Comic Book Review: Titans #4

The Revolution continues to find Judd Winick’s Titans a completely unimpressive read. It is stunning how bad this title has been considering that DC gave Winick the keys to the ultimate roster of Teen Titans. When I first heard that DC tabbed Winick to be the writer of the Titans, I thought to myself that not even Winick could screw up a title starring the classic Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans. I was wrong. Let’s hope that Titans #4 is at least average. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team

Writer: Judd Winick
Pencils: Joe Benitez
Inks: Victor Llamas & Oliver Nome

Art Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Trigon’s three sons squaring off against the Titans. Beast Boy yammers on as Winick completely drives the point through the ground about how there are actually three sons of Trigon instead of just one as they had previously thought.

We then see Raven immobilized as her brothers are using her to create a portal to Trigon’s realm. Nightwing and Starfire then lock horns with one of the brothers named Wraith. We then see Envy tangling with Donna. Envy’s power lets him assume the form of the person whom his opponent envies the most. Therefore, Envy turns into Wonder Woman.

Envy drops Wonder Woman to the ground and Wally catches her. Donna and Wally fall under the spell of the third brother, Lust. Lust makes both Donna and Wally want him badly. Lust then has tells Donna and Wally to fight between each other to see who gets him. Flash begins kicking Donna’s ass.

We see Beast Boy still crouched next to Raven. We now see Trigon walking toward the portal that the brothers are using Raven to create. Raven tells Beast Boy that she has a plan. Nightwing then tells the Titans that they need to change their strategy. Starfire locks horns with Envy.

Nightwing then pulls a bag out of…well, honestly, I have no idea where. Maybe his utility belt? Maybe this is a Bat-bag left over from the 1960’s Batman TV show? Nightwing covers Wally’s head with the bag which breaks Lust’s control over Wally. Nightwing then says that Lust wants Donna to throw Wally at Starfire. Donna complies.
Envy then swoops in and grabs Wally before Starfire can get him. Envy then uses his powers to take the form of the person that Wally is the most envious of: Barry Allen at the height of his powers. Envy begins to freak out stammering that it is too much power and that he cannot contain it or control it. Envy then speeds off totally out of control. Nightwing smirks that he guessed right about who Wally would be the most envious of.

Wraith then tells Envy to dispel of the Flash’s power and reassume his regular form. (Wait didn’t Envy just streak off toward nowhere completely out of control due to Barry’s powers?) The three bothers then stand together and combine their powers and comment that Raven is the portal, but that they still need the key to fully open the portal. The brothers state that the key is Beast Boy. The brothers zap Beast Boy with their energy which turns Beast Boy into the form of a demon.

We see Trigon standing at the portal stating that he can feel the barrier weakening. That soon he will cross over and that Trigon will rule Earth with his three sons by his side. The sons reply that ruling by Trigon’s side was not part of their plan. As the portal is unlocked, the sons then steal all of Trigon’s power.

The portal collapses shut and Trigon sinks to the ground. Trigon states that he will not have the power to enact such a spell to get to Earth for centuries. Trigon says that his sons have made him proud.

We shift back to the Titans on Earth. The three sons have disappeared. Beast Boy comments that he thought the Trigon Seed was totally flushed out of him a long time ago. Raven replies that it is powerful magic. (And an extremely convenient plot device.) Raven then states that her brothers think that they have won. Raven then says that it is coming again.

We cut to Beast Boy holding Raven’s hair while she pukes in a toilet. Evidently, whenever Raven taps into the powers of the deadly sins it makes her throw up for a week. (Naturally.) Raven says that she filled her brothers full of greed so that they would steal Trigon’s powers.

Beast Boy asks how long it will be before her brothers realize that Trigon was in such a weak state that the brothers gained practically no significant additional power. Raven replies “Soon.” (Eh, why would it not be immediately? I mean, either they got additional power or not. Shouldn’t they know that the minute after they “stole” Trigon’s powers?) Raven then continues puking.

We shift to all the Titans meeting together. Nightwing comments how it was interesting having the old Teen Titans back together again. The friends all agree it was nice being together again. They all agree that the best word to explain the feeling is that it felt “comfortable” to be together again.

Beast Boy then says that they are not a team. That they are family. Beast Boy adds that he would like to spend more time with family. Roy asks what exactly that means. Nightwing answers “I’m not sure. But, I’d like to find out…so… Titans Together?” The long-time friends all huddle together and shout “Together forever!!” End of issue.

The Good: Oh, lucky me. I got titles from the comic book twins in Matt Fraction and Judd Winick in the same week. I clearly must have pissed off the comic book gods. Titans #4 was as poor of a read as I was expecting. Still, I can satisfy The Revolution’s rule of Positivity as there were a few nice aspects to this issue. Winick delivered a nicely paced issue. This issue never felt bogged down and did not wander around aimlessly. Winick moves with story along with a purpose and delivers a lively paced read.

Winick treats the reader to tons of action. This issue may have been many things, but slow and boring are definitely not two of them. Action fans will probably enjoy the massive brawl scene that encompasses the vast majority of this issue. The action was fast and furious and it was fun seeing the classic Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans back together again as a team and kicking ass.

The Bad: Titans #4 was average at best. Winick offers up an incredibly shallow and thin story. The entire story arc has come across as unoriginal and boring. The character work has been pathetic. Winick gives each Titan the same generic “cool” Gen-X’er personality that he always gives his characters. The various Titans act more like cardboard cut-outs than actual people. This is about as one-dimensional as I have ever seen these characters written.

Winick’s dialogue is completely nondescript. All the characters spit out their dialogue in a robotic and lifeless fashion. Winick’s dialogue vacillates between being stiff and wooden to being just flat out unintelligent. Winick’s dialogue manages to make most of the Titans sound completely dumb.

As always, Winick stuffs way too much pointless and uninteresting chatter. I am pretty sure that Winick and Fraction have a side bet concerning just how much time they can waste in an issue with pointless dialogue or narration. The beginning of this issue is an excellent example of this as Winick has Beast Boy just drone on and on and drive the fact through the ground that there were three sons of Trigon instead of one. It is okay for the Titans to be surprised that there were three brothers instead of just one like they were expecting. I did not need three pages of Beast Boy yammering on in order to get the point.

Titans #4 felt extremely rushed as Winick frantically tried to end this initial four part story arc with this issue. And the reason why Winick had to hit the panic button and fly through Titans #4 in order to wrap up this story arc by the end of the issue is because he completely wasted the previous three issues with pointless stories that shuffled along at a slow pace.

The massive fight scene did not work for me. I found it to be poorly choreographed and was quite choppy. Winick employed too many convenient occurrences in this fight that required the reader to make several leaps of faith in order to accept what happened.

I found the puking scene to be the typical type of storytelling that Winick is known for delivering. This scene just felt too goofy and missed the mark as being “funny.” Raven’s explanation in this scene of how the Titans won the battle, but not the war lacked common sense.
Raven stated that it would be a while before her brothers figured out that they absorbed Trigon’s powers at his lowest point and, therefore, did not receive any increase in their powers. I would think that the brothers would know immediately if they received an influx of power or not right after they absorbed Trigon’s powers.

This ending affirms my general feeling that Winick had written himself into a corner by wasting the past three issues and had to come up with a fast and convenient ending to quickly wrap up this story arc by the end of this issue.

I thought Titans #4 ended with a massive thud. This was such an underwhelming and anti-climactic ending. Absolutely nothing that happened in the final scene got me excited to come back for the next issue and follow the new adventures of the Titans.

The final scene was totally lifeless. The characters stumble around like inarticulate slackers which is how Winick ends up writing most of his heroes. And the Titans seem to kind of half-heartedly back their way into forming a team with no general design or purpose in mind at all.

This is going to be a fatal flaw to this title and is what plagued Winick’s Outsiders. A team title has to have a specific team concept and a definite mission statement. Winick’s Outsiders completely lacked both as it was just a hodgepodge of mopey, slacker Gen-X heroes who rain around aimlessly without any real purpose at all. I see the Titans quickly heading into that same direction.

Joe Benitez, Victor Llamas and Oliver Nome did not impress me with their artwork in Titans #4. I find Benitez’s artwork to be too cartoony for a title like the Titans. Especially the facial expressions which are way too cartoonish and exaggerated.

Another weakness of Benitez’s artwork is that his anatomy is totally out of whack. The human body does not look even remotely like what Benitez gives us in some of the panels in this issue.

And he has the characters strike some really odd poses in some of the panels. For example, in the final page of this issue, Donna is standing on her tippy toes despite the fact that she is wearing high heeled boots. It is the little odd things like that that Benitez draws that lack any sense. It gives the issue a sloppy look.

Overall: Titans #4 was another pedestrian read. The only readers who might enjoy this issue are action junkies, die-hard Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans fans and Judd Winick fans. For everyone else, I would recommend that you do not waste your money of this poorly crafted title. There are far better titles from DC that are much more worth your money than this lifeless title.

Thom’s Take: Wow. I have to agree with Rokk on this one. The Titans were always one of my favorites. It was best during the Wolfman/Perez times but I did enjoy the post Perez issues. I was one of the few who liked Dan Jurgens version. My age is showing by this comment, but i even liked it when Bob Rozakis was the writer. Some of their best covers were during the Nick Cardy days. But this has crossed the line. This is the first time I did not like the old gang. I will probably be passing on this title as long as Winnick is the writer. Hopefully, he will move on and a better writer will take over the title.

2 thoughts on “Comic Book Review: Titans #4

  1. shouldn’t cyborg be rebuilt by now. he gets destroyed all the time, and then he goes straight to the Teen Titans basement to be rebuilt

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