There are a few, rare books that make you wonder, “Why is this book being published?”
Right now, one of them is “Titans.”
Surely it’s not to maintain a trademark, since in theory “Teen Titans” should fill that void well enough. And in terms of characters, a comic starring Deathstroke, Cheshire, Osiris, a drugged up Red Arrow, and the brand-new (and personality-free) Cinder feels like a non-draw.
I suppose it could be to wrap up the Osiris and Isis story, and at least the head-scratching nature of Osiris having to kill people in order to bring back the self-proclaimed Goddess of Life is finally being questioned. Of course, now we’re getting dialogue gems like, “The murders. Lives extinguished in my name. Death. Sweet, sweet, death. Ha, ha, ha!”
On the bright side, it makes later lines like, “Now the earth is crying,” come across as understated. But it’s (presumably) unintentional comedy going on here from start to finish with these two turkeys, and at this point I just keep hoping they’ll both be put out of their (and our) misery.
It’s better than the main story, though, which rapidly devolves into torture theater. Once again, there’s some ridiculous dialogue on display, although I had to laugh at Red Arrow complaining about coming down from his drug high during a battle. I’m not against the idea of a comic helmed by villains (I’m greatly enjoying both “Secret Six” and the Lex Luthor-starring “Action Comics”), but I find it hard to see why you’d cheer on anyone in this comic. By the time the new villain has revealed his empty eye-sockets to us (complete with stitching, which surely would no longer be needed at this point in the game) and then started mutilating one of the main characters, it’s gone so far over the deep end that it’s hard to take anything in this comic seriously.
On the sole bright side, Fabrizio Fiorentino and Philip Tan seem in on the joke. With over-the-top, demonic grins on Cheshire and Red Arrow’s faces at any given moment, it looks like they’re illustrating a theatre of the absurd. That said, on the whole it’s an uneven looking issue thanks to the two artists playing tag team; their styles don’t really mesh, and the book is suspiciously free of backgrounds or even any sort of detail for the majority of its pages. This looks like a rush job.
If I was a betting man, I’d wager that “Titans” is on its end-run, with the current 4-part storyline also culminating with the end of the series at “Titans” #36. Maybe that’s wishful thinking? If nothing else, though, I feel like I gave the series a fair second-chance here, trying another issue after reading after the disastrous “Titans: Villains for Hire” special that kicked off this current incarnation almost a year ago. The book is, unfortunately, still at the bottom of the heap and not improved in quality. Enough already.