Sunday, March 27, 2005

TEEN TITANS #22

I've not been eagerly anticipating this issue, certainly not after a pal warned me that it was the focused energy of all of Geoff Johns' worst impulses.

This, boys and girls, is why the bad guys will always have a chance. And why we occasionally root for them.

Considering that the Teen Titans are operating as a quasi-official boot camp for young heroes, you'd think someone would have told tell them that Dr. Light is no longer a joke and to be careful. But, no, they don't and, to preserve their dignity, instead end up proving Dr. Light's point for him -- the kids are cannon fodder and the DCU's heroes eat their own. Because while the youngest heroes are getting their collective tushies handed to them, Kory is collecting the Titans Alumni Association for the real attack. Who needs any lessons learned from Graduation Day -- the kids are perfectly expendable and ready to be used as a distraction.

On the one hand, Dr. Light could have torn through the Teen Titans like tissue paper, but on the other... he shouldn't have done it like he did. I don't have to have sat through Engineering Physics 101 to suspect that something's wrong if Dr. Light can suck away Superboy's heat vision and null Cassie's lasso and do... whatever it was he did to Raven. Comic book science and all, and light and heat are both forms of energy, but let's not turn him into a world-eater.

Dr. Light needs to be re-established as a villain post-Identity Crisis, but turning him into someone of such immense power and expertise doesn't work. He wasn't that good before he got mindwiped. A simpleminded giant is still a giant; they took away his intelligence and creativity, but not the raw materials of his powers. Also, this submarines certain upcoming events in the DCU. Part of what made the JLA's actions in IC so reprehensible (from the heroic standpoint) is that they were swatting a fruitfly with a battle axe. Amping Dr. Light up to a genuine world-class threat makes their reaction less outrageous and the related activities more unfortunate and less desperate and craven.

While we're on the topic -- unless he's been chatting with the other baddies, why should Dr. Light know about Bart's knee injury?

Memo to Johns: the group shot spread at the end does not make up for some truly awesome violations of basic concepts of both physics and character introduction, your usual blithe ignorance of past canon when using the Wayback Machine, and the wretchedness that is the new Hawk and Dove. And no, you can't always resort to the Opaque Bit of Dialogue That Makes It Sound Like You Have a Plan. Even though we all know that Bats and his mindwipe are significant to the aforementioned upcoming events, you don't do subtle well enough for that. Nor does Winick. Leave the hinting to Rucka, please.

Past performance being an indicator of future earnings, after we get this little bit of foreshadowing done, Johns will use Hawk and Dove to reintroduce us to the Teen Titans. It's what he did in JSA -- within a year of starting the title, he started bringing in new characters every three issues to cover for the fact that he couldn't develop internal team chemistry because he can't write team books well. We already got Speedy's take on everyone the other month, then it will be these beastly faux-Britbrats' turn to expound on the gang, and then it will be someone else's turn to narrate, and so forth and so on. That splash page at the end wasn't a reunion -- it was a to-do list.

Johns has done some great work on this title -- heck, he made me like Bart -- but his Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moments are starting to come more often and are no longer restricted to anything involving the Wilson family.

2 Comments:

Blogger Charles W. said...

"While we're on the topic -- unless he's been chatting with the other baddies, why should Dr. Light know about Bart's knee injury?"

The last villain that Doctor Light spent any time with "on-camera" was Deathstroke, in the Identity Crisis mini, so I let that one go. (Although, now that I think about it--why did Dr. Light hire another villain for protection in the first place? If he'd been mindwiped by the JLA, he shouldn't remember enough to think that they'd come after him for Dibny's murder. That, however, is a gripe for another time and place.)

As for the Batman scene, I don't believe that was actually Batman. I don't read Outsiders, but my understanding is that the current issue explains it--and, ah, features those wacky Wilsons.

Mon Mar 28, 12:10:00 PM EST  
Blogger The Comics Shrew said...

I am reading Outsiders (*head bowed in shame*) and while that thought did cross my mind, I could have sworn that was Batgirl and not Ravager he was talking to. Not that it made a whole lot of sense either way.

Mon Mar 28, 12:24:00 PM EST  

Post a Comment

<< Home