I bet you’re wondering what I’m going to write. Scott Lobdell doesn’t have writing credits, so I can’t rail on him in this review… Or can I? Look, I’m clearly not a fan of Lobdell. I’ve been pretty transparent about that. With that acknowledged, I don’t hate his work just because it’s from him. He’s had good moments here and there, and when that happens, I recognize it. But despite not having credits on this specific issue, he still played a part in its outcome. So… you can still expect Lobdell to get called out!
This issue kicks off with the Teen Titans still in Gotham. Red Robin needed to tend to the Robin War situation, but the team is on the run from the police after breaking into a prison. The Titans were supposed to lie low while in Gotham, but Raven felt a darkness in the city that needed to be investigated. Turns out, Professor Pyg had turned a local theater into a doll factory, and was making more of his minions. Or at least that’s what it appeared to be on the surface. It ended up being a setup so Pyg, who is secretly working for Brother Blood, could collect the blood from each of the team members.
With Brother Blood’s reveal at the end of the previous issue, I expected the story to continue from there. Aside from a poor attempt at comedy as the team bantered with the oddity of Professor Pyg’s name, there’s nothing pertaining to last month’s issue. The team literally jokes about Pyg, wonder what their blood was taken for, and that’s it. So what exactly does this issue focus on? Undoing what shouldn’t have been done or undone to begin with…
Shortly after Red Robin reunites with the team, they’re attacked… by Durlans. Durlans are the same alien race as Chimera, and they’ve come to take her back. Willing to use whatever force is necessary to retrieve Chimera, they don’t hold back, and an all-out assault quickly escalates. The battle takes up a decent amount of the issue, and thankfully, it’s entertaining as each member of the Teen Titans is given a chance to shine. This is something that Pfeifer has always managed to do well. He writes action scenes in a way that the members of the team are all highlighted, and they work as a unit. There’s a shift back and forth between each team throughout the battle, and I actually found myself wondering what the outcome would ultimately be. Had the book carried this fight throughout the issue, and just brought a resolve to only this problem, then I would have been a little happier with the issue.
Instead, we have to sit through the creative tug-of-war between Pfeifer and Lobdell yet again. When DC brought on Lobdell to assist with this book, he basically scrapped everything that Pfeifer had been creating – which after some stumbles was really starting to develop into a solid story – and immediately reverted back to his old narratives that were cut short when his Teen Titans book was cancelled. Lobdell made Superboy disappear again, brought back Harvest, brought back Kid Flash, and abandoned Manchester Black, and anything that was going on with Star Labs.
The book suffered terribly following Lobdell’s inclusion as the writers appeared to have tried to squeeze their plots together, rather than setting out a new, solid direction. And that brings us here. The first issue in a while that doesn’t include Lobdell, and what does Pfeifer do? He undoes what Lobdell just re-introduced into the book… I’m getting whiplash now. Three characters ultimately end up hitting the road by the end of this issue, and if I could bring myself to care about this title anymore, I’d probably be annoyed. Instead, I just want to pull this book off the DC roster, and place something else that’s higher quality with more potential. I know Pak is coming on board, but I can’t see him doing anything to turn Teen Titans around. I, unfortunately, believe that the damage has been done, unless the book is completely relaunched. (Which, I’m going to assume is happening in June.)
The Art: Miguel Mendonca covered art duties for this issue, and I welcomed him with open arms. His art isn’t amazing, but I was not a fan of Noel Rodriguez’s work. Honestly, this book hasn’t had a consistent artist for months now – a sign that there’s some trouble with the title on the production side. Anyway, I’d rate Mendonca’s work mediocre to good. His biggest opportunity is consistency. There were some panels that looked absolutely stunning, and it was clear that he took his time with it. Then there were other panels where it was clear that he just phoned it in.
Breakdowns are in the spoiler tag.
The Good: The fight with the Durlans. I thoroughly enjoyed this sequence, and there were some nice moments throughout the entire fight. Yes, it was a little paint-by-numbers concerning the shift in which team had the upper hand, but it was still fun. I honestly thought, or perhaps I just hoped, that Tim and team would beat the Durlans so that Chimera would stick around… but alas, they don’t. I’m sad to see Chimera go because I thought there was a lot of potential in the character, and she was slowly starting to grow on me. I also have to applaud Pfeifer for basically letting the titular team lose the fight. You don’t see that too often, and it helps add a sense of unpredictability to a narrative.
The Bad: The dialogue. There are quite a few times throughout the book where the dialogue is horrendous. If I didn’t know the credits for this issue, I would have put money down that Lobdell had actually written a few pages of this issue, because they reminded me of his… unique… uh… yeah, I’m not going to finish that sentence.
Kid Flash. Seriously, what was up with the way he left? The dude couldn’t bother to actually say goodbye to anyone, but he wrote out this long ass letter, stating why he needed to leave, that he was sad to, blah, blah, blah. The dude is literally there one panel, then gone the next… and the logic behind it is completely stupid. You know what I think? Kid Flash should’ve just been left out from the beginning if they didn’t have any intention on keeping him with the team.
Second Rate. I don’t understand Doomsday, and I can’t, for the life of me, figure out why he’s included in this book. If any of the powers-that-be from DC happen to read this, please – I beg of you – please stop giving Lobdell work, unless it’s pick-up issues, or fill-in. The man has basically ruined everything he’s touched in the past five years, and then forces his failed stories/characters onto other creative teams’ work.
Giant Girl. We might as well call Power Girl, Giant Girl now. Tonya is hardly the character she was when she was first introduced, and there’s barely a trace of Kara, or Kara’s abilities, in her now. She’s been pigeon-holed into a one-trick pony. All she does now is grow large, and grab people… that’s it. For a couple of issues now, that’s been her only contribution. It’s old.
- You’ve been waiting for Scott Lobdell to leave this title.
- You want to read a decent action story.
- You want to see Beast Boy flip-off the GCPD. (kind of)
Overall: Pfeifer manages to knock out some of the mess that has plagued Teen Titans for a few months now, and deliver an issue that has an entertaining action sequence. Unfortunately, those pages are only “good” at best, and the rest of the book lands in or near the “bad” territory. I know Pak is coming in next month, but I don’t think I’ll look forward to this title again until whatever’s taking place in June occurs… and even then, the verdict will still be out.