Oof, what a weird installment.
Usually, I’m pretty easy on this title, as it’s pretty much what you expect it to be: a silly tie-in to a TV show, sold for less than a buck to provide at least passable entertainment for children and parents to enjoy together. There have occasionally been some genuine gems to come out of it, but more often than not it’s at least a silly time.
Forgive the pun, but this installment is a strikeout.
Things start off promisingly enough with the Titans fighting Cinderblock, who is felled by a mysterious force. That force?
Robin and Speedy start trying to one-up each other, and honestly, I could read that all day. Robin is so insecure and Speedy so obnoxious that it’s hilarious seeing them verbally spar. Not to be outdone by the other, the two agree to pit their respective teams against each other in a game of baseball, which the Titans don’t know how to play at all and need to spend the day practicing and holy cow this is pretty much the plot of Space Jam.
Real talk: I will find any opportunity I can to reference that movie.
There are a few funny moments in here: Cyborg grumbles about how much he hates the game, and Robin entices the team to play using the most effective means known to man.
The main problems are the lazy, sloppy art and the almost disturbing tonal shifts the narrative takes. Robin is a flat-out jerk at several points, almost coming across as abusive:
And then there’s the following scene that… I mean, just look at it:
It’s played for laughs, but the delivery is so tone-deaf that it falls completely flat. I may be reading too much into it, but seeing a kid think back to a bunch of adults hitting him with baseball bats isn’t very funny to me.
Things turn around a bit in the latter half of the book, as Cyborg has a hallucination about a living baseball diamond named Diamond Dan telling him how great the game is. It’s weird, and not particularly funny, but I’d much rather read this than a bunch of mean-spirited jokes.
At the end of the day, this book is for kids, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t appeal to adults too. There have been several installments I’ve genuinely loved, and this isn’t one of them. In the end, I don’t doubt that I had a look on my face similar to this:
- You’re a completist.
- You love baseball and collect anything that even mentions the sport.
- You want to waste a dollar.
- Just go watch Space Jam. Even if you hate it, I promise you it’s better than this.
- Or better yet, watch a baseball game. I’m not a huge sports fan, but I at least appreciate baseball. Take your family out, go to a ballgame, and enjoy each other’s company.
Overall: About as bad as I’ve seen this series get, and I’m usually pretty forgiving toward it. It looks bad, it isn’t funny, it’s poorly written, and I can’t think of anything beyond a line or two that would appeal to any demographic. Frankly, beyond that, I don’t have anything else to say about this outright misfire.