Giant Red Monster
So the up's and downs continue for the Teen Titans, and it's about to take a massive downturn helped along with a giant red fist.
Previously: Tim's gotten something a little more permanent than Jason Todd did from their shared encounter with the Joker in DotF and it is making him act weird, and when I say weird I mean he acts like massive jerk towards anyone not walking his line. And last issue that lead him to Amanda Waller and the Suicide Squad.
The story: In the preview we learned that Cassandra, physically the most powerful of the Titans and the most temperamental, didn't take well to Tim leading them to Waller for no apparent reason. Since Tim told them they were there to save a girl, but left the issue telling them there never was one, and he knew it. And Cassandra has decided that beating the answers out of Tim is the correct response. The other Titans just stand and watch with Kid Flash is trying to hold her back. Tim however proves to be equally stubborn and tells them to either follow him without question or buzz off his boat and his team. Then Cassandra's armor rings like a bell (sort of) telling her that Trigon has come to town and she flies off at the end of the preview.
For an older reader like me, the rest of the issue reads a little too much like a retelling of the original Trigon story by Wolfman and Perez where Trigon arrives in New York City and goes on the giant monster routine and starts breaking everything within reach for no obvious reason. In swoops the Titans who gives their best on arrival before getting completely flattened by Trigon. There are some minor differences however, excluding a difference in cast however.
The interesting bit's about this issue is not so much in the fight against Trigon, because, let's face it, Trigon has never been beaten by physical force alone, but the glimpses Trigon gives us as he looks into Cassandra's and Bart's pasts. Giving us both the long awaited connection between Cassandra and Diana (there's a certain man with a cracked face and a cigarette in it ) and a crime to pin Bart's presence on (and it's major).
For those who were drawn to Raven's and Beastboy's presence on the cover, side by side, don't get your hopes up of a revival of their past relationship yet. And for those who were wondering, Raven is playing her own angle in all of this.
The art: While it's all very nice and sleek, I miss Booth, and I miss his ability to make things look more three dimensional. An example of his is how Cassandra's armor and hair is drawn; Booth gave the hair volume, while Barrows draws it flat (oddly enough Raven's hair does have volume, and it spends most of it's time beneath that ugly helmet). And while Barrows draws the armor completely flat with a few grooves, Booth had it rise and fall because of the ornate decorations it was covered in. Oh yeah, I miss Tim not having hair like a 1950-ties 6 year-old schoolboy.
The characters: Not so much to say here, Cassandra is still extremely temperamental and Tim may just have surpassed John Constantine in the 'right bastard' department. On the note of Tim, he is still acting extremely odd whenever it's the Joker or not, cold-hearted in one panel and in the next he's a drama queen.
Psimon, yes he is here as well, is so far completely one dimensional; say anything to him and he will kill you with a punch line of "Psimon says..." Then Trigon makes him realize that everyone should be scared of him.
On the note of Trigon himself, he seems quite different from how Dan Didio wrote him in Phantom Stranger #1. Back then he appeared a Stonehenge and did nothing but mock the Stranger before he departed. This time he's appeared and starts breaking things seemingly for his own amusement, an amusement he seemingly doesn't intend to share with his army that should have been with him to launch the attack. Then he falls into the old trap of the bad guy knowing more about the heroes than they do and then adds 'you could be so much better if only' yet still manages to sound surprised whenever he takes a hit that has more force than he expected.
The Summary: As mentioned, the story itself is so far a little too much like the old first meeting between TT and Trigon, they both suffer from the same flaws in how Trigon acts like any other rampaging monster, this one however suffers also from the lack of proper build-up to this first meeting. W/P spent their four first issues of NTT drumming him up through Raven's actions before Trigon arrive in the fifth, this time however it's much more sudden, which I feel is wrong for a threat as massive as Trigon.
As for the Titans themselves, this isn't their finest issue if am honest, not even by New 52 standards. They shine in the charge on Trigon, but the rest of the time appears to be spent either bickering or standing around watching people bicker.
The Verdict: It's not bad, but it's not really good either.