Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Teen Titans #22 Review and **SPOILERS**

Smooth Criminals

Written By: Tony Bedard
Art By: Ian Churchill, Norm Rapmund, Tony AviƱa
Letters By: Corey Breen
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: July 27, 2016


Okay, here’s a bunch of Teen Titans storyline pitches you can have for free: 1) Tim Drake dies but Batman is going to visit for the weekend, so the rest of the team has to prop him and pretend he’s still alive for Bats’ benefit. 2) The Phantom Stranger shows Beast Boy a world without him, which is essentially the same as always except everybody’s allergies have cleared up. 3) The whole team joins the police force, and the ragtag group of misfits shapes up into an orderly squad when their beloved commandant’s reputation is on the line. 4) Raven and Bunker share an awkward seven minutes waiting for an elevator to arrive. 5) Power Girl and Wonder Girl get married and change their names to Power Girl-Girl and Wonder Girl-Girl. 6) Bunker decides to take the team to his old neighborhood, which turns out to be a well-appointed upper middle class Latin neighborhood in North Los Angeles. 7) I think this is enough copy spent on nonsense, go ahead and read my review of Teen Titans #22!

Explain It!

You’ll recall the end of last issue, when Tim Drake was missing from the post-brouhaha Central Park Zoo clean up, and we learned he’d been kidnapped by Amanda Waller for an “interview.” Didn’t I mention that? I thought I did. Well, he’s up in Belle Reve Prison in Louisiana (in the Terrebonne Parish! I don’t think I knew that), cuffed in an interrogation room with Amanda Waller, bad bitch behind Task Force X aka the Suicide Squad. Yes! We’re going to see the Suicide Squad! (Note: We do not see the Suicide Squad.) And just in time for peak hype surrounding the movie! So Red Robin aka Tim Drake warns Waller that the rest of the team will be coming for him, and she twirls her dastardly mustache and is like, “I’m counting on it, [totally diabolical laughter].” Cut to the Titans back at Central Park, and they’re running around hollering for Tim like a bunch of frantic moms that turned away for just one second. Raven reminds them that they’re actually wanted criminals, then teleports the gang to New Jersey, which is unnecessarily cruel. Amanda Waller, watching through remote super spy camera, sees that these dopes are never going to figure it out, so she switches on Red Robin’s homing beacon and draws them right to Belle Reve.

Outside the prison walls, the team bemoans not having brilliant tactician Tim Drake around, like he’s soo wonderful since he gets them in deep shit all the time. Power Girl knows about Belle Reve from her time working at S.T.A.R. Labs, which is something I forgot she did. P. Girl explains that they developed weapons that can nullify any powers: an anti-magic gun, an anti-changeling gun, an anti-uh, whatever Bunker’s power is gun. The fatal flaw is that these guns are only good against a specific super power, so they decide to play a little criss cross and infiltrate the place by pretending to be one another…which is a pretty good plan, you’ve got to admit. I mean, it’s not the most original plan, but for once this team is acting like a bunch of people who know each other, and are willing to be vulnerable in front of one another. It was nice. Power Girl steps to the gate in Raven’s feathered hoodie, and is unaffected by the anti-magic gun so she goes all 50 ft. Woman and stomps the guards into submission. At another entrance, one guard fires an anti-Bunker gun at Bunker, but Wonder Girl steps in front and does the classic Wonder Woman “x-wrists” move to deflect the blast! Or sort of absorb it. Point is, she protects Bunker, which is pretty cool of her.

Right then, Amanda Waller is playing the typical Emperor Palpatine role, acting like everything is happening precisely to plan, and to highlight that fact she authorizes her guards to use lethal force, a command that makes one sergeant balk, but he is relieved and his replacement is just fine with killing a bunch of kids. In the bathroom, Beast Boy (in the guise of a rat) climbs through a toilet that is filled with shit, then goes into snake mode and slithers through some shower water and out of the bathroom to find Red Robin. He sneaks into the cafeteria, where a bunch of guards find him on their metahuman sensors, and figure it must be Beast Boy because they can’t see him. Sure enough, he’s made by the guards so the Titans bust through the wall in typical Teen “We don’t need no steenking doors” Titans fashion. Then Raven gets blasted with an anti-magic gun, making Beast Boy (in the guise of a giant alligator) whap guards around with his tail and threaten to kill one of them if he’s murdered Raven. In the scuffle, one of the weird guns got cracked and is threatening to explode—an explosion that will kill everyone for miles around! As it becomes harder to contain, Bunker makes a purple brick house around it and keeps it from melting down, saving everyone’s lives. After this, the guards refuse to kill the kids or follow Waller’s orders, so she gets all sassy about it. Then Tim Drake stands up, free of his handcuffs, and sings every refrain from “This Little Light of Mine,” with his arm around Amanda Waller’s shoulder, consoling her while she is wracked with sobs (NOTE: Ending of actual comic may not resemble the ending described in this review.)

So, uh…that was a pretty good issue of Teen Titans! Am I dreaming? Is this some kind of internet prank? I guess due partly to the fact that the personalities of the Teen Titans are better than the total asshole that is Amanda Waller, they came off a little sympathetic. And they actually used teamwork to solve problems and behaved like a group of people that understood and cared about one another. It was nice to see. It meant Cassie Sandsmark didn’t get a ton of panel time, and even fewer lines to say, but I’m okay with that because I normally hate her. I didn’t hate this comic, though. The art is only okay, and downright bad in some scenes, but I’m not even going to let that detract from the good feeling I’ve got from having read a current Teen Titans issue that I actually enjoyed. Huzzah!

Bits and Pieces:

A somewhat clumsy premise makes for some nice teamwork between the normally unbearable members of the Teen Titans. This issue proves that these guys can work well together if they have to, though it does make me wonder what has been going on for all these issues. The art is just okay, nothing to write home about, and the story is enjoyable mainly in contrast with what preceded it. I wouldn't knock myself out to get this issue, but if you'd like to see the Rare Teen Titans Issue That Isn't Terrible, then you may want to come and marvel.


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