Comic Book Review: Teen Titans #50

The Revolution isn’t all that psyched to read Teen Titans #50. As a general rule, I dislike any comic book that has artwork by committee and I definitely dislike any comic book that has writing by committee. Take a comic book that sports both and you have an issue that I’m probably not going to enjoy reading. Anyway, let’s hope for the best and hit this review for Teen Titans #50.

Creative Team
Writers: Sean McKeever, Geoff Johns, Todd Dezago & Marv Wolfman
Artists: Randy Green, Mike McKone, George Perez, Todd Nauk, Sandra Hope, Richard Friend & Andy Lanning.

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with the Titans and Wally West assembled around the statues of Bart Allen and Conner. Robin gives a nice eulogy to Bart. The Titans then start telling funny Bart stories. Robin talks about one time when Robin let Bart drive the Batplane with Wonder Girl and Beast Boy in the back seat. On their way to pick up Conner in Smallville, Bart smashes through the “Welcome to Smallville” sign. The Titans then pick up Conner. Bart tells Conner that it is so cool being a Titans and that it is never going to get better than this.

We cut to Washington, D.C. where we see Wonder Woman begin brutally attacked by two people who look similar to Superman and Wonder Woman.

We shift back to Titans Tower where Ravager grabs Kid Devil and drags him away from the rest of the Titans who are still telling stories about Bart. Ravager mentions that she was going to get sick if she had to listen to anymore sentimental crap. Ravager leads Kid Devil to the pool and then strips off all her clothes and hops into the pool. It is time for skinny dipping!

We hop over to Toronto where Martian Manhunter is brutally attacked by someone who looks like Diana and a mysterious red person who makes flames.

We zip back to Titans Tower where we see Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy, Starfire and Wally West all leave in the same Titans Jet. Raven is leaving the team to go enjoy being a high school student. Cyborg is leaving to go watch over Titans Island in New York City. Beast Boy is heading back to Doom Patrol.

Wally talks about how he never thought that Bart had earned the right to wear the Kid Flash costume and be a member of the Titans. Wally said that in the end, he was right about Impulse not being Titans material. But, Kid Flash was Titans material.

Wally tells the story of how when he was Kid Flash and a member of the Teen Titans. Wally wrote a letter to Barry Allen thanking Barry for being a mentor and that Barry’s words on what a hero has to do always stuck with Wally. And that those words were what made him a worthy Teen Titan. Barry wrote back and told Wally that Barry always knew Wally’s potential and that Wally has always made Barry proud.

We slide back over to Titans Tower where the Titans are watching Bart’s favorite TV show. Suddenly, Bart enters the room. The Titans immediately rush to him and can’t believe that he is alive. Supergirl then says that her x-ray vision tells her that it is Miss Martian.

Miss Martian turns back to normal and tells the Titans that everyone was so sad about Bart being dead that she just wanted to raise their spirits. Suddenly, Kid Devil alerts the other Titans to a developing situation.

We cut to Gotham City where Batman is taken out by someone who looks like Superman. We then zip back to the Titans, including Blue Beetle and Supergirl in Texas locking horns with Lobo.

We cut to the Titans having successfully dealt with Lobo. Robin tells Blue Beetle that he has potential, but he needs lots of training and needs to learn how to fight. Robin offers a spot on the Titans for Blue Beetle should he want it.

We zip to Metropolis where Superman is beaten up by someone who looks like Batman wearing a green Kryptonite ring. The Batman tells Superman that he is not Bruce.

We cut back to that night outside of Titans Tower. Robin is sitting in front of the statues of Bart and Conner. Wonder Girl then approaches Robin. Robin mentions how he has lost so many people recently. That it isn’t fair. Wonder Girl agrees that it isn’t fair. Wonder Girl and Robin are just about to start sucking face, when suddenly, Flash arrives on the scene.

Wally says how they are alive and that nothing is what it seems. Wally then collapses and we see Bart in a yellow Flash costume and Conner in a Superman costume appear in front of Robin and Wonder Girl. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Teen Titans #50 was a better than average read. I was rather surprised that I enjoyed this issue as much as I did considering that we got writing by committee. The dialogue was average. It certainly wasn’t anything special. I did think that Wally West’s monologue during the Wolfman/Perez scene of this issue was the best writing of this entire issue. It was an emotional scene as Wolfman showed off that he still has a great feel for the old school Teen Titans.

I am a huge Barry Allen fan and I always loved Wally as Kid Flash. Wolfman did a wonderful job conveying the close relationship between uncle and nephew with the two speedsters. And I still firmly believe that the Titans line up of Wally as Kid Flash, Dick as Robin, Donna as Wonder Girl, Changeling, Cyborg and Starfire is still the all-time greatest Titans team. Period. That all other versions of the Titans have to be compared to that benchmark standard established by Wolfman and Perez. It was great seeing the definitive Titans writer and the definitive Titans artist back on the Teen Titans and giving us a flashback scene of the ultimate Titans team. It certainly put a huge smile on my face.

The pacing of this issue was slow. No doubt about it. Teen Titans #50 was mostly filler. The main purpose of this issue was to serve as a bridge to the new direction of the Titans under the guidance of Sean McKeever. This issue also served as a nice set up for the new story arc involving the evil adult Titans from the future that we first saw back in Teen Titans #18.

The issue was rather slow, but it certainly delivered one fantastic hook ending that immediately got me anxious to read the next issue of the Teen Titans. I loved the evil adult Titans from the future back when they first appeared on this title. They are fantastic characters. This upcoming story arc certainly has tons of potential. It should be interesting to see our heroes take on the evil adult versions of their recently departed friends in Conner and Bart.

What really impressed me with Teen Titans #50 was the handling of Bart’s death. DC has surprised me with how well they have managed the aftermath of Bart’s death. Rarely do I think that deaths are handled well in the world of comic books. Most deaths are lame where the character goes out like a bitch ala Ted Kord. Other deaths are totally random and are just done for pure shock value. You also often see weaker writers use a death as a crutch in order to artificially create a dramatic moment rather than relying on quality writing.

And the other problem with the vast majority of deaths in comic books is the aftermath. Usually, the death of a character is quickly forgotten and the other characters quickly move on with life like nothing ever happened.

That is not the case with Bart’s death. DC has committed a lot of time and effort making sure that the reader sees how Bart’s death has impacted and continues to impact the various characters who were close to him. This makes Bart’s death have more value and force.

It also makes the characters who mourn his loss seem more realistic and well developed. The fact is that in real life some people never fully get over the death of a close friend or family member. It is nice to see characters in comic books react in a real world manner.

I also am impressed with the handling of Bart’s death because it achieves something that very few deaths ever do. Bart’s death actually makes Bart’s character cooler. Before his death, Bart was a somewhat annoying character that never came close to the heroic stature of Wally West or Barry Allen. Even on the Titans, Bart was a second tier member that the reader never took seriously.

However, Bart’s death has catapulted Bart’s character into the status of a true hero. Suddenly, Bart’s character has assumed a much more elevated status within the DCU. In death, Bart comes across far more heroic and much cooler than he ever did while alive. Bart’s death was well handled and achieved the rare goal of actually making his character far more impressive than he ever was while alive.

I really feel bad for Robin. This poor guy has been through so much trauma and sorrow over the past couple of years. And speaking of Robin, what is up with the Boy Wonder continually playing tonsil hockey with his dead best friend’s girlfriend? C’mon, Tim, bros before hos. Repeat that over and over until it sinks in.

I absolutely adore Ravager. She is a fantastic character and is a wonderful addition to the Titans. Ravager provides the necessary cynicism and renegade attitude that is much needed on a team that is truly a family rather than a collection of teammates. Ravager’s cavalier and somewhat calloused view of all the continual storytelling about Bart was actually refreshing and kept this issue from being too saccharine.

The Bad: Teen Titans #50 was certainly a slow read and had a somewhat disjointed and sluggish feel to it due to the writing by committee. This issue is also heavy on the filler and we also certainly had plenty of re-tread scenes concerning Bart’s death. Now, I may have enjoyed those scenes, but I could easily see why other readers may get bored with those scenes.

I absolutely hate the additions of Supergirl and Blue Beetle to the roster of the Teen Titans. Seriously, did I piss off the comic book gods? Does Supergirl have to be shoved down my throat on ever teen super hero team title that I read? Mi dios! Is DC going to change the title of every single comic book that they publish to “Supergirl and…?” It seems like every comic book I read, I see Superbarbie making an appearance.

All I can hope for is that DC has a sense of symmetry with this upcoming Final Crisis. The First Crisis sported the death of Supergirl. Maybe I’ll get lucky and this current Superbimbo will get killed in some horribly brutal fashion in the Final Crisis.

And as much as I have discussed how ridiculous it is that there are so few Hispanic heroes in the world of comics, I just can’t get into this new Blue Beetle. Maybe it is my loyalty to Ted Kord, but this new Blue Beetle is lame.

The artwork on Teen Titans #50 was all right. I really dislike artwork by committee since it usually gives the issue a disjointed look. And sure enough, Teen Titans #50 has a rather schizophrenic look to it.

Overall: Teen Titans was a better than average read. I certainly think that we are in store for one hell of a story arc with the evil adult Titans. I’ll approach Sean McKeever’s run on the Teen Titans with an open mind despite the decision to insert Blue Beetle and Supergirl to the roster of the Titans.

3 Comments

  1. You would actually have had Supergirl on the team OYL if Geoff Johns had gotten his way; however, he was told he couldn’t have her then, hence, the creation of Miss Martian (and now they’re on the team together, which, combined with Wonder Girl, gives the Titans more firepower than some iterations of the Justice League).

    Speaking of Miss Martian, she continues to be awesome; she ties with Ravager as my favourite member of the current team. Now, obviously the “alien outsider” has been done a lot (look no further than her namesake), but it’s done really well here.

    On Ravager, she must be really tough, because she apparently wears a chainmail shirt with no bra. Ouch.

    The Tim/Cassie thing is a very difficult issue to handle, since, so far as we’ve seen, everything seems to spring from mutual grief and desperation (they always say they should really talk about all their problems, but instead they just end up making out, or trying to). Both characters really need severe therapy. In principle, though, I don’t see why a relationship between them couldn’t work; the characters know and get along fairly well, and it’s not unheard of for something like that to happen.

    All in all, I thought it was a very good issue; the main story was good, and two of the three little flashbacks are very well-integrated; the Wolfman/Perez one feels kind of detached, however, since the issue is mostly about Bart while the story is Wally talking about himself (and there are now no links between the original team and the current one).

    According to McKeever, it’s not determined if Blue Beetle will actually be on the team, he’ll just be stopping by in this arc; whether he’ll join after is up in the air (I suspect he will, especially since otherwise the guys are outnumbered two to one).

  2. The art was so so and the story was disjointed. I guess you had to read the latest Blue Beetle issue to know how he fit in. I can’t wait to see how this arc will play out because now we got Connor and Bart back, though in a different form. Sorry I haven’t written anything in a long time man, it’s been a busy busy two months. Can’t wait to read your other reviews soon

  3. I guess we just have to agree to disagree because I really like the new Blue Beetle and Supergirl. Mostly I like the fact that the team is finally comprised of actual TEENS rather than having a group of people who have been Titans since the Wolfman days. Not that I don’t love the characters of the Wolfman days, they’re awesome, but I like to see new blood mixed in with the team. And I’m curious to see what’s happened with future Bart, because if I remember correctly, in the original Titans Tomorrow arc he was actually a good guy who didn’t agree with the rest of his teammates and their extreme style of justice. Dying could have changed his mind in that regard though.

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