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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans #18 Teen Titans #18

Teen Titans #18

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 27, 2013

Cover date: May 2013

"To Belle and Back"

Plot: Scott Lobdell
Penciller: Eddy Barrows & Rodney Buchemi
Inker: Eber Ferreira & Rodney Buchemi

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

We open with Tim Drake sitting in the Batmobile parked in the Bat-Cave. He is very distraught over the recent death of Damien Wayne, the current Robin to Batman. Tim Sits in the Bat-Cave deep in thought only to be visited by Damien Wayne's "Ghost".

The ghost tell's Tim that now he can finally be "Robin" (again), in typical Damien Wayne fashion, rude and abrupt. Tim breaks down, says to the ghost that he created the Teen Titans to protect teen heroes from essentially dying, like Damien. Tim breaks down and starts to cry, and is embraced by Damien, saying "Do it Tim, do everything to protect us".

Alfred then walks down to the Bat-Cave to find Tim in tears on his knees. Alfred consoles Tim, asks if he has told the rest of the team about what happened to Damien. Tim replies that the team really doesn't know too much about him, as his secrets are not really his to share. Alfred then explains to Tim that there are more important things in the world than keeping secrets. The two embrace, with Damien's ghost fading away in the background.

We cut to the "Titans Yacht" on Pier 22, New York. With Superboy hovering above the Yacht as the rest of the team are poolside on the top deck. Superboy is then told by almost everyone to come down to the deck, so not to draw any attention to them. Superboy then catches the team up on recent events that transpired with him in regards to H'el on Earth, telling the team that he has given up his apartment and returned all his stolen cash, and basically asks for a place to stay.

Tim Drake then welcomes back Superboy and asks everybody to suit up and meet him in the "War Room". Once there, Tim Drake/Red Robin explains to the team that there have been four super powered teens that have either died or gone missing. He proposes to do something about it, as he brings up a picture of a teenaged girl named Tabitha Munse, and briefs the team that there is a trio of agencies that are trying to weaponize her metagene/powers.

He then pulls up a picture of a male, whom Tabitha Munse was fighting. Red Robin doesn't know the name of the guy, but Solstice recognizes him as Lance, the man who appeared in a vision to her, and told her that he could help her control her powers. Solstice keeps the fact that she has had contact with Lance a secret from the rest of the team, and Red Robin who already has set the Yacht on auto-pilot, tells the team they are headed to do something about the missing girl.

Our next scene is of the United Nations building, where inside a well dressed man requests information from a secretary about a young woman. He claims that the young woman may be the key to a radical procedure that may be his client's last hope. The secretary then addresses the man as "Doctor," and explains that she couldn't share the information he requires, even if it wasn't classified. The secretary then commends the "Doctor's" dedication, and says that if she hears from the young woman's parents, she would pass on a request of urgency to them, and try have them contact him.

While this is going on, a pale looking man is in the background going through a filing cabinet, and he pulls out a photo of a young Indian woman, Kiran Singh, Solstice!

The man thinks to himself of how Solstice will be his "Salvation", and that once he has supped upon her, the whole world will bow down before the Light and the Way!

At Belle Reve prison, Amanda Waller looks at the same picture of Lance that Red Robin had shown to the team, and speaks aloud "Where are you, Lance?".

An alarm is tripped, Amanda Waller knows that someone is trying to break in to Belle Reve.

In the Prison, Harley Quinn, Deadshot and King Shark deploy from their cells and head outside to find who tripped the alarm.

Once outside, King Shark is taken out by Superboy, and Kid Flash dodges a swarm of bullets from Deadshot. Deadshot manages to hit a few explosive shots to where Kid Flash was running to, and King Shark gets the better of Superboy. Solstice steps in to cover Superboy by blasting King Shark off of him, and Harley Quinn manages to jump on Wonder Girl's back.

Inside Red Robin confronts Amanda Waller. The two banter back and forth, with Red Robin boasting he was trained by Batman, and knows how to spot a trail, speaking of how he knows all about Lance, and how he was keeping an eye on them.

Waller says that she has been meaning to bring him in for questioning concerning the N.O.W.H.H.E.R.E, Time Square, Mystery Island and the recent Gotham incidents. Waller claims that Red Robin couldn't get the drop on her like he thinks he did. Red Robin claims he was doing no such thing, and was there to cut a deal.

Outside Wonder Girl and Harley Quinn trade hits, with Wonder Girl clearly coming out on top, and Deadshot has Kid Flash point blank! Deadshot is stopped by Bunker. Superboy and King Shark trade more blows. The fight is then stopped by Waller and Red Robin. Waller claims that she and Red Robin have come to an agreement, and the Titans get to walk away. Before they depart, Waller tells Red Robin that he hasn't actually "won" tonight, and that they will cross paths soon.

Kid Flash asks about Tabitha Munse, and weren't they supposed to rescue her. Red Robin states "Their was no girl" and that he will explain the rest later on the way home.

We close with the white haired man from the coffee shop from the last issue. He uses his mysterious powers and tells the cab driver to "Drop Dead," when he yells at him for crossing the street without looking where he was going. The cab driver falls dead in his cab, next a woman screams, everybody looks up to find Lord Trigon riding a two headed horse, we close with him saying "Bow before the power of Trigon!"

4Story - 4: Well, this was a better issue than I thought it would be, and that was me judging it by its cover. Lesson learned.

Though I liked this issue quite a bit, I couldn't give it a 5. There are two main reasons for this:

The first (and arguably the biggest), though no fault of Scott Lobdell, is what has been going on in this book. I feel the editorial mandates on this book have really made it hard to like and enjoy. Case in point this issue, is the Robin's Requiem segment at the beginning of the book.

Now I know that Tim Drake doesn't have a book of his own, so I know that they had to fit it in somewhere, and here was most likely the best place. Also it also boosts sales if your title ties in with whatever the Bat-Books are doing. But I'm really getting sick of editorial dictating what the writers should be writing in the books. They could have retitled this book to "Teen Tie-Ins"! I'm not speaking of what went on with Andy Diggle and Action Comics in the past week, rather the blatant apparentness that this book was used as a launching point for other titles, and boost sales of events that happened in other books, by tying this title in with them. So many fans have been frustrated about this, and they have every right to be. But I think that Lobdell has unfairly taken the brunt of all the blame, when it seems evident that the editors have been micro managing a lot of what goes in the book each month.

The apparent shift in direction for this book has been evident since issue #13. I feel that Lobdell now has more freedom to write the story he has wanted to. That's why the book has been a solid read since then. (Even with the Death of the Family tie-ins).

That said, the scene with Tim and Damien Wayne's ghost is very touching. And written superbly! Kudos to Lobdell for that.

The second is aimed at the content, or lack of, in this book, and can be seen as Lobdell's fault. The team welcomes back Superboy, they head to Belle Reve, have a scuffle, and it's over. That's all the Teen Titans did this issue. Now I know I'm glossing over the Bat-Cave stuff, and the other subplots that are going on, but the book is about the team, and they simply didn't do much. Other than Red Robin, most of them didn't get much screen time. Wonder Girl, Kid Flash, Solstice and Bunker were pretty much relegated to background characters. And that should be the end of my negativity rant! I generally like to keep my reviews more on the positive side.

As for Superboy, I was happy that he got a bit more screen time. There was a really awesome action scene with him, and well let's just say that it's good to see him back with the team. Also it seems that he will be bunking with the rest of the boys on the team, as he makes the Titan Yacht his new home. So there is room for some good character building moments there.

The doctor from last issue made another appearance this issue. His silent accomplice intrigues me. I wonder if this is the same boy that the doctor had in the underground lab last issue. They both seem like they will be going after Solstice next. I'm liking the direction of that, as Solstice, Kid Flash and Bunker both need to have their back stories told.

The Suicide Squad scenes were great, but too short I felt. The action was over pretty quick! I don't read Suicide Squad, so I'm just assuming that it only consists of the 3 members. Deadshot, Harley Quinn and King Shark.

I liked King Shark the most, not because he is an old Superboy villain from his book in the 90s, but his new personality reminded me of the stereotypical male jock/bully! And I love when either Superman or Superboy take down bullies.

I liked the call backs to last issue with Tim Drake and his loose lips, with both Wonder Girl and Solstice thinking of what had transpired between them and Tim!

Now I did expect this issue to address those events a bit more, but I see that Lobdell wants to let that subject simmer a bit, so the eventual outcome may be even more juicy!

All in all, not a badly written issue. Looking forward to upcoming stories!

4Art - 4: Here is my rant of what disappointed me about the art. I apologize for being a bit too negative this month.

I'm a fan of Eddy Barrows, and have been for quite some time. But the man simply cannot go a few issues without taking a break! Though the fill in artist did a pretty good job, and most people wouldn't even be able to tell an artist change during the end of the book, it's still one of my pet peeves. I hate when an artist can't complete an issue, and a fill in artist needs to be brought in to finish the story off. This is the main reason why I gave this issue a 4 instead of a 5.

Again it was handled really well in this issue, but it takes me out of the story when we get a change in the art. It's like watching an episode from a TV series, and then having all the actors change for one or part of an episode.

However this may be due to the fact there seemed to be that Robin Requiem interlude that editorial may have put in place last minute.

Aside from that, I think the art was rally top notch this issue. Barrows didn't draw nearly as much creepy smiles as he did last issue. His figure work is great as usual, the characters seem to pop, and don't seem stiff.

The facial expressions by Barrows are simply fantastic. You really feel the emotion of the characters. However, the pictures that appear on the screen, during the War-Room scene, Lance looks more like a teenager than an adult. It left me a little confused, as I thought Lance was meant to be an adult, not another teenager... We will have to wait and see in future issues.

There was real emotion in the first 4 pages that took place in the Bat-Cave. Barrows really captured the mood of the tragedy that has befallen Batman's house! I loved the fading away of Damien's ghost on page 4.

The Superboy splash on page 5 was simply awesome. I like that the camera angle is from a birds eye view off the side of his shoulder. I really felt like I was up their with Superboy, and that takes a great deal of skill to pull the reader in with your art! That and I love the way Barrows draws Superboy! He looks like a younger version of Superman, which very few artists can accomplish. Tom Grummett was the only one that did it well before Barrows.

Solstice's human form rendition was very cute and innocent looking. Hoping to see more of that in future issues.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the new Amanda Waller. Pre New 52 she was a heavy set woman that may have been in her late 40s or early 50s, now she looks like Halle Berry! She doesn't look so threatening being so thin and with the short hair cut.

Again I don't read Suicide Squad, so I don't know what happens in that book, I really like King Shark's new look as well as his attitude, but just as equally hate Deadshot's overdone and Harley Quinn's slutty school girl look.

Rodney Buchemi did a good job of blending his style in with Barrows. My only complaint was that he didn't quite nail the money shot of Trigon. The two headed horse just didn't look as menacing as I felt he maybe could have. Trigon looks too big for the Horse. Looks as if he's riding a two headed satanic pony!

5Cover Art - 5: The cover was a bit misleading, especially with it featuring the Requiem logo, but I liked the cover for this issue. But Tim Drake seems really evil, with that sinister smile on his face. I guess having the Requiem logo on the cover enabled a lot of Batman collectors to pick up the book as a Tie-In to what's going on over at the Bat Camp.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

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