Titans #29 – Dan Abnett, Writer; Minkyu Jung, Penciller; John Dell, Inker; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 5/10
Corrina: No Improvement
Ray: Following last issue’s Drowned Earth crossover, Titans #29 kicks off a new story arc that takes the team halfway across the universe. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take them away from the poor characterization that has defined this series. The team launched their ship away from the chaos consuming Earth, but without proper coordinates. Now they’ve landed on a toxic planet with no way to get home and no resources to survive. The bigger threat, though, may be each other. These heroes each have their own personal trauma or secret. Miss Martian is injured, Steel is beginning to break down as her OCD kicks in, Raven is still missing her soul-self and finds that it keeps her from experiencing emotions, Beast Boy is quickly losing control of his more monstrous self, and Donna Troy is still keeping the secret of Roy’s death from the rest of the team. All in all, it feels less like a superhero team than a group therapy session.
As the issue goes on and they explore their new planet, things get worse. Much worse. Miss Martian decides to fly up to the atmosphere to try to map the stay systems and figure out how to get home, but she exacerbates her injuries and winds up out of commission. Steel eventually attempts to build a new engine and get them home, but in true Gilligan’s Island fashion, all their progress winds up wiped away when Beast Boy loses complete control, turns into the Hulk, and smashes the engine. Overall, isolating the characters on this planet should help establish why this team works. Unfortunately, it does the exact opposite – trapping us in an intimate situation with them makes clear that they’re barely a team at all. Most of the characters aren’t likable, and those who are have been changed or hobbled somehow to make them more unpleasant to read about. Ever since the revamp, this team just hasn’t worked at all.
Corrina: This issue read similar in tone to a Titans arc during Devin Grayson’s run, where the Titans went camping to bond and work out issues between each other. (And that was itself a callback to a classic Wolfman/Perez camping sequence in Teen Titans.)
It worked during Grayson’s run because it featured the main Titans team and the history of their relationships between each other. What happened between them mattered because they were friends and, as much as they had issues with each other, they wanted the team to work.
But, here, the only thing holding the team together is being stranded. None of them trust each other, each is dealing with their issues on their own, and each makes choices that make their situation worse. This could be a good story of a team finally bonding but, instead, it feels like a disjointed story of different loners, none of whom are treated in a way that makes them interesting. Add in their bad choices and there’s nothing about this new team that seems essential reading.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.