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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans #3

Teen Titans #3

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 23, 2011

Cover date: January 2012

"Better to Burn Out... Than to Fade Away"

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciller: Brett Booth
Inker: Norman Rapmund
Cover: Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund and Andrew Dalhouse

Reviewed by: Shawn Morrissey

Click to enlarge

This issue picks up right from the end of issue #2, with Kid Flash, after breaking out of his own cell, coming to the aid of Solstice. In the midst of an escape that includes a fire hose and a trip to the little boy's room, Kid Flash realizes that the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. compound in which they were being held is located in the Antarctic. Kid Flash, whose sneakers can't find purchase on the icy surface, slips and sends himself and Solstice en route down a slope and over a crevasse.

In the Badlands National Park in South Dakota, Miguel Jose Barragan is freight-hopping his way across the United States from his native Mexico. In the boxcar he hopped onto, however, is an unusual cocoon, the biggest he's ever seen, suspended from the ceiling. Miguel soon discovers that, along with the massive chrysalis, he's sharing the boxcar with an old hobo.

Farther west in Los Angeles, Maurice Boviere calls out to a nurse from his hospital bed. The nurse, unfortunately for Maurice, is actually Cassie Sandsmark, aka Wonder Girl, and she isn't so interested in tending to Maurice's wounds. It turns out that Maurice is one of the three "merging" brothers, collectively called Thrice, we saw last issue. Wonder Girl intends on getting information on the people who hired Thrice to collect Skitter.

Back in the Antarctic, Kid Flash is relieved to know that Solstice can fly, thus saving both from a chilly doom at the bottom of the crevasse. However, Kid Flash's constant jabbering breaks Solstice's concentration and the two are hurled to the ground, just short of the crevasse's edge.

Miguel is having his own unusual encounter with the hobo on the freight train. The two exchange some words and glares before they go toe-to-toe. It turns out that the hobo is none other than Red Robin in disguise. Upon discovering who the hobo really is though, Miguel drops his guard and raises his affections. Miguel explains that he came to the USA in search of Red Robin to join "the team." Miguel reveals himself as Bunker, the purple clad future Titan. We learn that the giant cocoon contains Skitter, and Red Robin was traveling by train to avoid drawing attention.

The freight train comes to a sudden stop in a town filled with a populous of mind-controlled drones. As the drooling locals begin bombarding the boxcar, Red Robin goes off to investigate while Bunker stays behind to keep the hoard away from Skitter. On a broadcasting tower, Red Robin discovers a box, the possible source of the mind-control. It's learned that the box was put there by Detritus, a sophisticated humanoid pile of scrap with the ability to manipulate memories. Detritus does just that by mind-wiping Red Robin. Believing he handled the situation and turned the townspeople back to normal, Red Robin rejoins Bunker, discovering that Skitter, now returned to human form as Celine, has broken from her cocoon with no recollection of Red Robin.

The issue concludes with Kid Flash and Solstice coming to after their fall. They see a mysterious town, their only hope for shelter, quickly being covered with snow.

2Story - 2: There isn't much to read in this issue. It's basically nuts and bolts scattered about: together they could comprise a decent story, but neither piece contains enough individual focus for there to be a lasting interest in what's going on. The issue is light on action, and despite what the cover would have you believe, there is no brawl between Tim and Miguel. Tim gets in a kick to Miguel's chops, but as soon as Miguel finds out he's challenging Red Robin, the dust settles and it's all over. I was looking forward to seeing Tim take on someone with actual superpowers, but we're simply teased with the idea here.

I like what's going on with Kid Flash and Solstice, but the cliffhanger doesn't dangle us high enough. The end is mostly confusing and there's only a minor sense of the danger the two misfits find themselves in.

Unfortunately, Superboy is absent from the issue. We're told that the Titans will come together to battle the Boy of Steel next issue, but there are far too many questions left unanswered to allow space for a full on rumble. I'm guessing they'll meet Supes, Jr. at the end of issue #4.

The saving point of the issue, and strong point of the title itself, is the charm of the characters. I honestly like all these kids. As a huge Flash fan, I like that impetuous Bart is the antithesis of calculating Barry. Miguel is likable right away and as promised is rather flamboyant. There was a bit of a stir among lesser tolerant comic book readers after it was announced that Miguel would be openly homosexual. There's no indication of Miguel's orientation in this issue, and I imagine it won't become known until the team is all together. It's a device to bring diversity to the team in a modern context, considering that the rights of gays and lesbians, even among teens, is an important social issue. Although Bunker isn't the first gay superhero, nor the first gay teenaged superhero (see Perry Moore's Hero), he is an important addition to these new Titans, a component of multiformity equally as necessary as any other.

Overall though the characters can't save the issue from clapboard dialogue and convolution. The issue feels bloated and leaves far too much for the next issue to handle.

4Art - 4: I'm still loving what this art team is doing. A great example of the slickness of Booth's pencils, Rapmund's inks, and Dalhouse's colors is the crevasse on page four. A quick glance isn't enough. These drawings are excellent.

3Cover Art - 3: I've been reading comics long enough to know that covers don't always coincide with plot, but this cover truly is deceiving. The art is great, but the bluff is too much here.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2012

February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012

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