Friday, May 05, 2006

Talking Comics For May 3, 2006: Teen Titans 35 (Crawling In My Skin)

We're two down in my Teen Titans One Year Later trial run, and things are not looking good for our young friends. Not only did this issue not alleviate my concerns from the last, but it managed to add some whole new ones.

To be fair, there were some things I liked, and I'll cover them first.

I like Kid Devil. He seems to have taken the spot of the upbeat, genial member of the team (formerly filled by Kid Flash and Beast Boy), and his overall lightheartedness is much welcome in the book. I like that he's committed to the Titans even though he wasn't exactly a first choice. I even like that he has a cute little crush on Ravager. Poor judgment, but I think we've all made the mistake of falling for the girl with severe daddy issues, haven't we?

I like Wendy and Marvin. They don't do much this issue, but I like them in general.

I *love* that the Brotherhood of Evil is trying to clone the Brain a new body so he and Monsieur Mallah can consummate their love. That's just… that's just gold, man.

But with that, I've pretty much exhausted what pleased me about this issue. The rest was a chore to read, either because of boredom or revulsion. Let's start with the latter: I did not need to see Rose Wilson try and pull a Poison Ivy (Drew Barrymore, not Uma Thurman) with Robin. Yeah, I'll buy that it's in character for her (the term "village bike" was coined for girls like her), but still, didn't need to see it, didn't want to see it, don't ever want to see it again. It's also good to know that Robin has no problem trusting an alcoholic to watch his back in combat. I mean, even flippin' X-Force held an intervention for Siryn.

What really surprised me, though, is how much of a dick Cyborg is. This "real Titans" nonsense is just cold. I understand he's having trouble adjusting after being out of action for a year, but damn, he's got no call to treat Rose and Eddie like this. Well, ok, Rose, she's a psycho, but Eddie's a good kid and deserves the benefit of the doubt. And of all the people in the DCU to judge a hero by his appearance, I would never have expected Victor Stone to be on that list.

Wonder Girl continues to be a bitch as well. It baffles me why she would break into the tower to get info on the Brotherhood when she could just, y'know, walk in and ask. I practically cringed at story page 11, though, where she apparently decides to fill Robin and Cyborg in on the Brotherhood's activities while posing for a jeans commercial. And that's as good a segue as any into how disappointed I am with Tony Daniel's art in this issue. It looked like he was shaping up, but apparently he's decided to ride out this "third-rate Jim Lee" thing a little longer. The backgrounds frequently look photoshopped in (especially that of page 11), and he does love his pin-ups, no matter inappropriate. He also makes a pretty serious storytelling gaffe towards the end; I still don't know what exactly Plasmus did to Kid Devil. One minute he's okay, the next his ribcage is poking through his skin or something. OK, good ew moment, but what the hell happened?

Brieft tangent: Wasn't there supposed to be a Doom Patrol cover for this issue? Apparently, they've decided to ditch the old one and draw a whole new one for next issue, bumping the Wonder Girl cover up to this one. Would've been nice to give us a warning, as I almost missed this book on the stands.

Aside from the continuing angst, Geoff Johns really burst my bacon this issue by engaging in his most annoying habit: assuming the readers know as much about the DC Universe as he does. Maybe I'd know what Plasmus did to Kid Devil if I had any idea what his power was. At least I know it was Plasmus, although Johns didn't get around to identifying him until the end of the fight. The elephant guy, the raver chick, and the guy in the death mask didn't get named at all. For that matter, I'm not sure why they had to go and make a mess of New York while looking for the MacGuffin; they could have just as easily 'ported into the building, had Goldilocks find it, and 'ported out. You'd think hanging with the Society would have smartened them up a bit. (Oh, and wasn't it the Fearsome Five who nuked Bludhaven? You wrote it, Geoff, you should know.)

So this was a rather phoned-in issue, all around. Not good enough to make Titans a regular stop on my pull list. If I don't really, *really* like the next issue, this one's gone. Ah, well; there is that Young Avengers/Runaways series to look forward to.

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