Saturday, February 2, 2013

Teen Titans #16

Pretty sure this is also his first laugh as well.

Someday I'd like to meet Scott Lobdell and have a beer with him. On that day, I'd apologize to him. I'd apologize for the fact that I was never, ever going to stop pointing out how badly he writes comic books. Of course there is a flip side to this promise! I also promise to never stop pointing out how well he writes comic books. Except that part has yet to happen so it seems like I'm completely biased against him. Now he has written a few good scenes but one or two scenes doesn't constitute a comic book. I have a feeling Scott likes the idea of writing comic books more than he likes the act of writing. He probably likes coming up with characters and possible conflicts but then he doesn't like having to write them in an interesting and believable way (I use believable in a very loose sense since I am talking about comic books here). Instead he writes a bunch of omniscient characters who seem to know how everything will turn out. But maybe this issue will be different!

If this issue doesn't begin with Character X saying, "My name is Character X!", I will comment on the comic book as if it's the best thing I've ever read. I know that's more of a Tom DeFalco thing but with Lobdell plotting and Nicieza doing dialogue, I have a feeling he might come through for me here.

Nooo! Goddammit! This is going to be the hardest commentary I've ever written!

This is a really fantastic opening scene. Red Robin was conscious last we saw him in Teen Titans but The Joker always poisons everybody so it was just a matter of time before the drugs kicked in and he fell unconscious. That's probably when Red Hood dropped into the pit. And then in Red Hood and the Outlaws #16, we saw the Joker put drugs on the inside of the Red Hood mask he put on Jason Todd. So that's why Jason Todd is now lying motionless next to Red Robin probably Narration Boxing away as well except we don't get to see what he's thinking right now because this isn't his stupid comic book. But what's really fantastic about this scene is how smart it shows Tim Drake is. Just in case somebody is nearby reading his mind, he adds Bruce Wayne to the list of people that The Joker is trying to break to punish Batman. Although why would Batman care about Alfred? I guess he probably likes the way he makes Batman's tea when Batman comes to visit Bruce at Wayne Manor to discuss money.

I wonder if by the next page, Jason Todd will be back on his feet and feeling groovy since he's immune to all kinds of paralytics thanks to the All Caste! And since Scott Lobdell wrote that comic, he'll remember that point and use it to his advantage!

The next couple of pages are thankfully filled with Narration Boxes to help the reader understand the character's motivations and to help the reader understand the art that he's looking at. It's good to know that Tim Drake wouldn't want anybody else at his side when confronting The Joker or this box that makes me tear up just thinking about it:

I know that Jason Todd was dead before Tim Drake ever even approached Batman to be the next Robin so it's nice to know that they became close after Jason Todd came back from the dead. This is a really heartfelt moment.

Well, maybe the few times they did talk, they really, really bonded!

The Joker comes in and tells some hilarious jokes to the unconscious heroes although some of them must have been too smart for me because I didn't quite understand them. Some of the words he uses were too complicated for me as well, like "lonliness." But I could tell it was probably The Joker's best material in the entire Death of the Family run because The Joker was really cracking himself up.

Red Hood still wasn't moving but he must have kicked the toxin and was just waiting for his chance to strike. I'm certain Lobdell couldn't have forgotten what he wrote in Red Hood and the Outlaws #15 since I hadn't forgotten it and I didn't write it at all. Scott Lobdell is always so consistent in the way he approaches causality!

But The Joker doesn't have time to wait for Red Hood to ambush him so he dumps a bunch of water on them and that shocks them out of the effects of the drugs! Boy, that's good to know that's a thing so the next time I throw one of my heroin-and-cocaine-fueled get-togethers, I'll keep some buckets of water ready to splash on anybody that overdoses.

Pre-Harvest Tim Drake always has a plan! Yes, there is enough ambiguity in Legion Lost #16's reveal that one one-millionth of Captain Atom is actually Harvest for me to continue to believe it's Tim Drake, dammit!

After waking them up, The Joker reveals his big surprise! He has two men with potato sacks on their heads tied up in the room with the Reds! And they have signs around their necks that make the Reds believe that these are their fathers! Oh no! Would Red Hood even care about this? I was actually hoping for Jason Todd's little brother in Joker make-up. Yes, another thing I believe that doesn't have any supporting evidence is that The Joker took Jason Todd's mother's unborn baby (now borned by The Joker!) before he killed her and raised it himself. Because Jason Todd's mother was either pregnant or fat just before she overdosed and since she was skinny when Jason Todd found her dead, it must have been a baby. Or really bad gas.

Meanwhile the Titans and Outlaws are trying to figure out what they should do next when Scott Lobdell treats us to one of his perfectly timed and tension filled single-panel foreshadows!

What makes you think he's interested in the Titans, Solstice? It's you he turned human for a few seconds so he could ogle you naked.

The page after this is a Kurt Lance plot point page! And it turns out he is interested in the entire team because Waller is interested in the entire team. Why does DC have such a boner for Amanda Waller? They won't be happy until she's running every fucking group in the DCnU. But before Kurt can finish his thought about how they could make the Teen Titans useful, he's attacked by a corpse!

Does everybody in The New 52 have a resurrection machine? Do they all have their own Samsara Projects? Because Harley Quinn killed Grey Lora and she killed Grey Lora in events that happened before Death of the Family. Which means Basilisk can resurrect people. Which means Regulus is far from dead.

I don't know who blasted Kurt Lance into unconsciousness but it was probably Regulus.

The page after Kurt Lance is felled is about Trigon and Raven. That's smart! Scott Lobdell knows that this issue is all about getting Red Hood and Red Robin to The Joker's Batman party and he doesn't need a lot of space to do that. So instead of filling pages with The Joker telling mean-spirited yet hilarious jokes, Scott Lobdell takes the time to hint at a bunch of future plots. One of which is Trigon sending Raven to Earth, probably to fulfill a plan that's already totally planned and pretty much going to come to pass no matter what anybody does because Trigon's already thought through all of the possibilities and taken necessary precautions against failure.

Wow. Raven's new costume is amazing! Wow! The feathers blocking her features are just an insipid feature! I mean inspired! Stupid auto correct!

Back to the Reds, The Joker makes them fight each other to the death. Whichever one lives gets to keep his father. While Tim Drake is busy telling the Joker they aren't going to fight each other, Jason Todd is busy trying to fill Tim Drake full of bullets. While fighting, Red Robin figures out how to beat the Joker. He breaks the window the Joker is watching them through with his Inertron wings and yells, "Hood--now!!" Jason Todd picks up his gun and blows The Joker away.

And that's the end of The Death of the Family!

No, no! Of course it isn't! Scott Snyder has one more issue to show how The Joker didn't know everybody's secret identity even though it's really hard to believe he didn't know after some of these Death of the Family spin-off stories. The Joker obviously knew Red Robin and Red Hood would come up with this plan and he knew exactly when they would do it too! So at the last moment, he switched his body with a body full of knock out gas (the special kind that the All Caste didn't teach Jason Todd to be immune to) and he catches the former Robins with their mouths open. They fall unconscious and he drags them off to the party in the Batcave. Since it really looks like the party is in the Batcave, I guess the Joker knows some secrets!

This issue ends not with The Joker holding one covered serving tray but two. So has there been a serving tray for every member of the Bat-family? I was simply assuming there was only one. That kind of changes up what could be under each one. My guess is cupcakes.

The Teen Titans #16 Rating: +One Million Rankings! Fantastic. Great job. Kudos. I can't wait until the next issue when I haven't lost a bet with myself!


  1. Dear God, that Raven reboot costume is fucking horrible! Who designed it, and more importantly, who honestly thought it was good enough to actually let slid? Of god, my eyes need bleach now to watch that image out. I guess it's all PS's fault since he let Raven be taken by Trigon...

    1. I see what you did there! You just found a way to blame Raven's costume on DiDio! Nice one!

  2. It sad to see a once great comic in such terrible shape.Image what a talent writer could have done with The Teen Titans.

    1. Totally agree. I think I've been reading some version of Teen Titans for close to thirty years now. I didn't read all of the incarnations but I can't imagine many were worse than this.