Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Teen Titans #20 Review and **SPOILERS**

Never Read the Comments Section

Written By: Tony Bedard
Art By: Ian Churchill, Norm Rapmund, Tony Aviña
Letters By: Corey Breen
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: May 25, 2016


Here we are back with…more Teen Titans? Seemed to me the last issue was a good ending point before heading into Rebirth, but now we know that Teen Titans: Rebirth won’t be out until October, so I guess we’re stuck with this fairly unlikable and ineffectual team of petty criminals and their bungled search for redemption for a few issues more. Not that I think the comic is completely terrible, I just think the team as it stands is somewhat beyond repair, and a couple of the team members might need to go back to their home planet like Poochie did on Itchy & Scratchy. But you know what? I was wrong once—and the world paid dearly for that mistake. Still, I can admit that sometimes my preconceived notions have hindered my appreciation, like whenever Bill Paxton is in a movie. Yeah, he’s almost always playing a douchebag character, but Aliens is a great film. And the his portrayal of Chet in the very movie for which this website is named is pitch perfect for the cruel older brother he is meant to be. The question is: are we getting the Bill Paxton from Full Metal Jacket, or from Tombstone in this issue of Teen Titans? I doubt I’ll remember to use that metaphor again, but you can read on to find out!

Explain It!

Everyone hates to be trolled on the internet, but otherwise everyone loves internet trolls. They’re the evil professional wrestlers, the hyperactive kids gone rogue with their snipe attacks from positions of anonymity. And no, I don’t mean those that would levy death threats or publish the personal information of their chosen target, I mean the dickheads that respond with the digital equivalent of “I know you are, but what am I?” causing someone to rage out and commit several social media faux pas for our shared enjoyment. Even the DC Universe has trolls, apparently, but none more trollish than Metatroll93, who publishes memes of famous villains with derogatory, sarcastic text sprawled across it. You know the type. For instance, a picture of Lex Luthor is accompanied by text that reads “Owns Metropolis, Can’t Evict Illegal Alien.” Or a picture of Joker (that is uncommonly shitty, for some reason) with the words “So He’s Tall, Dark and Angry? Girl, You’re Playing My Song!” This is probably the worst example of a DCU villain meme and perhaps a contender for stupidest meme of all time. Someone else doesn’t like this gimmick either, namely Monsieur Mallah, revolutionary talking gorilla and boyfriend of The Brain, both founding members of the Brotherhood of Evil. A meme depicting The Brain (which is just a brain, if you didn’t get that) with text claiming that he lives in a pickle jar sends Mallah into  an angry, vengeful state, to which The Brain finally acquiesces because they love each other. That’s right, the remaining members of the Brother of Evil are lovers. Put that off your food, does it? Well, good. It’s 2016, and if a loving union between a talking gorilla and a self-actualized brain in a jar bothers you, then maybe you need to take a long look at yourself. I believe this relationship was established pre-Flashpoint, though I don’t recall when. But it doesn’t matter, because the love between evil supervillains is forever and no law in the land can put a stop to it.

After seeing the Brotherhood of Evil in this comic book, I got really excited. I absolutely love the Doom Patrol and have enjoyed watching the Titans tangle with their bizarre nemeses in the past. Well, that good feeling was wiped away when we cut to Greece, where the Titans are hanging out at some ancient ruins, probably waiting for an adult to stroll by that they can ask to buy them beer. Red Robin decides the Titans need to be battle-ready because, you know, they’re all essentially criminals, so he proceeds to kick the ever-loving shit out of each and every member. For six pages. That’s right: more than one-fourth of the book is Red Robin exploiting the weaknesses of every member of his team, fomenting dissention and mistrust because those are all the hallmarks of teamwork. I mean, what the fuck? Why does this scene exist? And, having read the issue, I can tell you why it exists: because it constitutes the only thing that passes for action in the entire book. But, no. Have the team playing miniature golf together. Show them goofing off at Pop’s Chok’lit Shop with the Riverdale gang. Heck, you could even have the Teen Titans hiding out from the Illuminati or whatever but can we please just have a team that gets along with one another?! Is that really a lot to ask? Even Justice League International got along better than these assholes. Batman even says as much when he contacts Tim to show that he’s been made into a meme by Metatroll93 (“Follow Me Teen Heroes…Straight to Prison!), implying that they are commonly seen as villains, and that the Teen Tians project has gone “off the rails.” Well, no duh! You even root for the Suicide Squad to win in their book, and they’re actual killers!

So of course the first thing Red Robin has the team do is break into Metatroll93’s apartment. Do I really have to read this comic book? Really? Can’t I read something lighter, like the Old Testament or the biography of Harry S. Truman? The idea here is that either they will get Metatroll93 to ally with them, or shut him down completely. Here’s an idea: HOW ABOUT REHABILITATING YOUR IMAGE BY NOT BEING CRIMINALS ALL THE FUCKING TIME? Goddammit I hate these kids so much. Inside Metatroll93’s smelly apartment, the team discovers that he has been mind-controlled by The Brain, who threatens to do the same to them! Please! Mind-control these fucktards and make them do something fun instead of breaking and entering and destroying property all the time! I mean, I know this is stuff actual teenagers really do, but I don’t read comics so I can clutch my man purse tighter on the subway. I read them for the engaging characters and interesting stories.

Unfortunately, this issue had neither. When Lex Luthor is a breath of fresh air in your comic, then something has gone terribly wrong. And I thought the Brotherhood of Evil might bring an element of wacky fun to the proceedings, but instead a full half of the issue was given over to the Teen Titans being complete dicks to each other. I didn’t really like the art—Red Robin’s mask looks ridiculously large in several scenes—but I could have been fine with it if the stuff happening in this issue didn’t make my blood boil. Who the hell would want to read this shit? There’s antiheroes, and then there’s flat-out assholes. In this case, you’ve got neither since they’re more abrasive pissflaps than the human rear exit.

Bits and Pieces:

If you like stories where bullies are the protagonists and everything remotely interesting gets shunted to the side, then have I got the book for you! This issue and series had plumbed new depths of crapola heretofore unknown in the history of periodicals. It is as if this book breached the very core of the earth itself, finding raw sewage instead of a mass of molten nickel and magma. Imagine if that's what happened in Journey to the Center of the Earth? Instead of finding a civilization, they find a pile of poop. Have you ever read the classic novel? Maybe next month I'll review that instead of this claptrap. 



  1. Funny Review Reggie. Yes the Titans have been a miss for a good while now. But I'm still hoping they don't wash all these characters away though. I know we will have a new team come rebirth but I don't want another Superboy sinerio on are hands. I'm hoping that they'll at least reference these characters after rebirth. Tim will be part of Batwomans team, Beast Boy & Raven are being de aged for the new Teen Titans, but what about Wonder-Girl, Bunker, Power-Girl.... And for gods sake what happened to Kon-El. I hate retcons, but not acknowledging characters so that people forget them so writers can retcon them later pisses me off even more.

    1. I agree, I would like to see all of these characters continue--particularly Bunker--but maybe in a setting where I can enjoy them!

  2. Think you missed one of the more obvious reasons we have the training sequence... which is the last scene, because guess where 'always prepared for people to repeat themselves' comes in very handy and how many others are going to end up like that?
    That does leave the question of what he's going to do with the one Titan who just pointed out his explanation for why they were doing it.

    Anyways the love between Mallah and Brain is long established, pretty certain it was even a thing back in the NTT days. And I dont know if it's just me that finds it amusing to see the big ape throw a fit over his lover getting insulted on the internet... and Brain just reluctantly going along with it.

    1. The scene between Monsieur Mallah and The Brain was my favorite! They were like a sweet old couple bickering at the breakfast table.

  3. Just to point this out, their relationship was established way before the doom patrol died the first time.

  4. You should read the New Testament too. You'll find it more spiritually uplifting than the constant killing, incest and treachery of the old.