After infiltrating STAR Labs, Red Robin is about to get squashed by a familiar-looking foe, while his teammates rush to save him. Will they make it in time? Your Major Spoilers review of Teen Titans #4 awaits!
Previously in Teen Titans: Originally assembled from the sidekicks of the major heroes of the Justice League, the Teen Titans has a long history of publication, with dozens of heroes joining their ranks over the years.
Of course, none of that matters any longer, as we’re in a whole new iteration of the universe, wherein Red Robin (who was never Batman’s official partner), Wonder Girl, Beast Boy (who is once again green), Bunker and Raven have risen from the ashes of the last volume of TT to take up the role of Earth’s Mightiest Teen Heroes, or whatever the Titans designator would be…
WHEELS WITHIN WHEELS
At the end of last issue, Red Robin was at the mercy of the rather oddly named Algorithm, whose cybernetic brain and powers gave her the edge over the Titans’ leader. This time around, she prepares to murder Red Robin in cold blood, only for the canny teen to take her down with an electric batarang, which forces her system to reboot. I have to say, as much as I enjoy Kenneth Rocafort as an artist, I’m utterly distracted by how much Algorithm looks like Ladytron, the cyborg from Alan Moore’s 1990s run on WildC.A.T.S., and it’s really distracting to me. Imagine if the new villain in the latest issue of X-Men was a white-faced man with a terrible grin in a purple suit, but nobody in the issue even acknowledged it. That’s how distracting this ends up being for me. Red Robin and Algorithm have a running fighty-fighty through the STAR Labs building, while Algorithm communicates with her boss, one Manchester Black (whose name should NOT have knowledgeable Spoilerites feeling relaxed.) Their battle continues until Manchester double-crosses his employee, pretends that she has been menacing him, let’s Robin save the day, and then presents him with an offer he can’t refuse.
NOT SUPER-DETAILED NOODLY ART
Rocafort’s work in this issue suffers a bit from sketchiness, with a lack of backgrounds making Red Robin’s dilemma hard to follow spacially, and is especially ill-served by a super-garish coloring job heavy on pastels. Weirdly, though, all the reds in the issue are muted, especially problematic when characters have red costumes, with Red Robin’s costume an awkward dried blood color, and Wonder Girl’s strangely pink throughout. I’m not feeling a lot of the design work, either, what with Manchester Black dressed like Sid Vicious while supposedly a respected scientist, and… whatever the hell Raven is wearing. (She looks like Gypsy Rose Lee if she died and was revived as a Cenobite. It’s frankly horrible.) Still, not every person has the same response to art, so I’m willing to err on the side of “It’s just not for me”, at least in those portions of the book that aren’t sketch as hell. All in all, there’s little surprise in a known supervillain character doing something sneaky and underhanded, and while I wonder if we’ve seen that last of Algorithm, I’m not sure that I really care to find out if she actually has any connection to Ladytron (whose name, possibly importantly, was Maxine Manchester.)
THE BOTTOM LINE: A BIT PREDICTABLE
In order to make sure I wasn’t lost, I picked up all four issues of this series in order to make sure I’m on the same page as the creative team, and what I’ve found is a series that, like this issue, is a bit muddled. Teen Titans #4 isn’t quite successful in its story elements, but follows the running tradition of the kids having a villain/benefactor and looks a little too chaotic and unfinished for my tastes, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall. I may check back in with Teen Titans in a few issues to see if I was entirely wrong, but right now I’m pretty sure that I’m not interested…