Teen Titans Go! digital issue #42 review

Remember a while back when DC released Teeny Titans?  It was a promotional tie-in for a mobile game that I’m not sure anyone ever played.  There was no resolution within the comic itself, and it was literally nothing more than a twenty-page advertisement.

Even still, it was so much better than this.

“Goblin Catch ‘Em All” (ugggh) is rough.  If the awful pun in the title wasn’t bad enough, well, the first few pages consist of Beast Boy fighting a slime monster while spouting off terrible slime puns.

It is not my favorite.

Like Teeny Titans, this is mostly about Jump City’s new obsession with a mobile collecting game.  Unlike Teeny Titans, there’s hardly any wit or fun here.  The writing isn’t sharp enough to serve as satire and isn’t funny enough to be a straight comedy.  It’s almost like there was a pitch meeting for a story idea and they wrote down different beats and possible lines, then just published it.  There’s no refinement, no clear pace.

And here I am complaining about “refinement” in a Teen Titans Go! story.

But really, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this book can be surprisingly sharp.  It’s at its best when it’s an absurdist comedy, and such an aimless issue like this shows the book at its worst.

Derek Fridolfs is a talented writer, having helmed the excellent Batman: Li’l Gotham with the equally talented Dustin Nguyen, but his writing just doesn’t work here.  Gone is the charm and innocence of his earlier work, and all that’s left is a laughless, boring story.

The one redeeming factor is the look of the book.  There are a few panels and pages that look a little loose and sloppy, but when Fridolfs and colorist Tony Aviña click, it looks pretty wonderful.

That may not make up for the weak script and laughless jokes, but those Titans sure do look pretty good.  Even so, the story is bereft of sight gags and in-jokes, which is one of the things that makes this book at least worth a re-read.  Batman pops up in a panel that’s kind of funny, but by and large…

…wait a minute.

Lil.  Got ham.

He… got.  Ham.

::does the math::

Li’l… Goth… am.

Li’l Gotham.

I… I just got that.  I may need to re-evaluate some things.  In the mean time, I’m bumping the score up to a 4.5 from a 2.5.  Whoa……

Recommended if:

  • You must own every installment of this book.
  • I can’t believe I just got that joke…

Overall: The writing is largely uninspired, but it looks pretty decent at points and the ending gag is pretty marvelous.  This was one of my least favorite Teen Titans Go! installments while I was reading it, and evaluation didn’t help matters much.  There’s one gag, though, that was so sneaky and smart I genuinely appreciated the story a bit more.  Sure, the pun-laden dialogue is pretty rough, and the story is almost nonexistent, but it’s amazing what one smart joke can do for your perception.

SCORE: 4.5/10