It’s a little funny when you think about it. With next month’s relaunch, all the books have their numbering reset to #1. And yet, this month, an extra issue of “Teen Titans” is squeezed out for the sole purpose of having the title end with #100. Never underestimate the allure of multiples of 50, I guess.
That said, reading “Teen Titans” #99 makes this story certainly feel like it was originally going to need quite so many issues. Maybe it was part of the outline all along, but from a reader’s perspective this issue is padding through-and-through.
You know those comics where the team of bad guys shows up and then everyone faces off against their counterpart one-by-one? Clearly, so does J.T. Krul. It’s not told in a terribly interesting or even original way, though. Instead, Superboy-Prime (whose presence in this story is still not satisfactorily explained when approached from the question of, “Why use this character?”) gloats, and then we get little more than the same scene over and over again.
Even last month’s “gotcha!” moment of the multiple iterations of Superboy appearing is all for nothing; they show up for three panels and then are nowhere to be seen for the rest of the issue. In terms of defusing a cliffhanger, Krul’s decision to not advance it-or for that matter any other part of the story-is both baffling and impressive. Then again, the fights involve characters saying things like, “I’m here to destroy the universe” with no trace of irony (and no, it’s not Superboy-Prime saying it); the lack of effort put into the script for this issue to make it even mildly entertaining is painful. Krul’s written some all right issues of “Teen Titans” in his short run, but this is slightly insulting to the reader.
Jose Luis provides the sole reason to read “Teen Titans” #99, with some attractive pencils. It’s that smooth, inoffensive house style that a lot of the “Superman” books were using a couple of years ago, and Luis tells the story well with solid anatomy, easy to follow page layouts, and nicely detailed backgrounds. It’s not the flashiest style, but it works well and certainly rises above the script it’s illustrating. Best of all, when all of the guest stars show up in the final splash to lead into “Teen Titans” #100, Luis has fun drawing all of the old familiar faces. It’s too bad we couldn’t have had this at the end of last month’s issue and just wrap up the series here (it would almost have been worth it to watch people’s head explode because the series ended with #99), honestly.
“Teen Titans” #99 is quite possibly one of the most skippable comics I’ve seen in a while. If you aren’t reading the series, there’s nothing to entice you on board. If you are reading the series, the lack of forward movement will be frustrating. Unless the purpose of “Teen Titans” #99 was to make Titans fans giddy at the idea of this comic getting completely reset with a new creative team and cast, I’m at a loss.