I’ve been a vocal critic of Sean McKeever’s run on Teen Titans for a long time now. Last issuewas McKeever’s last as the writer of the main feature! This issue kicks off the run for new Titans scribe, Bryan Miller.
Any time a new writer comes on board a book I have not been enjoying, I am always hoping for a Supergirlsituation. For years, Supergirl was unreadable no matter who was writing her. But when Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle took over the book, it became a great read month after month.
On the other hand, you have something like Green Arrow/Black Canary. By the time Judd Winick left the book, I was more than happy to see a new writer come on board. But Andrew Kreisberg has somehow found a way to drive that book even more of course than it already was.
Miller’s first issue of Titans fits somewhere in the middle. It’s certainly not worse than McKeever’s Titans. But it’s also not a staggering step up in quality. Having said that, it is substantially better than the best issue of McKeever’s run. So, at least it’s an improvement.
The issue starts off easing the reader into the new line-up. Each character gets a short introduction courtesy of narration by Wonder Girl. It’s nothing special, but I appreciated the effort to reach out to new readers at this jump-on point.
The best part of the issue was this: for most of the book, the Titans are just having fun and hanging out. After McKeever’s blood-soaked angst fest, it was a relief to see the Titans kick back and relax. The character interaction even had me warming to Bombshell, a character I usually deplore.
The lone hold-out on the reveling is Wonder Girl. Ever since Infinite Crisis, it seems like every writer portrays her as a whiny, broody teen. (Kind of like the Loeb take on Supergirl, actually). And even with Wonder Girl, there is some hint that Miller might be lightening her up – which would be a welcome change!
Of course, first Wonder Girl had to get her ass handed to her by the “new Fearsome Five”. A couple of thoughts:
- Doesn’t it seem like every time the Fearsome Five appear in a comic book, they are billed as “new”?
- Why does every writer since Infinite Crisis feel like they need to tear Wonder Girl down and build her back up? How many times is she going to go through the exact same story arc to realize she is a hero, leader, whatever?
- Why are the Titans investigating a prison?
Oh wait, I got ahead of myself. Wonder Girl sits out on the Titans’ fun because she is inspecting a prison?!? Why would anyone want the Titans to inspect a prison? Apparently, the Titans inspect this particular prison every week.
At one point, the guard accompanying Wonder Girl even asks her if she wants to finish the inspection because there are bound to be some super villains who would love to take down a Titan. Gee, do you think?
Of course the inspection is really a trap. The Fearsome Five overwhelm Wonder Girl and for some reason they broadcast the fight for all to see. This conveniently allows the other Titans to see Wonder Girl in trouble and presumably come to her rescue next issue.
Plotwise, this issue left a lot to be desired. But the change in tone and increased focus on character over shock is enough for me to recommend the book to Titans fans who have been hungering for a change.
Unfortunately, not everything changed. McKeever is still writing the back-up feature starring his favorite character, Ravager. The first thing that struck me about this back-up feature is that McKeever spent his last issue of Titans setting up a new status quo for Ravager and then he ignored it here.
Last issue, we saw Ravager ditch the drugs that allowed her to glimpse into the future. This issue, she’s back on them. Last issue, she left with the former Red Devil in tow. This issue, he’s back with the Titans and Ravager is traveling solo.
Both of these things could have changed between the end of last issue and the start of this one. But then why spend an entire issue setting up a new status quo if you’re just going to ignore it anyway?
The other thing that struck me about the co-feature is that with very few changes, this story could have been about Wolverine. Ravager is having trouble with her memories. She’s stumbling around a frozen tundra and finds her way to a bar. The patrons of the bar are unfriendly, so she makes with the bad-assery. Snore.
The back-up ends pretty abruptly when McKeever seems to have run out of pages. As back-up features go, this one was easily the worst of the bunch. By and large, I’ve enjoyed these features as a bonus in the face of increased prices. But in this case, no value is added. Hopefully, McKeever can be chased off this book entirely and someone else can take over the back-up feature as well.