Comic Book Review: Teen Titans #42

Teen Titans is always a kick ass read. It appears that we are in store for yet another guest artist. That sucks. I love Tony Daniel’s incredible art. Anyway, it appears that Teen Titans #42 is a spotlight issue on Kid Devil. That should be rather interesting. Let’s go ahead and hit the review.

Creative Team
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Peter Sneibierg

Art Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Kid Devil sneaking into a mystical bar that caters to the other worldly types. The bartended tells Kid Devil that he isn’t 21 so he can be in the bar. The bartender mentions that his bar is located in the 52nd dimension and is a pocket universe at that. Kid Devil yells that he is Blue Devil’s sidekick and he has to fin dim since it is a matter of life or death.

We cut to a flashback scene showing Kid Devil’s origin. His parents were having problems so they sent him to live with his Aunt Marla who was a movie produced in Hollywood. Kid Devil was on the set of the movie where Daniel Cassidy became the Blue Devil. The Blue Devil became Eddie’s favorite hero. Soon, Eddie wanted to be Blue Devil’s sidekick. Eddie even made himself a costume and a mechanical trident that enabled him to fly. Blue Devil wanted no part of a twelve year old side-kick and told Eddie to stop pretending that he is Blue Devil’s sidekick.

One day, Aunt Marla was killed in a helicopter crash. There was an explosion at a power plant and the warnings lights on a bunch of electrical towers went out. That caused the crash. Aunt Marla had finally gotten the financing for her next movie: The Life Story of Blue Devil. Then later on Blue Devil died. Eddie felt all alone.

We cut back to present time with Kid Devil paying a visit to Sebastian Faust. A while back, Faust and Blue Devil had teamed up to destroy Nebiros. Kid Devil asks Faust if he knows where Blue Devil is. Faust says that Blue Devil was here to get the Red Jar and just left an hour ago. That he is on a mission and that Kid Devil should wait until the mission has been finished.

Kid Devil says he has steered clear of Blue Devil for two years. That he isn’t going to wait any longer. Faust says that Kid Devil is wrong. Blue Devil has steered clear of Kid Devil. Kid Devil then spies an open book of spells that mentions where a person has to go in order to activate the Red Jar. Kid Devil heads off for that location.

We shift back in time and see Eddie teaming up with Young Justice. However, it was short lived since they disbanded after a week. Then a year went by and Superboy died during the Crisis. Kid Devil heard that the Teen Titans were holding tryouts so he went to see if he could get a roster spot on the team. However, everyone else had super powers and many of them sue to Lex’s Everyman Project. One of the teens trying out said he could put in a word for Eddie at the Everyman Project so that Eddie could get some real powers.

Eddie spent the last of his inheritance money to fly to Metropolis and enroll in the Everyman Project. Unfortunately, Eddie failed the screening tests due to “psychological” issues. Eddie didn’t have any money left for a hotel room, so he slept behind a church. Suddenly, a hooded figure approached Eddie and gave him a box with a candle inside of it. The figure says it was a gift from a higher power.

Eddie then visited his friend Zatara and asked him if he knew what the candle was. Zatara said it was a demon stick and that if you light it then it will transport you to whoever made it. Eddie asks Zatara if he could transport them back from wherever the candle took them. Zatara boasted that of course he could. Eddie then quickly lighted the candle and Zatara panics. It turns out that Zatara can’t use his powers on people so he couldn’t transport them back.

Suddenly, the two teens are transported before a great demon called Neron. Neron is a Wishweaver. Zatara is scared stiff. Neron tells Eddie that he can give Eddie the powers he has always dreamed of in exchange for something. Neron asks Kid Devil how much does he trust Blue Devil. Kid Devil says his trust in Blue Devil could never be broken. Neron then says that he will give Eddie the power he wants but if the trust between he and Blue Devil is ever broken then on Eddie’s twentieth birthday he will leave the world above and come to the underworld to be Neron’s protégé.

Zatara tells Eddie to not take the offer. Eddie says that even when Blue Devil didn’t return his calls or forgot his birthday, that he never lost his trust in him. Eddie then tells Neron that they have a deal. And poof! Kid Devil is born. Kid Devil is psyched. That this is exactly the vision he had in his head whenever he dreamed about being Kid Devil.

Neron then tells Kid Devil that he has a story for him. That Neron had made a deal with Blue Devil that he would make Blue Devil a star in exchange for Blue Devil to destroy an unmanned power station in the middle of the California Desert. That in doing so, Blue Devil caused a power outage within several electrical towers including the one that killed Kid Devil’s beloved Aunt Marla. That Blue Devil is responsible for Aunt Marla’ death and that he never told Kid Devil. Kid Devil yells that Neron is lying. Kid Devil and Zatara are then transported back to our world.

We shift back to present day with Blue Devil brawling with some demon. Kid Devil crashes on the scene. Blue Devil disposes of the demon and then asks what Kid Devil is doing here. Kid Devil says that he just wanted to talk. Blue Devil interrupts and asks how Eddie got transformed into a devil. Kid Devil says first he has to ask Blue Devil something.

Blue Devil responds that Cyborg already paid him a visit. Blue Devil says that he was going to come and see him. Kid Devil says that wasn’t what he wanted to ask Blue Devil. Kid Devil then asks Blue Devil if he had anything to do with Aunt Marla’s death. Blue Devil admits it and says yes. Kid Devil is stunned and says that he doesn’t trust Blue Devil anymore. Kid Devil gets angry and blasts Blue Devil and yells how could he break his trust in him. Kid Devil yells for Blue Devil to stay away from him and storms off.

We cut to Kid Devil sitting outside of Titans Tower. Kid Devil thinks that he is seventeen and in three years he will belong to Neron. However, he can either sulk or he can enjoy the remaining time he has left with his new friends. Kid Devil buries the darkness inside of him and goes back into the Tower where the rest of the Titans are making a big breakfast.

We shift to Neron laughing and holding g small orb with the soul of Aunt Marla locked inside of it. End of issue.

The Good: Teen Titans #42 was another great read. Johns just continues to crank out excellent issues each and every month. Teen Titans #42 was basically just a filler issue to cover the gap between the end of the last story arc involving the Titans’ traitor and the new story arc involving the Titans East. Most writers would crank out some mindless one shot “monster of the week” style villain and deliver a generic fight filled issue.

However, Johns being the smart writer that he is took this opportunity to conduct some character development on Kid Devil and to finally give some background information about this character and explain how he became a devil rather than the goofy kid sidekick that we knew before the One Year Later storyline. This is exactly the kind of filler issue that I enjoy reading.

I have always liked Blue Devil and as a kid I used to read his comic book. There you go, not many people would probably own up to that fact. At any rate, I have always viewed Eddie as an extremely lame character. And when he showed up with super powers in Teen Titans #34 I was mildly intrigued to learn how he had gotten them, but I was still largely uninterested in Kid Devil’s character.

Johns has definitely changed my opinion of Kid Devil over the course of the past eight issues. I now actually like Kid Devil’s character. Johns has done a nice job with Kid Devil and has managed to grow him into a character that is pretty interesting. My favorite aspect of Kid Devil is his relationship with Ravager.

Now, even though Johns has gotten me to like Kid Devil’s character, I still thought that Kid Devil was a bit too bright, cheery and positive about everything. Even Blue Devil constantly dissing him couldn’t keep him down. I wanted to see a bit more complexity in Kid Devil’s character and boy did Johns deliver that in Teen Titans #42! Plus, I was eager to learn more about how Kid Devil got his powers and I thought eight issues was long enough to go without telling the reader how Kid Devil got his powers.

Johns addressed both of my issues with Teen Titans #42 and did an incredible job in the process. The manner in which Kid Devil got his powers is very intriguing and is ripe with many potential future plotlines. Will Kid Devil ever gain his trust in Blue Devil again? How will the Titans react when they learn that Kid Devil is going to be Neron’s protégé in three years? Especially Raven given her father being Trigon.

And what about that wicked little twist at the very end of this issue? Neron has Aunt Marla’s soul in his possession. That was unexpected, but definitely cool. That should help to spice up this future plotline a bit. That crafty Geoff Johns. He always has a little something extra to titillate the readers.

I loved how Johns wrote Zatara in this issue. Zatara is a great character. I dig his huge ego and false bravado. Zatara is always entertaining and provides for some much needed comic relief in an otherwise rather dark issue.

I also liked how Johns dealt with Eddie’s relationship with Blue Devil. You can tell that Blue Devil likes Eddie and has never meant to hurt him. But, at the same time, Blue Devil is a bit of a dick and it is probably due to the fact that Blue Devil isn’t a very stable person and has numerous issues that he has to struggle with. Blue Devil is a neglectful father figure not because he is doing it on purpose, it is just he isn’t capable of being a responsible father figure. He just doesn’t have it in his personality.

The scene with Blue Devil and Kid Devil at the end was very powerful and certainly made me feel bad for both characters. Blue Devil honestly does care for Kid Devil and you know that it tears him up inside how he inadvertently caused the death of Aunt Marla. And poor Kid Devil. Through all the dick moves by Blue Devil, Kid Devil never lost his faith in him. Kid Devil never lost his trust in Blue Devil. To see Kid Devil’s trust shattered was sad. I really felt for Kid Devil. Eddie has been through so much in his short life that it was tough watching him lose another person.

The ending was well done. I’m glad that Johns had Kid Devil realize he could either sulk for three years or enjoy his new friends. Being a Titan is so important to Eddie and he really does love his teammates. Life is short and none of us know how long we have on this world. Eddie’s attitude is exactly how everyone should live their life.

I’m glad that Johns was able to create a more complex personality for Eddie. We got to see Kid Devil’s darker side. We got to see the massive burden that has been placed on his shoulders with his deal with Neron. Plus, we got to see the horrible emotional scarring that losing his trust in Blue Devil has caused him. All of this makes Kid Devil a much deeper character.

And I’m equally glad that Johns didn’t make Kid Devil a mopey teenager wallowing in his own self-pity. That would have been too predictable and honestly we get enough of that from plenty of other characters in other titles. Kid Devil deciding to embrace life while he can and enjoy his friends makes him a more impressive character with internal toughness that makes the reader respect him even more.

The Bad: I just don’t dig Peter Sneibierg’s style of art. I find it to be sloppy and lacking in any detail. And it definitely pales in comparison to Daniel’s kick ass art on the cover of this issue.

Overall: Johns continues to impress with another fine read in Teen Titans #42. Quality character development and exciting story arcs make Teen Titans one of DC’s best reads. I definitely recommend giving Teen Titans a chance. And this would be a perfect time with the new story arc involving the Titans East kicking off with Teen Titans #43.