Review: Teen Titans – Futures End #1
If this is what the Teen Titans comic looks like five years from now, then everything I have ever done with my life has been for naught. Every dream I have ever had about writing comics, every review I’ve typed up about this series, every fiber of my very being, will have been for nothing! If this year’s DC September Gimmick were a true crystal ball into the future, then I would know that I accomplish nothing with my life, and that everything is terrible. Teen Titans – Futures End #1 is the blandest, dumbest and most tone-deaf comic I have yet to read in this series. And it’s a beautiful reminder why I’m not spending very much money at all on this stupid gimmick.
If this is indeed the future of the Teen Titans, then I should have abandoned ship a long time ago. This was the last thing writer Will Pfeifer needed two issues into his relaunch.
Comic Rating: 3/10 – Bad.
I have been more than willing to give Pfeifer a chance with his relaunch. I’ve even been somewhat positive in my reviews of his first two issues. But forcing him to take an immediate detour into crapsville only two issues in? That’s harsh, DC, really harsh. I can only hope my review reaches Teen Titans fans in time: don’t buy this comic! Unless you’re super in love with all this Futures End stuff, don’t waste your time, money, energy or any flecks of your soul that might be sacrificed by reading this pile of cream-colored aluminum siding.
This Futures End issue has nothing to do with the regular Teen Titans comic. Unless it’s hidden somewhere in the background. Or an Algorithm cameo counts. Instead, this issue is far more concerned with whatever weird plots DC is doing with Futures End, mostly involving Earth 2. I don’t know and I don’t care. This issue has about as much to do with the Teen Titans as last year’s gimmick, which was basically one long ode to the power of rape. I almost think Pfeifer might have whipped this script out in an afternoon to fulfill his contract or something. At least I hope that’s the case. I really hope this isn’t an indication of where he’s taking the series.
The issue is about six random characters coming together as lazily as possible to stop a bad guy, and then calling themselves the ‘Teen Titans’ at the end. That’s it. I just saved you all the embarrassment of reading it.
But seeing as how I’m a glutton for punishment, I might as well continue on with my usual synopsis/review. Join me after the jump!
We open at a rich, expensive party thrown by our villain: boy genius businessman Archimedes Grant. He’s got his own fancy tower out in International Waters, where U.S. laws don’t apply, and where he’s trying to impress a U.S. Senator to get more laws passed in his favor.
You now know everything you need to know about Archimedes Grant and Senator Strutz, this comic’s villains. Seriously, this is it: the kid is a rich asshole and the Senator is just kind of there. Also, for reasons that are probably made clear in other Futures End comics, there was some kind of exodus from Earth 2, where all the people and superheroes from that world came over into the New 52 world. Grant is a notorious asshole towards people from Earth 2, and he wants the Senator to write some anti-Earth 2 laws.
How much of an asshole is Grant? Well apparently he kidnapped Tempest from Earth 2 and tossed him into a big fish tank with a shark.
That angry looking fellow down at the bottom of the page is Klarion the Witch Boy, though he doesn’t like being called ‘The Witch Boy’ for reasons that are never made clear. He’s also the Earth 2 version, even though there is no evidence anywhere that the Earth 2 versions of anybody are all that different from New 52 versions. Everybody just seems like normal people. Maybe if they had a big ‘2’ plastered on their foreheads things would be different. And why would they willingly let themselves be called ‘Earth 2’? Who died and named the other dimension Earth 1?
Also, Grant is taking bets on who will win: Tempest or the shark. So yeah, he’s an asshole.
Klarion uses his magic to teleport Tempest and the shark to safety, and he’s about to make his own getaway when Grant’s hot, blonde security adviser catches Klarion using magic and points him out to the armed security guards. But Klarion escapes the armed guards, with help from the Earth 2 Kid Flash. The team regroups soon after.
Then they regroup again the next day at a park, in broad daylight (this will be important later).
So basically, it’s here that you can get a good look at why I don’t like this comic at all.
First of all, the art by Andy Smith is as basic as one could possibly get. It’s all just brightly lit characters smiling and looking bland. Matt Yackey does colors. The art is fine, by all means, but it’s awkwardly retro. Maybe that’s what they were going for, like Titans comics of old? But in today’s day and age, it mostly comes off as bland.
Just like the characters. I couldn’t imagine a more bland group of characters. Random female Kid Flash? Klarion? Lagoon Boy? It’s embarrassing. Was Pfeifer restricted as to who he could use? Did DC have specific characters in mind? Because this group couldn’t be more boring. And no, there are no surprises in store. Sorry to spoil everything in advance, but there is nothing more coming for any of them. They remain as bland as these pages right here.
Oh wait, before I forget, it gets even worse.
Remember when I said they were sitting at a picnic table in broad daylight in a nice, populated park?
Well then this happens.
Do you know who that is? It’s Heretic, the villain who killed Damian Wayne in cold blood. Or at least he’s a clone of Heretic, who is also a clone of Damian, rapidly aged to adulthood. Whatever he may be, he’s a vicious Batman villain from the darkest corners of the League of Shadows.
And apparently he snuck into a park in broad daylight, climbed a tree and then jumped down onto a table populated by bland, teenage superheroes.
HE CLIMBED INTO THAT TREE JUST SO HE COULD JUMP DOWN AND SHOCK THEM! IN BROAD DAYLIGHT!
THIS TREE! HE CLIMBED INTO THIS TREE!
Anyway, so Heretic explains that he has spent months preparing to attack Grant, and these teen idiots ruined his plans. They point out that Heretic isn’t from Earth 2 (because somehow they can tell), so why would he bother with Grant? Heretic’s reasoning is that Grant is super rich and uses his wealth to demean people, which is all the reason that Heretic needs to spend months of his time plotting an attack.
Also, another reminder of how incredibly bland this issue is:
Just look at them, standing there like that, in broad daylight, talking about a ‘team up’. Sigh.
Moving on, Archimedes Grant and his Senator stooge throw another luxurious party, and the Would-Be Titans crash just so they can disrupt the thing. Tempest dives into the pool and starts attacking the guards. Klarion uses magic to make it so that everybody looks like Grant, adding to the confusion. And Heretic just shows up and starts attacking people.
Grant’s security blonde shows up and takes out Klarion, then also defeats Kid Flash when she joins the fight. The blonde reveals herself to be Algorithm from Pfeifer’s present day issues, but it means nothing to this issue. Who cares that she’s Algorithm? Though she does mention that the previous Teen Titans are dead. Maybe that’s something, but it only gets one mention.
Then Heretic cuts her in half.
Theeeeen the issue gets even more random, but remains just as bland.
In all the madness, Grant is led away to safety by one of his waitresses…who turns out to be yet another superhero who has been working independently to strike at Grant. It’s Animal Girl!
She also has a grudge against Archimedes Grant after one of his companies razed her home in Brazil. She gets mad and beats him up, using the powers of the various animals stuffed in his trophy room – including a Woolly Mammoth. For some reason, there’s a little scene where it’s revealed that Grant cloned a Woolly Mammoth just so that he could kill it, stuff it and put it in his trophy room. Animal Girl uses it’s power to knock him through a wall. And Klarion uses magic to turn Algorithm into butterlies. So…bad guys defeated!
Animal Girl introduces herself to the team, and they all teleport out of there when the rest of the guards arrive.
Then some time later, the issue ends with the Teen Titans showing up in the Senator’s office to ‘talk’ to him about his Earth 2 Immigration Act. It’s possible they’re going to kill him. Maybe?
Sigh. I don’t even know where to begin with this issue.
The worst thing about this comic is that it’s not a poorly made comic. It’s just that it’s as bland as unbuttered breadsticks. Everyone involved clearly acted like professionals in putting this comic together, but there isn’t an ounce of effort on any of the pages, in writing or art. Pfeifer delivers an incredibly boring script. He picks five of the most random, boring characters and forms the most random, lazy superhero team. So they were all independently and simultaneously mounting attacks on Archimedes Grant? And after haphazardly bumping into each other, they decide to ‘team up’ and form a new Teen Titans? And somehow it connects to Earth 2? A toddler could have come up with a better reason for superheroes to ‘team up’. That’s the best he could come up with?
I would love to know how much freedom Pfeifer had on this issue. Was the entire thing, top to bottom, dictated by editorial? Or was he given carte blanche to write the formation of a new team of Teen Titans? If it’s the latter, then I am suddenly very doubtful of Pfeifer’s ongoing Teen Titans comic. I really kind of hope he purposefully half-assed this issue. What is Heretic even doing there?! He is supposed to be a nod to always having a Robin on the Teen Titans?
I’ll give him credit for weirdness, that’s for sure.
The art by Smith and Yackey is fine. It’s professional art, drawn and colored by pros. Anyone would be more than happy to have this kind of art in their comic. But it’s just as bland as the story and characters. There’s no flourish, no style, no pizzazz. There’s nothing in the art to wow or impress us. It’s all just competently drawn and colored superheroes.
Teen Titans Futures End #1 is a perfect example of why I’m avoiding this September gimmick altogether.