Thursday, July 05, 2007

Teen Titans: Titans Around the World (a DCU review)

I was never a big Teen Titans fan, although I did buy the series for a while on and off. I picked up some of stories back in the sixties when they formed, but by that time I was pretty much a Marvel Zombie (back before there was such a term). I’ve sort of followed the team, but it’s been a few years so my knowledge is second & third hand at best.

Since beginning to buy COUNTDOWN I’ve been reading reviews and synopsis of previous series and books so that I wouldn’t be totally lost. When I found that our library had this TPB I decided to check it out and overall I was pretty pleased. The book collects issues #34-41 of the current TT series, which featured a couple of story arcs. It begins with those “One Year Later” issues and leaves clues as to what had happened to the group after Infinite Wars, but I recommend you click on the link in the above headline and check out the Wikipedia article on the Titans.

The stories are all written by Geoff Johns who happens to be one of my favorite writers currently working on the DCU books. The pencils are by Tony Daniel, with the assist of a half dozen inkers (basically guys who trace what Tony has painstakingly already put on paper), and does a nice job giving all the characters enough individuality so that even when in group shots you can identify them. Both of them get high marks in my book.

We find that Vic Stone (Cyborg) has been out of action, having been injured. His systems are being rebooted and while he’s out he has become a confidant/confessor for various members of the Titans, even those whom he never met. Upon waking he is surprised to find Rose Wilson (Ravager), the daughter of Titan’s enemy Slade Wilson is now a member. Needless to say he is not happy about the situation, nor with other members of the Titans he finds at the tower. The remaining stories on the book fill in some of what happened the previous year and introduces readers to some of the fill-in Titans who came and went during that time.

The middle section deals with a newly reformed DOOM PATROL. While I wasn’t a huge fan of TT, I have loved almost every incarnation of DP, since those long-ago issues of MY GREATEST ADVENTURE back in the early 1960s. (Before you were born. Remember, kids?) While it’s great to see the old team restored, I’ve never liked how the originally noble and sympathetic Niles “The Chief” Caulder was turned into a sociopathic manipulator. For me it’s a kick in the teeth of DP creators Bob Haney, Arnold Drake & Bruno Premiani. Still Robotman, Elasti-Girl, Negative Man are back again, joined by Beast Boy (who has left the TT to be with his “parents”), Mento, Vox & Bumble Bee (the last two who were also former Titans for a while). Through in those old nasties The Brotherhood of Evil and you can’t go wrong.

The final section finds the ‘new’ Teen Titans searching for Raven and the identity of the Titan who was actually a traitor. I don’t want to give things away except that it really should not have been a surprise to anybody who has read the Titan series at all who the surprise villain behind the scenes would be. I mean you could figure it out with one eye closed. J

If you like the Titans you probably have already read the issues contained here, but if you haven’t I certainly recommend you find it at your local library or budget bin at a comic shop. However, I still think that “Titans Together” is a silly battle cry.
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