Aside from “Blackest Night: Titans” (and the “Blackest Night” prelude issue written by J. T. Krul), I haven’t been impressed with the goings-on in the Titans corner of the universe lately. I’ve remained hopeful, but consistently that hope was shooed right in the can. It’s been like being a fan of the Detroit Lions; every time you think they’ve figured it out, they let you down. Eventually, you find yourself watching — or reading — just out of morbid curiosity. “How can they possibly screw this up any worse?”
Well, for once, the Lions won. For the first time since December of 2007, the Lions won on Sunday. On Wednesday, “Teen Titans” didn’t win, but they also didn’t lose. This issue is Felicia Henderson’s first issue of “Teen Titans” and DC has made it clear they have high hopes for her to bring some enthusiasm back to this title. Unfortunately, any enthusiasm Henderson brought to this issue is buried under the teen angst, infighting, and fledgling characterization. Of the characters in this issue, I felt Henderson had the best grasp on Aquagirl and Bombshell, but only because they were squawking at each other the whole time. To see Blue Beetle cower when Gar turned into a wolf then gripe about how his power taxes him, was out of character, plain and simple. Beast Boy was less a lovable dork, and more an oafish, lovesick buffoon. I’m hoping this is just a case of first issue jitters as Henderson tries to figure out the characters for herself, but the second to last page seemed like such a jumbled mess that I have no clue what was going on other than Miss Martian was saying goodnight to Bombshell.
Henderson does give us a new mysterious foe, an empath that is deftly drawn by Joe Bennett, so there’s still some room for hope. Bennett’s art is serviceable here, many of his characters where the same face, and carry the same anatomy. He tries a little too hard to make his females sexy, playing up overly exaggerated anatomy and posture. His work is finely detailed, his drawing of this new empath is chilling, but his work, on the whole, seems flatter than it was when he was drawing “Hawkman.” I know he can do better, and this title needs it.
This issue has another chapter in the adventures of Rose Wilson, although Rose doesn’t appear with the team proper. Sean McKeever and Yildiray Cinar give us a tale of Ravager as she makes some progress in her war in Angelsport as she discovers that guns and drugs aren’t all that’s being trafficked.
This issue is largely forgettable, but offers a glimmer of promise. While this roster is uninspiring, Henderson seems set to try and develop it. The foe the Teen Titans are set to face seems interesting enough to warrant a thumb-through when the next issue hits, but it will take a lot more than that to get me to buy the next issue.
One final note about this issue that strikes me as exceptionally odd: DC decided to “celebrate” the seventy-fifth issue of this series. How, you ask? With a cover starburst and a splash-page announcement of “Welcome to the 75th issue of the ‘Teen Titans’.” Superman’s seventieth anniversary as a character being published by DC barely gets a wink and a nod, yet this issue is tagged with a starburst and an announcement. Nothing else, mind you, no extra pages, no special roster shake-up, just another “Teen Titans” comic. Weird almost marketing there, DC, just plain weird.