Teen Titan is one franchise that has greatly suffered at the hands of the New 52 reboot. DC utterly gutted the Teen Titans mythos with the New 52. The Wolfman/Perez Teen Titans (arguably the greatest teen super hero team of all time) was wiped away. I gave Teen Titans a try during the beginning of the New 52 reboot. I had to bail after several issues. The title was unreadable. It was dreadfully awful. Sales numbers have not been great for this title, either. The last issue, Teen Titans #9, only moved 33,412 units.
However, with the big DCYOU initiative in full swing, I thought it was time to give the Teen Titans another chance. I am curious to see if DC is going to try something new and different with this sagging franchise in hopes of restoring the Teen Titans to their previous heights. With that in mind, let’s give Teen Titans #10 a try.
Words: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: Felipe Watanabe
Inks: Trevor Scott
Colors: Dan Brown
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the Teen Titans (Red Robin, Beast Boy, Raven, Bunker and Superboy) squaring off against The Elite (Wonder Girl, Power Girl Kid Flash, Trinity, Klarion and The Guardian) in a posh condominium in Chicago. There is an orange girl that kind of looks like a Durlan standing in the middle. Not sure who she is or which side she is on. Wonder Girl tells Red Robin to hand over Superboy peacefully so that they can avoid a fight with meaningless violence. (Cassie is such a killjoy.)
Bart then interrupts Wonder Girl and asks Red Robin if he remembers how he left Kid Flash and Solstice in a prison in a future dystopian hellhole. Kid Flash says that Solstice is still in prison in the future. Red Robin replied that Kid Flash asked him to leave them there. Red Robin said that this is not the time to discuss this issue.
Red Robin then throws a flash bomb blinding Bart. Beast Boy then turns into a hippo and sits on top of Bart. (Um, couldn’t Bart just vibrate right through Beast Boy?) With Bart pinned to the ground, Red Robin and Wonder Girl resume their discussion about Superboy. Evidently, the Elite want Superbly because they believe he has killed people and that he is too dangerous to let him be free.
Wonder Girl says that the Teen Titans are outnumbered and outgunned and tells them to just hand over Superboy. Wonder Girl placed her hand on Superboy’s shoulder and tells him to come with her. Superboy says “Hands off!” and throws Wonder Girl into the large flat screen TV.
The Guardian then locks horns with Superboy. Superboy then punches the Guardian out of the building. Trinity and Clarion combine their powers to attack Superboy. Superboy shrugs off their combined attack. The Guardian then re-enters the building and smashes Superboy in the face with his indestructible shield. Red Robin then asks Raven to teleport them away from here. (I wish they could teleport me away from this story.) Superboy punches the Guardian’s shield which causes a massive explosion that renders everyone unconscious except for Superboy and Power Girl. (Uh, I thought Power Girl was a white woman with really big boobs. I’m so confused.)
Superboy flies out of the building and Power Girl jumps out of the window after him. (So, no ability to fly for this Power Girl.) Power Girl lands on Superboy in mid-flight. Superboy then grabs Power Girl and flings her to the ground. Power Girl smashes into the ground next to a swimming pool. Wonder Girl appears and asks Power Girl “You okay, kid?” (Uhhh, aren’t both of these characters the same age?)
Wonder Girl tells Power Girl to sit out this fight and that Wonder Girl has it handled. Wonder Girl then flies off to Superboy. Wonder Girl locks horns with Superboy mid-flight.
We cut back to the condo, where the rest of the Elite and the Teen Titans are just kind of awkwardly standing around like teenagers at a Junior High Prom. (Shouldn’t they be fighting? Or maybe trying to help their teammates?) Klarion’s Jedi mind powers suddenly sense that Red Robin and Raven teleported to New York City.
We cut to Red Robin and Raven arriving at the posh condominium of Manchester Black. (This issue just hops from one posh condo to another.) Manchester Black is on the phone with someone (One of the Elite?) and he says that he doesn’t care how tough “he” is or how tough “they” are. He says just bring him in whatever it takes. The person on the other end of the line says “Red Robin and Raven…” but the conversation is cut off as Red Robin and Raven arrive on the scene.
We cut back to Chicago where Superboy and Wonder Girl are still brawling. Superboy says that they have to end this. Superboy grabs Wonder Girl and flies into the water. Superboy then holds Cassie under the water until she blacks out.
We see Kid Flash arriving at the bridge near where Superboy and Wonder Girl went into the water. The Durlan woman arrives using Kid Flash’s super speed. Kid Flash asks how the Durlan was able to get here so fast. The Durlan replies that what Kid Flash can do she can do. The Durlan says “That is how the people of Durlan survive.” (Uh, wait. Did the Durlans’ abilities get changed with the New 52 reboot? Durlans can mimic any person or creature. But, Durlans do not gain the super powers of a person that they mimic. And either Pfeifer does not believe in research or the editor fucked up editing this issue but it should have been “the people of Durla.” Durla is the planet. Durlans are the inhabitants.)
Suddenly, we see Wonder Girl’s body get tossed out of the water. She lands on the bridge. We then see Superboy fly out of the water and exit the scene. Wonder Girl regains consciousness. The Elite gather together. The remaining members of the Teen Titans are also now on the scene. Wonder Girl says that Superboy flew off at Mach 5 or 6. (Huh, what?! How would Wonder Girl know how fast Superboy was going when he flew off? First, she was nearly drowned and unconscious when he tossed her out of the water and flew off. Second, even if she woke up as he was flying away does she have a radar gun on her? Does she possess the unknown ability to track the rate of speed of an object or person?)
Klarion says that he cannot track where Superboy is headed. But, he can track Red Robin and Raven’s location. Wonder Girl tells Klarion to transport the Elite to that location right now. Beast Boy tells Bunker to use his whatever purple power he has to stop the Elite from transporting away from the scene. Bunker attempts to do so but fails. The Elite teleports away from the scene. That leaves Beast Boy, Bunker and the female Durlan standing around wondering what to do next. (Oh, the Durlan is with the Teen Titans! Did not know that.)
We cut back to New York where Manchester Black is laying the smackdown on Red Robin’s candy ass. Raven enters the battle and hops into Manchester Black’s mind. She sees how Manchester Black can help them help Superboy. Raven cries out “Oh no.” Manchester Black smiles and says that Raven is not ready for what she will find in his head. (What? Really weird fetishes?). Raven lets go of Manchester Black and collapses.
Manchester Black said that Raven saw exactly what Red Robin wanted her to see. Manchester Black showed Raven where Superboy’s salvation lies. We see an image of a bunch of villains in a prison. Manchester Black says that Raven saw the Supermax prison. The Teen Titans must go there if they want to save Superboy. Assuming that the Teen Titans can get out of his condo first. We see that the Elite have now arrived on the scene. End of issue.
The Good: Damn The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity. Damn it to hell! Jokes aside, Teen Titans #10 was a pretty ragged read. There is not much that is enjoyable in this issue. Having said that, there is no doubt that Teen Titans #10 at least presents to the reader plenty of action. This is not a docile issue at all. Action fans should be fully entertained as we get plenty of brawling from start to finish with this issue.
Personally, I loved seeing The Guardian in this issue. I am a huge fan of the Guardian. Yeah, I know, those are probably words rarely uttered by anyone who reads comics. But, so it is. I love the character. Yes, I know that the Guardian with his indestructible shield seems awfully similar to Marvel’s Captain America. But, there is a good reason for that. The Guardian was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby! Yup. The same guys who created Captain America. And The Guardian was rolled out almost one year exactly after Captain America. Cap debuted in March of 1941. The Guardian followed in April of 1942. So, the Guardian is a character that has a long history and comes from an excellent pedigree. Nothing is better than a Jack Kirby character. At least, not in my book.
Of course, because this is the New 52, the Guardian can no longer be an older male character. Nope, The Guardian is now a teenager. Of course. Lord forbid if DC have any super hero over the age of 25. Having said that, it was still great to see the Guardian in action. I would love for the Guardian to continue to get more exposure in the New 52 either as a part of the Teen Titans or in his own monthly title.
The Bad: Teen Titans #10 was a combination of poor writing and sub-par artwork. Teen Titans #10 felt like a dumb read. This issue also came across like a sloppy effort. This is not the type of quality that I expect from DC comics. This is not even the type of quality that I would accept from a small publisher. Everyone from the writer to the artist to the editor can share in the blame for this lousy issue.
There were several moments of either crappy writing or terrible editing. Or both. First, is when the Durlan mentions the “people of Durlan.” If Pfeifer is going to write a comic with a Durlan in it then he absolutely has to perform at least some basic research on Durlans. In doing so he would know that Durla is the planet and Durlan is the word for the people of Durla. Now, maybe Pfeifer did that research and knows the proper use of the two words but simply made a mistake. Hey, I get that. It happens. Then this screw up is on the editor for being lazy and not catching such an obvious error.
Then you have Pfeifer having the Durlan woman copying Kid Flash’s super powers. If Pfeifer had done any research on Durlans he would know that Durlans never have been able to copy super powers. Maybe the New 52 retconned Durlans and gave them new super powers. But, I have yet to see that anywhere. As a life long Legion fan I can tell you Chameleon Boy does not gain the super powers of the people he mimics. Otherwise, he would just be Mon-El or Superboy all the time.
Then you have the scene where Cassie says that Superboy exited the scene at a speed of Mach 5 or 6. C’mon. That is just boneheaded writing. You cannot have a character who is unconscious or just regaining consciousness in the panel right before the panel with Superboy flying off being able to make any coherent statement about the speed in which Superboy flew off. Even if Cassie was not just recovering from being knocked out it still would make zero sense for her character to be able to give the speed of Superboy’s flight. It just lacks any internal logic and comes off as stupid.
And if a writer does this then it is absolutely the job of the editor to see this and go to the writer and mention how this makes no sense and for it to be edited out or changed. It would have been easy for one of the characters to comment that Superboy blasted out of here quickly. Then have Klarion mention that Superboy is moving way too fast for him to track down but that he can track down Red Robin and Raven’s location. It is a simple correction that would take little effort for an editor who is actually doing their job.
The details matter. They absolutely matter. It is the attention to the small details and the attention to consistent internal logic that separates amateurish writing from high quality professional writing. These are the small things that, in the aggregate, make a comic book a quality and enjoyable read that is worth the price of admission. Teen Titans #10 was completely lacking in this manner.
The plotting on Teen Titans #10 is terrible. Absolutely nothing happened at all in this issue. This is such a decompressed read. We get a massive fight. And then learn on the last page of the issue that the Teen Titans will have to go to the Supermax prison in order to help Superboy. Seriously. That is it. There is no plot development at all for this entire issue until we get to the final page. That is awful plotting. A reader could easily skip Teen Titans #10 and pick up Teen Titans #11 and not miss anything of real importance at all. Sorry, but comic books are far too expensive for me to get nothing but filler for an entire issue.
And that leads into the problem with this issue being nothing but one big fight scene. Yes, fight scenes are important. These are super hero comic books and action is an important ingredient to any super hero comic. However, fight scenes that serve more than one purpose are vitally important. We have reviewed numerous issues where we have pointed out how the author has employed fight scenes to not only entertain the reader but to also deliver some back story or to flesh out a character’s personality or their relationship with another character.
In Teen Titans #10, all Pfeifer gives us are mindless fight scenes. There is no psychology at all behind the fight scenes in this issue. Pfeifer gives us shallow fight scenes that do nothing to advance any of the characters, their relationships with each other or any plot development. The lack of any psychology to the fight scenes along with the fact that there is little to no plot development combine to make Teen Titans #10 a shallow read. There is no real depth or substance at all to this issue.
There is absolutely nothing resembling character work in Teen Titans #10 at all. Al of the assembled characters possess basic bland personalities. Each one is as one-dimensional as possible. The dialogue is generic. None of these characters have any type of well-defined external voice. All of this combines to make the perfect storm where you have a team title with utterly no chemistry at all between any of the characters. And Teen Titans is a title that used to boast impressive chemistry prior to the New 52 reboot.
Many of the Titans barely appear at all in this issue. I did not even know Bunker was in this issue until the end when Beast Boy asks him to try to prevent the Elite from leaving the scene. And the Durlan member? I do not even know her name. Everyone else gets name checked. Not the Durlan member. All in all, the roster is extremely unappealing. Even characters that I used to love like Red Robin and Beast Boy are boring. Power Girl, Bunker, the Durlan and Raven? Eh. All of them are about as interesting as a bowl of cold oatmeal.
New 52 Superboy is still completely unappealing. And are we still on this same plot line of Superboy on the run? I feel like this is exactly where we were when I last read the Teen Titans about three years ago. Honestly, I miss Conner Kent like crazy. Conner was such a great character. This New 52 Superboy continues to be a pale imitation of what he used to be. I have no idea who would find this version of Superboy interesting.
Watanabe and Scott combine to deliver some sloppy artwork. Certain panels are a muddled mess to the point where it is difficult to know what is going on. The worst part is that often the artwork does not at all match the story. How does that even happen? Did Watanabe go to the Scott Land School of Artwork? Did Watanabe not even know what this issue’s story was even about? Evidently not.
There were many panels where the character’s faces absolutely do not match at all with what is going on in the story. In one scene Power Girl attacks Superboy and Superboy has a happy face like they are going on a date. In the opening scene, does some unexplainable reason, Watanabe has Kid Flash race around in a circle in the room while talking to Red Robin. It made Bart seem mentally unstable. Also, in that same one page splash shot, Cassie looks like she is going to kiss someone instead of fight someone. In that same scene, Cassie places her hand on Superboy which pisses him off so much that he yells at her and smashes her into a TV. But, the look on his face right before that? Totally calm and chill. Red Robin and Raven suddenly break into Manchester Black’s condo and the look on Black’s face is all chill like it is no big deal.
The artwork not matching the story is a cardinal sin in comic books. And it only serves to rip the reader right out of the story. It is like watching a foreign film with a bad dub that does not match what is happening on-screen. There is just no excuse for this.
Also, the artwork lacks any detail at all. Some panels look like they were hurriedly dashed out in minutes. Many of the panels are rough and sketchy. None of the panels looks like well polished artwork.
Oh, and Raven’s costume design? Who takes the blame for that hot steaming pile of shit? Is that Watanabe or the “design guru” Jim Lee. Whoever designed it needs to be fired. Raven’s costume is hideous. She looks like a feathery velociraptor with big claws wearing a large mollusk shell over her face. Just a crap design from every possible angle.
Overall: All in all, the bland and shallow story combined with the sketchy and suspect artwork make Teen Titans #10 a dismal read. This issue is nothing more than a time waster. Mere filler designed to stretch out a rather thin plot line. There are tons of super hero comics on the stands that offer such a better reading experience that this issue. Do not waste your money on Teen Titans #10. It is sad to see such a great franchise still spinning its wheels in the mud.