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Teen Titans #17 - Grey Matters Review

3

Find out how the team is coping after teaming-up with the Outlaws in 'Death of the Family.'

The Good

Despite picking up after 'Death of the Family,' most of the segments surrounding the Teen Titans are lighthearted or even uplifting. They kill an awkward silence in the limo ride with some banter and Bart Allen is easily the most lovable brat on the team. To top it off, Drake welcomes the team to their new base: a massive and extremely luxurious -- seriously, it has a movie room and all --Yacht (does anyone recall when he bought this because I don't?).

Eddy Barrows and Eber Ferreira jump on this issue to help deliver the art and, while I do have my complaints (see below), it certainly does have it's moments. The opening scene is painful to observe and overflowing with darkness -- you'll absolutely feel the child's pain. Furthermore, there's a great and vivid use of coloring during a cutaway scene in a coffee shop.

The Bad

With "In the Wake of 'Death of the Family' slapped on the cover and such a somber-looking Tim Drake, you can't help but go into this issue expecting some heavy emotions. Unfortunately, this is yet another tie-in that appears to only lessen the wedge created at the conclusion of Scott Snyder's story. Tim's a little down, but aside from some awkward silence in a car ride (which quickly turns into casual chatter), things appear to be pretty much business as usual. The solicit says "The Joker did something to Red Robin... but what did he do?" Well, you don't find out here. In fact, it's not even revealed until the final page and will likely leave you scratching your head. One thing's for sure, though... it'll definitely explain Tim's earlier displays of affection.

I feel like Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza are setting the stage for too many side plots. Aside from the focus on the Teen Titans, there's literally three or four cutaway scenes, all for completely different plots and none take major strides forward (sorry, Raven fans). I can't help but feel like it's cluttered and that lessens the focus on the heroes we care about. Exposition heavy dialogue also takes away from these moments. I understand it's the start of something new and needs to be accessible for new readers, but there's a lot of it and that can really weaken the experience for fans that have been on board since issue #1.

At times the facial expressions can feel a little too plastic or creepy. There were a few smiles from the males on the team that made me feel like they were a life-sized doll with that forceful smile and wide eyes. There's a few moments where the shading is a bit too grainy as well.

The Verdict

Ultimately, this is an okay issue that feels like its primary purpose is to set the stage for (hopefully) more exciting events in next month's chapter. They're juggling a lot of things and it definitely hinders the book's pacing, so I truly hope they have something great in store for us with each of those side plots.

33 Comments
Edited by Sleepbutnodream15

I hate how this crappy book is the only place we really get to see Tim Drake.

Well, he did have a cool part in this week's Batman, Inc; but still.

Posted by sweetesttoaster

Finally got a new art team, now they just need to get a new writer. Preferably someone that can actually write teen characters.

Posted by wtk1013

i know Raven has been a member of TT for a long time(even though now its erased from history),but i think Raven needs a better costume and to be featured in Justice League Dark!

Edited by BatWatch

Hmmm. I see your points, but I actually enjoyed the issue a bit more than you.

On the positive side, I really loved that Lobdell slowed things down and gave the team time to interact without immediately pushing in to a new major crisis. This has been desperately needed since issue #1, and to wait until now to give the team a chance to bond on panel is practically criminal, but I'm thankful that Lobdell finally got around to it. I thought the interactions were strong and intriguing, so that won me over just because it has been so desperately needed.

On the other hand, Tim has been acting like a total tool. You mention the stuff at the end, and well, yeah, that's pretty huge though I'm not sure that is Joker's doing, but look at his interactions in the limo. Sure, he says the right things and things are all smooth and nice on the outside, but if you read his inner monologue, it is clear that he does not mean what he is saying. He is putting on a show. That is why I did not mind his plastered on smile through the rest of the issue because it seems like he is faking basic caring feelings which he does not have.

The BatWatch Review is up for more analysis along these lines.

@sweetesttoaster said:

Finally got a new art team, now they just need to get a new writer. Preferably someone that can actually write teen characters.

I do not know what Lobdell's problem is with this series. I've loved RHATO, so I know he can write, but...ugh! It just feels like he does not get these characters to me. I've also wondered if he just has trouble with large team books, but then again, he wrote The Uncanny X-Men for a long time, so you would think he would have that down.

@Sleepbutnodream15 said:

I hate how this crappy book is the only place we really get to see Tim Drake.

Well, he did have a cool part in this week's Batman, Inc; but still.

Yeah, it was cool to see Tim fighting with a bo staff again...of sorts. On the other hand, he magically wound up under a plane, so...

Posted by Outside_85

I think we Raven fans are aware that both her segments in the last two months feels like they were just dropped into the book when a scene break was needed. And I have to agree, there's too many boats going in the water right now and you should only really have one at a time, to maximize the effect. (But I have a hunch that Lobdell is speeding up the assembly of the Fearsome Five, Light we see in the preview, and I think the other on is Psimon.)

Finally, can anyone explain to me why on that last page Tim's eyes had turned completely red? (Demonic influence? Or does that just happen when you've been with Cassandra?)

Online
Posted by soumya

The problem is Lobdell always puts his focus on the upcoming events.1/3 of his issue is filled with cutaway plots...Although I like Eddy Burrow's artwork.He creates a sinister vibe in this issue and I like it.I think this issue is slightly better than the DOTF tie-ins.

Posted by Kerrigan

Its not surprising given Lobdell's involvement, but TT is feeling more and more like a Marvel series from the nineties.

Marvel series in the nineties were not good.

Posted by whitelantern64

@wtk1013: yeah is just me, or is the whole see through black dress too over the top? I would have preferred a solid black dress that covers her whole body other than that, I like the head and shoulders part.

Edited by Mucklefluga

@sweetesttoaster: I'd write it! I'm a teen!

@Sleepbutnodream15 said:

I hate how this crappy book is the only place we really get to see Tim Drake.

Well, he did have a cool part in this week's Batman, Inc; but still.

Morrison is the master. Those Tim Drake scenes were awesome! Love Bat Inc for monthly dose of all the 'robins'!

Posted by BatmanOnTheMoon

I wish I could like this series... I love the Titans, but hate this book.

Dammit.

Posted by JakeN7

said:

I feel like Scott Lobdell & Fabian Nicieza are setting the stage for too many side plots. Aside from the focus on the Teen Titans, there's literally three or four cutaway scenes, all for completely different plots and none take major strides forward

Damn. I'm sorry to hear this. I felt the exact same way about issue #16. I was annoyed when I read what was supposed to be the final tie-in issue for the Teen Titans before the conclusion of Death of the Family, and saw that not only were they revisiting old sub-plots (Kurt Lance and Amanda Waller), but they were also introducing new ones (Raven and Trigon.) I feel like Lobdell had both of those planned for that issue before he knew he had to do tie-in issues for Death of the Family. Feels a little shortsighted on his part, but what do I know? I could totally be wrong.

@Sleepbutnodream15 said:

I hate how this crappy book is the only place we really get to see Tim Drake.

Well, he did have a cool part in this week's Batman, Inc; but still.

This.

@Mucklefluga said:

@sweetesttoaster: I'd write it! I'm a teen!

@Sleepbutnodream15 said:

I hate how this crappy book is the only place we really get to see Tim Drake.

Well, he did have a cool part in this week's Batman, Inc; but still.

Morrison is the master. Those Tim Drake scenes were awesome! Love Bat Inc for monthly dose of all the 'robins'!

Agreed.

Online
Posted by Shipster360

@Outside_85: I think the red eyes has something to do with whatever Joker did to him. It reminded me alot of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Lobdell is horribleeee

Posted by Jawshco

I agree with the review, but I'm saddened by the continued regression of Tim Drake's character. Pre-52 he was my favorite comic book character and yeah now he's basically a tool.

Posted by Zeeguy91

@sweetesttoaster said:

Finally got a new art team, now they just need to get a new writer. Preferably someone that can actually write teen characters.

Agreed! I don't even mind the Brett Booth redesigns. Some of them actually look pretty cool, especially when Barrows draws them (his take on Tim and Cassie's new looks in the page ads made them look 10X better). Raven's new look even looks like it could grow on me. They just need a some better direction.

Although, I am kind of excited hearing that Lobdell has something planned for a new Fearsome Five.

Posted by The Average Bear

@Sleepbutnodream15 said:

I hate how this crappy book is the only place we really get to see Tim Drake.

Well, he did have a cool part in this week's Batman, Inc; but still.

Seriously. He needs his own series.

And what the hell is with Ravens new look, DC...

Posted by Tim_Drake4444

I for one enjoyed the issue. Looking forward to what Raven's got going on behind the scenes.

Posted by evilvegeta74

Raven is part of G-Force/ Gatchaman

Posted by MeloDet

Wow, I feel sorry for Superboy. He's going through all that H'El on Earth crap and not so much as a mention from the rest of the team. He seriously needs to get some new friends if they don't even seem to think about him when he goes missing and is pretty much torn apart the last time they saw him. I think he got like a single line of acknowledgement at the end of TT 14 and that was it.

Posted by Yung ANcient One
does anyone recall when he bought this because I don't?... Pre-52 I don't either, but Nu52 common he bought it 2 years ago unbeknownst to us. (+)
Edited by Sleepbutnodream15

They need some more, or possibly better, members on this team too. Bunker sucks, I can't say that enough. They should add Beast Boy and Terra now that the Ravagers is ending.

And I really hope that they give Tim Drake a new costume. I still can't get used to this thing. No matter what artist does it, it still looks ridiculously busy and weird. Brett Booth is an amazing artist, but for someone reason, his work on this series sucked. Hopefully the current artist makes the improvements.

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

@The Average Bear: I'm not a huge Raven fan, but I having a feeling that her current costume won't last.

Posted by The Stegman

At times the facial expressions can feel a little too plastic or creepy. There were a few smiles from the males on the team that made me feel like they were a life-sized doll with that forceful smile and wide eyes.

YES! My God, I thought I was the only one to notice, they smiled way too much in this issue, the Joker's gone guys, stop it.
Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@Shipster360 said:

@Outside_85: I think the red eyes has something to do with whatever Joker did to him. It reminded me alot of Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Reminds me too much of Return of the Joker, I hope it doesn't repeat it too closely.

Posted by sentryman555

@MeloDet said:

Wow, I feel sorry for Superboy. He's going through all that H'El on Earth crap and not so much as a mention from the rest of the team. He seriously needs to get some new friends if they don't even seem to think about him when he goes missing and is pretty much torn apart the last time they saw him. I think he got like a single line of acknowledgement at the end of TT 14 and that was it.

I was wondering the same thing.

Posted by Ren_

Cannot for the life of me get into this book. I keep picking it up sporadically in the shop and thinking I'll like it, but it's just meh to me.

Posted by Shieldbearer

@evilvegeta74 said:

Raven is part of G-Force/ Gatchaman

This. Perfect analogy.

Posted by evilvegeta74

@Shieldbearer said:

@evilvegeta74 said:

Raven is part of G-Force/ Gatchaman

This. Perfect analogy.

I do the best I can:

Posted by KnightofSteel

Ugh, I want to like this book but just can't get into it.

Edited by ccraft

@wtk1013: Her new costume looks cooler

Posted by jesusdisciple001

Tim slept with 2 members of the team Lobdell is not good for this title and it should be rebooted as batwatch said and it can since it hasn't dipped into the n52 except for *sob* firestorm and the culling crew

Posted by tim_mik

I disagree. I think the feel of this issue was more back to the pre-52 Titans and I like setting up several plot threads as for a while nothing was really happening in this series. It left me wanting more, which is what a comic should do.

Edited by Hispanic_Aaron

is it me or does the new artist suck , for one ~ he made robin & bunker look super creepy , but i have to admit i did like soltice new look.