Teen Titans Season 5
The first two episodes guest-star the Doom Patrol, Beast Boy’s earlier team, as a way of introducing their enemies the Brotherhood of Evil, who are the recurring villains this season. They’re made up, in their first appearance, of the Brain (a talking organ) and Monsieur Mallah (an intelligent gorilla). Two villains? Some brotherhood. In the second episode, they add General Immortus and Madame Rouge.
Between that lackluster threat and the Doom Patrol’s odd avoidance of any kind of teamwork whatsoever, it’s not the kind of thing I usually expect to see from a superhero group cartoon. There’s no question why Beast Boy would have hooked up with a different team, after this introduction; Mento’s a tyrant who orders everyone around with no concern for their well-being, although he learns his lesson by the end.
Several of the other episodes find the Brotherhood targeting lesser-known Titans around the world, resulting in traditional dramatic adventure with various guest stars (such as glow-y head Hotspot in Morocco or the Russian Red Star). Personally, I had a problem seeing Dr. Light used in a show for kids (“Kole”), after the storylines DC has given him in the past few years.
My favorite episodes are those with a lighter sense of humor, like “For Real”, where a fanboy faces off with Titans East (led by Bumblebee!), or “Hide and Seek”, where Raven ends up babysitting three baby superheroes. That latter one does a great job combining comedy and adventure with a real sense of threat. For that reason, it’s my favorite of the set.
Another good episode was “Lightspeed”, introducing Kid Flash as he faces off against the Hive Five (which is like a villainous parallel to the Teen Titans). Hmm, what does it say that I like best those that don’t have the main characters much if at all? Maybe that using non-leads gives writers more flexibility, and that can result in creativity.
The cameos are pleasing, either guest voices (Michael Rosenbaum, who voices Flash on the Justice League cartoon, also plays Kid Flash, for instance) or on-screen (three monks in the babysitting episode are visually based on comic creators Nick Cardy, George Pérez, and Marv Wolfman). And it’s a treat to see the team’s origin in “Go!”
The set finishes with a two-episode final Titans/Brotherhood battle, with over 40 characters, followed by an epilogue, “Things Change”, that concludes the series with the reminder that nothing lasts forever.
The only extras are short “Friends and Foes” behind-the-scenes clips about working on the various teams. Covered are the Doom Patrol, Titans East, the other honorary Titans, the Brotherhood of Evil, and Gordanians (aliens that held Starfire hostage). Overall, I suspect those who’ve been following the series will find this a rewarding conclusion, but one of the earlier seasons would be a better starting point for new viewers. (A complimentary copy of this DVD was provided by the studio.)