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Hench-Sized Comic Book Reviews – 2/22/20

Welcome to my random page of comic book reviews! I do this every weekend, because I love comics and I love stories. This week I look into new issues of Batman, Marauders, New Mutants and more!

Comic Book of the Week goes to Wonder Twins #12, the wrap-up to my favorite comic series of the past year! This was such a wonderful series, and Mark Russell and Stephen Byrne stick the landing with class and heart.

Wonder Twins Goodbye 01

Superman already knows!

Meanwhile, I checked out the first issue of the new Wolverine series but have decided not to do a review. It’s a triple-sized beast of a comic and it’s fine, but my review would mostly be summed up as, “Yeah, these are some fine Wolverine stories.” Nothing really blew the lid off the place in Wolverine #1, unless you count this possible reveal of a new Multiple Man costume! I feel like this should be bigger news across the comic book media landscape.

Comic Reviews: Batman #89, Legion of Super-Heroes #4, Marauders #8, New Mutants #7, Runaways #30 and Wonder Twins #12. 

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Review: Teen Titans #12

I…I don’t know how to begin this review. I don’t know what to say to introduce any of you to what you’re about to read. Teen Titans has left me speechless at times since the start of the New 52, but this issue…this is a whole new level. This is insane. It’s been nearly two months since the last issue of Teen Titans, and something has happened. I don’t know what, exactly. I can make a few guesses. It looks like DC Comics has simply decided to cut off writer Will Pfeifer at the knees, throw out everything he had been writing, and bring in the worst possible person to try and clean up Pfeifer’s ‘mess’.

Teen Titans #12

Forget everything you’ve been reading for the past year, apparently. Teen Titans has finally, and without warning, lost its mind.

Comic Rating: 2/10 – Very Bad.

When we last left the Titans, Red Robin and Chimera were battling Wonder Girl, the Elite and Despero in the bowls of a metahuman prison. Superboy had just arrived, seeking to clear his name. And Raven and Bunker were about to be attacked by a prison full of angry inmates. Well…uh…forget all of that. Just forget it. Pretend it never happened. There’s no more simple way to put this: Will Pfeifer is gone…I guess? His name is still on the cover, but I can’t imagine he had anything to do with this comic. Either DC has fired him or just told him to stop writing Teen Titans, because this comic literally just drops the entire prison story on the second page. You’re not going to believe it.

Maybe DC disliked Pfeifer’s comic as much as I did.

But then DC goes and makes the even more foolish move of bringing Scott freakin’ Lobdell back to take over! What the hell?! Lobdell? SERIOUSLY?! Of all the people working at DC Comics, of all the people in the comic book industry, of all the people sitting at home, they brought Scott Lobdell back to Teen Titans? He’s the guy who got canned so that Pfeifer could be brought in! He’s the guy whose exit from the series was so momentous that DC restarted the series at a new #1, an unprecedented move for the New 52!

Teen Titans #12 defies anything I could have possibly imagined happening. Join me after the jump if you’ve got the stomach for it…

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Review: Teen Titans #9

After a long break thanks to Convergence, we’re finally back to regular coverage of Teen Titans. And unfortunately, that old adage of ‘good things come to those who wait’ bears little to no meaning on this poor comic book. Unlike the rest of DC Comics’ line in June, Teen Titans is not getting a makeover or a new creative team. We’re jumping right back in to where we left off with the stuffy writing of Will Pfeifer and the uncomfortable art of Kenneth Rocafort. You’re all better off reading We Are Robin. I’ve got a feeling that’s going to star far more interesting teenagers.

Teen Titans #9

Teen Titans #9 is just an uncomfortable, unwelcoming comic book. It’s not bad, I suppose, but it’s not somewhere I want to be.

Comic Review: 5/10 – Alright.

Teen Titans was just kicking off a brand new storyline when Convergence came along and slammed on the brakes. Superboy has returned, and he’s wanted for killing a bunch of people in suburbia. But those people were really Durlans, the shapeshifting aliens of DC, and he probably didn’t kill them after all. Red Robin and several Titans have gone into hiding to help Superboy uncover the truth, while Wonder Girl and the new Power Girl have joined STAR Labs in hunting down the Boy of Steel. Manchester Black, Pfeifer’s favorite character, has even given the Girls a new team of Titans to help them out — a team that somehow includes a returned Kid Flash.

There’s just something uninviting about Teen Titans #9. The art is all sharp angles, slender characters and muted colors. It’s Rocafort’s usual style, but I think I’m zeroing in on what I don’t like about him on Teen Titans. The pages feel cramped and glum. The characters are never having any fun. The story itself is alright, I suppose. The characters are all largely on point. But Pfeifer never really makes this story about the characters, it’s always about his plot. Here we’ve got a perfect opportunity to follow the Titans on the run or meet the new STAR Labs Titans, but we don’t really do either. Pfeifer writes a nice scene with Beast Boy and Bunker, but those are the only characters who seem to ever get any personality.

We don’t spend any real time with Superboy, despite the weight of the world being on his shoulders. And we spend even less time with the new Titans, including Kid Flash — who is a returned Bart Allen, for reasons that are never explained! It’s just tossed off that this is Bart, back from both time and space, and randomly back to being Kid Flash for STAR freakin’ Labs!

Join me after the jump for a fully synopsis and more review!

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Review: Teen Titans Annual #1

Hey everybody, Superboy is back! Remember when he died? Or was…replaced by an evil impostor…who I think also died? Does anybody remember what happened to Superboy? All I remember is that it was really really dumb, and really really confusing, and that the Teen Titans were completely out of the loop. I don’t think they ever knew about the impostor. But regardless of whatever insanity happened a year or so ago, Superboy is back in Teen Titans Annual #1, and he brings with him some much needed team drama!

Teen Titans Annual #1

Unfortunately, the Annual issue is hampered by some pretty terrible art. So I finally get what I want, the Teen Titans are the actual star of their own comic, but I still can’t appreciate it because this is one ugly comic.

Comic Rating: 5/10 – Alright.

Despite this being an Annual issue, the Teen Titans story continues from right where it left off, only now with extra pages and a new co-writer in tow. Tom King pays a visit from his successful Grayson comic to lend regular writer Will Pfeifer a hand with Teen Titans Annual #1. The two are paired as co-scripters, according to the credits, with the actual plot courtesy of King. Is this a sign that he might be taking over? I have no idea.

But King brings with him a much-needed focus on the Teen Titans themselves. Pfeifer has been a pretty poor presence on the franchise, and my biggest complaint with him so far is that none of his stories really focus on the Teen Titans themselves. Pfiefer has been too obsessed with either pet characters, like Manchester Black, or whatever new super-villain plot he’s brought to the table. All of that changes, for the most part, with this Annual issue, and I’m very happy with that. But the art by the alternating team of Alisson Borges and Wes St. Claire just can’t keep up.

Superboy is back in the Teen Titans’ lives, and he’s brought a lot of baggage with him. News reports claim that he’s responsible for murdering 21 people in cold blood. Obviously, there’s a lot more to that story than what the news media is reporting, but for now, it’s got the individual Titans at each others’ throats over whether they need to help their old friend or turn him over to the authorities.

That makes for good team drama, so at the very least, Teen Titans Annual #1 is a step in the right direction. I may come to regret this later on, but I think I’m going to get my hopes up, if only just a little bit.

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

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Review: Teen Titans #28

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.

Teen Titans #28

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!

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