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52apolooza: Teen Titans

DC's favorite team of teenagers is back with their own series!  How does it do?  Click and find out!


Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!

When the DC Relaunch was first announced, people wrung their hands over the idea that they might not be able to read about teenage melodrama in the DCnU.  Luckily, Teen Titans, by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth, was announced.  How is it?  Read on and find out!

Grab Bag Reviewer: Christian Hoffer

On paper, the Teen Titans reinvention could have been a great idea. Keep the same core group of Young Justice characters, introduce a variety of new teen heroes and square them off against a vaguely evil organization that has more than a few familiar faces in its ranks. However, the first issue of Teen Titans, by Scott Lobdell and Brett Booth, is nothing more than a sloppy, rushed mess that pales in comparison to its sister title, Superboy.

tt1Tim Drake, the third Robin who now goes by the moniker Red Robin, begins to notice multiple attacks against teen heroes that are popping up across the globe. After seeing Kid Flash botch a housefire rescue, Drake is attacked by the mysterious N.O.W.H.E.R.E organization and is forced to flee his penthouse hideout. Drake then hunts down Cassie Sandsmark and forces her to reveal her identity as Wonder Girl after N.O.W.H.E.R.E strikes again.  The end of the issue sets up the tie-in to Superboy as N.O.W.H.E.R.E. decides to unleash their secret weapon upon the unsuspecting teens.

My main problem with this issue is that it relied too much on moving from plot point to plot point instead of building any nuance or characterization of any of the characters. Red Robin, Wonder Girl and Kid Flash were all sadly generic and could be swapped out with any other generic smart guy with gadgets/tough girl/speedster from one of the many teen titles that popped up in the 1990's. While I don't mind that they restarted the Teen Titans franchise (DC had really backed themselves into a corner), it would help if they made the characters worth reading about.

The art wasn't all that spectacular either. Brett Booth's art reminded me too much like Rob Liefeld's, which is never a good thing in my opinion. While he had better proportions than Liefeld's pencils, they still had a sloppy feel and looked stiff and boring. The coloring felt off as well and dulled the art further.

This comic was the definition of mediocre. A lack of characterization, poor art and a rushed storyline made this a forgettable title that had nothing that separated it from the rest of the New 52. I'll be giving it at least a couple more issues to see if it can improve, but right now it looks as if the new Teen Titans will continue the mediocre run of Teen Titans issues that begin when Felicia Henderson took over the series a few years back.

Writing: 15/25
Art: 7/25
Accessibility: 20/25
Enjoyability: 10/25

Total Score: 52/100

Marvel Reviewer: Dan Buckley

Teen Titans, Go?

No, that isn't a typo; I specifically and deliberately meant to ask a question. Why? Because this comic does nothing but raise questions and does very little to answer them. Now, if you'll excuse the Puffy Ami Umi reference, let's get down to the itty bitty nitty gritty.

Our comic begins with a nameless reporter reporting a controlled housefire on the news. However, Kid Flash makes the scene and does what he can to make himself famous. However, instead of making the situation better, he causes a violent backdraft that not only injures the fire fighter he was attempting to rescue, but sends him unconscious several yards away. Not only does this warrant him being chastised by the news anchor, but completely disavowed by his namesake, The Flash.

tt2This exchange begs the question; are we to say in this universe that the adult heroes have no association with their younger counterparts? The only exception is the Dark Knight.

Cut to the Tim Drake, the third Robin in the classic Batman and DC Universe and current Red Robin, watching the news on Kid Flash as well as an expositional expose telling about fears of the masses of the teenage metahumans as he reminisces about his time with the Dark Knight.

At this point, it behooves me to say that the storyline is refreshing. The Teen Titans is revered as one of the better comic teams, and it is refreshing to see yet another series of heroes that aren't fan favorites. They operate outside of the law yet do all for the sake of the law. Thematically, the book is very similar to Frank Miller's Batman, although not nearly as contrived or over the top. It seems natural in a world where teenagers are maturing faster and faster, and after times like the Menendez brothers, there is a legitimate fear of superpowered teenagers. Scott Lobdell recognized and utilized this to the fullest, and it is making for a compelling series of characters.

After Red Robin evades some would-be assailants by detonating explosives, he goes out to find Wonder Girl, aka Cassie Sandsmark, sporting a completely new garb. Of all the new, "modern" get ups of the superheroes, hers was by far the most acceptable. After dispatching some more would-be captors, the two of them discuss a conspiracy against all teenage metahumans and heroes. Our story ends with two scientists discussing the release of Superboy; whether it is through experimentation or creation, the splash page isn't very clear.

This comic has been picked by several experts as the comic of the week, and it's not hard to see why. The writer is really taking his time in bringing them about as deliberately as possible; making the reader emotionally invested in their situation and hoping for a positive resolution. Although this one issue isn't going to be the most sought after, it is reasonable to believe that this series will be.

There are just a lot of unanswered questions. Why are people so against the teenage superheroes and not their adult counterparts? Why is Red Robin lamenting his time with Superman? Who is behind these abduction attempts? Why is someone trying to kill Wonder Girl? What is going on with Spuer Boy? Although there might not be a clear answer to these questions in the near future, we can still hope for one in the coming weeks, as I can promise I will trying to find one.

Writing: 24/25
Art: 24/25
Accessibility: 18/25
Enjoyability: 23/25

Total Score: 89/100
DC Reviewer: Sakie

From the moment that Kid Flash arrives on the scene of a housefire in a condemned mansion is Westchester Country (a tip of the hat to those "X' fans out there) wearing a makeshift costume, it is clear that these Teen Titans are not the Titans of yesterday. Scott Lobdell strips away years of character development in order to leave us with strangers with familiar names.

As Kid Flash rushes into the controlled housefire, he unwittingly unleashes a devastating backdraft causing an explosion that completely destroys the mansion, injuring himself and the firefighter he impulsively (see what I did there?) attempted to rescue in the process. Kid Flash manages to be thrown far enough away from the scene that escapes taking responsibility for his actions. He is chastised by the media and this sets up the tone for the rest of the issue. While the public is beginning to trust and accept superheroes, they do not trust or accept most teen "heroes" because they, like Kid Flash, act too impulsively and accept no responsibility.

Meanwhile in a penthouse in New York City, Tim Drake is watching the backlash from Kid Flash's actions, he also seems to be monitoring other teen superheroes. We get nods to Starfire, Beast Boy, Static, Raven, and Miss Martian before Tim is attacked by Zaniel Templar and agents from Project N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Tim easily outmaneuvers the agents and after turning down Zaniel's offer to join them, flees the penthouse before blowing it up with presumably some of them in the process. In Malibu, California carelessly speeds down the highway in a stolen sports car. She is stopped by a highway patrolman who turns out to be an agent of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. As he attempts to abduct her, he is thwarted by the arrival of Tim now in his new Red Robin costume. Tim attempts to explain to Cassie who he is and what N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is before they are attacked a military helicopter. Cassie reluctantly transforms into Wonder Girl (a name she apparently hates) and together they are able to bring the copter down. The issue ends in almost the exact same spot that Superboy #1 ends as Zaniel Templar forces Dr. Caitlyn Fairchild to release Superboy.

Considering how well Lobdell handled Superboy, I was extremely disappointed to see his take on the Teen Titans here. Tim Drake is still Red Robin and very much an accomplished hero but everyone else feels very green. None of the development that was put into Bart Allen appears to have remained intact. He is simply Impulse again without any of the growth that helped define him. The same can be said about Cassie, who apparently likes to spend her time stealing sports cars and going on joy rides.

I will give Brett Booth credit, while I HATE the cover for this issue, internally his art really made me feel like I was reading a Teen Titans comic book, which is saying something because Lobdell's writing made me feel the exact opposite.

Finally, in terms of accessibility if this is the status quo of the Teen Titans then I don't think new readers will have much of a problem here. Tim Drake is the only "hero" here who has any experience and knows what he is doing. Everybody else has no idea what they are getting in to and this will obviously cause problems and friction down the road.

Writing: 18/25
Art: 22/25
Accessibility: 21/25
Enjoyability: 18/25

Total Score: 79


Total 52apolooza Score (with Three Reviews In): 220 (Average Score: 73.33)

Written or Contributed by: BlueStreak
The Outhouse is sponsored this week by Late Nite Draw. Recently featured on ComicsAlliances' Best Art Ever, he is a Chicago-based commissioned artist with a self-published Digital+Print one-shot coming out in October about the abominable snowman called ABOBAMANIMABBLE, and is also available for commissions. Check out some amazing art by clicking here or by clicking the banner at the top, and support the people who support The Outhouse.


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About the Author - Christian Hoffer


Christian Hoffer is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Hoffer is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.

 


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