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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans #6

Teen Titans #6

Scheduled to arrive in stores: February 22, 2012

Cover date: April 2012

"By The Light..."

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Penciller: Brett Booth
Inker: Norman Rapmund

Reviewed by: Shawn Morrissey

Click to enlarge

The Teen Titans pull themselves together after the throttling they received at the hands of Superboy last issue. The worst for wear is Kid Flash, whose encounter with the Boy of Steel left the junior speedster in a rattling state of hyper-spatial acceleration. Luckily, Red Robin knows Virgil Hawkins (aka, Static) and the young poindexter is enlisted at his S.T.A.R. Labs office to lend a hand. Tossed into the mix is Grymm, a teenaged metahuman being researched at S.T.A.R. who stirs up some trouble for our pubescent heroes.

1Story - 1: Honestly, I don't really know where to begin with this issue. I don't think I've read a less interesting comic book in recent years than Teen Titans #6. The biggest problem I have with the title now is we're six issues in and there's been hardly any team development. Sure, Red Robin has been able to track down Cassie Sandsmark, capture Skitter, bump into Bunker, have Kid Flash and Solstice inexplicably fall onto his doorstep, and have his keister handed to him by Superboy, but there's been so little done in furthering characterizations that I'm left wondering when I'll get to know them all better. Honestly, each character has a discernible personality and I do like them individually, but they're thrust into a mess of a story that does little to draw out their dimensions. What's worse, we're left once again sans Superboy.

Unfortunately, that isn't the worst part of this issue. That's reserved for the tacked on villain, Grymm, who is disposed of just as easily as he's introduced and he isn't really worth writing about. Synopsis: a) he's a teenager, b) he's emo-tough, c) he controls minds, and d) Zzzzz... Wonder Girl (you're still not allowed to call her that) and Bunker take him down so quickly and anti-climatically that it was just as well that Grymm didn't appear at all.

Once again, Teen Titans gives us an interesting tidbit that, I fear, may be taken nowhere - and it's the most intriguing part of the issue. Detective Jocelyn Lure has dug up some dirt on Kid Flash. She babbles on to herself about how Kid Flash shouldn't have arrived yet and ponders how he arrived in the first place. It's mysterious and exactly the spice that makes comic books so tasty, but it's diluted here by the sapless seasonings of the main story.

On a closing note, it's finally mentioned in dialogue that Bunker is gay. This is something we knew before the title was released and something I positively commented on in a previous review. I think it is fine to have homosexual superheroes, but it remains a touchy issue for many (far too many). Despite the uneducated ideologies that linger over the issue of homosexuality, it's well documented that the behavior exists in many other mammalian and non-mammalian species. It's not a choice, it's natural, and anyone's beef with that is a beef with scientifically sound research. An unfortunate example of how intellectually savage our societies can still be is observable in how homosexuality still makes some people uncomfortable. Such is the case in the characters in this issue. Cassie shows a little unease when Bunker admits he's gay, and she laments that she has "the worst gay-dar in the world." She's fine with Bunker being gay but she isn't sure how to react, and I have a problem with that. If we're to overcome our ignorant underpinnings towards inherently natural sexualities, I think we need to make some sort of start in our pop culture. Was Bunker made gay for the sake of developing an "edgy", "modern", and "borderless" comic book title? Or is the character's homosexuality a nod to the diversity of living things, something which our species has come to terms with through understanding and the growth of intellectual integrity? I would hope the latter, but the intentions of this title are still murky at best.

In all, Teen Titans is a comparative snooze of a read. When I consider how outstanding other New 52 titles are, like Action Comics, Animal Man, Batman, and Swamp Thing, among others, and other publisher's current titles, like Fatale and Skullkickers, Teen Titans is limping behind, eating their dust.

3Art - 3: Booth, Rapmund, and Dalhouse are back on their game this issue. I really enjoy how they handle art duties. I've grown accustomed to Booth's tendency to draw everyone's faces similarly and while the team is no match for the art prowess of Francis Manapul or J.H. Williams, III, it does a fine job of bringing expressions and attitudes to our heroes. Teen Titans isn't the best looking comic book on the shelves, but is does make for some nice, clean eye candy.

3Cover Art - 3: The art is good on this cover, displaying Booth's talent for penciling action, but it's deceptive: Red Robin never encounters Grymm.

2Variant Cover Art - 2: I liked these black n' white variants initially, but it's becoming obvious that the format doesn't suit all covers. This cover isn't made any better in this format.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2012

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