DC Spinner Rack: Teen Titans #89, Batman, Incorporated #1, Booster Gold #38, Tiny Titans/Little Archie #2
- Posted by Johanna on November 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm
- Category: Superhero Reviews
Teen Titans #89
Writer: J.T. Krul
Penciller: Nicola Scott
Inker: Doug Hazlewood
I really need to give up on DC’s team books. With so many characters, they wind up being the repository for all kinds of continuity flotsam, washing up in the book regardless of whether it matters to the story or not.
Now, one might say that the presence of a Robin in the Teen Titans is a bit more relevant than some other plot point, but much of what we’re supposed to understand about his character and the team’s resentment requires knowledge of the recent Batman changes, items I don’t care about. For that reason, about half this comic is irrelevant to me, as characters argue about whether or not Damian Robin should be on the team. In between, there’s some abused kid bad guy whose abilities, purpose, or motivation aren’t fully explained. At least the characters are visually attractive and heroic-looking; too bad their behavior doesn’t match their appearance.
A pointless, unpleasant issue. I’m only bothering to mention it because I’m flabbergasted at how far the craft of serial comic storytelling has declined. By the end of this book, we’ve seen destruction, in-fighting among heroes, and what are we left with as a cliffhanger? Robin screwing up and letting the bad guy (temporarily, I’m sure) take the upper hand. This isn’t a satisfying stopping point, nor does it provide any kind of entertainment value in this issue as a package. It’s a chapter incapable of standing alone, and although it’s now only $3 instead of $4, it’s still not worth it.
Batman, Incorporated #1
Writer: Grant Morrison
Penciller: Yanick Paquette
Inker: Michel Lacombe
On the other hand, this starting point was a lot of fun. Not $4 worth, as they’re asking for it, but still fun. You may want to try it beginning with #3, when the price drops to where it should be.
Batman and Catwoman are running around on capers together, and the whole thing is quite playful — so long as you ignore the guy maimed by acid on the first page. Bruce and Selina are in Tokyo to recruit Mr. Unknown, who operates under a comic shop, to become the Japanese Batman, since the title is a franchise now. There’s a bit more fighting than I care for, making the overall story feel lighter (thus my opening comment), but I appreciate the humor.
The thing that made me a fan of the series was the cliffhanger. The panels are separated by black borders with questions to the reader, encouraging them to return to found out what happens. I saw them as a laughing homage to the old TV show. The light tone helps keep the ridiculous amounts of violence and torture from seeming so morbid, and the idea of a Batman who enjoys fighting crime and righting wrongs, complete with a well-chosen partner, I can get behind. Bravo to Morrison for remembering what superhero comics should be like.
Booster Gold #38
Writers: Keith Giffen & J.M. DeMatteis
Art: Chris Batista & Rich Perrotta
OK, enough talking about price now, since everything else I’m going to talk about is at the now-standard price point of $2.99. This is another fun story, remembering the history of the character in a welcoming fashion with a sense of humor and enough of a story that the issue is satisfying in itself.
Booster has found himself guardian of a young girl, who as this story has opened, has stolen a time bubble and run away to World War II. This allows for the return of General Glory. Even if you don’t recall his glory days, during Booster’s time in the Justice League, he works as a parody of an idiotically patriotic hero. His sidekick Ernie also allows for lots of jokes about child endangerment.
The writing’s amusing, putting character first, but there’s still plenty of action in the meantimes. It’s just part of the story, not the focus for its own sake (which I find tiring and childish). Everything’s going a mile a minute, and the result is a packed book that feels like a substantial, worthwhile read. Booster even gets to be clever! The art keeps up with whatever’s required, whether star-spangled action, cast-interaction humor, or childlike fear.
The girl’s motive is unexpected but sensible, from a twisted perspective suitable to her age. I find myself wondering if she’s named Rani as an homage to Doctor Who.
Tiny Titans/Little Archie #2
Writers: Art Baltazar & Franco
Artist: Art Baltazar
Simply charming. The Tiny Titans Pet Club, due to a misunderstanding, invite Josie and her Pussycats to join. Everyone is adorable in the little people/big head style. I was particularly impressed by how right they got Melody’s voice. As a dumb blonde character, lots of people think they can write her, but it takes a certain skill to get her internal logic consistent and create the right kind of humor.
We also get to see (as one might expect if one thought about it, but this series is most fun if you don’t think, just experience) Little Archie and his buddies in their superhero identities.
Two Quick Bits
I’m still very much enjoying Batgirl, and you’re probably already heard about the comical opening pages of issue #15, where she sums up recent Batman events in a lovely cartoony way by new artist Dustin Nguyen, who’s also quite capable of illustrating the action. Stephanie’s college years are in danger as someone calling themselves the Grey Ghost involves her in a student’s murder. I’m ready for the next issue already!
I don’t really know if many Americans get Knight and Squire, as it seems to be layering on Britishisms with a trowel. Issue #2 makes much of village class distinctions and Morris Men, a kind of re-enactor of folk tradition. Is its foreignness its source of appeal? There are translation and cultural notes from writer Paul Cornell at the back, which help, and artist Jimmy Broxton has a nice clean line and a pleasurable willingness to draw background and setting. If you want to see the funniest page in the issue, go to this review and scroll down.