BatWatch Review: Teen Titans #19
Teen Titans, you make my heart sad. You are everything that is wrong with the DCNU with the way you throw out decades of character growth and replace it with a thin imitation of the original. Characters are updated, but their updates only serve to make them less admirable and more easily despicable. Your stories are meandering, simple, overly long, far fetched and poorly thought out. You should go away.
Last issue set up lots of nonsense for us. Trigon has arrived and is being generically evil. Raven is there too and she is...well, we don't know anything about her, do we? Beast Boy is apparently going to betray the Teen Titans which is odd since he's never really been allied with them in any significant way. Reports say that it was originally going to be Skitter who betrayed the team, but that was changed by editorial staff. I do wonder, however, if we might see Skitter in this issue who has been missing without explanation for numerous arcs now. Oh, and there are apparently brain sucking twin brothers in the mix too. Yay?
Is Teen Titans #19 just another example of how this series should bite the dust or does writer Scott Lobdell prove that he has the writing chops to form sense from this insanity?
In this issue, the Teen Titans interrogate Red Robin before going into battle against Trigon.
This is one of those frustrating issues that contain some things I really love and some things I completely despise.
In the despise department, Red Robin is still acting like a complete tool, and I wish someone would run him over with a lawn mower. Also, characters often have knowledge of things that they have no apparent reason to know. Superboy, who was only with the team for a brief period before going solo, apparently is the go to guy for information on Cassie. Why would Superboy know more than the team members who have spent every day of the past several months with her? Raven's history with the Titans is also called into question, and I'm unsure how Psimon is supposed to fit into things. This issue was certainly more focused than the last couple, but it still seemed a tad scattered.
On the positive front, it was much more coherent because of the increased focus. Also, Eddy Barrows seems to finally be finding his place with the Teen Titans. I've been very disappointed in his work on the last two issues, but this time around, his art is beautiful. There are no more horribly fake expressions on characters faces, and the image of the giant Trigon fighting the Teen Titans on the city streets is at times breathtaking in scope. Also in the positive front, the team is finally working as a team as long as you overlook their early attempts to throttle Red Robin. Even during the Red Robin interrogation, the Teen Titans were at least interacting in a more fluid way than has previously been seen.
Psimon, Beast Boy and Raven
We have some moderate revelations about all these characters.
Regarding the character who has been nuking people's brains, he is apparently Psimon who is an old Teen Titans villain not seen much in the last decade. It appears his history is significantly changed, but there is still a tie with Trigon and he is still psychic, so he is not a completely new character. My only complaint about him in this issue is that he gets in a battle with a hero at one point, and based on prior demonstrations of his power, he should have been able to kill that hero instantaneously.
Beast Boy feels pretty irrelevant to the plot right now. (Spoilers for Rest of Section) This story apparently takes place after The Ravagers #12, so we do get the insight that Beast Boy will survive the series and The Ravagers' base will be destroyed by Deathstroke. With The Ravagers base in shambles and the end of their series just around the corner, it's not far fetched to wonder if Beast Boy might be added to the rolls of the Teen Titans. Still, he does not seem to be serving any real purpose in current events.
Raven is by far the most mysterious of all characters in this issue. Her previous appearances made it seem as if she were totally down with Trigon's plans, but here, she shows compassion to Beast Boy and refers to Trigon's dimension as a hell, yet she forces Beast Boy to fight for Trigon all of which creates a very bizarre and contradictory picture of the character. Making things even more odd, the Teen Titans start talking to Raven like they are old friends after Trigon leaves. How do they know her? Raven's costume did grow on me as it grew on her in this issue. One scene shows her mask appearing to grow into place over her head, and that looked awesome, so I'm warming up to her DCNU costume.
1. Why does Cassie know Trigon?
2. Seeing giant Trigon riding a three headed, eighteen eyed horse through the city streets of NYC was awesome.
3. The fight scene was satisfying.
4. Lobdell did a much better job of weaving the subplots into the main story in this issue.
5. Red Robin continues to show his douchiness by being concerned about PR rather than the lives lost after the crisis.
Fans of Lobdell's Teen Titans will no doubt be thrilled. Everybody else will probably want to approach with a little caution. If it looks good to you, pick it up. If it looks bad, pass.
More Recent Reviews:
For more news, reviews, and commentary for the entire Bat Family, check out BatWatch.net.