“Teen Titans #23.1: Trigon” seemed like a good purchase based on the creative team. Marv Wolfman created the character back in the day in his classic “New Teen Titans” run with George Perez, and CAFU’s art in the past has been a strong selling point. The two of them together had a lot of potential, especially since Trigon’s introduction in recent issues of “Teen Titans” was less than interesting. What’s actually presented, though, is a comic that can’t be recommended in good faith to any reader.
Part of the danger of telling the origin of a character like Trigon is that eventually it’s going to have to tread into territory that never sounded that appetizing to begin with. The fact that part of Trigon’s history involves women bearing his evil progeny (Raven and her three half-brother demons seen in “Teen Titans”) means sooner or later, the writer’s going to need to find some way to address it.
The end result is a comic where Trigon devours a planet-sized core of pure evil, flays people and wears their skin, and then starts raping women to try and spread his seed into different universes. If this doesn’t sound like a comic you’d want to read, I think most readers would agree with you. Following Trigon’s history is an unpleasant at best experience, and Wolfman just plows directly into the mire. The thing is, it’s possible to have a spotlight comic on Trigon without having to show all of this. There are lots of different storytelling techniques that can get across some of these ideas without ever fully focusing on Trigon. So, why do so? It’s not entirely clear.
This is also the least attractive art seen from CAFU, who normally turns out art with crisp, sharp lines that jumps out at the reader. Honestly, this looks a lot more like regular “Teen Titans” artist Eddy Barrows’s pencils, with a much softer curve and almost plumpness to the characters. The slightly muddy colors from Jason Wright don’t help matters, although they do fit the general “down in the filth” feeling you’ll get from “Teen Titans” #23.1. The art in the end is flat and unappealing, something I never thought I’d say about a comic drawn by CAFU.
I expected “Teen Titans” #23.1 to be a fun comic, but there is nothing fun about this issue from start to finish. It’s not engaging, it’s not interesting, and it’s more than a little nasty. I don’t consider myself a prude or squeamish, but “Teen Titans” #23.1 is not a comic I would recommend to anyone, ever. This is, in the end, truly pointless. Let’s just pretend it never happened.