Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Death of the Family Part 15: Teen Titans #16

This week marks the end of the "Death of the Family" tie-in issues and the entire event will come to a close in Batman #17 next month. If that doesn't sell you to buy this issue of the Teen Titans title, well...

Teen Titans #16

The book really comes off as a way to sell every freaking storyline it can think of, and it really irked me how much we moved around here.

As you know from earlier crossover reviews, Teen Titans crossed over with Red Hood and the Outlaws for this DOTF event, placing Jason Todd and Tim Drake together in their time with Joker. I understand it's because Scott Lobdell writes both books and wanted them to fight together once before leaving RHATO, so I don't begrudge him there.

My issue is that Red Hood should have had one of the most emotional showdowns with Joker - because, you know, Joker KILLED him. And because the New 52 continuity shows Joker orchestrated Jason becoming Robin. The showdown itself, however, was underwhelming and buried under an insane amount of storylines.

In RHATO #15, Jason only briefly gets the revelations handed to him while crawling through a vent, really doesn't face Joker head-on, and is knocked out before anything can happen.

Last issue of RHATO, Jason and Tim were knocked out the whole time, so all we got was a Titans-Outlaws crossover fight, Hugo Strange for some reason, and Deathstroke being called on to take out Jason, Kori and Arsenal.

This issue, there is a focus on the showdown, but it's pretty much all from Tim's perspective. Joker's big emotional trump card for the two is jarring

The big reveal, by the way, I'll give a SPOILER here, so only look below if you want some context for the rest of this review. Otherwise, scroll past the big gap in the text and continue from there.

Joker supposedlyhas Jason and Tim's dads ited up with the intent that they'll turn on each other to save their own.

A plus is that Tim comes to a realization during the struggle that what Joker has isn't real, which could imply Joker doesn't really know all their identities.

But the downside in all of this is that Jason really gains NOTHING in this. The trump card was designed to make Jason and Tim turn on each other, and Jason does, but I don't get why. Nothing in the Jason origin I saw implies that he'd want to go to such lengths, and no internal thoughts from Jason give me no context, so I got nothing out of this besides utter confusion as to why Jason got such a shockingly small part in all of this.

See this guy? More of his story
was needed.
Heck, he could have had a couple pages from his perspective, but we had to go back to the Titans/Outlaws, who never do find Joker's hideout (which makes me wonder what the hell their point was in this whole thing). Oh, and there is a guy working for Amanda Waller who gets in a struggle that does nothing but provide context for an out-of-place internal monologue from Solstice.

Additionally, we randomly are taken to whatever dimension Trigon occupies, as we see Raven for the first time since she was introduced and immediately cast aside in Phantom Stranger #1. Her new costume is crap, I really don't think I like the direction her character is taking (though I can see how it could work) and I'm incredibly annoyed that all of this is taking place in a DOTF crossover when a whole bunch of storylines needed more space.

If I sound like I'm rambling, I'm sorry, but this was a rambling comic. There was a good narrative here, and Tim's storyline turned out OK, but Jason's felt underdeveloped and the Outlaw-Titan crossover will need something in the next issue(s) to make it worthwhile. Ultimately, the book itself suffers from too many side stories bogging down the main narrative.

There's a good story in here, but it doesn't get nearly enough pages. I get you want people to be interested in staying with the book, but the key is making the main narrative strong and complete, then sprinkling in some nice teasers in dialogue and maybe a few worked in pages. These teasers felt like they detracted from the main story, and don't help me feel more confident that the stories teased will get the full attention to detail they deserve.

I can't recommend this to anyone who isn't collecting the whole DOTF event. I can't recommend it as a book that teases other stories because $2.99 is too much for that kind of book. Overall, it just doesn't live up to the expectations a person should want in this kind of tie-in.

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