Sometimes Teen Titans Go! has a plot, a recognizable story with a beginning, middle, and end.
Sometimes Teen Titans Go! has an idea and riffs on that one joke for twenty pages.
This installment is without question in the latter category, and that is perfectly fine. This series, the comic and the cartoon, is all about silliness and absurdity, and some the Titans’ most memorable adventures have been one-joke premises. I mean, they wrung 11 minutes without commercials out of Cyborg and Beast Boy saying nothing but “waffles” and it was hilarious in its stupidity. Here, it’s all about the Titans figuring out how to strike the perfect superhero pose, the type of self-aware meta-joke that the series typically excels at.
Under the pen of the great Derek Fridolfs? It’s fine.
Now Fridolfs is no slouch in the storytelling department. After all, he’s one half of the genius behind Li’l Gotham (along with Dustin Nguyen), so it goes without saying that he knows how to spin a great all-ages yarn. His script here is perfectly readable and has a few good jokes, but there’s just… something missing. It’s a one-joke story, which has worked before, but it just doesn’t quite come together here.
Part of that is the book’s attitude toward one Snapper Carr:
No. Snapper Carr is not “top” anything. Snapper Carr is the Literal Worst™.
Ugh. Shut up, Snapper.
In all seriousness, the idea here is pretty funny: the Titans save Jump City, but instead of being appreciated for their heroism they’re a laughingstock among the public. The reason? Their “superhero poses” are… not great.
It’s silly, and just the kind of frivolous problem you’d expect the Titans to find themselves in.
Fridolfs handles both the writing and the art, and it’s solid on the visual front. I particularly loved one gag where the Titans see how they’ve been trending on social media:
And another where it’s made clear Robin has had a recurring problem gaining access to the Batcave:
As a string of sight gags, it works well enough. Fridolfs does a pretty great job of emulating the different character models from the show, shifting between their standard looks into the simple “dwarfish” figures of the sillier bits, and it’s as bright and colorful as you’d expect. There are some decent laughs (of course Commissioner Gordon would hashtag “mustache”), yet very little payoff. Calling the story “predictable” would be pointless, as you’re not coming here for twists and turns. And yet, as enjoyable as it was, there’s not enough here to really recommend the story. At a buck, it’s a bargain to be sure, but I’m not even sure there’s a dollar’s worth of laughs in here. There’s nothing bad in this story, just not an awful lot that’s great either.
- You really like Snapper Carr.
- You’re a Derek Fridolfs completist.
Overall: There’s nothing bad here, yet nothing that’s really great either. Kids may get more enjoyment out of it than adults, and while there are some funny jokes sprinkled throughout, the whole story is pretty shallow. Very little set-up, even less of a payoff, this is an average installment of Teen Titans Go!: there’s nothing so bad that you shouldn’t read it, but the strengths may not be enough to retain your interest.