Review: Teen Titans #6
Let’s all welcome the new Power Girl to the Teen Titans! Hooray! Good, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get back to talking about Manchester Black. What’s that? You’d rather talk more about the interesting new Power Girl and how she might fit in the Teen Titans? I don’t know…Manchester Black is Manchester Black. He’s got a lot of really interesting stuff going on, and writer Will Pfeifer is pretty sure we should focus on Manchester Black.
The new Power Girl is going to have to wait, everybody, because Pfeifer really really needs to write another giant Manchester Black monologue.
Comic Rating: 4/10 – Pretty Bad.
How badly does Pfeifer need to talk about Manchester Black? He literally has Black just pop in and interrupt the new Power Girl’s introductory scene. After that, Power Girl becomes nothing more than a background character. And that’s almost a perfect summation of Pfeifer’s short run on Teen Titans so far.
But I will give the man credit: there’s a glimmer of evidence about where Pfeifer might be going with all of this, and if I’m right, then he may be forgiven.
What remains unforgivable, though, is how little Pfeifer actually seems to care about the Teen Titans. Every opportunity he has in this issue to explore the Titans and their lives is interrupted. He’s constantly cutting himself off instead of staying with a scene or a moment. Pfefier actually starts several conversations exploring the Titans’ living situations and motivations, but then he cuts himself off to move on, usually towards Manchester Black. What he does write is actually pretty good, and I was prepared to give this issue a higher score, but then Pfeifer just flatlines in the entire second half of the issue.
At least Scott Hepburn is still around on art. He’s weird and funky, and I like him.
Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review!
Teen Titans #6 picks up right where the last issue left off: the new Power Girl has revealed herself to the team by catching and lifting a garbage truck over her head. The Titans are still fighting the drug-fueled rich snobs, and the strong one thinks he can beat up the new Power Girl because he’s bigger than her. She immediately knocks his block off.
Yep, I’m definitely enjoying Hepburn on this book. He’s got a bit of cartooniness in his style that actually works for Teen Titans. The rest of the Titans make very, very short work of the rest of those rich idiots, because they were never a legitimate threat or legitimate characters. Of note, though, is that some of Raven’s new alternative lifestyle fans are in the crowd, watching. They hear her casting a spell and whip out their phones to record it.
Once the bad teens are taken down, Red Robin has Raven teleport the Titans out of there, including their new friend.
But wait, you may ask, what about Cassie’s mom? Wasn’t she the one that had to be saved from that garbage truck? What about her? Or what about Wonder Girl’s team of groupies? We’ll get to one of them later on!
Back at Beast Boy and Bunker’s apartment – which really does appear to be the Titans’ base of operations – everybody sits down in full costume to learn Power Girl’s origin. Tanya Spears used to be an intern at the regular Power Girl’s company, Starr Industries in Boston, and was around when the villainous Desaad came to Earth to attack Power Girl. Desaad struck at the hero by hurting her loved ones, including killing Tanya’s mom.
Then some time later, Power Girl decided to go back to Earth 2, and she somehow used the dimensional travel to transfer some of her powers to Tanya. Now the new Power Girl has super strength and invulnerability, but not flight or heat vision (yet).
She also has a pretty strong opinion on why the Teen Titans suck. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match up with any of my reasons.
Sigh. Are you kidding me? The new Power Girl is that kind of superhero? The kind that thinks superheroes should be proactive about crime-fighting instead of reactive? Is there any lazier crutch in superhero comics? Some hotshot new superhero comes along, often an anti-hero, convinced that regular superheroes are fogies and don’t know how to do their jobs right. Sheesh.
But no sooner does Red Robin try to explain that Power Girl is mistaken than Wonder Girl jumps right up and shouts, “By jove, I think she’s got it!”
Sadly, she doesn’t use those exact words.
So here we are, deep into getting to know the new Power Girl, and engaged in a rich discussion about how the Teen Titans operate as superheroes. Frequent readers of my reviews will remember that one of my biggest complaints about this series is that there is no foundation. The writers never really bother with explaining why the Teen Titans are together or why they do what they do. They’re just superheroes who hang out and fight whatever bad guy pops up.
Believe me, I was more than ready for an actual discussion about what the Teen Titans do and why.
But nope! Pfeifer can’t have that!
So, yeah, Wonder Girl and Power Girl just leave for no particular reason. Sigh.
When they’re gone, rather than let their words sink in, Red Robin takes the opportunity to check in on Beast Boy, who is still sneaking around S.T.A.R. Labs trying to find some dirt. Beast Boy does note that Manchester Black is leaving the lab. Where is he headed? We’ll find out shortly.
First we take a moment to visit those Raven fans who recorded the spell she used in the fight earlier. They’re music buffs and manage to isolate the spell from the background noise and play it back on their machine – which summons a giant eldritch monster, which the fans think is pretty awesome.
We don’t spend anymore time with them and instead jump over to Wonder Girl’s apartment, where she and Power Girl have shown up. Cassie’s mom is also there. Remember her? Apparently when the Titans just teleported away from the fight scene earlier, Cassie’s mom was left by herself to just walk home. She doesn’t seem bothered by it.
But no sooner does Cassie grab a drink out of the fridge than guess who shows up at her front door?
At least Cassie’s mom asks why Manchester Black isn’t wearing a shirt. Thank God somebody did. That guy looks so incredibly skeevy! But Wonder Girl isn’t fazed. She welcomes the guy into her apartment, introduces her mother and the new Power Girl, and then they all take a seat.
Manchester Black then begins a long, multi-page monologue about the next upcoming threat that the Teen Titans will face. Apparently, S.T.A.R. Labs moved to their new facility because they’ve gotten word that they were going to be attacked by some mysterious bad guys, and he fears that they’ve already arrived. These bad guys want to break into the basement vault to steal all of S.T.A.R.’s super dangerous inventions.
His speech is intercut with scenes of said bad guys doing just that, with Beast Boy still in the facility.
Black wants Wonder Girl to step up and be awesome so that she can help combat this threat. Eventually Black’s speech takes him to the window, where he and everybody else in the city look out at the island lab to witness the bad guys using a low-yield nuclear weapon to blow open the vault. It’s pretty impressive.
Beast Boy managed to escape the island just in time, so he’s fine. But Manchester Black knows that the bad guys have reached the deadly machines.
Dun dun dun!
So yeah, about halfway through Teen Titans #6, it once again becomes the Manchester Black Show. What the hell? Pfeifer loves writing speeches for Black. We’re only at issue #6 and already the guy has had three or four speeches. How many have any of the Teen Titans have? How much you want to bet Manchester Black has had more page time than any of the individual Titans? I’m getting sick and tired of Pfeifer only focusing on Manchester Black.
But there is one glimmer of hope that he might actually be going somewhere with this.
Despite the fact that it’s a little hard to believe he’s only 19, that still makes Manchester Black a teenager…so does that mean Pfeifer is setting him up to join the Teen Titans? It’s not unheard of. We’ve got Lex Luthor on the Justice League, after all.
If all of this has been one huge set-up to having Manchester Black join the Teen Titans, then all will be…well, no, not all. Pfeifer will be partially forgiven.
It’s still unforgivable that he favors Black at the expense of the actual Teen Titans. What difference would it make if Manchester Black joins the Teen Titans if we barely know the Teen Titans?
Same with the new Power Girl: how would either character add drama to the team if there is no drama to begin with? The Teen Titans don’t exist outside of their costumes, and with the exception of Cassie’s mom, they don’t appear to have lives outside of being Teen Titans (and Cassie’s mom is a bit of a stretch, life-wise). Beast Boy and Bunker are buddies and share an apartment, but we haven’t seen nearly as much of that as I’d like. And despite the Titans now knowing Red Robin’s real name, they’ve never had a chance to use it, because he never takes his costume off – and I don’t mean he has a psychological aversion to taking his costume off or anything. The comic simply hasn’t gotten to a scene where he’d have the costume off – and we’re six issues in!
There is potential in adding new characters to the comic, but until Pfeifer actually puts the focus on the Teen Titans, then Power Girl and Manchester Black are just going to be more costumes to add to the group shots.