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Review Group Teen Titans #75

starlord had the pick for new comics shipping September 30th and he selected Teen Titans #75 by Felicia D. Henderson, Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson with Ravager Second Feature by Sean McKeever Yildiray Cinar and Júlio Ferreira.

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The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week that we each take turns selecting. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse’s News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate in.

Occasionally the Review Group can have some really amazing in depth discussion about the book we are reviewing.  This was not one of those weeks.  Teen Titans fans avert your eyes, this is going to get ugly...
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Review by amlah6

Not having read a many Titans books over the years, I thought Henderson made a decent attempt at introducing the various characters. She may have gone a bit overboard on Bombshell and Beast Boy however as they were annoying to the point of being distracting from what little story there was. I'm sure there's probably stuff going on here that means something to Titans fans, but as a relative n00b there wasn't a lot to draw me in. Overall, this didn't seem to flow all that well. Dialog often felt disjointed and unnatural, especially the last 8-10 pages. It wasn't all bad though. Wonder Girl's portrayal as a leader who was unsure of herself seemed pretty well done, but this was probably the first comic I've read with her where she wasn't spending most of her time crying about dead Superboy so maybe I just liked that this was something different.

I've never really liked Bennett, but the art in this helped the comic a lot. It was actually easier to follow what was going on by looking at the art than it was by reading the balloons/captions. The last splash page with the monster thing was pretty sweet, if the comic had been better maybe I would be interested in seeing more of that.

It seemed pretty damn weird to get an introduction story in the main part of the comic only to come to the backup and find out that its part four of an ongoing serial. What was there seemed decent enough, a bit by the numbers maybe, but decent.

Story: 3
Art: 8
Backup: 7
Overall: 5.5
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Review by GHERU

Wow, and I thought this book was bad back when I dropped it with #69.

First of all, I am not well versed in Teen Titans lore - I have this volume 1-69, and I picked it up cause of Johns and the cartoon - but I swear that I have read this issue before

Raven has something mystical and shitty happen to her, Beast Boy (whatever) gets no respect, and there are new Titans that do not get along. There is lots of yelling with no real mature resolution....this book was just uncomfortable to read.

The art was also awkward...for some reason Garfield's facial hair was very off putting.

All in all this book sucked. I really don't get what the plot was supposed to be, or why anyone would think that a random cat in the tower was a good thing, especially what happened with the last (that I read) random animal that showed up. Did they ever tell us what happened with Gar and Raven during the missed year (OYL)? Never mind, I don't really care.

Story - 4/10
Art - 3/10
Overall - 3.5 / 10
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Review by Old Man

Gee, I'm not crazy about this book. I didn't hate it, either. I'm not taken with any of the characters except Miss Martian. Must be something about green women that I picked up from Star Trek: TOS. (Did you guys know it really wasn't called ST: TOS? It was just Star Trek, because nobody knew from sequels back then.)

Felicia Henderson is the new writer of Teen Titans. Henderson was a writer for Fringe, Gossip Girl and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. I hated Fresh Prince because it was the same story almost every week, a problem a lot of sitcoms possess. (And Will Smith still can’t act.) I can't judge the writing on the other two shows as I've never seen them.

Her story appears to be fairly well thought out, but there are some things that need immediate attention. Most of the main characters are named on page four, yet Raven, the focus of this story, is not named until page ten. As this is the beginning of a new story, and thus will be the first pages of a reprint trade, the characters should be named as soon as possible. The Titans (not to be confused with the Teen Titans) appear on page eleven, yet never get named. On the next-to-last page, Miss Martian is talking to someone who doesn't get identified. Just guessing from the hair style, it is Bombshell in human form, not quantum form.

The art is pretty enough, but there are storytelling problems here, too. There are too many panels where it is just a talking head or two, and a majority of them are facing directly at the reader. Variety/spice/life. On page ten, Raven is brought into the room, unconscious. Wonder Girl starts to ask if she is dead. In the next panel, we see Raven cough/vomit/seize...the art doesn't show the scene well enough to tell. It's dramatic, but the drama is lessened by the poor art scene. On page 14, we again have that pet peeve of mine, the repeated panel. On the next-to-last panel, Miss Martian says to Bombshell (?), "Didn't mean to scare you." There is nothing to show she might have scared Bombshell, just the panel of Bombshell looking over her shoulder at Miss Martian. This needed more panels to help tell the story.

I'm not sure who to blame the problems on, really. I'm not all that familiar with Joe Bennett's work to say he isn't a good storyteller. I actually really liked his monster on page three. It is certainly Henderson's first comic book work. Perhaps it needed better editorial control.

The second feature is Ravager. It's the fourth chapter of a longer story. On page seven, Ravager sees something that really shocks her and pisses her off. This is kept from the reader, which felt like a cheat, but I'm hoping that McKeever will have had a good reason for it.

I have to give the main feature a 6 because of all the problems with the story, both writing and drawing. I liked the back-up feature enough to give it a 7, so the final score is 6.5.

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The things you learn researching other things.

Andy Borowitz co-created The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Today, Borowitz is known for the parody columns he writes.

When Sarah Palin resigned, the headline to his piece was:

America Less Safe With Palin No Longer Keeping Eye on Russia

On health care reforms, the headline was:

In Move to Appease Critics, Obama Promises to Extend Health Care Coverage to Morons

About Joe Wilson:

Wilson Shouts ‘You Lie' After Wife Fakes Orgasm

When Kadafi spoke to the UN:

Mental Patient Breaks into U.N., Gives Ninety-minute Speech

http://www.borowitzreport.com/archives.aspx
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Review by starlord

Let me start by saying this was better than anything Mark Millar could ever come up with in his entire career!

That being said. I didn't like this at all. It wasn't bad, to me, it just wasn't much of anything. It just sat there like a big fat cat on a window sill. Which is unfortunate because I think this cast of characters has some great potential.

Blue Beetle is being wasted here. Raven is once again the central character in the new arc, which is really the oldest story every writer has used with Teen Titans.

Note to all future writers of Teen Titans: You can do an arc that does not include Raven as the central theme, or Deathstroke. It can be done!

Art was okay, nothing great either.

Beast Boy came off as a really pathetic joke here. One minute he's claiming to be leader, the next he's flipping out over Raven, then he's being told he's a good leader and then told he sucks as a leader. I mean, come on!!!

And who doesn't see the sexual tension between Bombshell and Aquagirl. It's so transparent.

Nope, this is not worth the money at all. Still, I enjoyed it much more than last week’s selection.

Story: 5
Art: 4
My Score: 4.5
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Review by doombug

Really? Does anyone remember how much praise #50 got and how excited everyone was over Sean taking the reigns? Well this is the opposite of that. I can't even write a proper review:

Raven and Beast boy are transplanted into this series from Titans. (So that makes 5 of the books lead characters gone from that book) and Beast Boy is made team leader out of nowhere.

I really don't know what to make of this, no one reacts to the "that's not my cat", too much unexplained weird awkward moments....wtf was with a certain Martian throughout the book?

Wonder girl completely being thrown under the bus here bothered me too, not even a fight with beast boy taken over? Static was the only useful one.

Verdict: 4....I miss McKeever.
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Review by thefourthman

Main Story - 3
Main Art - 6
Main Overall - 4.5
Back Up Story - 5
Back Up Art - 6
Back Up Overall - 5.5

Overall (counting the main story as two scores of the same level and presented as an average of the three) - 4.83
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Review by PDH

I could edit it for length but I don't want to and you can't make me.

The Teen Titans - TRIGON'S BEING MEAN TO ME!!!

The Teen Titans are a gang of wrist-slitters (some of whom are closing on thirty years old) who have developed a kind of advanced suicide cult wherein they've realized that the most effective and blame-free method of ending their lives is to simply exist within the confines of the DCU. To speed this process up they live in a giant T-shaped building and wave their sweet, Lolita asses around in front of people like Dr. Light until someone comes and puts them out of their misery.

What must it be like to join the Teen Titans? You know when you're a kid and your mother forces you to go the party of that little weird-smelling, dyslexic, Ralph Wiggum snot from your class who everybody hates? You go to some strange 'youth centre' you've never heard of before where a rubbish entertainer (who is a blood relative of the birthday boy like all other guests) falls asleep mid-song at the piano in a puddle of his own diarrhea and you spend the whole time trying to remember the kid's name. That's what it must be like to join the Teen Titans. The one cool character, Ravager, was so ashamed to be near them that she physically escaped the confines of the page in order to hide in the disjointed but still superior back-up strip from former writer Sean McKeever.

Meanwhile, on the A-Side, Beast Boy or Changeling or whatever the hell he's calling himself at the moment is the new leader of the Teen Titans. This comes after one fairly important scene which takes place in a completely different book (sister title, the Titans). In that, Changeling shelved his multiple issue-spanning sulk long enough to find the Teen Titans trying to simultaneously fight a bad guy and grieve over the latest grisly death pointlessly forced on them by sadist editors. Having taken pity on them, he now hangs around with people half his age whilst they pretend it's not awkward that they are for the most part more mature than he is. Oh, and I think Raven has been raped by some kind of schizophrenic griffin or something. It's all really, really sad.

But then again, isn't that what teenagers want? Not the griffin thing but the unbelievably melodramatic angst-er-coaster of soap opera super heroics where the bad guys win more often than they do and no-one understands their pain? The teenage condition is the result of the twin discovery that your mother lied about how special you were and the horrible reality that the universe is a blank, uncaring void, physically incapable of feeling any sympathy for you and the petty string of failures you call a life. And that's where the Teen Titans come in. It's a place where your most trivial feelings are inflated to a near universal importance. Take Raven, for example. Here is a character whose thing is that if she experiences any happiness whatsoever the omni-dimensional space Satan who spawned her will enter her reality and subject its inhabitants to unremitting hellish torments, Urotsukidoji style. Isn't that the perfect teenage fantasy? It's emotional torture on an epic scale. Like Hostel for Emos.

And that's sorta what the Titans are all about. Because teenagers don't really want to kill themselves, they just want everyone else to know how much they've hurt them. If they died, they'd never be able to see that stuck up Chloe's face when she saw how much life-altering emotional damage she'd caused by daring to have larger breasts and totally exploiting it all the time. This was the case, anyway. Thirty goddamn years ago when this was still considered a fresh direction for the Teen Titans and the average comic book reader was young enough to appreciate it. At this point, the book desperately needs a new formula to run into the ground and Henderson has thus far only managed a competent if bland resuscitation of the now vegetative formula we've been stuck with for decades. It would be tempting to blame the state of the book on Dan Didio at this point, so let's do that.

Story: 5
Art: 7
Overall: 6
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Review by MrBlack

Teen Titans was one of the first books I read when I first got into comics around the time of Infinite Crisis. I got the first three trades and loved them.

Then Superboy died and Kid Flash turned into the Flash. Suddenly, the book just stopped being as much fun. The characters all started suffering from severe depression, and the team started to go through lineup changes every two issues. Unlike most of the people here, I enjoyed Sean McKeever's issues, but felt that they were hampered by interference from editorial. McKeever finally bailed to go back to Marvel, but still manages to write the best Titans stuff on the market today, even if it is just a backup. Meanwhile, both Titans books have been going through writers as quickly as they go through team members, and have suffered for it.

As a quick aside, I actually like the current lineup of the team. I love Blue Beetle, Static, and Miss Martian, and both Bombshell and Aquagirl are interesting characters. I would prefer to see at least Superboy and Kid Flash on the team, but this is a pretty solid lineup.

We begin the issue as Raven is attacked by a...something? Platygriffin? Anyway, we then go to Titans Tower, where the team is enjoying a pizza. Cowabunga dude. Beast Boy shows up, promising to effectively replace their emotionally damaged leader...and then falls to pieces when Raven shows up unconscious on their doorstep. Oddly, Wonder Girl congratulates him on keeping his cool, which he immediately loses once more as Raven's treatment begins. Then a random cat spits up a hairball and the platygriffin is in the tower. One would think that after the whole fiasco with "Wonder Dog," the team would be a little more concerned about strange animals in their headquarters.

The plot of the issue is pretty clunky, but the character interactions seem decent enough. The writer is new to comic writing, having come from producing and writing for television (Didio doing favors for old TV contacts, perhaps?), so I'm willing to give her a bit of leeway, but this was not a good issue by any stretch. It's even worse for those who have been reading Titans (or flipping through it in their comic shop Embarrassed). While Titans readers were aware of Beast Boy coming on board the team, they were also aware of his stalkerish tendencies towards Raven, which was part of the point of him leaving the Titans. After that, seeing Beast Boy rubbing Raven's hand against his face in this issue was creepy as hell.

The art was decent, but not Bennett's best by any stretch. A solid effort, but just unexciting (but I dig Beast Boy's mutton chops!).

The backup from Sean McKeever and Yildiray Cinar was the highlight of the issue, although it is unfortunate that issue #75 had to fall in the middle of the backup's story. This only reinforces why I miss McKeever on the main title, and why I wish he could have been given free reign to write the book he wanted to write.

Story: 5 (main); 8 (backup)
Art: 6 (main); 8 (backup)
Overall: 5.5 (main) + 8 (backup) = 6
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Review by SuperginraiX

Remember when Teen Titans actually mattered?

OK, me neither, but there were times when I actually enjoyed this book. I wasn't reading anything except GI Joe and Transformers the first time this title was actually "good" and trying to find back issues of the Wolfman/Pérez issues is made more difficult given the fact the title seemed to change names five times during their run. Regardless, I've read Judas Contract and laughed at Nightwing's costume. It was good times.

Since I've actually been collecting super hero comics, I've seen a few tries at relaunching the Titans and I've got at least one comic from each relaunch. There was some fun to be had in each try but nothing really grabbed me until the excitement of Infinite Crisis pulled me into Teen Titans. Man, remember when something called "Crisis" could actually be exciting? Not saying that excitement was justified but it was during the build up to Infinite Crisis where I bought the most DC titles. Johns' run on the book had a plausible reason for bringing the Young Justice team together and even a way to add some former Titans like Cyborg and Starfire to the mix. And it worked.

Seventy-five issues later, someone's forgotten why this title even exists. Why is this team hanging out together? Where's Superboy and Kid Flash? I can understand that Tim's off being crazy after Grant Morrison got to him but this is by far the weakest and most uninteresting lineup I could imagine. Blue Beetle? Cool. Static Shock? Potential. Wonder Girl? Right on. The rest of the team including Beast Boy? zzzzzz. They don't even seem to like each other. Beast Boy and Raven just seem to be passing through to me.

And the story? Bland. Disjointed. There are parts where I really did think I skipped a page. There are other parts that seem to be ripped out of other comics that don't fit in at all except the characters on panel talking about the Titans. The best thing about the comic is the Ravager back-up story. I don't exactly know what's going on but I can figure most of it out and it actually kept me interested. The main story was a bunch of people not getting along, flashbacks over Titans history, nebulous threats, disjointed story elements, and a whole heaping helping of boring.

This title needs to clearly define why it exists, why the members are together, and why it's important to read. Right now? It's giving me little reason to pick up Titans in the future. You'd think teenage super heroes would be a no brainer but this proves otherwise.

Teen Titans gets a 2 even with the Ravager back-up. Get your act together, comic.
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Review by House of J

I add my 2 to your 2. It's not worth wasting much time trashing this book, but I do actually remember when Teen Titans mattered, and one of the reasons they mattered was Marv Wolfman's portrayal of teens as young adults handling some heavy issues in between fighting Trigon and The Terminator. Is it merely bad writing and drawing, or a sign of the neoteny especially endemic in our leisure class culture of the 21st century that these teens are depicted slouching around like sulky ballerinas and arguing like toddlers deprived of nappys--if I were a teen I'd be rather insulted by this book!

Welp, I didn't bother reading the Ravager back-up story because a) Ravager is dumb. b) its in the middle of a story I couldn't care less about. and c) The guy at the counter was starting to give me the stink-eye.

That's right, I Byrned this book! There's no way I would pay money for that. I thought about a 1, but Haunt looks so bad I figured I'd better leave it a little room at the bottom, just in case.

Thanks for giving me an opportunity to calibrate the low end of my scale.
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That gives Teen Titans #75 a group score of 4.48Teen Titans #75, you suck.

For further discussion about pretty much everything but this issue, feel free to join us in this week's thread (http://www.theouthousers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29749) found in the News Stand forum where you are also invited to refuse to post your own review.
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Mr_Batman has the pick for October 7th and he has selected Haunt #1 from Image Comics.  Look for the sure to be drama filled thread after it becomes available Wednesday morning to post your own review. 

Haunt #1

story ROBERT KIRKMAN
art GREG CAPULLO, RYAN OTTLEY & TODD McFARLANE

McFARLANE & KIRKMAN’S HAUNT HAS ARRIVED!

Daniel Kilgore is dragged into his estranged brother Kurt's secret life of murder and espionage... by his ghost. With no training whatsoever, guided by the spirit of his secret-agent brother, Daniel must now solve his brother's murder and save the world – or die trying! It all starts here, people: Witness the birth of HAUNT!



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