Saturday, August 2, 2014

'Teen Titans: It's Our Right to Fight' trade paperback review

"Teen Titans. The name just felt natural." -- Red Robin

Since I randomly pick up various trade paperbacks from the library -- mostly based on recent acquisitions and/or what I haven't read already -- I read some winners and some losers. Some are forgettable and most of those I don't bother reviewing.

And quite a few of those forgettable trades are simply "meh." I believes that's the case with TEEN TITANS: IT'S OUR RIGHT TO FIGHT (TEEN TITANS Nos. 1-17).

Quite a few of the trades get their names/subtitles from the storyline on which those issues are based. In the case of the New 52 introduction of the Teen Titans, the subtitle comes from the fact that most of the young hereoes fight each other before Red Robin (aka Tim Drake) names them, well, the Teen Titans.
Without futher ado, as the most efficient way to review this trade, I'll break down the roster character by character. I'll start with the new characters with the lamest names, not to mention powers:

Bunker: A gay Mexican boy in a purple costume who can produce super-powered fists. (See the picture above with Red Robin and Kid Flash.) What do I think of Bunker? Let's put it this: Superboy calls him the "idiot with the glowing hands" and I can't necessarily disagree.

Skitter: A violent insectoid who received the name from her twin sister. The best I can say about her is she has more of a one-off villain vibe.

Solstice: This shapely lass has a lot of dark power who can fly. For some reason, the bad guys had her in a special holding cell, but the story doesn't give us enough information about Solstice to tell us why she could be so dangerous. Aside from coming off like a weak variation of Raven, I've got nothing.

And here are the ones you know already — although one of these Teen Titans apparently doesn't have a connection to the famous name she's been given:

Kid Flash: Speedster Bart Allen is new to the superhero business. He's even more of a buffoon than Bunker and is nothing short of annoying. Of note is that Kid Flash goes through three costumes: A variation of the "classic" Kid Flash (did I just write that?!), one Allen creates based partly on Red Robin's duds and finally, the one created by a genius teen scientist at S.T.A.R. Labs to keep Kid Flash's body aligned from the effects of molecular deterioration. Honestly, I really dig the Red Robin variation as that design takes more creative chances than the others.

Superboy: I'm still assuming he's Superman's clone, but regardless he's just as obnoxious and unlikable as the previous incarnations. A nefarious underground organization with the oh-so-lame name of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has promised him freedom if he does various "errands," such as killing the Teen Titans and helping hunt down metahumans (DC Comics' version of mutants).

Wonder Girl: Cassie Sandsmark has all the powers of Wonder Woman, but apparently has no connection to her. (Pretty dumb, right?) She also has a tendency to steal things — one of which are the war bracelets she wears that she stole from an ancient tomb. Oh — and she hates being called Wonder Girl.

And finally, Red Robin: For no reason that writer Scott Lobdell gives us, Batman's former partner has decided he needs to save the teen metahumans who are being hunted, humiliated, etc. Red Robin gets the story rolling by tracking down these teens, but the story truly never gains any momentum.

My New 52-era exposure to Drake has been in the two main Bat-titles (BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS), which is to say what I know about this take on him is sporadic at the best. As a result, I haven't been able to get a handle on what writers are doing with him, much less his characterization.

In his pre-New 52 incarnation, Drake's Robin was a breath a fresh air and made me really dig the character who was a great foil and complement to Batman and Nightwing. Currently, it appears some writers have written Drake fairly juvenile and since he's donned the Red Robin guise, many artists have drawn him as a shorter and somewhat younger looking adult. I'm pleased to say Lobdell has a decent handle on Drake as a teen. He attempts to give Red Robin the reputation of being a badass or at least someone to be awed since he used to be Batman's partner and is simply "Red Robin" (I'm quaking in my boots — not!), but it just doesn't work.

My library has the second volume of the Teen Titans. After reading this trade, I'm not sure I'm willing to invest the time to read more. I understand this version is still finding it's groove, but I'm not sold on the fact that Lobdell, much less the DC higher-ups, know what the Teen Titans' groove would be once it's established. Brett Booth's derivative Jim Lee-style art doesn't help.

I can see why DC cancelled this series with issue 30 (April 2014). Grade: B-

No comments:

Post a Comment