One of the things I’ve been amused by with DC’s “New 52” re-launch is how a couple of the books have very quietly synced up with one another. “Animal Man” and “Swamp Thing” both feature the Rot, for instance, with Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder approaching the villain/entity from different angles. In the case of “Teen Titans” and “Superboy,” though, Scott Lobdell’s been in the fortunate situation of writing both titles. And as such, he’s able to tie the two even more closely together, while keeping each book its own separate story.
With “Teen Titans,” we get one half of a situation involving the evil organization known as N.O.W.H.E.R.E., with Superboy as villain. It’s a different tactic than we’re seeing in “Superboy,” of course, and that’s in part what makes “Teen Titans” fun. Readers who follow both books know the other side of Superboy’s story, and why he’s working for N.O.W.H.E.R.E. and hunting down the Titans. But even if you only read “Teen Titans,” this latest issue proves that it works.
With Superboy as the adversary this month, we get a classic story of a team of heroes trying to take down someone much stronger than them. It’s a five-on-one battle, and Lobdell takes this conflict to its logical conclusion. What’s nice is that it’s more than just Superboy punching everyone; we see different uses of not only his power, but of the various Titans as well. Cooperation and smart thinking are the names of the game here; victory isn’t simply who got the best luck of the draw in the power department.
After a lot of grim “Teen Titans” incarnations, the new character of Bunker and the revamped Solstice are two of my favorite additions to the team. The two help keep the spirit light overall (except for Solstice’s information dump monologue near the end of the issue, but it’s so inelegant it’s better to just think of it as Lobdell himself temporarily walking into the comic and saying it), and it goes a long way towards making the comic fun. And I’ll admit, if I hadn’t been reading “Superboy,” this issue of “Teen Titans” might convince me otherwise.
Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund’s art is nice. I’m still loving his new design for Solstice, and in general everyone looks pretty good. (Since Kid Flash’s uniform this month is supposed to be temporary, I’m willing to look the other way, provided it’s gone in “Teen Titans” #6.) Booth’s playing with perspective in the big two-page spread of the sidewalk attacking the Titans looks crazy and fun, and in general there’s a lot of energy on each page. Overall, one of their better issues to date.
“Teen Titans” isn’t a terribly deep book, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a fun book overall, and it’s got a nice brisk pace; doubly so now that the team (minus Superboy) is all together at last. It’s been a while since “Teen Titans” has been readable, so it’s a pleasure to be five issues in and still enjoying the title.