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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans #12 Teen Titans #12

Teen Titans #12

Scheduled to arrive in stores: August 22, 2012

Cover date: October 2012

"Armored Up & Out"

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

Reviewed by: Shawn Morrissey

Click to enlarge

Superboy and Red Robin are hard at work trying to take down Wonder Girl (she suddenly demands the moniker), who is now entirely under the influence of the mysterious Silent Armor. She's unrelenting and exceptionally powerful, and she's tearing up poor Alfred Pennyworth's cabin in the woods.

Meanwhile, in a slummy motel off the New Jersey Turnpike, the rest of the Titans are coming to terms with the facts of being part of a team: there's a leader, he's Red Robin, and they should listen to his orders. Right now that means not getting involved with Wonder Girl.

With some nifty footwork and Batman-inspired deception, Tim and Kon get the better of Wonder Girl allowing Kon to use his telekinesis to tear the Silent Armor from Cassie's body. It's a short lived victory, though, as a tall, dark, and handwringing lunatic from Wonder Girl's past shows up. Using a "paralytic gas" to avoid conflict with Kon and Tim, the formidable Diesel confronts his old flame, subdues her, and takes control of the Silent Armor, and flees.

Soon, Kon and Tim snap out of their bubble-blowing and find a raging Cassie. The fact that the Silent Armor is no longer Cassie's problem isn't the point, she insists. It's a dangerous weapon and the burden of being its host must fall to her. There's no choice: they have to track down Diesel and get the Armor back.

3Story - 3: Yes, my dear readers, that is a three you see up there out of five. It is no typo. It's the highest score I've given this title in months. Perhaps I'm being overly gracious; perhaps I should read the issue again; perhaps it's the atrocious summer heat, but I actually had fun reading this issue! Holy snap, can you believe the words falling out of my face? I had fun reading a New 52 Teen Titans issue. Don't worry, I checked. Lions are not hanging out with lambs. Morrissey (no relation) has not reformed The Smiths. Android is not more efficient than iOS. Issue #12 was genuinely fun, and I think there's a big undeniable reason for it: it's very short.

For some reason it was decided that issues 11 and 12 would be roughly thirteen pages apiece. Tossed in there to make up the difference of the space is the "When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth" back-up, sandwiching a DC Universe Presents one-shot that fills in the middle of that story. Or so it would seem. There's definitely more to come with that tale, but I must be honest: this is the last I'll say on the matter. I didn't read DC Universe Presents #12. I have a budget for my monthly comic book hoarding, with some extra float set aside for one-shots, missed issues, attention-grabbers, and the sort. I contemplated briefly picking up the title just to stay on top of the Dinosaurs story, but then decided to get some Okko and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles instead. I mean, let's be honest: Teryx is no Master Noburo, and anthropomorphic dinosaurs in hoodies aren't nearly as cool as mutated reptilian ninjutsu masters. I can't speak for the quality of DC Universe Presents #12, of course, but I don't regret my decision. What I'm trying to say is I didn't review the back-up story here, but I would support the idea of back-ups being a regular part of this title if it meant tighter, more interesting storytelling.

Whether the shorter story allowed for a tighter narrative is up for debate. One thing I truly liked, though, is the heroism that Cassie portrays at the end. It really feels genuine, like she desperately needs to get the Silent Armor back and be the one who must wear it, despite the agony it manifests, to keep it out of the wrong hands. The character is finally coming across like the heroine she's supposed to be. It's still a little foggy why a world would die if she doesn't wear the armor, and whether that world is Earth or not, but I'll be happy - perhaps against my better judgment - to assume that will be revealed in issue #13 (due in October).

Now, before we get too carried away, there is an all-too-familiar fault to discuss, one I'm content to kvetch about: the dialogue. I still find it hard to sift through Lobdell's numbing prose. Between the excessive exposition and contemporary comic book catch phrases ("I got this!"), this title is often a test of a reader's ability to keep the higher brain functions from glossing over.

So, all in all, a surprising pick up with a potentially interesting arc on the horizon. I'm cautiously optimistic.

3Art - 3: Again, there isn't much more to say that I haven't said about this art team already. The penciling, inking, and coloring are all top notch, and quite suitable for this title. Unfortunately, the team still falls a little flat on their panels. I'd enjoy the art and its presentation all that much more if the panels were even half as good Yanick Paquette's. That may be unfair, but when standards are set in the industry, it's a good idea to try to meet them.

2Cover Art - 2: I've adopted a method for how I partially review comic book covers. It's simple, I just try to remember what the cover looks like. I've found that covers that don't impress me are ones that I quickly forget how they look. It's not failsafe, but it was certainly true here.

Artistically, this cover is decent, but what's with the two Silent Armors? That's a blunder I can't dismiss. It's just all around clumsy while trying its damnedest to be epic.

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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