While Wal-Mart Giant titles such as Batman Universe continue to be top-notch reading, Titans: Burning Rage continues to be bottom-of-the-barrel reading. I’m not sure why so many writers struggle to write an engaging, entertaining story with this team, but I think it’s time that DC puts both the Teen Titans and Titans on the shelf so they can regroup.

The Story

The best way I can describe this book is hokey. It’s… rough. In the debut issue, the Teen Titans encounter a new villain named Disrupter. If Disrupter sounds like a total 60’s era villain whose name is as on-the-nose as his abilities, then you’re assumptions are correct. This guy has the ability to disrupt anything… Which can be a bit confusing in the grand scheme of things. Trust me, there’s more than one instance where you’ll think, “Would his powers really be able to do that?” And, most likely, the answer is no.

At the end of last month’s issue, we learned that the Disrupter had stolen amplifiers from S.T.A.R. Labs, and was working with H.I.V.E. to use the amplifiers to bomb San Francisco. For a little added muscle, H.I.V.E. and Disrupter recruited the Fearsome Five. Now, typically a villain who can cancel out other heroes’ abilities siding with H.I.V.E. and the Fearsome Five to take on the Teen Titans would sound like a good time… But this book is so poorly written that it almost comes off as a joke.

Titans: Burning Rage isn’t intended to be funny though. It’s meant to be your standard comic book adventure. And while it’s bad, it’s not fortunate enough to be so bad that it’s good. Everything about the book is just underwhelming. The story is lame. The characterizations are juvenile. The action is weak tea… It’s not great, and I can’t help but wonder what Jurgen’s intentions or target audience are.

The book reads as if it’s a children’s book. And perhaps it is. Considering this is a collection from the Wal-Mart Giant releases, maybe the idea was to make this accessible for young kids. Even then though, there’s no reason the quality should be this poor. Look at the various DC Ink and Zoom titles. They’re quite good. Even the other Wal-Mart titles are impressive.

There’s just something grating about having heroes and villains telling you exactly what they’re doing as they do it. And there aren’t just one or two examples of this. Both issues have been riddled with dialogue like this. It reminds me of Golden Age comics – which I love, respectfully – but we’re decades beyond that, and the quality should match. But with lines like, “Only if you strike me, Psimon. Impossible… When I transport out of here.” Or “Are those warning shots? Big mistake… seeing as how I can transmute this into deadly gas. And you can’t avoid it.” Like I said… Hokey.

It’s not all terrible though. There are some plot threads that could lead to something interesting, but I can’t say that the execution will support it. On one hand, we learn in this issue that H.I.V.E. is merely using the Fearsome Five (who is ironically just four people with Disrupter) as an expendable distraction. I have to think that this will lead to some interesting developments soon. Or maybe I’m just hoping that will be the case.

The most interesting element is the note that this issue leaves off on, but it’s also the most predictable. When the current threat of the Fearsome Five and H.I.V.E. becomes too much for the Teen Titans to manage, Raven loses control and lets her dark side take over. There’s potentially a chance she’s killed Disrupter, but considering she’s a hero and the age group this book appears to be written for, I doubt that’s the case. Granted, if she does kill Disrupter, she might be doing all of us a favor.

The Art

Scot Eaton is on art duty, and he does a respectable job. This isn’t top-shelf art by any means, but he gets the job done and there’s a fun energy to the way he draws these characters. There isn’t necessarily anything unique about the work that helps him stand out though. While I know the name and know he’s worked on a number of titles I’ve read throughout the years, I would never recognize him through his work.

The action is solid though. Yes, there’s a bit of a “cartoony” nature to some of the fights, but I feel that fault might lie with the script rather than the art. Eaton delivers on energy for the action though, even if it is a bit light-hearted. His art does have a bit of a dated feel to it – which doesn’t help when you have a script that also feels especially dated. Thankfully, Jim Charalampidis is on colors to help give this book a nice, needed modern touch.

Recommended If

  • You literally have nothing else to do.
  • You need something to read to your four-year-old.

Overall

Titans: Burning Rage is about as generic as you can get. Yeah, there are small elements here and there that are kind of enjoyable, but mostly the book feels like a dated, paint-by-numbers story that is targeted towards the wrong audience. Definitely skip this one.

SCORE: 3/10