New 52 – Teen Titans #16 review

And once again I’m disappointed with Lobdell’s contribution to the Death of the Family crossover.

Look, things were going great. Perfectly fine for 6 pages in this issue as long as you ignore the fact that Joker likes to dress and undress Tim. What am I talking about? Well, first he captures Tim, changes him into his original Robin outfit, and now in this issue Tim is back in the Red Robin suit after being knocked out yet again. Why’s Joker stripping Tim down so much? Anyway, from those 6 pages it felt like this was going to be totally about Tim and Jason much like how Red Hood’s latest comic was all about the Teen Titans and the Outlaws, but then I turned the page and let out heavy sigh when I was confronted by “MEANWHILE…” and a few pages later “ELSEWHERE…PERHAPS ELSEWHEN…”

Luckily we don’t stay with the Teen Titans for long but it was definitely an unnecessary cut away and even worse the “ELSEWHEN” thing took us to a hellish dimension for no good reason whatsoever just to introduce Raven. What exactly do the editors do around there at DC anyway? Is nobody capable of raising their hand and saying  “Hey, so this definitely doesn’t have any bearing in this story at all, eh?” Imagine if you were watching “A New Hope” and when Luke’s in the trash compactor we cut to the Ewoks sitting around a campfire and then came back to Luke in the trash compactor again. Jarring, right? Stupid even. That’s the sort of crap storytelling that’s been utilized in Red Hood and Teen Titans this month.

So we do finally come back to Tim and Jason waking up to confront the Joker and the dilemma they are confronted with is a very diabolical one that lead to an explosive fight scene and even a few laughs. It was entertaining stuff until an even bigger twist happened that wasn’t clever at all, it was just stupid and it made the entire story at hand a complete waste of time. Here, I’ll put it in spoilers

Jason and Tim have to fight each other but they’re really just biding their time while they figure a way to get close to the Joker and bring him down. They do, even going so far as to shoot the Joker to pieces and when they shoot the Joker he even lets out a gargled sound as he dies. But guess what? It’s actually a dummy filled with sleeping gas. The Joker knocks the boys out AGAIN and now he’s taking them to the dinner party and the book ends with the teaser from the other cross-over books only now we can confirm that each guest gets their own platter and we haven’t been seeing the same platter in each book. So my question is, what is the point of knocking these guys out and putting them in these situations if your goal is to just knock them out again and bring them to the party in Batman #17? None of this other stuff mattered at all.

This was a more important crossover issue than the Red Hood & the Outlaws issue that came out last week but that comic was at least a passable Teen Titans adventure so I let it slide. Instead I put the burden of delivering a powerful Joker confrontation with Tim and Jason all on this issue and it didn’t deliver. Nothing felt like it was truly at stake and we never ever got anything close to touching just how personal a head to head between Jason and Joker should be.

You really can skip this and go straight to Batman #17 and be perfectly fine. This was Tim and Jason taking pointless swings at each other for a few pages and then we are hit with the same teaser page that we saw in Nightwing, Batgirl, and Damian’s books this month. Brett Booth’s artwork is dynamic and a joy to look at so I can’t wait to see him move over to Nightwing’s title soon. It’s a good day for Tim Drake fans though, I will say that. He was written very well here and we got to see plenty of his smarts and solid detective work and over in Batman Inc. #7 he even had a brief action scene of his own. This is a book you flip through at the store, not one that you buy and read again and again. Not terrible, but a missed opportunity in almost every way possible.

SCORE: 5/10