Sunday, August 28, 2016

Teen Titans #23 Review and **SPOILERS**

Hive Got a Bone to Pick With You

Written By: Tony Bedard
Art By: Miguel Mendonca, Dianna Conesa, Tony AviƱa
Lettered by: Corey Breen
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: August 24, 2016


Hey teens! It’s your ol’ pal Reggie here, to turn his baseball cap backwards and straddle a chair—also backwards—so I can rap with you, one-on-one, about what’s goin’ down! You kids like to do things backwards, don’t you? I think that’s great! But what isn’t great is doing drugs and getting bad grades. Drugs are sneaky because they make you feel great and give you lots of friends at first, but then after a while they make you feel greater and give you even better friends. And friends who would let friends do drugs are probably music industry executives or Hollywood actors! So don’t be a DiCaprio, give drugs the slappio! Can you dig it, young gentlemen and ladies! Please sign this pledge promising never to look at a drug and to cry profusely when they are offered or discussed. This form will also inadvertently sign you up for a stint in the Army Reserves. Hey, good job! You signed yours without even reading it or asking any questions or anything. Since you’re so smart and quick, why don’t you read my review of Teen Titans #23 while the rest of the gang finishes their pledges? It would sure beat having to think over the rash decision you just made!

Explain It!

Having cracked Tim Drake out of Belle Reve Prison, humiliating Amanda Waller in the process, the Titans decide to stick around and check out New Orleans—the “Big Easy,” as it’s known to wistful Cajun types. While checking out the French Quarter, Tim Drake gets a FaceTime call from Batman, and the hilarious part is that Drake is speaking in hushed tones, but it’s Batman’s face on the screen of his smart phone! All someone has to do is peek over his shoulder and the jig is up. Batman informs Tim that Amanda Waller has contacted the various government agencies looking for the Titans and had all charges against them dropped. They don’t have to sneak around anymore, I suppose, just in time for the title to be Rebirthed with an new team. Before Batman can say something nice, the call conveniently cuts out—and the power has gone out all over Nawlins!

Looks like those jerkbags H.I.V.E. are at it again, sending some kind of Kirby Krackle tsunami into the city to possess all of its citizens with glowing eyes, as well as actual possession. Raven throws up a witch bubble to protect the Titans, which wears her out considerably but saves the team from having their eyes go all glowy. They watch the mind-controlled populace converge on an area and start erecting some kind of satellite dish, then Power Girl goes all big style to survey the area, confirming that another dish is going up elsewhere in town. Beast Boy grabs one of the affected to try and snap him out of it, but that just alerts them to the Titans presence, and brings out the H.I.V.E. Queen! The Titans run off for formulate a plan, by which I mean Red Robin formulates a plan, which is to divide the team into pairs that will each succumb to H.I.V.E., but will create an opportunity for the next duo. Sort of a ballsy plan…and also sort of heroic.

Bunker and Wonder Girl go to destroy the dish atop the Superdome, While Power Girl and Beast Boy take out the one nearby in Jackson Square. Seeing her work undone, the Queen sends out a surge of…brain cleaner, one which Red Robin can trace to its source and finder. Like I said, pretty ballsy! The rest of the team having gone all glowy-eyed, it’s up to Red Robin and a sleepy Raven to infiltrate the H.I.V.E. Queen’s lair, which they do pretty handily. Upon busting into the joint, however, the Queen instantly takes over their minds and turns ‘em glowy-eyed! Curious as to how Tim Drake made it this far and Raven resisted her, the H.I.V.E. Queen takes a little psionic peek into Tim Drake’s brain matter, then shrieks and faints dead away, severing her connection to her glowy-eyed army! Turns out Tim Drake set a Chaos Trap in her mind, which screwed up her H.I.V.E. juice or something. Whatever the case, the day is saved, and the Teen Titans are actually behaving like a group of heroes forged in friendship, rather than a bunch of whiny assholes bound by being criminals. And next month, everything changes!

Just like last issue, the Teen Titans surprised me by behaving like do-gooders that actually know each other, and not a bunch of wayward brats that can’t get along. Sad that it’s happening at the end of this series’ run, but I suppose better late than never. The art is okay, nothing to write home about but certainly a good enough job, and it’s consistent which is more than I can say for some other issues. This story won’t go down in history as a super memorable Teen Titans tale, but I think I will remember the curious uptick in quality for the last issues of the run.

Bits and Pieces:

The Teen Titans do something in this issue that I'd not grown accustomed to: teamwork and self-sacrificing heroics. The story isn't amazing, but serviceable enough as a showcase for this newly-invigorated group, just in time for it to wrap up and turn into Teen Titans: Rebirth #1. Ah well, I suppose all loose ends have been tied up and all angst worked out through the power of friendship. I would have liked to see more of this team, but I can't say I'm sorry to be moving on from the title!

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