Review: Teen Titans #69

by

Or -  “The New Order Ariseth…  FINALLY.”

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So, here it is.  For a few months now, I’ve been complaining about a seeming lack of momentum in the Teen Titans regular series.  We are finally at the point where we’re setting up for the new team to leap out and start kicking some but, and looking at that splash, I’m realizing one important thing:  Half of the characters on this cover either originated in or are derived from characters who originated in non-DC comics. *  That’s pretty interesting…  Also, Aquagirl is really attractive.

Previously, on Teen Titans:  This latest incarnation of the Titans TT2.jpgstarted out with the “Big Guns,” so to speak, with the original sidekicks and new sidekicks (Superboy, Wonder Girl III, Kid Flash II, Robin III, and somebody else whose name escapes me) giving the super-powered kids of the DCU some socialization.  Four or five years down the line, half that roster is dead, half have set out to become their own team (confusingly called The Titans) and Robin is off battling for a cow, which makes no sense as he lives in the city.  Members have been dropping off this team’s roster like cheese onto a fat guy’s “Who Farted?” t-shirt at Taco Bell, leaving pretty much only Wonder Girl from the original team.  Even more problematic is the fact that the member who wants most to be a Titan, Kid Devil, has had his satanic powers removed.  In the aftermath of the Terror Titans miniseries, in which The Ravager and a disguised Miss Martian saved a group of super-teens from a kind of Tyler-Durden-slavery in the name of entertainment, the few remaining Titans are about to have a made-to-order applicant pool from which to choose.

Our story opens with the powerless Red Devil, stuck on cleanup duty (polishing the statues of dead Teen Titans, a creepy sentence to have to write) when he’s surprised by the return of his friend Megan aka M’Gann aka Miss Martian, who has returned from exile with a few pals.  The survivors of the Dark Side Club (including Static of Milestone Comics fame; Argent of the old new Teen Titans; Aquagirl from Arthur Curry’s run as protector of Sub-Diego; the new Zatara; Plastic Man’s son, Offspring; Young Frankenstein from the One Year Gap; Hardrock from Superboy and the Ravers; the new Terra; Sapphire of the Power Company; a gothy dufus called Son of The Fallen; and a ludicrous moron known only as The Face) have come to the tower to find a place to crash while they get their heads together.  Wonder Girl welcomes the lost souls with open arms, and offers them membership (which Zatara angrily throws back in her face) and unlimited crash pad priveleges, at least until the Tower is wrecked again.  Terra exits early, uneasy with her legacy as it relates to things called the Titans, while The Face alienates everybody, and Aquagirl and Static share an unsteady-but-mutual attraction.

Recent Titans associates Bombshell and Kid Eternity are given full membership, while The Face’s overt predatory nature ends him up in a fight with Aquagirl (after his come-on to Miss Martian is met with an innocently blank smile) during which he gets his ass/chin kicked.  The Face walks, while Offspring, Hardrock and Argent exit, leaving us with a roster of eight that promises the awesomeness of both Blue Beetle and Static on a monthly basis, a situation I could not be more happy with, even though the solicits spoilered most of this issue’s surprise for me.  Still, I was taken off guard by one thing.  Expecting the Face to return as a villain, having been spurned during this team’s formative stages, I was a little surprised to find him captured easily by Titans Tower security on the last page of the issue… AND BRUTALLY STABBED TO DEATH by the Titans’ own protective programming.  “Teen Titans…  You’re next…” says a computerized voice ominously, as we fade to black.

I’ll say this for Teen Titans: I’ve been waiting for the kickstart, and this, it seems, is finally it.  From Red Devil’s use as semi-comic relief, to The Face acting like a real teenage boy, to the sheer enjoyment of seeing Virgil Hawkins in action again, this issue was a nice return to excellence for this book.  The balance of characters is nice, with Miss Martian finally having shaken the grim-and-gritty mindmeld that caused her to exit the book AND returning to her sunny, sweet demeanor, while Kid Eternity provides the nice mystical aspect that comes with the name Titans, and Aquagirl providing badassery across the board.  There have been rumblings on the Intarwebs that the possible rewriting of this issue is what caused writer Sean McKeever to exit the title, but the synthesis here works well enough that I don’t mind chancing things with a new creative team.  Teen Titans #69 earns a hopeful 4 out of 5 stars, pulling together a team that I like, with characters that I either already care about, or am finding enough likeability in to have good feelings about the future…

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*  Static, of course, comes from the late, lamented Milestone comics line.  The original Kid Eternity came from Quality Comics (also the home of Plastic Man, from whence non-starter Offspring was likewise derived) and was a minor star for them back in the 40′s.  Bombshell is a teenage girl version of Charlton Comics Captain Atom, who dates back to the early 60′s.  Blue Beetle is derived from the original Blue Beetle who started out a Fox Features comics waaay the hell back in 1939, migrating to Charlton Comics, and inspiring the Ted Kord version of the Beetle, who then, in turn, inspired Jaime to be the new BB circa Infinite Crisis.  THE MORE YOU KNOOOOOW!!