Comic Book Review: Teen Titans #39

Teen Titans is one of The Revolution’s favorite DC titles. Johns has been delivering wonderful stories on this title. We also are treated with the return of Tony Daniels with this issue. I’m confident that Teen Titans #39 is going to be a great read. Let’s start this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciler: Carlos Ferreira
Inkers: Art Thibert & Drew Geraci

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: The issue starts with Zatara finishing a magic show along with his assistant Bunny. The leave the stage and walk back to Zatara’s dressing room. There Zatara finds the Teen Titans waiting for him. Zatara is pissed to see them. Zatara proceeds to be rather snotty to the Titans. Zatara gives a quick recap of Raven’s history for all those new readers to this title including how Raven was reborn by the Church of Blood in a new teenaged body.

Zatara tells the Titans that Raven had visited recently. That Raven was looking for advice on how and why her should was reborn in her new body. Zatara told Raven that she had been given a second chance on life to live by her own terms instead of Trigon’s. Zatara then snaps that he was embarrassed that he was ever a part of the Teen Titans and refuses to help them on their mission to find Raven. The Titans leave and Zatara goes back to the stage for his next magic show.

We cut to the Teen Titans in their Titans jet. Cyborg finds out from Wendy and Marvin that they searched the entire Titans Tower and the only thing that is missing is an old encyclopedia. “I” through “K.”

We shift to Australia where a villain names Gunshot is holding a girl hostage. Suddenly, Miss Martian appears on the scene and apprehends Gunshot. The Titans then arrive on the scene. Miss Martian’s parents sent her in a rocket to the Vega system back when the white Martians started decimating the green Martians. Once she learned of Martian Manhunter on Earth, she decided to go to Earth where her only other fellow green Martian lived. Miss Martian was a Titan for a very short time. Unfortunately, Ravager was mean to her and made her cry. Miss Martian then quit the team.

Miss Martian tells the Titans that Raven just visited her. That Raven asked Miss Martian to use her telepathy on the Titans in order to find some secret she was looking for. Miss Martian told Raven that she had her own personal rule that forbade her from using her telepathy on good people.

Miss Martian then says that humans lie, cheat and betray. That is why she left the Titans. That she thought the Titans were a group of young heroes who were friends. But they are not. All they did was argue. Miss Martian tells the Titans that Raven was heading to the middle of the China Sea to meet the next Titan on her list. Bombshell.

We cut to Bombshell fighting Nazis. (BREEP BREEP BREEP!!! There goes the Bunker’s alarm. We have a Nazi Rule violation. More on that later.) The Titans appear on the scene and help Bombshell finish off the Nazis. They then aircraft carrier that Bombshell is stationed at. Bombshell tells the Titans that she met with Raven last night and they found poof that there was a traitor in the Titans. Bombshell says that the traitor is Ravager.

We shift back to Miss Martian using her telepathy to search for the bad guy. She suddenly locks onto the bad guy and transforms into her true form and flies off.

The Good: Teen Titans #39 was yet another great read. Johns is doing an incredible job on this title. He keeps delivering solid issue after solid issue. Johns has made the Titans one of DC’s best comic books.

Teen Titans #39 had a nice measured pace, but didn’t feel slow. What is impressive is that Johns doesn’t need to rely on a big fight scene in order to deliver an interesting read. Instead, sound character development, good chemistry between the characters and solid well crafted dialogue is all that Johns uses to make Teen Titans #39 such an enjoyable read.

I dig Zatara. Yeah, he is a big of a snobbish jerk, but it fits his character so perfectly. I also like that he is actually embarrassed to having been a part of the Teen Titans. This re-enforces just how low the Titans sank during the year after Infinite Crisis. I like the re-occurring theme that the Titans are not a family. That they are not friends. That they are just a collection of super powered teens who merely argue with each other constantly. That after Infinite Crisis, the Titans became a fractured team. A completely dysfunctional family. And now, with the return of Cyborg who acts as the moral and spiritual foundation for the Titans, we are going to see if they can rebuild themselves into the team they were before Infinite Crisis.

It has been fascinating seeing the total deconstruction of this once close and tight knit team. The Titans were ravaged by Infinite Crisis with the loss of Superboy, other minor Titans and the loss of Cyborg for a year. I like how Johns is putting these characters through so much turmoil in their attempt to rebuild the Titans. I have a feeling that they still haven’t hit rock bottom. That things are going to get even worse before they are able to make that glorious return to the team that they used to be before Infinite Crisis.

Miss Martian is an interesting character. As a general rule, I dislike derivative heroes. However, based on this title and the events over in Martian Manhunter’s mini-series, it seems that DC wants to increase their Martian population in this New Earth.

I like this mystery that Johns is weaving. We have a traitor in the Titans. We have a mysterious book that Raven possess that some other group evidently wants. Johns gave us a little clue with the revelation that the only thing missing from the Titans Tower was an encyclopedia volume “I through “K.” I cannot wait to see where Johns is going with this mystery. He keeps giving little nuggets to tease the reader with each issue. Johns is doing a nice job building anticipation and excitement in the reader over this mystery.

Johns drops the big bomb on the reader at the end of this issue by having Bombshell reveal that Ravager is the traitor. That is definitely a great hook and makes the reader eager for the next issue. Johns then ups the tension by then having Miss Martian uses her telepathic powers to locate the “bad guy.” That makes the ending of this issue have a double hook. Both revelations certainly got me interested in reading the next issue. Johns really delivered an exciting and well crafted ending to this issue.

I was glad to see Tony Daniels return to the art duties with this issue. I love Daniels’ work and I think he draws an fantastic looking comic book. Daniels certainly draws my absolute favorite version of Robin. Yeah, Tim looks way older than he does in Batman or in his own monthly title, but who cares. He looks very cool. Daniels also does a wonderful job employing shadows and negative space in his art. Daniels does a great job laying out the panels so that each page looks different. It gives the comic book a very dynamic and appealing look.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue other than the violation of the Nazi Rule. I would have given the story 8 Night Girls out of 10. However, the violation of the Nazi Rule means an automatic 2 point deduction. Therefore, the story only got a 6 Night Girls rating.

I really expect more from Johns. He is an incredibly talented writer and arguably DC’s most talented writer. C’mon, Johns! It is 2006!! It has been 61 years since the Nazi regime collapsed! Is it possible that we could create some new villains? Do we really need to still be recycling Nazi villains 61 years after the end of World War II? This is ridiculous. Every time I see a Nazi villain it makes me get the impression that the writer simply didn’t want to spend the time and effort creating a new villain. It really reflects poorly on the writer and makes them look like they lack creativity whenever they trot out the tired and horrendously over used Nazi villain.

I was totally unimpressed with the revelation that Ravager is the traitor. She is such the obvious and predictable choice. I hope that this is a swerve and that Johns is going to reveal in the next issue that Bombshell is incorrect and that the traitor is someone else. Plus, I really dig Ravager. I think she makes a great addition to the team and really spices up the chemistry of the Titans.

Overall: Teen Titans #39 was another great read. Johns has got this title purring like a Cadillac. I love the character development and the wonderful chemistry that Johns has crafted on this title. Throw in Daniels artwork and you have a recipe for a very successful and enjoyable comic book. Give this comic book a try. It is well worth your money.