BatWatch Review: Teen Titans #18
To Belle and Back
There was a brief period several months ago, during Teen Titans #13-14 I believe, that I actually thought Teen Titans might be getting good, but that...was quite a long time ago, and it hasn't. I'm tired of Teen Titans. Nothing particularly interesting even happens, the characters are unlikable, and there are about a million and a half subplots, few of which actually concern me. Last issue revealed that Tim Drake was possessed or some such, and I do not really care. With that amazing build up, let's see what this issue actually has to offer.
Does Teen Titans surprise and delight my heart or singe and destroy my brain?
In this issue, Tim mourns the loss of Damian and then gives the Teen Titans a mission, saving teen superheroes before they get hurt.
Requiem for Teen Titans
The question remains the same for every tie in. Is it worth buying? The answer? No.
If you are just wanting to buy this issue to see some mourning over Damian, I cannot recommend it. The problem is not that there is no mourning but that the mourning is insincere.
The relationship between Tim and Damian has always been characterized by jealousy and resentment. Damian hates that Tim, the impostor son of Batman, took what Damian saw as his role as partner of the Bat. That resentment on Damian's part led to a couple brutal attacks which eventually led Tim to absolutely despise the brat.
Now we are in a new universe with a new Tim, so you could reasonably say that this dynamic is less of a barrier in the DCNU, but the problem is that Tim and Damian have had almost no interaction in the DCNU, so the only past we can reference is the past of the DCU. For that reason, seeing the downright gushy banter between Tim and Damian comes off as completely lame. Tim is more deserving than ever of being called a Mary Sue by openly sobbing over his loss of Damian, yet, there is no reason to think they really have that deep a connection. Furthermore, Tim sees Damian in his imagination, and Damian goes from character appropriate antagonism to almost immediate support and approval of Tim. It is all incredibly stupid.
All the Good Stuff
I'll just go ahead and kill the suspense by telling you that this issue is not worth buying even if Requiem is not your draw, but before I talk about all this issue's problems, let me talk about the few good things going on.
First, Tim finally gives the team a purpose. It only took the book a year and a half to give the characters a reason to fight together, but at least it was finally done. They are trying to rescue teen supers in danger which is a fine premise except that it is the exact same premise of The Ravagers which was just canceled, so... Regardless though, at least the team now has some justification for existing.
Second, there was a fight between the Teen Titans and the Suicide Squad which was actually pretty satisfying. The teams were nicely matched, and it is always nice to see some good comic action. Also, Tim actually briefed the team on what they would face, and it is about darn time the man with a plan finally started planning.
Sadly, that's it on the positive front.
Why Isn't This Series Better?
First up, Barrows' (former artist Teen Titans and current penciler for Nightwing and Teen Titans) art is struggling. For one thing, we have Tim grinning on the cover while holding Damian's costume, but this is not really established anywhere in the comic in any way. Tim is not glad Damian is gone. It might stand to reason that this is the evil possessed Tim we saw at the end of last issue, but that entire plot line just disappears in this issue. The rest of the art is, though not bad, strained in parts. Tim has some really unnatural poses and expressions in this issue, and some of the layouts during the fight scenes felt messy.
Second, in regards to the disappearing plotline, let me just say I am completely done with the zillion and one subplots. They are not tying together neatly, Lobdell. (former writer of Uncanny X-Men and current writer for Red Hood and the Outlaws, Teen Titans, Superboy and Superman Pick a few and tell the story in a nice traditional manner. I am completely sick of stories being introduced and then forgotten. Either you have a master plan which will make sense of this all one day, and I am just too impatient to wait for it, or as is more likely since you admit you do not like to plan, you just write whatever you feel like from month to month and important details I care about get forgotten along the way. By the way, what's happening with Skitter? How did Diesel survive the cave in? What was up with Danny the Street or the weird Dinosaur world?
Third, Kiran and Cassie both remember their experiences with Tim which implies that they were not possessed. I can see Kiran kissing Tim just because it surprised her and she went along with it, but Cassie throwing herself at Tim is way out of character for her.
Fourth, Tim continues to be a jerk in this issue by being gruff with his teammates and lying to them. I wish he had been stabbed through with a sword.
Fifth, the scene with Suicide Squad, though the best in the book, did raise some questions. Where is the rest of the Squad. Aren't there usually about a half dozen members. Is Deadshot given a gun while in his cell. Does anybody like Deadshot's armor?I've tried to get used to it, but I don't like it.
Sixth, everything else in the issue is just kind of random, so what is there to say?
This issue is not worth buying. There are many, many comics more worth your money.
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