Review: Teen Titans #18
Rebirth is on its way, folks. In a few short months, DC Comics is going to kick off their next big thingamajig, and current comics are feeling the pinch. We don’t know what’s going to happen to the Teen Titans, who’s going to write it, who’s going to draw it, or what it’s going to be about. But for now, writer Greg Pak is cruising along with a fun little story about Wonder Girl’s origins. I enjoyed the last issue for its upbeat character work and interesting story. Teen Titans #18 continues the trend, though the issue is kind of light and breezy.
But I can live with light and breezy when it comes to a new Teen Titans.
Comic Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I have no real complaints about this issue, none that matter anyway. It’s fun, simple and pretty straight forward. It calls back to the brilliant Wonder Woman run by Brian Azzarello, which is neat. It contains the first ever team up of Wonder Woman and Tim Drake in the New 52, which I personally found kind of annoying, and I’ll explain why later. At times, I felt like Pak didn’t necessarily know what to do with all of the Titans. This is a Wonder Girl story, first and foremost, but I guess Pak can’t just ignore the rest of them. That kind of means he doesn’t find as many great character moments, like he did with the last issue, but it’s not a big deal.
Honestly, I feel so mellow about this issue, that I’m starting to wonder if I was too harsh with my previous reviews. Or if I’m being too lenient with Greg Pak. This is just a fine little comic, neither great nor terrible. Teen Titans feels like it’s biding its time until Rebirth, but at least Pak and artist Ian Churchill (with an assist by Tom Derenick) are making the most of it.
Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review.
Last issue ended with Cassie recovering the head of her father, Lennox, only for the evil Cassandra show up and teleport both her and the other Titans away. Only Red Robin was left behind, and he was greeted by an angry Wonder Woman returning to her apartment. It was a great ending, and Pak kind of follows up on it…but if we really look at this issue, here is where things kinda, sorta, maybe fall apart. I’ll have to explain why later, when we get to the moment.
For now, let’s watch Tim Drake make a total fool out of himself in front of Wonder Woman.
Tim, c’mon. Don’t be a dingus. This ‘Red Robin’ thing has gone on long enough. The moment you have to explain your code name to a Justice Leaguer is the moment your little silliness has to stop. We all went along with DC’s hastily retconned decision that you never went by the name ‘Robin’, that you had to add the word ‘Red’ in front, as if that would do anything other than confuse people. But look here, it’s confusing someone important. Robin is a brand, one that Wonder Woman clearly recognizes and trusts. Can’t you just roll with it this one time? Do you really have to push up your glasses and correct her?
It’s embarrassing, Tim. Just accept that you were Robin.
Anyway, Robin explains what happened with Cassandra, and Wonder Woman is more than a little concerned, considering that Cassandra helped kill Lennox in the first place.
We cut to Cassandra’s big, open airship flying over Southern Greece. The Teen Titans are none too interested in listening to her, so they attack and use Bunker’s bricks to keep her and her hyena soldiers at bay. They don’t seem interested in what Cassie thinks, and there sure are a lot of them all jumbled about. Cassandra offers no resistance.
And here’s why I suggest this issue kind of falls apart on closer inspection: Cassandra only arbitrarily left Red Robin behind.
Allow me to spoil something right now that I was going to spoil in a few paragraphs anyway: Red Robin and Wonder Woman eventually catch up to the others. Like, there’s no real delay or problem at all. Everybody gets together in the end. So what was the point of separating Red Robin from the team for a whole issue? Apparently nothing. I think Pak just needed something to do with Red Robin.
But let’s not gripe on that too much. On with the story!
After a quick recap of Diana and Cassandra’s history — if you haven’t yet read Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s excellent Wonder Woman comic, what’s wrong with you? — Cassandra continues to try and convince Cassie that she means well. She gladly surrenders to Bunker’s impromptu prison, and explains every little concern the Titans might have. Cassandra wants to make up for all the trouble she caused, and she wants to do that by resurrecting her dead brother so that he can be a father to Cassie.
In order to do this, she needs the Rod of Asclepius, which is that staff with the snake wrapped around it that is basically the icon for medicine. The Rod was buried under the Temple of Apollo in Greece, and they have to fight a giant snake to get it. So Cassandra and the Titans fight a giant snake!
Cassandra convinces Cassie to get in the game, and she uses her armor to start cutting through the serpent. She makes short work of it, only to accidentally crash into the side of a mountain, sending large boulders down towards Power Girl and the innocent civilians. That’s when Wonder Woman shows up and destroys the giant rocks so that everybody is saved. Then Wonder Woman grabs Cassandra in the Lasso of Truth to find out what she really wants with Wonder Girl. Surely she’s got some kind of scheme planned, right? She can’t really want to resurrect Lennox and help Wonder Girl, can she?
Pak also squeezes in about 5 seconds of Wonder Woman meeting Wonder Girl for the first time in New 52 continuity. This is also where Cassie finds out that she is Wonder Woman’s niece.
I would have liked a little more on that subject. But I suppose, at this point in the New 52, does it even really matter? Is this really going anywhere? DC’s continuity is kind of out of whack these days. Personally, I’m OK with that, as long as they keep putting out good comics. But I just don’t think it matters anymore that Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl are meeting for the first time.
That sentiment kind of sums up this issue as a whole. Like I said, it’s pretty fun. Pak writes everybody well, and the story flows nicely, with some good dialogue and action beats. Everybody gets to fight a giant snake, which is always a hoot. But this issue was just a light and breezy affair. Hopefully the real adventure will come next issue, when the Teen Titans actually get to team up with Wonder Woman. But this issue was really just above proving that Cassandra was telling the truth. Robin and Wonder Woman were kept out of the action for reasons that seemed set up to specifically keep them out of the action for awhile. And the rest of the team kind of just jumbled along.
This was a fine, enjoyable issue of Teen Titans, but I would have loved it if Pak had delved deeper into the team up. I’ve always liked the idea of Wonder Woman teaming up with Tim Drake, at least since some of their pre-reboot encounters. But this time it blows by without any real oomph, which is a shame. But hopefully next issue will have the good character work I desperately want, and which Pak has expertly set up.