Teen Titans #88

It's an extra-chunky issue of "Teen Titans" to kick off a new direction, with a new creative team. Still priced at $3.99, but without the backup feature, this issue clocks in at twenty-nine pages of story and also provides a final teaser page - a lesson J.T. Krul is borrowing from Geoff Johns - that depicts some upcoming scenes and a spotlight on what can only be presumed as a new member.

When all else fails, DC defaults to a classic line-up under the Titans banner, and this one appears classic. Superboy, Wonder Girl, Beast Boy, Kid Flash, Raven, and Ravager fill out the roster and the retro-roll-call at the bottom of this issue's fourth page officially won me over. The floating noggins and faux-zipatone background presented by Nicola Scott and Jason Wright offer a Silver Age flair towards the cool and fun. Scott's art trends towards being more in line with "traditional" comic art, but with a vast amount of detail and some less traditional page layout choices.

Krul's writing is predictable at times and unfortunately he throws a paper-thin plot into this first issue of his stint on "Teen Titans." I'm not making light of the abduction and experimentation angle, but it seems to me as though we've seen this a time or two in public service announcement comics. After a dazzling speech from Cassie about this team being on the front lines and needing to have some heavy hitters in the line-up, I would have expected a more powerful or at least more conniving villain than the one we got here. Krul does, however, have the ability to tell some very good character moments that echo back to the Wolfman-Perez days which he uses quite well here.

On the art side of this issue, Nicola Scott can do no wrong. Her range of physiques, facial structures, and expressions is masterful and quite the welcome addition to a comic that has artistically floundered more often than not over the course of the previous eighty-seven issues. Scott's done quite a bit in her time at DC, but based on this issue this series seems poised to be a high-water mark for her. Wright's colors compliment Scott's work and enhance the fun, Silver Agey-ness of this book.

Overall, this is a fun issue, and a very promising fresh start, but it needs some more punch. I understand DC's desire to flesh out their collection of villains and their preference that writers contribute in that direction, but I think the Titans have been shuffling along enough lately that a familiar evil face or several might have given this book the extra goose it needed to go from "good" to "great." This is a good start, and I'll definitely be back for more, and in that alone, Krul and Scott can claim a victory.

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