Thursday, June 30, 2016
Teen Titans Annual #2 Review and **SPOILERS**
The Sisterhood of the Terrible Plan
Art By: Cory Smith, Dean White
Lettered By: Corey Breen
Cover Price: $4.99
On Sale Date: June 29, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Sometimes we have encounters
That make us stop and wonder: why?
Like people that drink wheatgrass juice
Or have cheese with apple pie
A thousand-dollar sound system
To play bootlegged Grateful Dead
Having real, pure maple syrup
And choosing Log Cabin instead
A fireman that’s afraid of heights
It can make one lose their nerve
Like humanity’s worst examples
That have success, though undeserved
Like the executive board scapegoat
Who makes a mint by getting fired
Or the sleazy, lazy asshole
And the children that he’s sired
Why is living so unjust?
Why is there no manual?
Why does the fifth week of Rebirth Month
Have a Teen Titans Annual?
– Randy Newman
It’s clean-up day around the DC Comics offices, and we just netted ourselves a bonus issue of Teen Titans! It came with some old coffee grounds and some banana peels, but I won’t complain. About the trash, that is; I’ll complain all I like about the comic book. It’s a rare night off for the Titans, so they won’t be breaking and entering or causing incredible damage to contain a problem they created. Instead, they’re at Club XXL in New York City’s Warehouse District, which is just near the Innocuous Corner Store District and not far from the Generic Pizza Place District. “Years ago,” says the narration, “a place like this might’ve been called a Speakeasy.” Years ago? You mean like a hundred years ago, during Prohibition? If you’re looking for a cultural touchstone, you could have said, “years ago, a space like this might have had an illegal rave,” or “years ago, this might have held a Ralph Nader rally.” Cassie “Wonder Girl” Sandsmark and Miguel José “Bunker” Barragan are boogie-oogie-oogeying the night away while Tim “Red Robin” Drake and Tanya “Power Girl” Spears watch from upstairs like a couple of creeps. Tim tells Tanya that he’s a terrible dancer, but she entices him onto the floor to prove it, which he does. Meanwhile, some dude cuts in on Cassie and Miguel, and she proves to be a good wingman by taking off.
In the alley next to the club, Raven and Garfield “Beast Boy” Logan are hanging out and eating pizza…wait, they’re hanging out in an alleyway while the rest of the team is in the club?! I can understand that they would be a little more conspicuous, what with Logan’s green skin color and Raven just generally being spooky as fuck, but come on…you couldn’t drop them off at the arcade? Or a bookstore or something? They’ve literally become street urchins here! Back inside Club XXL, things are getting hot and heavy between Miguel and Some Dude, who leans in to kiss him, then offers him some capsules he calls “Green.” Of course, Bunker turns it down, but Some Dude pops them and says everyone’s doing it, which is literally a line pulled from an ABC Afterschool Special. Completely by surprise and totally unexpected by everyone, Some Dude has some adverse effects from taking Green, and turns into a green bear-wolf-monster or something. Local Titans team up to fight this obviously confused and curiously verdant shape shifter. They knock him unconscious, but then look around to find the entire club is infested with angry green monsters!
We get a few pages of action where the Titans beat the snot out of some hapless animals, then Red Robin and Beast Boy are hanging out in the kitchen when Tim notices a trap door underneath a prep table. They go downstairs and Tim recounts the time Professor Pyg took some of Garfield’s blood in a previous issue that I don’t remember reading. Garfield looks like an emaciated imp on this page for some reason. At the bottom of the stairs they run into a bunch of rejects from the cult of Kali Maa, and Sister Blood! Who is, of course, Brother Blood’s sister. Sigh. Is there a moratorium on creativity around there? Does anyone ever come up a story that gets rejected because it’s not derivative enough? “Next, the team faces…Prigon! Trigon’s Great Grand-Uncle!” So because she’s a supervillain, Sister Blood immediately confesses to everything: copping Professor Pyg’s sample of Garfield’s blood, distilling it into a narcotic, and even her plan to turn the world into short-lived green monsters as a measure to bring peace. Whoop-de-freaking-do. She might as well have said her plan was to turn everyone green so they would match her halter top, for all the difference it might have made. So then a bunch of green creatures fight Tim and Garfield, and eventually the rest of the Titans show up, etc. There is a cool part where Bunker uses his power to make bricks spew up at their antagonists, fairly well clearing the area. Eventually, Beast Boy captures her by first chasing her down as a rhino, and then turning into a crocodile, then a giant octopus in order to hold her captive. What a show off. Just turn into a T-Rex, bro, you’re always going to win. Sister Blood and her gang are out cold in a neat heap, and just then Tim decides to lay into the team about how shitty they are and how it is beyond improbable that they would be together in the first place. And on the last page, we see Tim is considering disbanding the Teen Titans! Yes! Please do, Tim!
Despite my bellyaching, this wasn’t the worst issue of Teen Titans I’ve ever read. But it also wasn’t very good. For an oversized, five dollar Annual, I’d have liked to see more of a story beyond some kooky lady’s plan to rule the world by turning them into green beasts. The art was really hit-or-miss, nice in some places and difficult to look at in others. But for once, I have to give a special nod to the coloring in this book, which was better and more lush than it deserved. I hope next issue Red Robin disbands the team and they can go back to becoming YouTube sensations like all millennials endeavor to be.
Bits and Pieces:
It's Friday night and the Teen Titans are stepping out to do some disco dancing! It isn't long before some bad shit goes down and they are on the defensive. But that's taken care of even quicker when Red Robin and Beast Boy find the culprit behind everything and knock her into next week. This story goes nowhere, slowly, and much of it seems like padding. Some of the art is okay, but the real shining star of this issue is the colorist. Which goes to prove how crummy this comic actually is.