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Mild Mannered Reviews - Teen Titans Comics

Teen Titans Annual #2

Teen Titans Annual #2

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 30, 2013

Cover date: December 2013

"My Future, My Enemy"

Writer: Scott Lobdell
Layouts: Barry Kitson
Finishes: Art Thibert, Jesus Merino, Scott Hanna & Barry Kitson
Colors: Pete Pantazis

Reviewed by: Keith Samra

Click to enlarge

Our story takes place after the events of Teen Titans #24.

Raven has managed to stabilize the time jumps the Teen Titans seemed to be suffering from. We find the Teen Trinity of Superboy, Robin and Wonder Girl, sometime in a near future. They have made their way to the Batcave in hope of getting help. What they find is a Batcave left in ruins, and the corpse of a dead Batman. Robin obviously shocked at the site of his mentor dead, is saddened further at the site of a disintegrated Alfred Pennyworth.

Superboy's T.K powers trigger a hologram message left by the late Dark Knight, asking the Justice League to protect the children (meaning the Teen heroes) as he tries to hold off whatever it is that is attacking the League.

Just then the Teen Trinity are teleported to the JL satellite base, where they meet a grown up version (and now green) Beast Boy, now calling himself Beast Man. The Trinity are happy to see their team mate, as he explains what happened in the past to cause such cataclysmic events. Beast Man then introduces the Trinity to his rag tag bunch of new Teen Titans, led by himself and his wife Rose Wilson/Ravager.

As this goes on, Superboy finds himself ambushed by one of Beast Man's Titans Superboy (Blur). Blur claims that Superboy has killed many of the heroes on Earth, and tries to kill him for doing so. Blur is ultimately stopped by Rose Wilson. Rose takes the unconscious Blur to the med lab, and Beast Man asks to speak with Robin in private. As Robin and Beast Man leave, Superboy decides to get some air, leaving Wonder Girl to go explore the satellite base on her own.

While sitting outside of the satellite base, Superboy feels the presence of Jon Lane Kent. (See Superboy #19 for the full story). Superboy rushes toward Earth, in an attempt to confront JLK. Meanwhile Wonder Girl breaks into a sealed room on the satellite base. It turns out to be the communication room. And like the Batcave, it also has been left in ruins.

Meanwhile Beast Man and Robin talk. Beast Man explains who Jon Lane Kent is and what it is that he has truly done. Robin gets upset that Beast Man is divulging all this knowledge to him, and that knowing such things could disrupt the time stream. Beast Man explains, that he is only following Robin's orders to the word, and that in the past, Robin will meet up with Beast Boy and give him specific instructions to do so.

Superboy on his way to Earth is ambushed by JLK. And the two young Supermen engage in a massive battle.

Wonder Girl, while exploring the ruins of the old Communication room, comes across yet another holographic message. This time it's a much older version of Robin, and he explains that the whole team has been murdered, and that it was someone on the inside that has done so. Wonder Girl is then found by Raven, who explains that she has been searching everywhere for the young heroes. She explains that they have yet to find Solstice and Kid Flash. They are joined by Robin soon after and head back to find Superboy.

Superboy and JLK continue to do battle, as they go from Earth surface to the Earth's core and ultimately up into outer space. Superboy manages to defeat JLK, by throwing him into the sharp jagged surface of the JL satellite base. Superboy claims that he cannot let the injustices that JLK has done go unpunished, and goes for the killing blow, only to find that he is fading away from this reality. (See Superman Annual #2 for the rest of his story).

JLK is left to die in the cold of space, skewered to the sharp points of the satellite. His body is retrieved by Beast Man, and taken to the med lab. There he and his wife Ravager removes his Super-suit, and replace it with one that looks like Kon-El/Superboy's. Ravager and Beast Man discuss that by replacing JLK with Superboy, they may be able to stop the reign of terror, and make the desolate future a brighter one.

Raven, Robin and Wonder Girl soon after manage to find everybody in the med lab. There Beast Boy lies to the rest of the Teen Titans, that Superboy was attacked by JLK, and was lucky that he is still alive. Beast Man explains that it would be too dangerous to move Superboy in his current condition, but Raven tells them, that they must all leave at that very moment to first find Solstice and Kid Flash, then to get back to their own time, or they won't be able to leave at all.

Raven then using her powers, transports herself and the three heroes away. After they leave, Ravager asks her husband if they made the right decision in replacing Superboy with Jon Lane Kent. Beast Man's last words as we finish up are "I damn well Hope so Rose, I damn well hope so"!

3Story - 3: Well, where to start... Firstly this book furthers the on-going storyline that has been playing out in the regular monthly title. That is well and good, but for an annual, there wasn't much else offered. In fact I found that in issue #24 (last issue) of the monthly book, there was more of a cliff-hanger than what we got here.

With that said, the writing was very good I felt. Though the elements of the traitor on the team and time travel are nothing new, I feel that Lobdell is doing a fairly decent job with it. Though one must wonder, if the Teen Titans legacy will forever be "Betrayed by one of their own".

The new Titans that Beast Man has assembled really look and sound like 90s Image characters. Red, Blur, Stonehenge and Irony could have all been members of "Wild C.A.T.S or Youngblood".

This may come off as quite harsh and maybe offensive to some Batman fans, but I found seeing a dead Batman a rather welcome sight. Too many times we have seen Batman as the ultimate Superhero. It was nice to see that someone got him!

Speaking of Batman, the holographic message he left was a little reminiscent of a certain message Jean Grey of the X-Men leaves, as they discover a traitor from within... Then again, the X-Men and Teen Titans have had far too many comparisons in the past. And now more so than ever before with the New 52.

In typical Bat-fashion, it's revealed that Robin is in fact the man with the plan. I thought it interesting that he played the role of "Doc" from Back to the Future, leaving specific instructions to others on what they must do for when he turns up in the future.

Beast Boy becoming Beast Man was a cool little moment. Though Beast Man is a mainstay character from the Master of the Universe, it seemed like a welcome addition. Though the color change and the odd shaped limbs go unmentioned and unexplained, I really liked the role Beast Boy/Man played in the book.

Though only mentioned, there is no sign of Kid Flash, Solstice and Bunker. Aside from Bunker, the other two Titans are going through a very interesting sub storyline at the moment. A page or a few panels would have been nice to see.

Thought balloons were another welcome addition to the book. I'm a real old school fan that way. I love thought balloons. I love when I see them in modern comics.

Lastly we have the Jon Lane Kent - Superman's and Lois Lane's son from the future. We know that he is to replace Kon-El/Connor as the new Superboy. Here we find out that he is some sadistic killer from the future who has wiped out a lot of Earth's heroes. We won't know what happens to Connor until we read Superman Annual #2. But it seems that this is where the switch happens. What I found annoying was the fact that there was almost no explanation as to why JLK is a killer. And what is the reason Gar and Rose send JLK back in time with the rest of the Titans? Surely JLK will wake up in the past and still be who he was in the future... Or will they play the amnesia card? A couple extra pages to explain this would have been nice. And who exactly sent or took Connor away?

Overall not a bad issue, it really furthered the story, but didn't provide anything too special. Looking forward to how this story will play out.

4Art - 4: The layouts for this book are provided by Barry Kitson, someone that I have admired for many years. His layouts are quite striking, and he tells a great story.

I have mentioned this many times in the past, but I am absolutely not a fan of multiple artists on one book/issue. It's like getting different actors to play the same character in an episode of an on-going show. This book featured different finishing artists, so it wasn't too bad, but you could pick up some choppiness here and there. Art Thibert, Jesus Merino, Scott Hanna and Barry Kitson himself did do a good job with the art however, so I couldn't mark it any lower.

All this wouldn't be complete without the awesome colors by Pete Pantazis! He is a great colorist and really outdoes himself each issue. But an explanation as to why Beast Boy/Man is back to the pre-New 52 green colored skin as opposed to the red he has been sporting lately would have been nice.

5Cover Art - 5: This Month's cover was done by Eddie Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Pete Pantazis. And it is absolutely AWESOME! Both Superboys look awesome. And I can't help but love that JLK's super-suit looks so much similar to Conner Kent's Pre-New 52 (before he started sporting the T-Shirt and jeans look). Definitely one of my favorite covers this year.

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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