Monday, January 30, 2012

Review: Teen Titans #5


Teen Titans #5
Written by Scott Lobdell
Artwork by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

Teen Titans has been pretty good since the 'New 52' relaunch. While some of the member choices are a bit questionable (I mean, Skitter instead of Beast Boy? C'mon...), Scott Lobdell has done a great job weaving the stories of each of these characters into a larger mythology within the new DC universe. Lobdell also pens Superboy, giving him ample page space to make connections, create an intricate backstory and give the DC universe a rather formidable enemy.

Issue five claims to present all the members of the Teen Titans together for the first time. Unfortunately, this is a lie, as Skitter is absent from the brawl and Superboy is their enemy. So...they're kind of all there? Whatever. The issue still stands on it's feet as a great book. I was skeptical, from the beginning, of Bunker, a new teen hero who's Hispanic, homosexual and who's power consists of creating purple psionic bricks. It's a pretty weak description for a character that has actually been written well and without a whole lot of sappiness, which is difficult for comic book writers to avoid when writing multi-ethnic or homosexual characters. In this battle, Bunker is the only one - at least for a moment - who can stand up to Superboy's own psionic powers, slowing him down enough for Red Robin to swoop in and give ol' Kon-El the psychological beatdown he needed all along.

We're still in a transitional place for the Titans. Superboy is their enemy. Kid Flash doesn't have a proper costume yet, Skitter doesn't understand her powers, Wonder Girl is anything but 'wonderful', and Solstice has yet to be developed beyond the 'information dump' girl. But this is the fifth issue, and we're starting to see the seeds of the full team take root. Superboy starts questioning his beliefs, all the rest of them get a dose of humble pie as they're beat to the ground one by one, and N.O.W.H.E.R.E. begins to panic as they realize that Superboy may no longer see them as allies (and still no acronym clarification). Soon, we'll get to see the road Superboy takes to joining the Teen Titans.

While not the finest issue of the title thus far, it's definitely one of the better ones. While both Teen Titans and Superboy have taken the scenic route in their storytelling, those scenes are starting to make more sense and things are being brought together more and more. Lobdell has the chance to build an inter-title mythology and so far, he's succeeding.

Grade: B-

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