Teen Titans Annual #1 – Adam Glass, Writer; Jose Luis, Ryan Benjamin, Pencillers; Richard Friend, Jordi Tarragona, Inkers; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 1/10
Corrina: What Fresh Hell Is This?
Ray: Now that Dan Jurgens is stepping onto Nightwing in a few issues to replace Scott Lobdell, likely taking that book from terrible to at least decent, the DCU is shorter on disaster zones that need to be shored up. The most glaring one is Teen Titans, and it’s rarely clearer than in this oversized issue. Easily the worst installment since the launch special, it’s a pair of stories with the headliner being oddly half the size of the backup. The first story deals with Damian hunting down Red Hood for his supposed role in giving the team’s information to The Other. He has no proof of this, but that doesn’t stop Damian from barging into a bar (which Jason lampshades), threatening and accusing Jason, and stabbing him in the leg with a dart. They then get into a ridiculous brawl in the parking lot that escalates when Damian pulls out whatever MacGuffin he stole from Wayne Manor last issue. Whatever this is, it’s enough to make Jason so angry he cuts loose and beats his little brother senseless – which leads Damian to reveal a suicide vest.
Yes, you read that right. This title has the most prominent hero of middle eastern descent at DC Comics threaten to suicide bomb someone.
Jason laughs it off, but there’s no laughing off the fact that Damian in this title is a toxic character with no redeeming qualities. The backup is no better, focusing on the rest of the team as they battle a toxic “gamer” character who has the ability to mind-control people with his gamepad. He’s a generic and annoying villain but seems to be a vague satire of Gamergate. The bigger problem is the other Titans. Emiko remains a stern, boring “Dark ninja girl” figure, a far cry from the clever and sarcastic girl Ollie trained. Crush, coming off her fantastic story in this week’s Valentine’s Day anthology, is reduced to a jealous and angry girl who hates Robin because he and Djinn have a connection. And Djinn continues to waver between the team’s cartoon-Starfire influenced alien-girl figure and a horrific demon who likes to engage in body horror when people cross her. This title is a complete mess on every possible level, and all the characters involved deserve much better.
Corrina: RAY! You forgot the part where the back-up teases a dark secret about Djinn, only to reveal nothing as yet.
I thought this title was bad in the new 52 when basically everyone was revealed to be an evil clone/murderer or something. But, no, DC said, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
I’m not sure which is worse: the utter descent of Damian into true villain territory, especially after his own title spent an entire year having him redeem himself, or the ridiculous characterization of the other Titans. Presumably, Damian will be written better elsewhere, while the other characters (isn’t Starfire in space now?) might either vanish or be forgotten.
But what should be forgotten is this issue.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.