Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spotlight: The Green Team - Teen Trillionaires #1

(w) Art Baltazar and Franco     (a) Ig Guara and JP Mayer

When DC announced The Movement and The Green Team as two sides of the socioeconomic coin it was intriguing, but also felt forced and dependent on the current economic climate. Dating yourself to a certain timeframe is never a good idea. I'm sure you can go back through DC issues in the early 90s and find all sorts of examples of how that's true. Fortunately, these two titles seem less invested in the economic instability so much as they're focused on how social hierarchy affects the superhero community.

The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires #1 gives readers a well-paced and detailed look at just what this campy, small concept from the 1970s has evolved into now that it's set in the inflated 21st century. I did not imagine I would enjoy this series at all.

The Movement was alright, but had a messy first issue, and while I'm not some Robin Hood character, I just could not see myself getting into a book like The Green Team that glorified extreme wealth to such a degree. Fortunately, Art Baltazar and Franco deliver a story that's about character development, creating a solid premise, and showing skeptics like me why this might just be the next great DC title.

Reader proxy characters are meant to mirror the audience's own lack of knowledge while reading a comic book. Prince Mohammed Qahtanii fills that role pretty blatantly, but it's clumsy because the whole situation is clumsy. Mo -- as he's referred to throughout the issue, and, I'm guessing, going forward -- is reaching out. He's trying to make a name for himself outside his father's considerable shadow by attending a Green Team PoxPo (Pop-Up Expo) to find the next best technology to take home and prove he's worthy to follow in his father's steps and rule. 

Most of us aren't royalty with our paternal relationships on the line, but any new reader is just like Mo in that we're reaching out. For Mo, it's to the PoxPo, for readers, it's The Green Team #1. We're taking a chance on something that sounds ridiculous and extravagant at first glance, but becomes more enticing and interesting the more we learn. Prince Mo as a metaphor for the reader works because he asks all the right questions and has the same flaws as any other kid his age; he likes to tweet. Not all readers of The Green Team #1 are going to be teenage social media machines, but it still grounds Mo as an organic character who I'm genuinely interested in reading about.


The basic concept is that the Green Team, led by mega-trillionaire Commodore Murphy, is a group of young, super-rich teenagers from all walks of wealth who come together to find the most advanced and cutting-edge technology available, buy it, fund it, and reap the rewards. Seems simple, right?

But it's not this premise, per se, that makes The Green Team #1 work so well. More, it's how Baltazar and Franco find the effects of such a concept and how it affects those involved. Murphy and his other Team are in a unique position that requires unique ways of thinking about how they live their lives (not ethically, but logistically). In fact, all of these mega-wealthy teenagers are forced to find new ways to be the Green Team all the time because they are what is desirable: youth and wealth. The Team is the extremity of this trope.

The Green Team: Teen Trillionaires #1 is an awesome issue. It's fun, it's intriguing, it's solid. Baltazar and Franco have found an amazing way to tell this story without every single character sounding completely pretentious, which is a feat. Ig Guara's artwork is a welcome addition after his brief absence after the cancellation of Blue Beetle. This is a buy. Never thought I'd say it, but it's a buy.


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