With the temporary diversion of the “Teen Titans” from two months ago (courtesy DC’s #0 month for September), “Teen Titans” #13 has Scott Lobdell joined by Fabian Nicieza and Ale Garza to finally tell Wonder Girl’s origin story. While on the surface, it sounds like a reasonable enough plot, the actual execution falls down in multiple places.
I like the core of the idea, that this Wonder Girl wasn’t quite as sweet and polished as her original depiction. Having her take advantage of her mother’s archaeology career to steal all around the world is a strange step, although it makes you think that you at least know where this is going. But with the progression of the bad-boy boyfriend and then the secret temple added to the mix, “Teen Titans” #13 collapses under its own weight.
Part of it has to do with the basic plotting; there’s just too much thrown in. If you removed any one of the three elements of Wonder Girl’s storyline (thief, boyfriend, secret temple) I think the other two would automatically work well together and form a slightly simpler but more cohesive story. With the extra element, though, it’s all heaped into a bit of a mess. Nicieza’s script over Lobdell’s plot keeps it lively (and the slightly conflicting narration compared to what’s really happening is amusing), but it’s still all a bit much.
The other problem with the writing is that Wonder Girl doesn’t come across as terribly sympathetic. I’m not saying that she has to be good all the way through, but rather that there’s never a hook to make us hope that things go well. Even when she saves Diesel it comes across as very self-serving and cold; this is a character that it’s hard to warm to.
It doesn’t help that Garza’s art isn’t the best choice for this particular story. Garza’s art is very animation styled, with big, loose lines and not a lot of small technical detail. The problem is that whenever we get to places like the hidden temple, or the unveiling of the armor, it’s that tiny detail that we need to make it feel important. Garza’s interpretations of these places and items feels like they’re utterly missing the mark with what Lobdell had written, and it’s a bad pairing of artist with subject material.
“Teen Titans” #13 could have worked, but the finished product just never quite gels. As a return to the main narrative, it’s a bit of a let down.