(p) Brett Booth
(i) Norm Rapmund
In the new year, I've resolved to moderate myself a bit more when it comes to my dislike of certain comic books and/or their creative teams. In that spirit, I'll give it up to Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza for staying consistent in their use of overbearing inner monologue. In issues past, the've confined this technique to the character on-panel, but in the case of Teen Titans #15, Lobdell and Nicieza go the extra mile by injecting Red Robin's awkward and creepily accurate inner monologue into the sequences featuring the rest of the Teen Titans, thereby making Tim Drake an omniscient narrator in the story he's in...and...wait...
Red Robin's personal thoughts seem to predict his teammates exact sequence of actions, and after reading the part of this issue featuring Tim and the Joker, it makes a bit more sense -- Tim's thoughts are being broadcast to the world. There's no other way to explain how Joker knows exactly what Tim is thinking. How Tim doesn't know his mind has been hijacked on that scale is anyones guess. Well, except for Lobdell and Nicieza.
Besides the inner monologue, the rest of Teen Titans #15 is enjoyable. The guest appearance from Batgirl is a welcome addition to a team that doesn't have a lot of direction without a shadowy leader. Wonder Girl stays in character with her needless opposition to Batgirl's driven style. Kid Flash also gets the spotlight, but in a horrific way as his actions lead to a city-wide Joker serum epidemic. While the connection between the Red Robin/Joker confrontation and the terrors befalling the Teen Titans is a rather thin one, it's still fun to see just how broken and twisted the Joker has become. In a way, it shows not only the Joker's madness, but also how predictable adolescents can be, to the point that Joker was able to assume their every move and stay one step ahead the entire time.
Teen Titans #15 is a fun read, if not a strong tie-in to "Death of the Family". Yes, the Joker does indeed psychologically torture Red Robin, but he's been doing that to all the Bat-allies, and this meeting didn't seem to have much meaning to it besides informing Tim that his teammates would be responsible for genocide. Why is Joker going after Tim's teammates? Isn't the whole point of his rampage to get at Batman, not Red Robin? It seems like Lobdell and Nicieza are using the transitive property to justify an attack on the Teen Titans. Hopefully, Tim will get that pesky thought-projecting bug taken care of by next issue so Joker doesn't have as much to work with.