After the grim and moping second half of the last “Teen Titans” series, it’s a genuine relief to read a book about characters who seem to not only be enjoying themselves but also one another. Will Pfeifer and Kenneth Rocafort’s handling of the characters continues to entertain, even as an old face from Wildstorm steps into the center stage.
Pfeifer continues to play with the idea of superhero as celebrity in “Teen Titans” #3, and while many books have paid lip service to the idea, this one is sticking true to the concept. From a Raven-wannabe fronting a band playing at a club, to the Wonder Girl army patrolling the streets, this feels like the best depiction of superhero pop idols that we have in the era of TMZ and social media gone wild. With so many heroes either skulking in the shadows or being held up like gods, seeing the Titans being not that dissimilar from big name teen actors is apt and entertaining.
The superheroics aren’t left behind, though. Ladytron’s attack on the club fits in perfectly both with the ideas being posited and also just as a plotline about a bad guy sending his minions out to destroy his enemies. Ladytron’s unstoppable nature works well here, coming back nastier and tougher with each new appearance. It’s also fun to see the team leaping into action to assist one another; a superhero team acting like an actual team shouldn’t be shocking and yet it’s a rarity these days.
Rocafort’s art continues its long-time obsession with oddly angled panels. The opening page set in the club is an example of where that format works perfectly, with the musical notes drifting through the space between them, each image hanging like a diamond in the void. Other pages seem a little more arbitrary (like Beast Boy and Bunker taking down the mugger), but Rocafort doesn’t lost sight of basic storytelling. The panels are oddly shaped, but they still flow from one into the next perfectly; there’s always a logic to his page layouts. The best thing about the art here, though, is how he draws Ladytron. She’s wonderfully mechanical and slightly offputting; the gun being aimed on her last appearance in the comic looks larger than life and visually fascinating, even as it also screams “deadly.” Add in the streaked, spiky strands of hair and the much more jagged robotic torso and she ends up missing most of her humanity. Which is, quite frankly, exactly how she should look. It’s a great rendition of the character, and Rocafort’s art style meshes perfectly with it.
I’m not a fan of renumbering a book for the sake of renumbering it, but after the crash and burn of the last series, it’s nice to see that “Teen Titans” is getting a proper second chance. “Teen Titans” #3 continues a strong run from Pfeifer and Rocafort, and hopefully the duo will be sticking around for a while. It’s a pleasure to have this book genuinely fun once more.