After taking flight with Superman in Action Comics, I have hobbled back to review another of the DC New 52. Recently, half of my home was flooded and my computer ruined. Suffice it to say, I am mildly surprised to be contributing again this month. Thanks to the magnanimous loan of a laptop, I am able to pen my thoughts for you. I have vacillated greatly on which title to examine this month. I had thought of looking at the Blue Beetle, The Fury of Firestorm, or The Savage Hawkman. All of these titles are excellent reads. The Blue Beetle and Firestorm both involve young characters who are unwittingly brought into the superhero ranks. Hawkman involves a more mature character who would like to rid himself of the costume and hence the responsibility. Each has an interesting start and will be exciting as the heroes are forced to evolve into the heroes they are destined to be. As I may not return to these particular comics, I thought it appropriate to give them the honorable mention they deserve.
I have read two issues of each title and all three are worth investing in. Now, on to a look at my pick of the month, the Teen Titans.
I picked up a second print of Teen Titans #1 after a recommendation by a reader. It was related that a fan of the Superboy comic would also do well to check out the Teen Titans. As in other families of titles, DC is doing a fantastic job in establishing a coherent relationship between titles within the Young Justice line. Scott Lobdell is writing both Superboy and the Teen Titans and, as such, interaction between the two is to be expected.
Superboy has been kept imprisoned by a group called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. He has been nurtured in a virtual world. Although aware of the real world, he has not gained values or morality necessary for becoming a hero. The virtual world is a distraction for him but is no replacement for human interaction. Superboy can legitimately grow to be a villain if left only to his self interests.
Initially, Superboy merely wants the freedom that his jailors afford him, even if it means killing or capturing well intentioned young heroes. N.O.W.H.E.R.E. is the bridge connecting the Teen Titans and Superboy. Teen Titans finds Red Robin in a world where its young heroes are being rounded up and imprisoned. He determines to reach teenage heroes before N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has a chance to capture or kill them. Red Robin (Tim Drake) displays himself as the character with high values who will be reaching out to help metahuman teenagers such as Superboy.
The first aspiring hero observed in Teen Titans #1 is Kid Flash (Bart Allen). He debuts as the cocky, impulsive teen who wants to save the world, but doesn’t stop to think about what he is doing. He takes a dangerous situation and makes it worse. Leaving a bad name for young metahumans. He is then captured by N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
Meanwhile, Tim is keeping a watchful eye on all that is transpiring with Bart, as well as with other teenage metahumans. Likeable but flawed characters like Bart Allen is what makes the book work. He inevitably will be brought under the guidance of young Red Robin.
Teen Titans #1 and #2 lay the groundwork for a showdown between N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and the super powered teens. Tim Drake is first seen working behind the scenes. He, as previously stated, is observing but is also serving as a source of information as he blogs and, otherwise, leaks classified intel regarding the ensuing war against the super teens.
Soon, the fight is brought to him and he can no longer work from the shadows. Escaping with his life but not an intact penthouse, Tim sets out on his quest. He takes up the call to establish this modern incarnation of the Teen Titans. These issues take Red Robin into battle against vicious foes and hopeful allies. Excitement awaits the reader at every turn.
Teen Titans would be a good comic even if it were only about great storytelling. However, the character development and interaction are amusing and intriguing. Red Robin is buoyed up by tech devices, as he is not the metahuman that his counterparts are. He is confident in his skills but is ready to accept help and the need for it. As we learn about him, it is apparent he will be integral in pulling together this team of the Teen Titans.
He first seeks out Wonder Girl as she is being sought by N.O.W.H.E.R.E. Tim Drake is obviously enamored with her. She is a super power with super strength and wit. Wonder Girl (Cassie) is not ready to live the life of sacrifice and altruism as is Red Robin. In fact, she wants to go back to her everyday life and ignore the responsibilities that are being foisted upon her. She knows that her life will never be the same, but is not up to Tim’s assertion that her life can be something better and that together they might do great things. Her response is, “You were home schooled weren’t you?”
Even as Cassie does, so do some readers have had a problem with the name Red Robin. My advice is, get over it! The fun is in the characters and, partly with Tim, because of the oddly chosen name. Cassie comes close to begging him for a real name so she can dispense with using this moniker. However, not willing to share his true identity, the name merely adds to Tim’s insecurity. Especially in regards to her. With the current writing, more fun is in store as interesting characters such as Kid Flash and Superboy are blended into the team.
As you might guess, I believe Teen Titans jumps off the pages with energy. Fires, fights, and explosions add to the fun of great characterization and storytelling. Each new character will add a new dimension to the book. I look forward to the next monthly installment and so should you! As long as the waters don’t get too high, I will be back next month with a new review. Don’t expect another of the 52, as I am not being paid by DC. For better or for worse, I will report on one of two Marvel titles. Either Victor Von Doom or Magneto will be visited next. Hopefully, these series live up to my hopes.
Happy trails to you,