Teen Titans is on a rocky reboot. What started strong in issue one quickly began to go down hill, especially in the last two issues…and we’re only on issue four. While I this month’s addition to the series is a slight uptick overall, it’s still mediocre at best.

The issue opens up with a classic “give the hero time to get out of present danger” speech from a robot who should have no business “feeling” the need to inundate the soon-to-be dead Red Robin with nonsensical drivel. That opening page was like twisting your ankle while you’re getting out of the car to go hiking: me and Teen Titans #4 got off to the wrong foot you could say. Red Robin escapes to safety while we check up on the rest of the Titans.

You remember that Wonder Girl gang that was approaching Cassie’s mom last issue? Yeah, well Wonder Momma is at Cassie’s apartment surrounded by all these pink-clad blonde girls when the Titans walk up. They receive a distress call from Tim at the same time and what does Cassie do? She tells her mom to lock herself inside the apartment. Does she fly her mom away to safety because who knows what these people are up to? Does she seem at all to care? No. At least she and the other Titans are off to help Red Robin instead of sipping coffee and ignoring phone calls.

Back to Red Robin. He decides he needs to find safety in the building that Algorithm is controlling. He locates a “Blast-proof, top-secret, ultra-secure subbasement. A basement that was sealed after it was built. A basement that literally has no entrance.” It was at this point in my reading that I realized what I was reading was material appropriate for my eight-year-old nephew. He watches this show, Max Steel, that targets his age group. The story lines are easy to follow. The action is huge. The threats are drummed up. But it is simple. It’s like, “Blast-proof, top-secret, ultra-secure subbasement” simple. So my critique fell at this point and I had to step back. I began reading it as if I were watching Max Steel with my nephew, and I suppose it helped.

Making his way into the basement, Red Robin is attacked by Algorithm. What happens next is in the tags.

Spoiler
Manchester Black tells Algorithm that she isn’t killing Red Robin, that she’s going to “die”. She, in turn, goes up to Black’s floor and attacks him while he has cameras rolling. He pretends to be frightened and screams for help. Tim comes to the rescue and blows Algorithm away. Tim, who at least is acting like he doesn’t know what’s going on, talks with Black. Black lies and explains that Algorithm went haywire (thus absolving himself of guilt for all she’s done under his control) and makes an offer to work with the Titans. Even offering them a headquarters. But we all know this is wrong and lies. What is unclear are Black’s motivations. He’s devious, which is actually cool, but why? I hope that Tim knows what’s going on because he looks like he’s getting dooped. Also, anyone else notice the similarities between Lex/Justice League and Manchester/Titans?

Rocafort’s artwork is lacking in my opinion. I understand the edginess that he’s trying to convey, but I’m left without much substance. Individual pieces look nice, but over all it does not help much in telling the story. There were many complaints about Jae Lee’s artwork in Batman/Superman about lacking background. I didn’t count the pages here, but Teen Titans #4 feels like it’s missing half its backgrounds. I came away from this issue feeling visually empty.

Recommended if:

  • You are vested in the characters already.
  • You’re a fan of Max Steel.
  • You want to hear Red Robin’s inner monologue.

Overall:

Here’s an opportunity for Teen Titans to turn itself around. As much as I’m not a big fan of this individual issue, it does set the series up for some interesting and slightly complex dynamics in the future.

SCORE: 5/10