If you like what McKeever has been doing on “Teen Titans” — and I may be in the minority, but I’ve been enjoying his run so far — then you’ll like “Terror Titans” just as much. It looks pretty much exactly like a typical recent issue of “Teen Titans,” except Ravager is now on the side of darkness, maybe, and there are a bunch of second-rate legacy villains running around instead of various incarnations of Robin or Wonder Girl. It looks so much like “Teen Titans” that it could be easily part of the ongoing series if it weren’t for the fact that Ravager is the star, and fans would complain about not getting enough Kid Devil for their hard-earned three bucks.
If you haven’t been reading McKeever’s recent “Teen Titans” work, you’ll probably be completely lost by the plot of this book, which relies on prior knowledge of the Clock King’s run-in with the former teen sidekicks. “Terror Titans” is really just a spin-off from the main title anyway, a sequel to a story arc from a couple of months back, and I can’t imagine anyone wanting to pick it up without understanding the context. Unless they just think it sounds cool because it’s got the word “Terror” in the title.
It’s not all that terrifying, of course. Substantially less terrifying than last month’s dead Marvin story in the main Titans title. It’s basically a story about an underground supervillain fight club, with the so-called Terror Titans — made up mostly of younger versions of Bronze Age DC villains — as the Clock King’s henchmen. The Clock King’s stock has gone up recently, as events in “Final Crisis,” obliquely alluded to here, have left the Dark Side club without its “Boss.” “Terror Titans” fills in some of the gaps in “Final Crisis,” I guess you could say, except they aren’t really the gaps many people would care to find out about. What was the Dark Side Club up to? Why was it abducting super-powered youngsters? Underground fight club? Really? Oh.
So “Terror Titans” isn’t going to astonish you with anything revolutionary. It’s the kind of comic that you could put in a time capsule as a representation of a typical DC book, circa 2008. Joe Bennett and Jack Jadson represent the DC house style just about as well as anyone, and the comic’s focus on a large cast of costumed characters who are all morally compromised sounds like the standard monthly fare under Dan DiDio’s watch. That doesn’t make it bad at all. I like what Bennett and Jadson do, particularly with the fight scenes, and I like the slightly sordid air permeating this subterranean superhuman world. But there’s nothing here you haven’t seen before, and if that’s okay with you, it’s okay with me. (For the record: it’s okay with me no matter what.)
Ravager — Rose Wilson, daughter of Deathstroke — makes a fascinating protagonist, and I’m curious to see what McKeever does with her throughout this six-issue series. Will she merely find that her morality is stronger than that of the “Terror Titans” and fight the group from within? Or will McKeever add more subtle shading as she explores her own sense of right and wrong within a society that’s become deeply compromised? I’m hoping for the latter, but I suspect we might get nothing more than the former. Either way, I’ll be reading the entire series because even though it’s nothing groundbreaking, its good, solid superhero comic book storytelling. And I can respect that.