We are truly living in a Golden Age of cinema. Superhero cinema, in particular. After all, it seems like there’s scarcely a comic book character or franchise that won’t eventually make it to the screen, no matter how goofy or obscure. Remember, we live in a world where Ant-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy have their own blockbuster, well-received films, and Aquaman has his own upcoming movie that is generating nothing but positive buzz.
Aquaman, guys. Aquaman.
…ok, yeah, I get it. Momoa was delightful.
Turns out the Teen Titans live in a world not unlike ours, where the movie going public are all in on comic book movies. That’s the crux of Sholly Fisch’s newest yarn for the Teen Titans Go! comic, and it’s pretty fantastic.
One of the joys of this comic and the accompanying TV show are all of the references and Easter eggs that are thrown in. This comic may take the cake for some of the best gags to come out of the title, though, especially when you see the hottest new superhero movie the gang is dying to see.
Yes, B’wana Beast. If you don’t know who that is, he featured heavily in the early part of Grant Morrison’s seminal run on Animal Man, factored in one of the most genuinely moving scenes in the otherwise lighthearted Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and recently had a surprise appearance on Legends of Tomorrow. He has super strength, speed, and agility, and can take different animals and merge them together into strange
abominations hybrid creatures.
And he gets his own movie. Truly, they live in a magical world.
I’m all in on a G’nort movie, too, so let’s make it happen.
Eventually, the plot takes a left turn as the Titans find themselves in a far away land:
And yes, there are jokes about Communists. Several of them.
It’s silly and light, but that’s not the point. The point is having a great time and getting in some solid laughs, and Sholly Fisch is a champ when it comes to that. His dialogue is surprisingly sharp too, with several lines that had me laughing out loud. Here are just a few of my favorites, completely devoid of context:
“Man, set off one measly NORAD alert, and they never let you forget it…”
“You fiend! How dare you defile the sanctity of television?”
“Perhaps this truly is the Nineteen of the Fifties.”
And when I say it’s surprising, I mean “I didn’t expect to read that in Teen Titans Go!”, not “man, Sholly Fisch actually knows what he’s doing.” That dude’s a champ and I’ve been a fan for years. Seriously, it’s him, Shea Fontana, and Baltazar/Franco at the apex of all-ages DC Comics books. Put their name on something and I’m reading it.
Jeremy Lawson’s pencils are a little more of a mixed bag. His style serves the story well, and when he’s on it’s pretty great. There are a few character models that are a bit off, though, and a few instances where the Titans just don’t quite look right.
Beast Boy in particular is a little sloppy there, but it’s all good. He more than makes up for it with his sense of energy and all of the great background jokes he fits in.
The story ends with a punchline about sidekicks that’s maybe a bit too obvious, so it doesn’t quite maintain its momentum to the end. Still, this is an all-around fun read, and it may just make you clamor for more obscure and secondary DC Comics characters to get their own movies. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a Forager movie? Or how about the Crimson Avenger? Ohh, Slam Bradley too!
- You too are bananas for B’wana Beast.
- You enjoy jokes about McCarthyism and the Red Scare.
Overall: Solid writing and a love for the source material is really all you need for a good story, and this installment of Teen Titans Go! has both in spades. While the show has a reputation for being overly silly, the dialogue here is sharp, the jokes are obscure without being esoteric, and there are big laughs to be had. Even if the visuals are a little off at some points, this is still an enjoyable read.