Teen Titans #15 “On the Run”
Written by Scott Lobdell and Will Pfeifer
Pencils by Ian Churchill & Miguel Mendonca
Colors by Tony Avina
It’s the second time I’m reviewing this title this week, and if you checked out my last review, then you know I ripped Teen Titans a new one with the last issue… So how does this issue compare? Well, it’s a little better, but it still sucks.
In the mess that was the last issue, the Titans fled Metropolis to Gotham to lay low since the authorities are after them. They’ve also picked up an additional team member in Doomsday (which I’m not going to refer to as the Lobdell virus). At the moment the team is split into three different factions: Wondergirl, Doomsday, and Chimera are at what appears to be a spa… Not sure what this is about, but it serves absolutely no purpose to the plot. Meanwhile, Red Robin has left the Titans to team up with Dick, Red Hood, and Damian to investigate the Robin issue that’s currently plaguing Gotham. And while he’s looking into that, Raven, Bunker, Beast Boy, and Power Girl are left to remain low unless an overwhelming evil pops up… Hmm… I wonder what’s going to happen?
The Robin War portion of this issue is completely unneeded. I want to just throw that out there for anyone that plans on picking up this issue simply for the tie-in. Seriously, don’t waste your money. And it’s not that it’s bad, it’s actually ok. My problem with it, is that it interferes with the continuity of the actual Robin War plot. The first time we see in of the Robin War plot in this book, there’s an editor’s note stating that this takes place after Robin, Son of Batman’s Robin War issue… except it doesn’t. It takes place during it. And beyond that, it actually just changes/ re-tells what is already covered in Robin, Son of Batman. Even the theme that they cover during the Robin War scenes is a regurgitation about the W.A.R. crew needing training. There is absolutely nothing new or original… at all. And again, I’m left wondering why Lobdell is allowed to get away with this crap, and why the editors are lazy enough to let it happen.
Ironically, the best part of this issue is at the very beginning. The opening scene consists of Beast Boy and Bunker doing what they do best… acting like morons. But fun, entertaining morons. I genuinely enjoy watching these two play off of one another, and this is no exception. Do I think the scene is amazing? No. But it is enjoyable. When a book is as bad as this one typically is, you have to enjoy the small things. Unfortunately, things go downhill from there, as Raven senses an evil that rivals anything she’s ever sensed before… and it just so happens to be Mr. Pyg. Yeah… I know Pyg is crazy, and in turn he can be dangerous, but Raven’s vibes of him are WAY overboard. The remainder of the issue bounces back and forth between Red Robin and the Robins, and the other members of the Titans as the go head to head with Pyg before ending with a reveal of a “big bad” that’s running things behind the scenes.
The Art: There are two artists on this issue, and thankfully both are better than what we received in issue 14. The lesser of the two artists is Miguel Mendonca, in my opinion. He covered the Robin War portion of this book, but he struggled with consistency in the few panels he did have. That being said, his worst effort was still above average. The most noticeable callout I had were his faces. They were either slanty, angry eyes, or wide-eyed, scared to death eyes. There were no in-between emotions. Oh, and Red Hood looked like he had black lipstick on in most panels due to how the shadows were drawn.
Churchill covered the art for the remainder of the Titans, and his work was pretty, damn good! His lines were really clean, and he was mostly consistent throughout the issue. His work did appear a little “cartoony” at times, especially during the fights and animal transformations, but I suppose it’s kind of hard for your art to look a little juvenile when you’re forced to splash your page with bright greens and purples – which should probably fall on Avina more than Churchill. And then there’s Power Girl’s hair, which looks like it should belong to a four year old. Anyway, I enjoyed his art enough that I would really like to see him on this title more frequently if I’m going to continue to read it. Honestly, this book could use anything that’s a positive at the moment.
Breakdowns are in the spoiler tag.
The Good: Ok, I promise that I mean this in the nicest way, but aside from the Bunker/ Beast Boy banter, some of the art, and a very brief run-in that the Robins have with a cop, everything in this issue is average at best.
The Bad: First off, it’s a disgrace that this is considered a Robin War tie-in, and that they even included Robin War scenes. This most likely would’ve been a little better had it just been a “here’s what the rest of the team is up to while Red Robin is dealing with this Robin crisis in Gotham!” Instead, real estate was lost in this book by encountering a deja-vu of Robin War scenes that were completely moot.
Raven’s warnings. Seriously, this was over the top. I mean… the chick is from a hell dimension. Her father is Trigon. And Mister Pyg’s psychotic tendencies has her saying things like, “The hellish presence I’ve been sensing? The one that grows more overwhelming every minute? It’s lurking… right… in… there…” or “All of this is too much. It’s worse than I imagined!” Really? I wanted to slap her and tell her to suck it up!
Super-sized Power Girl. I don’t get this. I think it’s a terrible idea, and it’s turned into an obvious development for plot progression/ resolution. She’s only had these abilities for a few issues, and already we’ve seen her stop the bad guy by growing big and grabbing them… Bored now.
Gorilla-snake woman. So, the whole stealing blood bit is just weird. Also, it doesn’t make much sense. If normal humans could gain a metahuman’s abilities just by pumping their blood into their system, I feel like it would’ve been a common thing by now. So the fact that this random prisoner went from being a potential Doll to a psycho, green, gorilla-snake woman is just insane. And it’s even worse when you see it for yourself.
Brother Blood. Hey look! It’s an ominous final panel to close the book that has Brother Blood teased as the “big bad.” Looks like Pyg wasn’t up to these psychotic shenanigans just because he’s crazy. There’s actually a purpose to all of this. A purpose that I could honestly care less about because Pyg was written poorly, and this reveal means we’ll have to suffer through another Lobdell arc. *Sigh*
Also… it doesn’t make sense that Blood would put this plan in motion to take the Titans blood while they’re in Gotham… mainly because nobody knows they’re in Gotham… This, ladies and gentleman, is one of the many reasons Lobdell is a terrible writer and should just stop. Can’t he take over books that seem destined to fail anyway rather than ruining potentially good books? Please?
- You want to read everything Robin War related, even though this does nothing for the plot.
- You like Mr. Pyg no matter how poor the interpretation might be.
- You want to see Wondergirl in a bikini… I’ve got nothing…
Overall: Teen Titans #15 is a transitional issue that does nothing for a book that is already self-imploding. I know Pak is going to take over in March, but I strongly feel like the damage will have been done, and that there will be no coming back from this mess. Go ahead and mark this as two failed attempts at a Teen Titans book within roughly four years. DC, if you’re smart, you’ll cancel the book, and let it rest for a while. Time a re-launch with that Titans tv series that’s supposed to come out… Trust me, just do it