Teen Titans #62 — Wonderdog Did What?!?

I cannot believe how bad this issue is. You ever read a comic, flip to the credits, and say to yourself, “There’s no way he actually wrote that unless he was possessed!”? This is one of those issues. Sean McKeever is the credited writer, and normally he doesn’t write such unmitigated garbage. Oh, wait, there are lots of spoilers ahead.

Teen Titans #62 cover

Here’s the summary, including the ending:

Wendy and Marvin (who, yes, became actual characters in continuity) are apparently the caretakers of Titans Tower, and they feel underappreciated. Then a dog shows up. Marvin points out how weird it is for a dog to suddenly appear on an island. (Foreshadowing! With a trowel!) Wendy thinks it’s cute. The dog refuses to eat anything although they think he must be hungry for something. (More badly done warning of what’s to come!)

Miss Martian gives it a cape. They’ve started calling it Wonderdog for no sufficiently explained reason. Cyborg reassures Wendy and Marvin that they’re needed, really. Miss Martian leaves the team.

It’s a dark and stormy night. (No, really, we see lightning bolts and a Krakoom sound effect.) Wendy is looking for Marvin and the dog. Wendy finds the dog, turned into a monster that killed Marvin. Wendy runs and calls for help but is ignored. Then the dog eats her while the superheroes work out with each other.

Last page: unrecognizable supervillain (who has a blue version of Magneto’s helmet with way too many horns tacked on) says “good dog”.

This is utter crap! If you’re going to use characters that only exist because of fond memories of a children’s cartoon, who the hell thinks that this is a good idea of what to do with them? “Wonderdog eats Wendy and Marvin” is a punchline in an indy comic that wants to be hip and cruel, not a full issue of a DC superhero book.

Not to mention there are way too many panels of watching the girl run in terror. This is not a slasher comic. Or at least, it shouldn’t be.

There are problems with this issue on every level: The surprise ending is no surprise because we have no idea who’s being revealed. There isn’t a story, only a series of incidents (which is common superhero plotting, yes, but it’s still a flaw). The characters we have the most feeling for and understanding of leave; we are left with two-dimensional ciphers.

It’s misrepresented by its cover, meaning that the people who actually want to see this kind of pointless horror story won’t find it, and those expecting something more in tone with the marketing image will be repulsed. The kind of audience who wants to see goofy flashback bribes like Wendy and Marvin will hate the content; those who like death as entertainment don’t care who you slaughter.

The only good thing I can say about this comic is that at least *something* happened in it. I also tried reading Reign in Hell #2, and all anyone did was sit around and talk about what happened or what was going to happen or what they wished would happen.


51 Responses to “Teen Titans #62 — Wonderdog Did What?!?”

  1. Mithel Says:

    And what is up with that cover? Bad puppy! :(

  2. odessa steps magazine Says:

    I honestly thought someone was pulling my leg when they told me about this issue last night.

    I haven’t been to Comicbloc yet today, but I can only imagine how insane some of the super scary Titans-obsessed fans have gotten over this story.

  3. James Schee Says:

    Yeesh… this sounds like its right up there with the Thundercats mini that had the twins as sex slaves to Mumra and the like. Yuck!

  4. Greg McElhatton Says:

    My jaw dropped after reading this issue, but not in a good way. Like you, I actually find it really hard to believe that Sean McKeever wrote it.

  5. Pedro Tejeda Says:

    Sean McKeever hasn’t written a single good thing at DC. It makes you wonder if he was ever as good as you thought he was.

  6. Mark S. Says:

    I don’t buy The Titans.

    I’m glad.

    My big question is this: Who is the idiot in editorial that let McKeever get away with this? This is crap of the lowest order.

  7. David Oakes Says:

    “[A] punchline in an indy comic that wants to be hip and cruel, not a full issue of a DC superhero book.”

    Saddly, that’s what DC wants to be these days. Hip and full of Indy cred, which means being cruel to the “Babymen”. Heck, Geoff Johns is one of those Babymen, and even he can’t write a book without ripping off someone’s arm or gouging out their eyes, or otherwise degrading the heroes he grew up on. (Unless you are Hal.)

    Even if I didn’t like W&M – I want a Showcase Presents: Superfriends with all the issues, please, not the Wondertwins spotlight we got – I would be concerned with this level of self-loathing among comics “fans”. Wasn’t “Infinite Crisis” supposed to be the darkness before the light?

  8. Kristina Says:

    Exactly right–this was such a crap issue. But his whole run has been absolutely terrible, in my opinion. Pedantic, immature, reallyreallyreally badly written, self-inserting . . . it’s just terrible from the word ‘go’.

    And the art in this is the worst I’ve seen out of any of the previous issues–their expressions are all terribly creepy and HORRIBLE, it’s sloppily penciled and inked and colored and . . . man. I’m so sad for Teen Titans.

    The villain at the end looked like he could be a New God.

  9. Johanna Says:

    Odessa: I do not know what Comicbloc is. Should I be glad?

    James: I was thinking the same thing. Nothing like pissing on childhood icons!

    Greg: Well, this was the title that Didio took over editing, right?

    Pedro: I liked Waiting Place. It could be very melodramatic, but I would think that would be a good thing in a superhero teen book.

    David: I think the light got forgotten because the darkness was too popular.

  10. Argent Says:

    I heard about the issue before I read it, so I was already prepared for the ending. The horror element worked for horror, but the question always remains – Was this the best use we had for these characters? Dog Chow?

    Johanna – Comic Bloc (http://www.comicbloc.com)is a really cool site started by Geoff Johns and is one of the web homes for many DC and some Marvel creators, including Sean McKeever. Sean is answering questions there now about the issue in his Ask Sean a Question thread.

  11. James Schee Says:

    Comicbloc was originally started as an online forum for fans to interact with Geoff Johns. It has now grown to be its own reviews/news site and hosts forums for other pros.

    Sort of a DC version of Bendisworld.

  12. James Schee Says:

    Oh, and the bad part of this Johanna? I bought this issue yesterday on a lark, because I’d been wanting to try Mckeever’s DC work.

    I can’t stand the Wonder Twins in those old cartoons, and had no idea they were in the DCU. Yet this, along with that Thundercats mini just seems… well icky.

  13. odessa steps magazine Says:

    I was a fan of Spidey Loves MJ, but I’ve not dug McKeever’s run on Titans.

    It’s funny how many places on the net (including here) where people keep interchanging Wendy and Marvin and the Wonder Twins.

  14. Dave Rose Says:

    In their description for this issue, DC has the following line:

    “This issue: a heartwarming look at Titans Tower through the eyes of its least-known inhabitants: Wendy, Marvin … and Wonderdog?!”

    This issue was one of the least “heartwarming” comics I’ve ever seen.

  15. odessa steps magazine Says:

    It’s been established, at least from the big two, that solicitations are not always on the up and up.

  16. Dave Rose Says:

    I know the people who write the solicitations often don’t have all of the facts, but they generally communicate the gist of the issue’s content. The comments for this issue couldn’t have been further off if they’d tried.

    On the other hand, maybe they did try to mislead the buyers. It certainly made the issue that much more of a shock than a more accurate soliciation (“You won’t believe what happens to Wendy and Marvin!”) would have.

    *********

    Odessa,

    Wendy and Marvin were created to be the DC Universe’s answer to the Wonder Twins. So, to the new comic book reader who only sees the cover to this issue is very likely – in fact is intended to – think they are the Wendy and Marvin from the old cartoons, especially with the addition of Wonderdog.

  17. Jonathan L. Switzer Says:

    Err, what Odessa meant was that Wendy & Marvin AREN’T the Wonder Twins. Zan and Jayna are the Wonder Twins — you know, the alien teens in the jumpsuits who clash their fists together and go, “Wonder Twin powers, activate!” Wendy and Marvin have no such collective moniker, and just happen to have a Wonder DOG. (Zan and Jayna had an alien monkey.)

    I dunno, this is just such a … hmm … middle school thing to do, the sort of thing you do when you’re trying to announce to the world, “I’M SO GROWN UP! LOOK! BLOOD! GORE! KIDS CARTOON CHARACTERS FROM THE ’70S GETTING SLAUGHTERED! BWAAAAGH!” I — I just don’t know why a mature grown-up comic book writer would write it, a mature grown-up comic book artist would draw it, and a mature grown-up comic book editor would approve it.

    Perhaps that’s the problem. Perhaps none of these people are mature at all.

  18. James Schee Says:

    Yeah that was me that confused the two twins, guess they sort of blended together for me when I watched the episodes as a wee kid.

    Come to think of it, there was a Zan and Jayna introduced in Extreme Justice. Hmm will Mckeever have his villain send a killer monkey after them next?:)

  19. Journalista - the news weblog of The Comics Journal » Blog Archive » Aug. 29, 2008: Dullsville, my sweet Dullsville Says:

    [...] Courtesy of Valerie D’Orazio and Johanna Draper Carlson, your weird-ass bit of superhero decadence for the week. (Above: Wonderdog finishes killing Marvin [...]

  20. Ed Sizemore Says:

    Given Alex Ross’ love of Superfriends, I would love to get his take on this issue.

    (And people want to know why I quit reading superhero comics and only read manga now.)

  21. Justin Says:

    When I read this I was instantly reminded of Dan Slott. But mostly because he is a fellow who does it right. He kept the balance of over the top dark books and his more humorous character friendly books.

    I don’t know if maybe McKeever wanted to establish a similar footing, but this seems a poor way to go about it. I am still shaking my head a bit. This is the same writer who wrote a pretty good Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends homage comic not too long ago.

  22. Dave Rose Says:

    Jonathan,

    After I made my post regarding the the Wonder Twins last night, I realized my mistake as the actual Wonder Twins were introduced into the DC Universe in the Extreme Justice series.

    I was going to post a correction, but you beat me to it.

    Thanks for correcting my error.

  23. Dave Rose Says:

    From ComicBloc:

    A reader asked this question:

    “Did Dan [Didio] mandate that [the deaths] this issue? Please tell me Dan mandated that. I don’t even LIKE those characters and think they deserved better.”

    Sean responded:

    “I may make a new rule that I won’t answer any question with the word “mandate” in it. There’s always this negative connotation with it that, as someone who understands the nature of this job from personal experience, I think should not exist.”

    This non-answer answer leads me to believe the deaths WERE a mandate and Scott just didn’t want to admit it.

  24. Dave Rose Says:

    The link for my previous post is:

    http://www.comicbloc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=48777&page=65

  25. Parkaboy Says:

    “Last page: unrecognizable supervillain (who has a blue version of Magneto’s helmet with way too many horns tacked on) says “good dog””

    Tha’s Ares, god of war and Wonder Girls big brother.

  26. Marvin White Says:

    I just wanted to say that I’ve enjoyed McKeever’s run on Teen Titans very much so far, and that it is far more light-hearted than when Geoff Johns wrote the book.

    I enjoyed this issue a good deal, and serves as fine setup for the upcoming arc.

    BTW, Sean has hinted that Marvin and Wendy aren’t dead.

  27. Jacob Says:

    It’s not Ares, it’s Lycus.

    And this issue was really well done.

  28. First Scrappy Doo and now this? « Red Maigo Red Says:

    [...] a second take on this issue puts so succinctly, "”Wonderdog eats Wendy and Marvin” is a punchline in an [...]

  29. Johanna Says:

    Who’s Lycus? And where is the id coming from?

  30. Dave Rose Says:

    Marvin,

    I’m glad you enjoyed the issue. Comics are meant to be enjoyed.

    However, in my opinion, the possible survival of Wendy and Marvin does not excuse the viciousness of the issue – whether or not anyone liked the characters.

    I know a lot of people don’t like them, but many people remember those old cartoons fondly, so these characters (any characters actually) deserve a more respectful demise.

  31. Kiki Says:

    I’m trying to grow an audience of comic book readers in my elementary library, but when I see a story like this one I have to ask myself “Why do I want kids to grow up to read comics?”

    I’ll admit I’m a fan of superhero/adventure comics – along with humor and romance. But the new mainstream (if it’s possible to use that word in the context of the comic world) superhero/adventure stories seem mean-spirited and hopeless. Why should I encourage the kids at school to develop a love for heroes like the Titans – through Tiny Titans and Teen Titans Go! – when this is the kind of story they’ll eventually run in to? Maybe I’m just getting too old for comics.

  32. Dave Rose Says:

    Kiki,

    We’re not getting too old for comics. Comics are outgrowing us (if “growing” is even the right word).

    I’m not sure I phrased that correctly, but I think my meaning is there.

    Can anyone else say it better for me?

  33. Rooksx Says:

    This comic has been a mess ever since it moved OYL. Storylines that never really grab. Friendships and relationships that fizzle out for no reason.

    One of the biggest problems has been the constantly changing line-up. Ravager was one of the more interesting characters and she’s gone. M’Gann seems to be taking a holiday as well. And now we hit rock bottom as Marvin and Wendy, two characters whom we barely got to know get bumped off. It’s hard to get attached to a team book when the cast is in constant flux. Really quite bad and I for one am not coming back to Teen Titans for a while.

  34. Dave Rose Says:

    Johanna,

    According to an article at Newsarama (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/080829-McKeeverTitans.html) –

    NRAMA: What can you tell us about the owner of the dog, this new villain named King Lycus?

    SM: He’s the son of Ares. He’s actually a footnote character in Greek mythology who was the king of Libya. And he sacrificed strangers in his fathers name. He shows up in the tales of Diomedes around the time of the Trojan War. So I just took that footnote and expanded him into a character, bringing him into the modern day as a foil for Wonder Girl. He wants to be Ares’ champion, not Wonder Girl, his aunt. So he’s come to wreak a little havoc in Cassie’s life.

  35. Jeff Says:

    When I was a kid I used to love the Superfriends and now I love reading stories about Geniuses. So when my friend told me about Wendy and Marvin in Teen Titans and how they were super geniuses, I was excited, I kind of expected them to be Like Zack and Hodgins from Bones, competitive but close. So of course I bought Issue #62, expecting what i was told “A Heart Warming Story about the least known residents of Titans Tower” Only to read some rubbish Cujo Rip off. I hate when DC kills off Characters with potential. I used to love Duela Dent and they brought her back and kill her in 52, now Wendy and Marvin, brought back and killed, whos next? Immortal man? Returns only to meet some stupid death like slipping and breaking his neck? Toyman (Hiro) To be killed by electrocution while searching for pics of Powergirl on the net?

  36. Alex Mandarino Says:

    it’s sad, but I stopped bothering with DC universe comics since Identity Crisis. It’s just plain ugly and I can’t stand this darker zeitgeist. It’s so childish.

  37. TimCallahan Says:

    Boy, I’m really out of touch I guess, because I liked this issue a lot.

    It was a great bait-and-switch, with the innocuous cover, and since Teen Titans has a history of doing these little “around Titans Tower” character pieces in between big arcs, I just settled in for some harmless banter written by Sean McKeever and I didn’t expect the horror at all. And I thought it worked great. It was genuinely shocking (and of course there was a girl running from a monster–wouldn’t you run?), and in an issue where the team is barely hanging together, this tragedy just amps up the conflict and gives the remaining gang a reason to be very afraid.

    And I had no clue who that guy at the end was, either, but instead of being disappointed, I just thought, “wow. And who’s this guy? Can’t wait to find out.”

    As part of the last year or two of Teen Titans comics, this issue was really effective. Maybe taken out of context, it seems a lot less.

  38. Johanna Says:

    I’m with Kiki — “mean-spirited and hopeless” describes most of the superhero comics I try these days, and it’s a real turnoff. I don’t think it’s that I’m too “old” for this, though — and certainly not for comics in general, there are plenty of great books out there — it’s that this is too juvenile for anyone to be proud of reading it.

    I also agree with Rooksx, it’s hard to enjoy a team book with such rapid comings and goings. The most creative new characters are gone, which not only makes this title less enjoyable, but makes it less likely for me to believe in anything new later. Why bother when there’s such a revolving door?

    Thanks, Dave, for the reference. So sad, though, that a comic needs an interview to put it in the proper context.

    Jeff, I too like genius stories — I hadn’t realized that that was the promise of the characters. Now I miss them even more. But many people don’t like writing “smarties” because it can be very hard.

    Tim, “bait and switch” is considered a crime in retail for a reason. :) And shock for its own sake… that’s a really cheap technique.

  39. Johanna Says:

    After reading more of Sean’s comments elsewhere, I have to say, they sound as cliched as your standard post-sports interview. “The story’s not over yet… If you don’t see a body they may not be dead… I wanted to create emotional reaction… Wait and see… It’s part of a bigger picture.” I’ve heard all of this a thousand times before, and for me, it’s not reassuring or getting me to stick around. Instead, it’s a reminder of how played out and predictable working in a mainstream superhero universe risks becoming.

  40. George G. Says:

    Reminds me a great deal of Kevin Smith’s use of Stanley and His Monster during his run on Green Arrow some years ago: the only thing worse for a writer than nostalgia is a self-loathing nostalgia. Then, as I recall, the plot involved pedophilia, sadomasochism, cannibalism, and a serial killer. Hard to believe another writer has found a way to top that in the “Inapt and Inept Use of a Character” concept, but it sounds like that’s what’s happened with McKeever, here.

    Well, in an age of Dark Mary Marvel and Psycho!Bitch!Sue Dibny, we really shouldn’t expect anything else, eh?

    Too bad Wonderdog didn’t perform a mercy killing on Kid Devil, too–as long as there was such mayhem going on…

  41. Johanna Says:

    Oooh, I’d forgotten about that Smith story… yes, that was terrible.

    Do you think Kid Devil is that bad? I kind of like where he’s settled down as a character.

  42. John Biles Says:

    I have to agree with this review 1000%. I was utterly shocked by the whole thing and I really am getting sick of Teen Titans being all depression, failure, and death 24-7.

  43. George G. Says:

    [Correction to earlier post: I meant to type "Psycho!Bitch!Jean Loring," of course; poor Sue suffered enough without my error...]

    Johanna, I confess to shooting from the hip a bit on Kid Devil–I haven’t read many of the current stories with him, but I just hate the look and the overall “serious” take on a character that was fundamentally, charmingly goofy. I miss the chunky, smart kid who put together a super-suit to help out a fun, cool father-figure guy he idolized, with no angst in sight.

    The only young character DC’s putting out these days that I have any interest in is the Jaime Reyes Blue Beetle, and I’m dubious as to how long that take will survive Rogers’ absence.

  44. Johanna Says:

    I guess the earlier goofy wannabe version got on my nerves, finally. This one is much more a copy of the Blue Devil story, being given the same origin and angst, but I think he has more potential, especially if he’s appearing by himself.

    I’m going to read the Blue Beetle run this weekend.

  45. Erich Says:

    “‘Wonderdog eats Wendy and Marvin’ is a punchline in an indy comic that wants to be hip and cruel, not a full issue of a DC superhero book.”

    My thoughts exactly…maybe it’s just because I met Jason Yungbluth at DragonCon this weekend, but my reaction to the scene was “This is the sort of thing Yungbluth would do, only he’d make it funny.”

  46. The Four Color Media Monitor Says:

    Wonder Twins get slaughtered by Wonder Dog

    In the latest sign that the current Teen Titans volume was a huge mistake, the Wonder Twins, who were recently reintro’d…get massacred by Wonder Dog. Brought to you by Sean McKeever, writer, and Dan DiDio, who’s been the title’s very own editor of…

  47. philippos42 Says:

    This is a very good critique of this issue. Unfortunately, DC & Marvel have no sense of thematic lines between genre.

  48. Blog@Newsarama » Blog Archive » Dog Days Says:

    [...] by a profane version of the friendly pooch on the cover.  I won’t argue with those who are tired of gruesome spectacles, because in the end, that was the point of issue #62. It set up the [...]

  49. Kermit the Forg Says:

    Note to Cyborg: Might want to include a working comm system on that list of super-duper upgrades.

  50. Batgirl #12 » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] for the DC universe. Now, Bryan Miller is cleaning up Dan Didio’s mess from two years ago. In Teen Titans #62, Didio directed the fanboy in-joke of returning Wendy, Marvin, and Wonderdog to continuity only to [...]

  51. Marsha Says:

    Hi there! ^^
    I just came across this post and Im a bit new on comics,and I thought maybe reading the Teen Titansfor a little start,
    anyhow,I have read your post,and i also have read some of the comments,so..Im guessing it was a bad issue? :-(
    anyhow…Just before I start my comic book reading experence,
    overall,should I be reading the Teen Titans,is most of the issues are bad?overall,the Titans arnt that great?
    please no flames on my comment,Im a bit new in this comics,and Im willing to start. :-)
    Hope to get a reply and I will try my best to come on and check.

    Thanks for having your time to read this comment.




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