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Review – Teen Titans #7

Seven issues into the relaunched Teen Titans, I think I’ve figured out writer Will Pfeifer’s problem: he loves to listen to himself talk. Or in comic book terms, he loves to listen to his characters talk. I’ve mentioned before in my reviews how Pfeifer’s pet character, Manchester Black, goes on and on in seemingly endless monologues — and we get another one or two in Teen Titans #7 — but now we’re also treated to monologues from the new villains about how awesome their evil plans are and how evil they’re going to be.

Teen Titans #7

The Teen Titans are little more than spectators in their own comic at this point. All that matters is how smart and awesome Pfeifer’s pet characters are.

Comic Rating: 3/10 – Bad.

The Teen Titans are no longer the stars of their own comic. They’re set pieces. They’re action figures to be moved around at the whim of other characters. Teen Titans #7 is literally just about Manchester Black’s opposition to the new, bland bad guys in town. And if you (and I) thought those pill-popping rich brats from the last two issues were bland bad guys, then you ain’t seen nothing yet!

This would maybe be forgivable if Pfeifer had interesting stories to tell, but he doesn’t. Or if the art was spectacular, but it isn’t. Pfeifer and Kenneth Rocafort are producing a fairly standard, if at times sub-standard, comic book. The story is jerky and uninteresting. The villain that opened the relaunch with a splash, Algorithm, is gone. Those rich kids were cliches. And now a new villain has emerged: generic armed bad guys. They don’t have a name, they don’t have costumes, they aren’t memorable characters, and they want to use a villainous device to blow up New York City. Wow. Your’e really stretching the imagination with these guys, Pfeifer.

It doesn’t help that Rocafort returns to the title with the worst art yet. I would have thought taking two issues off would have given him time to shine.

Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review!

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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.

Teen Titans #6

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!

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Review: Teen Titans #4

In a previous decade, the content of Teen Titans #4 would have made me ecstatic. It’s an issue about Tim Drake using his brains and his skills to defeat an infinitely more powerful foe. It should be a testament to just how damn cool Robin can be. But this is Teen Titans in the New 52, so don’t anybody get their hopes up.

What Teen Titans #4 is instead is a showcase for writer Will Pfeifer’s S.T.A.R. Labs plot and his apparent love of Manchester Black. So simmer down, Tim Drake fans; despite his starring role in the issue, he has zero personal impact on the story.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

Is it really so hard to write a comic that’s actually about the Teen Titans? I’m not sure if the previous writer, Scott Lobdell, ever managed to do it in 30+ issues. Lobdell only ever wrote about his plots or the bad guys; rarely did his stories ever actually grow from the Titans themselves. Even when he wrote about the characters’ origins, it was never about them. Wonder Girl’s origin story was all about her ex-boyfriend the super-villain, and Kid Flash’s origin story was all about this big space civil war and his role in that.

Pfeifer is a little better, but he’s relegated all of the stories about the Titans themselves to merely sub-plots. The main plot, the one about the villainous Algorithm and her attacks on S.T.A.R., is all about Algorithm and her villainous boss, Manchester Black. Teen Titans #4, especially, is all about Black and his drama. Tim Drake just happens to be caught up in that drama. But for all Tim actually does to drive or impact Black’s story, he could be swapped for any other Titan or any other superhero, for that matter.

And Teen Titans #4 also features one of the most baffling endings I have ever read in this comic. The only reasonable explanation for this ending is that Pfeifer is just toying with us and it’s totally fake. Otherwise, Teen Titans is just never going to get any better.

Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review!

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