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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans #16 Teen Titans #16

Teen Titans #16

Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 30, 2013

Cover date: March 2013

"Gotham Runs Red" ("Death of the Family" tie-in)

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Dialogue: Fabien Nicieza
Penciller: Brett Booth
Inker: Norm Rapmund

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We start with Red Robin and Red Hood lying on the ground, facing one another, with Red Robin giving the narrative. Both former Boy Wonders appear to be unconscious, as The Joker walks in the room monologuing and taunting them both. The Joker then walks into his "control room" of sorts, and activates an apparatus that dumps water on the unconscious duo, waking them up.

The Joker brings to their attention two men that are tied up with sacks covering their heads. One of the men dressed in a white shirt and black pants has a sign around his neck that says, "#1 Dad," while the other man is dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit, with a sign that reads "Dead Beat Dad". Both Reds are astonished at the sight of The Joker's apparent kidnapping of what looks to be their respective fathers.

We cut to the Teen Titans and the Outlaws on clean up duty, helping the now cured citizens of Gotham. (This takes place after issue #16 of Red Hood and the Outlaws).

Wonder Girl and Arsenal exchange notes, and continue their relief efforts. Wonder Girl notices that Solstice is a bit out of sorts, and asks her if she is ok. Solstice lies to her and says she is upset over the recent events that have transpired, while really she thinks to herself about how her and Kid Flash's power levels had spiked (This event takes place during issue #16 of Red Hood and the Outlaws as well), knowing full well that her mysterious "Friend" Lance may have been close by.

We next cut to the aforementioned mysterious man known as Lance, an apparent agent of Amanda Waller, deep in thought about the events that transpired, and confirming the fact that he is keeping an eye on the Teen Titans as well as boosting Solstice and Kid Flash's power levels.

He is suddenly attacked by a woman he recognizes called Basilisk. She makes mention to him that her "organization" will claim the Titans.

Lance quickly subdues her with his Telekinetic Augment powers, essentially shutting down Basilisk's powers and changing her mutant look to that of a normal human, much like he did to Solstice in issue #14. Lance is then struck from behind by an ally of Basilisk with what appears to be an energy blast, rendering Lance unconscious.

Elsewhere or perhaps Elsewhen... We cut to what appears to be another dimension/realm, resembling Hell. We see Lord Trigon, sitting atop his throne proudly, talking to his subjects about his upcoming plans to attack Earth, then introducing his daughter, calling her The Black Bird of Terror... Raven!

Finally we cut back to Red Hood and Red Robin, still in the clutches of The Joker. He propositions to both Reds, that in order to save each of their respective fathers, they must fight one another to the death. The winner would then save his father's life. With very little thought, Red Hood attacks Red Robin, and the two engage in intense combat. Both Reds have had the same training under the Batman's tutelage, but Red Hood has more of an edge with the further training he went through after his resurrection from the dead.

Red Robin manages to crack Red Hood's helmut with the sharp wings unsheathed from his suit, then seeing an opening, makes an attack on The Joker's control room window. Red Hood recovers his fallen hand gun, and takes advantage of Red Robin's attack, by shooting the Joker several times in the chest and head.

Red Robin reveals that he had observed the minor details of the men The Joker had tied up, that was meant to be his father, and had deduced that The Joker was lying, and in fact did not have his father. The two men were not the fathers of Red Hood and Red Robin, but probably Joker's henchmen.

The seemingly dead body of The Joker then shoots out a green gas through the bullet wounds Red Hood had put in him, revealing the body to be a fake, and again causing both former Robins to fall unconscious. We are left with some final images of the real Joker pulling the unconscious bodies of the Reds through what appears to be a cave and then finally holding two serving trays smeared and dripping with blood.

5Story - 5: This was quite an intense issue. Yes, it is still part of the Batman: Death of the Family storyline, but it was a solid read! The editor's notes helped, regarding certain events that transpire during issue #16 of Red Hood and the Outlaws. Lobdell did a great job of not only tying in this issue with the current major crossover with the Batman books, but also setting up future elements for this title.

The two major protagonists of this issue, Red Robin and Red Hood, hold the issue's focus on the current crossover. These two characters have a close relationship with Batman, but their own characteristics and personalities shine through very brightly. So far for me, this has been the best Tim Drake issue of Teen Titans since the New 52 started.

I loved the thoughts that Red Robin has to himself about Jason Todd/Red Hood being the brother that he never had. The exchange the two have when they regain consciousness is great. Really helps the reader understand that there is history between these two young men as well as a common tie that binds them.

Just like Batman, and pre New 52, Tim Drake seems to always have a plan. Not only that, he is just as good a detective as The Dark Knight himself. The way he deduced the fact that the men that were tied up were fakes, and then going after The Joker at the best opportune time, really shows why he is a great leader for the team.

Also I liked the fact that Red Hood is the better fighter of the two, and Red Robin acknowledging that. There is a subtle hint that Red Hood was trusting that Red Robin had a plan and was putting on a show for The Joker's sake.

The Joker was the same as last issue, creepy and frankly quite scary. The Jokers not my favorite of Batman's villains, I feel he has been done to death in the comics and in various animated series. But regardless, I enjoyed him in this issue. More psychotic than ever.

No Superboy again in this issue, but we all know he is going through "H'el" in his book as well as the other Super titles... BUT... (more on this in a sec).

Wonder Girl and Solstice are the only other members that had speaking roles this issue. We saw a brief glimpse of Bunker and Kid Flash in the background helping out Gothamites. Though brief, we get some more insight on Solstice as a character. I can't wait to see how that plays out.

The man known as Lance makes another appearance this issue. It appears that he and Amanda Waller will play a big role in future issues of this book. I'm liking where this is going. Also with the addition of this "organization" that has their eyes set on the Teen Titans, looks like fun times ahead!

Continuing on from the Superboy comment above... Lance tells Basilisk that he has Telekinetic Augment powers... Could he be the third donor to Superboy's DNA?... Or did he receive his powers from the same source?... Something to ponder!

Lastly we are introduced to Lord Trigon and his daughter and former pre New 52 member of the team, Raven. According to Trigon she was lost, but found her way home, could this mean that she was a member of the Teen Titans that came before this team? Or is this simply her debut in the New 52? There is an editor's note about issue #2 of The Phantom Stranger in regards to this, may be worth checking out if you want to know more.

Exciting times ahead!

5Art - 5: Just the same as last issue, the art was very solid! Booth and Rapmund are a good pairing. The inking compliments the pencils really nicely. Great line work, and fantastic use of shadows in the backgrounds as well as characters.

Booth has the ability to give each character he draws personality. Red Robin looked young and confident. Red Hood looked strong and experienced. There was a definite connection between these two that really was portrayed quite well through the art. This is very hard to do, and not many comic artists can do it well, but Booth and Rapmund seem to be knocking it out of the park.

The splash pages and panel work were top notch. Especially during the fight scenes. Felt very cinematic. I loved the way Booth drew Red Hood's helmut. Really gave it a hard molded feel.

In the past I compared Brett Booth to Jim Lee, because of their similar line styles and detail work. But this time around I will have to say that Booth is better at drawing characters in poses that don't look like pin ups.

The only downside to the art in this issue was the new design for Raven. She bares a very striking resemblance to Dove from the Hawk and Dove book. Not sure if this is done on purpose, but I didn't feel it should affect the score for this issue.

As each issue goes by, I think the coloring gets better and better. Andrew Dalhouse really outdid himself this issue. It was the more subtle stuff that caught my eye, like Arsenal's 5 o'clock shadow, or the lighting changes in different areas of the room where the Reds were being held.

Andrew Dalhouse is one of the better colorists I have seen in recent years, I hope he stays on the book for the foreseeable future. Andrew Dalhouse is to Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund what Alex Sinclair is to Jim Lee and Scott Williams. Great job by the art team!

5Cover Art - 5: The cover this month was a tad misleading, but can also be seen as a foreshadowing of things to come in this storyline.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2013

February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013

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