With this week's Titans #1, the
comparison seems apt once more, but this time, it's not
a good thing. Convoluted continuity? I think that's there.
A sprawling cast that includes characters you barely registered?
That's there. A very limited choice as to who the secret
villain will be? There, too. Most importantly, everybody
looks darned pretty after attacks on their lives, even having
time to change outfits.
Seriously, this book bore a second reading
just to make sure it was as bad as my first impression said
Instead of a jumping on point, Titans
#1 actually claims to be the continuation of an earlier
story - it says "Part 2." Thinking back, you might remember
the Titans East Special #1, which ended on an unresolved
downer note a few months ago when Cable stole Baby Wildebeest
and fled into the future…wait. Wrong downer.
Right in the thick of things, this opens
with Nightwing going to one of Batman's "safehouses" stowed
around Gotham for his family. It's actually a reasonable
idea, one of those things that reminds one that when writer
Judd Winick is well-edited or perhaps passionate about an
assignment, he does write well. But Dick senses something
wrong, jumping out of the apartment just before it blows
Falling to the street, he encounters a
rogue band of Golden Globe awards. Apparently the DC Universe
just had a huge rash of breast implants; even undead leather
babies got them. Thanks to Ian Churchill's otherwise competent
art, we now know that Donna Troy and Starfire must be extremely
grateful for their super-strength. Otherwise their backs
would be killing them.
Let's leave the killing to the villain,
though, shall we? He sets up death traps for each one of
the original new Titans (that would be confusing no matter
who wrote the book), and clearly has it in for anyone who
has ever been a member. Mysteriously, Winick has no love
for Tempest (Aqualad), Hornblower or Bumblebee, unless they're
already dead and I've missed it.
Deathtrap is too kind a word for what happens
here, actually. What we get are huge pages of Churchill
posing the heroes in various states of threat from some
sort of demonic creatures. Great splash pages - except that
the book overuses the device. At least that made the second
read go much faster.
In a case of absolutely poor writing, what
we don't get is how the Titans defeat their foes. Not as
in they're still fighting by the end of issue one, but as
in every fight actually happens off-camera. Winick has time
for the lightest strokes of characterization, with Red Arrow/Speedy/Arsenal/Roy
Harper coming off the best, before charging to the next
set-up with no pay-off.
Then there's the matter of continuity.
If you want to have the slightest hope of enjoying this
book, pretend continuity doesn't matter. This happens on
the same day as the Titans East>
book, which had to have been months ago. Kyle Rayner and Donna
Troy are concerned about Countdown, but not so concerned
she can't stop and join her old teammates. Starfire definitely
has experienced Countdown to Adventure, but decided
to stay with Buddy Baker's family after all. And the actual
Teen Titans, the ones that are teens, have a line-up that
ended at least six months ago.
So that's the Zorlac talking - seriously, it's like reading
a Batman solo book. You have to pretend the rest of the
DC books don't exist to really get into it. Not that I could.
Someone could correct me on one other matter - Winick
puts Raven in high school. Did she become de-aged at some
point? Because even doing fuzzy comic book math, that means
she seduced a college-aged Wally West into rejoining the
Titans when she was about twelve.
That's just creepy.
We've been here before, and I should have learned my lesson
the last couple of times. Whenever Winick writes the Titans
coming together, they reminisce about old times, look grim
and rededicate after someone dies. (See that mini-series
that killed Donna Troy and revived the Outsiders a few years
back.) DC touts this as forging a new team from the ashes
of old, dead friends. The problem is - they don't have any
old friends left to kill.
What's Snapper Carr doing these days?