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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans

Teen Titans #55

Teen Titans #55

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 23, 2008

Cover date: March 2008

"Paradigm Rift"

Writer: Sean McKeever
Penciller: Jamal Igle
Inker: Ruy Jose and Jimmy Palmiotti

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Bridges

Click to enlarge

Kara flies away in a huff, and Cassie and Tim make plans for a date.

Ravager takes an interest in Blue Beetle, who Kid Devil seems to be no fan of. Kid Devil tries to talk to M'Gann, but she's busy fighting her future self (who has taken up residence in her mind) and snaps at him.

On their date, Cassie confesses that she kicked Kara off the team because she decided she'd only tried to be Kara's friend to have a teenage Kryptonian in her life, as a way of replacing Conner. Tim questions this, Cassie yells at him and then seconds later says the dinner is nice. She holds his hand and flirts with him, and then an armored truck explodes outside and they rush to the rescue.

Ravager went with Blue Beetle through Robin's things and took some lightsaber-like devices from him without asking, which angers Kid Devil. The Titans have a meeting and Robin tells them they need to stick together and overcome their challenges, and Cassie stands beside him, holding his hand.

Later that night, Cassie goes to Tim's room and tells him that her dating him was also just trying to replace Conner and she needs to move on, Tim gets mad and Cassie leaves the tower.

Two mysterious figures are watching Titans Tower, biding their time, because with Robin and Wonder Girl having problems, the glue that holds the team together is dissolving. One of them is revealed as Dreadbolt, and he's ready to go beat them up.

2Story - 2: Let this issue be known as the beginning of the death of Cassandra Sandsmark as a character worth reading about.

Now listen, this is a book about teenagers. And teenagers, as you might know, are prone to emotional outbursts and hormonal difficulties and all of those issues that come with transitioning from a child to an adult.

These are great things worth exploring, when done in the right way. This issue, however, has almost destroyed the character of Wonder Girl because it went about it in the WRONG way.

So Cassie's decided to really move on from Conner she needs to remove the things she feels she replaced him with. This includes Kara and Tim, and she apparently has the power to single-handedly remove someone from the team. So she kicks Kara off... fine. It's clearly a big mistake and Tim has every right to be upset with her, and this is good character stuff. I look forward to Cassie coming to the understanding that being friends with Kara doesn't mean she's using her as a replacement for Conner. And the same can be said for her decision to break up with Tim... another mistake, and if she comes to that realization it will be a nice character arc and good development.

The problem is in the execution, which makes Cassie out to either be a vindictive, conniving bint or someone with a borderline personality disorder.

See, by Cassie's reasoning, when she kicks Kara off the team she's made her decision to remove what she views as her "Conner replacements", meaning that she's already decided to break up with Tim at that point.

Tim comes to ask her to dinner, and she accepts and smiles sweetly. See, an upstanding, honorable character like Cassie would have told him right then. But she doesn't. Now this is offset by her being a teenager, so okay, maybe she's just nervous and hiding it because she doesn't know quite how to tell him. THAT would be good character. But... she is none of those things. She only seems concerned/remorseful/upset about Kara leaving in that last glance she spares in the direction Kara flew off.

Well, maybe it's just an oddity of the art or something, let's give them the benefit of the doubt and ignore this.

So let's go to Tim and Cassie's date. Cassie confesses she kicked Kara off the team (good!) and Tim gets upset with her (also good!) and she gets upset back and yells at him (double good!) and... then she sits back down and tells him the dinner is nice and he looks nice. Sure, she apologizes, but a mood switch of that speed is enough to give her whiplash. But let's ignore that anyway. She's about to tell him she wants to break up with him, before they're interrupted by the explosion outside. So what does she do?

She grabs his hand and smiles sweetly at him.

What? What is this, inflate his heart before you rip it out and stomp all over it? Why would she do that, knowing it would actively cause him more pain? Are they trying to make Cassie completely unsympathetic? Because I really like Cassie, but in this book, now, I'm kind of starting to hate her.

Especially since as soon as the explosion happens she's all smiles and sweetness to Tim again.

And then... well, let's just go to the Titans meeting, where Robin is trying to bolster morale and Cassie joins him... and smiles sweetly and holds his hand! Up in front of everyone in the room!

Even if you write off the first meeting on the roof after Kara left as Cassie's nerves, and even if you can come up with some explanation for the date where Cassie didn't decide until that very moment, after taking Tim's hand, that she wanted to dump him (which makes no character sense, given her actions, but still)... she actively tried to break up with him on their date.

And then went back and took his hand and smiled and pretended she was still fawning over him, and up in front of the entire team.

And then went right to his room and broke up with him.


If she had showed some hesitation during the meeting, some reservations, some sign she was taking his hand to show solidarity with the team and Robin's vision for it, but inwardly FELT BAD ABOUT IT, that would have been a brilliant character moment.

Instead, she's smiling and happy, and thus either has mental problems or is a lying, deceitful shrew who plays with Tim's emotions for reasons that don't make character or story sense.

I don't get it, but they're taking a character I really liked and turning her into someone I don't, and unless they're planning to actually make her a villain, that's some pretty bad stuff.

Which is sad, because the rest of the issue was pretty good (although... Dreadlock? Seriously? Oy.)

3Art - 3: On page 2, as Robin walks away from Cassie... why is he smiling like a sex criminal?

On page 15 during the meeting, Rose and Cassie look like they're about 45 years old.

A whole lot of "eh" all around.

4Cover Art - 4: The words sort of ruin it (It's a GREAT DIVIDE, you see, in case you were too daft to get the message from the art on its own!), but the artwork is nice. The posing is good, the perspective is good and the shadow of Conner between them is excellent.

Just let the art speak for itself, DC. We don't need words to repeat what the art already says so well on its own.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

January 2008

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