Sunday, January 6, 2013

Death of the Family Part 10: Teen Titans #15 and quick Throne of Atlantis thoughts

As I read the Teen Titans part of the Death of the Family crossover, all I could ask is, 'What the H'el am I reading?'

I really do respect Scott Lobdell for actually being able to tell a good story with Jason Todd as Red Hood, but I've not been at all thrilled with his Teen Titans stuff. Tim Drake's bizarre origin story, sadly, has been the highlight of this book.

That deeply upsets me as someone who has read the Wolfman-Perez era Titans and know how good storied can be with this team.

This bit of madness is not only a crossover for DOTF, it's a crossover within a crossover, combining Red Hood and the Outlaws' story with this one.

But if you thought you'd need to read RHATO to understand this book, I can promise you it won't make the slightest bit of difference. The two books share the exact same final page, and everything else is an independent story.

This book is narrated through Tim Drake's somehow omnipotent mind, as he seems to know exactly what is happening in the outside world with his team but can't seem to figure out what is happening with him.

The Titans (who should NOT be in a Joker crossover event) request help finding Tim from Batgirl, who comes off as someone with a superiority complex, looking down on all of them before leaving to  take on more important Joker-related things.

As an aside, if those things are what's happening in her book, I have no earthly idea how she's found time to meet with these guys. If not, the fact that Tim is so low on her totem pole of priorities really makes her seem like a b**ch.

Anyway, the Titans in this book in no way compel me the way the Donna Troy Wonder Girl, Raven, Cyborg, Beast Boy and Starfire did, and much of that can be placed on Lobdell not realizing that new readers would be picking this up and thinking to add give some BACKGROUND on the people he forced into the story.

Seriously, I don't think these characters should even be in a DOTF event, but if you insist, let me know who they are! I know nothing about the naked storm girl or the annoying European guy (supposedly they're Solstice and Danny the Street). The current versions of Wonder Girl and Kid Flash are less competent and funny, respectively, than Donna Troy and Wally West.

Oh, if that's Solstice, WTF happened to her body that she looks like the embodiment of outer space? Background, Lobdell! We need background!

The rest of the book follows a basic formula. Tim is trapped by Joker, who monologues endlessly, then he goes after the Titans, who are trying to find Tim.

I'm sure you're thinking the same thing: Why is Joker going after the Titans? I don't know, because this guy's supposed to be planning to destroy BATMAN'S mind, NOT Red Robin. There is a moment where you become unsettled at what Joker may know, but it's lost in oh so much crap.

I think Lobdell is a better character writer than a plot writer. Part of RHATO's charm is it has a feel like "The Expendables" where the story is basically a conduit for awesome character moments. That is not working here, mostly because if it tries to enter a grander narrative, it feels out of place.

This book needs a new creative team, really. Lobdell made his characters enjoyable to read, but he's taken them as far as he can, and someone has to give them a story to develop before they stagnate any further.

Briefly, I'm going to give you my thoughts on the early issues in the Justice League/Aquaman crossover, Throne of Atlantis. Read it. Buy it. Love it.

This may well go down as one of Aquaman's three best stories ever. I love how although there is a clear good and bad guy, the bad guy isn't a simple evil being. It's a political story where both sides have a philosophy on how to handle land/sea relations.

Aquaman and Orm clearly have respect for each other and neither wants to fight the other. They can respect each other's differences, which will make it all the more tragic if Orm becomes motivated to become a pure villain. This has very much a Professor X/Magneto vibe from X-Men: First Class, but with more awesome heroes.

The books should still be available somewhere, and definitely can be bought digitally, so take a look!

I'll be back Wednesday with Detective Comics' final DOTF crossover piece.

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