Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Teen Titans Vol. 1: Blinded by the Light


Okay, first of all, whoever decided to name that story arc should be forced to listen to a 100-hour loop of Manford Mann and His Rare Earth Band's hit, "Blinded by the Light," because this has been my brain since I started reading this comic:

[in wailing falsetto]

"Blinded by the li-hight
Racked up like a deuce,
Another roller in the ni-hight!"

Repeat ad infinitum.

Not only does the song not make sense (unless you are tripping balls, then, I mean, it could be Dalai Lama-level profound), but it is a very.  Annoying.  Song.  So I hope you're happy, o writerly people, for driving your readers absolutely insane.

On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that, as with many of the re-reboots in The New 52, this is target toward tweens and teens, and so none of them are even aware of this song's existence.  I am not particularly ancient, but my parents listened to classic rock stations all the time as a kid.  In the fourth grade, someone asked me who my favorite band was and I said, "Huey Lewis and the News."  The kid sighed and said, "Just say it's Green Day."

But this review is not all about Manford Mann and his Earworm-Producing Band.  It's about this Teen Titans thingie.  Which was ... tolerable, I suppose.

This set of Teen Titans is composed of:

Red Robin
Wonder Girl
Beast Boy
Raven
Bunker

and we have an addition to the team later on.

I have to admit that I am generally perplexed by the iterations of Robin and Nightwing that we've cycled through in the DC Universe.  Dick Grayson: I think I got that one.  Jason Todd becomes Red Hood in the New 52, and then we have Tim Drake.  I'm assuming that in this timeline (not Earth-One or Earth-Two or whatever the heck alternate reality someone dreams up) Damien Wayne was Robin but is probably no longer Robin, unless they retcon that too ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ or just retcon the idea of Damien, because wilder things have happened.  Anybats, Tim Drake is the leader of the Teen Titans in this series, and he's going by Red Robin here.  I am sure he has to endure a lot of burger jokes.

As I mentioned, I think this is going the way that the DC team took Batgirl, and that's back into high school and middle school, specifically for hipster kids and kids who probably have fused their phones to their hands like that one lady who fused her bottom to her BF's toilet seat in revenge.  However, unlike Batgirl, which has, I think, always been a bit dark and really works that way, Teen Titans has generally been a fun, goofy comic with teen superheroes being fun and goofy and really dumb sometimes, so this approach--dare I say it?--actually works?

However, I don't think anyone told the artistic team that the Titans were supposed to be younger, because Wonder Girl (confession: I legitimately have no idea who this is) has an amazing support system for her DDs in that tube top costume, and Raven (Raven, of all people!) has a very pin-up figure.

There's good fodder for a story here, but it's not as well-executed as I would have liked.  It's not like the whole thing was botched; rather, a lot of little errors added up to me sighing at the end, wishing it had all gone differently.

My main beef is that these teens--who are supposedly pretty intelligent, think that a scientist approaching them from S.T.A.R. labs right after one of his cybernetic creations went on a bloodthirsty rampage is completely legit.  Captain Union Jack Tattoo  oozes smarminess as he offers Robin a chance to partner up and have a sponsor in S.T.A.R.  Tim's all like, "Yeah, it's probably not a good idea, but let's totally do this!"  Everyone else is just dancing around like, "La-la-la, Tim's the smart one, and we just provide superhero muscle, so la-la-la sponsorship yay!"

I don't get this Bunker guy, either.  Is he gay?  He does this rah-rah LGBT rights thing but doesn't really go into anything personal.  He shares his apartment with Beast Boy, so are they a thing?  I would have thought that BB was pansexual, being that he is what he is.  I'm also a bit iffy on Bunker's "superpowers."  He shoots tiny cubes of stuff ... around.  ?

Plus, Raven, who is generally criminally underused, has pretty much been reduced to a pack mule here, thanks to her teleportation abilities.  Yeah, she does some bizarre chants and casts some spells, but her main role is to haul the team from one place to the next.  Nice.

I didn't hate this.  I didn't strongly dislike it.  But I didn't really like it, either.

I received an ARC of this title from Netgalley.

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