Written by: Scott Lobdell and Will Pfeifer
Art by: Ian Churchill, Miguel Mendonca, Norm Rapmund, Dexter Vines, Tony Avina and Corey Breen
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: December 23, 2015
I can't say that the Teen Titans has been a good book by any stretch and throwing it into the Robin War story doesn't make me feel too optimistic for this issue. While I have enjoyed the Robin War enough, the tie-ins have been mostly useless affairs. You add up all of this and a betting man would have to go with the odds that this issue will suck. However, I'm way to cheap to ever be a betting man so I guess I'm going to have do this the old fashioned way...read it and review it. So, was this a good issue of Teen Titans? Was it a good Robin War tie-in? Could it possibly be both? Let's find out...
The issue starts with some odd Beast Boy antics that did nothing but make me shake my head. He's giving us a little Robin War news report as a goof and the whole beginning just felt like a forced way to make sure everyone realizes that this is a Robin War tie-in. It actually sets the stage for a whole issue that is forced into an event when it should be concentrating on giving fans a half decent regular issue for once. The problem is, it almost succeeds.
While all of Gotham is concerned with the Robins, Raven senses something more sinister. We don't learn much as the issue suddenly shifts to Cassie and Reiser living the high life in a mansion outside of Gotham. She explains how people are willing to help her out by letting them stay there, but it came off a little more "adult" than it should have and it just felt wrong to me. This little scene also feels like a convenient way to get Wonder Girl and Doomed out of the issue for some reason.
The issue then shifts fully into Robin War mode and the jarring change of art style wasn't the only thing that bothered me. We get to see Red Hood and the Midtown Robins and nothing happens except ruining the pacing of the regular issue. I'm not joking...nothing happens!
I got even angrier when we head back to the Titans and realized that the problem that Raven is sensing is one of the most interesting things that the team has had to deal with in a long time. She has lead them to a theater where a High School Musical/Glee amalgam is playing and it made me chuckle when Bunker and Power Girl rip it apart. You know as well as I do that they love it and just don't want to admit it! Once inside, they run straight into the problem...the whole cast and crew have been turned into Cabbage Patch looking zombies. It's a pretty creepy scene, but when they find out who is responsible, I have to admit that it put a big smile on my face. Professor Pyg is in the house!
I am a Professor Pyg fan and it's a much needed change in a book that has had Manchester Black as the big bad for so long. He may be disgusting and vile, but he's still fun.
The Titans go into full attack mode, but that also triggers the zombies to attack as well. We get a huge battle that is complicated by the fact that the Titans don't want to harm Professor Pyg's zombie victims. They end up with little choice as the zombies seem ready to overtake them until...we go back to the Robin War bit. What the Hell!!!
I'll save you the play by play by again telling you that nothing important happens except leading the Robins to Gotham Academy where Robin War #2 must pick up. I'm sure that there will be a little setup in that issue anyway rendering this book completely useless as a tie-in.
So, it's back to the good part and while we were away, the team has been captured by Pyg and he is doing some pretty messed up stuff. He has Beast Boy strung up and is draining his blood into a girl and some containers. I don't know how this all works, but the girl suddenly gets Beast Boys powers and knocks out Pyg and is only subdued by Power Girl going all Apache Chief again. It's kind of an unexplained powers buffet, but it's fun and I'll go with it.
When the smoke clears, the Titans realize a few things...Pyg has escaped and blood has been drawn from each of them. The issue ends by showing us that Pyg wasn't working on his own and the Teen Titan's blood is a great way to introduce a villain that is bound to make Pfeifer and Lobdell's last issue pretty exciting.
I tell you right now, this was an awful Robin War tie-in issue. There is no way that DC should have included this in the event and it comes off as a cash grab of the worst kind. However, it was one of the better Teen Titans issues of Pfeifer's run. It was fun, action packed and had a variety of villains that this book has been desperate for. Too bad the Robin War garbage messed up the pacing and just pissed me off.
Ian Churchill's art in the main part of the book was really good, but again, the Robin War stuff by Miguel Mendonca just threw me out of the book every time it popped up. Churchill's character designs and action scenes win the day and overall I had a positive feeling about the look of the issue after putting it down.
Bits and Pieces:
It would take a lot of convincing for me to stop thinking that this was a regular issue of Teen Titans with a few Robin War scenes forced in. The problem with that is, the tie-in ruined what was one of the better issues of Teen Titans in a long time. Ruined might be too strong a word, but after suffering through this series for so long, it just upset me. Just be warned, if you are reading this only for the Robin War event, you'll be wasting your money.