I am as surprised as anybody to declare that Teen Titans #29 ain’t half bad. Actually, maybe that’s going a little too easy on it. Let’s just say that Teen Titans #29 is not the train wreck that most issues have been. It helps that nobody does anything else stupid in this issue. Possibly because the story is about everyone reacting to all the stupid things they did in the last issue – and boy, those were some stupid things. Instead, Teen Titans does what I’ve always wanted it to do: slow down and treat these characters like real people who have real conversations and real lives. That these conversations and lives occur a thousand years in the future in the middle of some weirdly pro-Evil Empire war is just the price one must pay for still reading Teen Titans.
I have little doubt that the latest issue of this unfortunate series is just the calm before the inevitable crapfest that will be the return of Harvest. I do not expect the final two issues to be anything other than painful, but at least writer Scott Lobdell gave us a brief moment of ‘not-so-terrible’-ness.
Comic Rating: 4/10 – Pretty Bad.
The primary reason that Teen Titans #29 isn’t as bad as the other most recent issues is that all of Lobdell’s worst writing traits are gone. There are no insufferable blocks of stilted exposition. The only editor’s note referring to another comic is referring to only the previous issue. There are no random, one page ‘teases’ for some future villain. And if you were in any way upset with his characterizations and bastardizations of beloved heroes, then there’s some bittersweet good news: he wipes them off the table in this issue. Evil Superboy, for example, doesn’t even show up. I have no idea what’s happening in his solo series, but we here in Teen Titans get one throwaway line about his whereabouts and that’s it! We don’t have to deal with his horrible inner monologues about needing to find a cure! Good riddance, I say.
Of course, I still feel bad for any fans of Bart Allen. To think there were Wally West fans who were upset that he didn’t get to appear in the New 52 when it started. Man, you got nothing on Bart Allen fans. I wouldn’t be surprised if we never see him again. There’s no last minute save. No change of fortune. Lobdell kicks him to the curb along with Solstice. I would feel bad for any Solstice fans, but really, are there any? She’s gone too. And yes, she totally killed that judge at the end of last issue.
I wonder if Teen Titan‘s imminent cancellation led to Lobdell’s deck cleaning in this issue, or did he always plan on ditching Kid Flash, Solstice and Superboy as awkwardly and as brutally as possible?
Join me after the jump for the full synopsis and more review.
If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think writer Scott Lobdell did such a bad job creating pathos in Bar Torr’s rebellion against the Functionary. There is real emotion in his fight to free his people from a corrupt and evil government. So it’s a shame this comic is actually about a club of colorful, teenage heroes who wouldn’t know real emotion if it was beat into them with a crowbar. The Teen Titans are caught in the middle of a war that doesn’t belong to them, and they’re stuck flailing around in an embarrassingly desperate attempt to be useful.
But in the end, the Empire wins. The Rebel Alliance loses. And Teen Titans has apparently decided to just cut its loses when it comes to the new and unique characters created for the soon-to-be-cancelled series.
Comic Rating: 3/10 – Bad.
If I could keep this honest streak going, I was mildly entertained reading this issue, because it’s largely just a bunch of action scenes. The art is actually pretty good, and the pacing is pretty OK, at least when characters aren’t having lengthy thought bubble monologues, and Lobdell engages in his favorite pastime: painfully blunt exposition. The new Evil Superboy has appeared in how many issues now? And in each one, he apparently has to mentally remind himself of his own motivations and personal storyline. It’s maddening!
But at least Evil Superboy gets to actually impact this issue, or stand out as a character. Red Robin, Wonder Girl and Raven are absolutely lost in this story. But they don’t just fade into the background, oh no. Instead, they insist on trying to stick their big noses into this war that has nothing to do with them, and likewise insist that everyone involved should adhere to their limited understanding of 21st century standards. It’s like the Titans are incapable of understanding the context of where they find themselves. It’s a war for independence from a murderous government, but the Titans seem to think they can just get everybody to play nice and negotiate – and this is coming from teenagers who have dedicated their lives to vigilante violence.
But at least those three don’t get character assassinated. If you thought Lobdell was burning Kid Flash’s character to the ground, just wait and see what he has in store for Solstice. I hope you hadn’t grown too attached to her.
Join me after the jump to find out why killing in a war for freedom is wrong, but murder in the name of love is righteous!