I don’t think I’ve ever read a comic by Felicia Henderson before — I dropped “Teen Titans” from my regular reading rotation months prior to her run — but I liked plenty of what I saw in this issue. It was a direct, good guys vs. an alien landscape story, but it was told with clarity. Effectively.
The Titans — or most of them: Beast Boy, Wonder Girl, Superboy, Kid Flash, and Static — hop through a portal to “Wyld’s World,” which is kind of like that universe the kids in the not-so-classic “Dungeons & Dragons” cartoon end up in. Except without the cryptic but helpful Dungeon Master or the villainy of Tiamat. Wyld’s World has plenty of that harsh and dangerous landscape feel, though, with quicksand, and tumbleweeds that swarm like piranha, and death. Meanwhile, Aquagirl and Bombshell get caught up in some undersea hijinx that involve monitoring the portal but also a really heavy-handed joke about the big fish and the little fish.
Still, it’s written like a superhero action comic that’s meant to be enjoyed as a superhero action comic. “Teen Titans” #84 isn’t filled with angst or deep metaphorical significance or characters trying to make statements about society or art or anything else. It has a very middle-of-a-television-episode feel, which maybe explains why I thought back to 1980s Saturday Morning Cartoons when I read this issue. The dialogue is mostly about team strategy, and the stakes are high. It works for what it is, and what it is might be more rare than you’d expect these days.
The art, by Jose Luis (not Garcia Lopez) is standard DC fare. Marcelo Maiolo’s coloring looks like something you’d see in “WWE Heroes,” but the linework doesn’t suffer too much. It’s generic-looking, but for such a straightforward story, that’s probably not a big stumbling block.
The back-up story, part two of the “Coven of Three” story, is better-looking and more compelling all-around. The title may be off-putting (and I can’t be the only person who thinks of “American Movie” star Mark Borchardt’s pronunciation of “Coven” when I see that word, can I?), but it involves Zach Zatara, Black Alice, and Traci Thirteen waking up in a world that they know isn’t real. Rex Ogle does a nice job with all three characters, not all of whom like the idea that they might be dreaming this much happier version of reality. I’d like to see more of this back-up story, for sure.
All-in-all, a middle-of-the-road DC superhero comic that has a bit of intriguing strangeness around its edges. Not a bad little slice of comics.