. Fate, is named Kent Nelson. Oooo, coincidences! He’s a down-on-his-luck bum who stumbles across Fate’s helmet in a dumpster in Vegas and then uses its power to destroy a demon. Yay for smelly homeless Dr. Fate!

In the second part, the Spectre kills a murderer, who steadfastly refuses to go to Hell, because he’s an atheist. Haw! Eat that, Mr. Wrath-of-God! Then we run into my pal Plas, who captures some muggers in Central Park, then gets accosted by Eclipso, who apparently turns him from wacky jokester to angst-ridden villain-to-be. And then there’s a flashback with Darkseid. But ya know, I wasn’t listening by that point. Because no one treats my pal Plastic Man that way. NO ONE TREATS MY PAL PLASTIC MAN THAT WAY.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The story with Dr. Fate was pretty good. But you do not treat my pal Plastic Man that way.

And now, just to burn a little more space, here’s another image you will never be able to un-see.


That’s right, Superboy saves people by biting them on the butt. Comics are wholesome!

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Young Whippersnappers


Teen Titans #50

Most of this issue seems to be dominated by the Titans sitting around and reminiscing about the recently-dead Bart Allen. As such, the plot seems pretty darn thin, because we’ve spent the last month or so watching DC’s characters mourn Kid Flash. What makes this issue cool is that large chunks of it are written and illustrated by people who have helped make cool “Teen Titans” comics for the past 20 years, including Marv Wolfman and George Perez (creators of the classic mid-1980s “New Teen Titans”), Geoff Jones and Mike McKone (from the most recent incarnation of “Teen Titans”), and Todd Dezago and Todd Hauck (creators of the slapstick “Young Justice” series).

The problem is that seeing all that awesome artwork by Perez, McKone, and Hauck just serve as reminders that the art team on the current book doesn’t do anything nearly as cool as all the stuff that came before.

It’s also pretty disappointing that they essentially ripped off John Rogers, writer of the “Blue Beetle” series, by reprinting seven whole pages of plot and dialogue he did in the last issue of his series without crediting him. I don’t know if that’s just an unbelievably clumsy oversight or an unbelievably rude snub.

Verdict: Thumbs up, almost entirely for the chance to revisit the great Titans teams of the past, because this current set of creators don’t seem to have the chops they need.

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The Big Red One

Not many comics left to review this week, and I think I can get most of them reviewed pretty quickly. To the ReviewCopter!


Hellboy: Darkness Calls #4

Baba Yaga’s crusade against Hellboy continues, as Koschei the Deathless attacks. Hellboy’s a pretty tough customer, but he does his best work against opponents who eventually stop living, which Koschei doesn’t do. Luckily, Hellboy gets a little assistance from a little girl from Russian folklore, but it may not be enough.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Mike Mignola’s take on Russian mythology is big fun. Not much horror action in this issue, but a full issue of near-nonstop action is nothing to sneeze at.


JSA Classified #28

This issue focuses on Jakeem Thunder and his wish-granting Thunderbolt as they try to use their nigh-omnipotent powers to give everyone everything they want. While Jakeem expected to spend his time reconstructing demolished homes and feeding the hungry, he ends up fielding demands for new plasma TVs and repaired PlayStations.

Verdict: Thumbs up. One of the superhero criticisms you see from time to time is that you see them pull people out of fires and accidents, but you never see them stick around to clean up damage or rebuild homes. This issue has one of the better explanations for this that I’ve seen — it’s better thought-out and doesn’t completely insult your intelligence the way some of these do. We also see some much-needed character development for Jakeem, who tends to get forgotten over in the main “Justice Society” comic book.


Teen Titans #49

It’s a crossover with the “Amazons Attack” miniseries. There’s a three-way battle between the Titans, the military, and the Amazons with a bunch of innocent internees in the crossfire. Most of this takes place on a runaway passenger train, and it’s still not a bit exciting.

Verdict: Thumbs down. Boring, irritating, confusing, poorly written, badly plotted. I have a hard time believing that the Titans would help escort military internees to a concentration camp just to keep themselves from being arrested. And Supergirl and Wonder Girl somehow manage to go off, get persuaded to fight with the Amazons, crash Air Force One, and then change their minds and come back to the Titans, all in the space of a few hours. This comic was freakin’ awful. I’m not dropping it yet, mainly ’cause Blue Beetle is going to be in the next few issues, but things better improve soon or I’m giving it up.

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