Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Teen Titans Rebirth #1

The Commentary!
• I was just listening to Josie Long and Robin Ince's podcast Book Shambles while washing the dishes. I believe it's their most recent episode where they speak with Alan Moore. I find that it barely matters what Alan Moore is saying; I could listen to that voice forever. I think maybe he's casting spells as he speaks! I'm only about a third of the way into it (I finished the dishes!) but one of my favorite things he says is about his time on the Swamp Thing. He reminds Josie and Robin that it didn't take a lot to stand out in the late seventies and early eighties because most of it was shit. That's not an exact quote! Comics really were terrible back then! Of course, they were terrible for different reasons in the eighties. And in the nineties. And in the...well, as you can see by my stellar argument, comic books are terrible. But they get better every decade! Okay, some decades they fell all over themselves trying to pass off shitty art with terrible stories because the people running the companies were insane and the people buying the comic books thought they were investment bankers. But ignoring blips like that, generally the overall quality has gotten better. Not as quickly as the quality of independent comic books, of course! That shit was already good in the seventies! Probably earlier but since I wasn't alive and don't currently have access to a time machine or decent research skills, I can't say. In other words, thanks to people like Alan Moore who decided comic books were shit and maybe they should be better, they've gotten better! Despite having a field filled with people just writing as much cliché superhero shit as possible in order to earn a weekly check.

• I know there were greats before Alan Moore! You don't have to get all up in my face about it! But they were only great in relation to the other shitty writers and artists of their time. By today's standards, they fucking sucked, no matter how much your old man mentality wants to yell at me that they didn't! Kirby's Fourth World may have blown your mind way back then but it's not fucking Saga!

• You should try to forget about Alan Moore and other really good writers now or else you'll inevitably begin comparing Benjamin Percy to them. And that's just a recipe for a huge Percy fail. Let's just judge Percy on Percy's own standards. Of course, like Alan Moore, Percy has the benefit of writing the Teen Titans at a time when nearly every Teen Titans story in the last half of the decade have been terrible. How can he fail, right? This shit had better be the Teen Titans version of "The Anatomy Lesson"!

It doesn't get off to a great start.

As a Writer (with a capital "W"!), I can read something and immediately know its quality! This opening page is Benjamin Percy doing the least amount of work he needs to do to get his point across. You might think, "Hey! That's smart! Brevity is the spice of wit! or whatever! He's being economical! Now that's writing!" Okay. Sure. He's only got twenty pages and a bunch of characters to introduce. Why not do the least work possible to get it all out of the way? It's such a simple concept, this works just fine. Beast Boy surrounds himself with other people because he hates himself. He acts like a big shot who's having fun because he's really crying inside. This explains that. Good job.

It's just...well, it's just so on the nose. It's as if Percy doesn't trust the audience to read anything more subtle than spelling out that Beast Boy is alone even though he's surrounded by other people. It's just so cliché to have the rich kid buying friends yet lacking any real friendship. It's just the kind of thing that makes me read quickly past the page while thinking, "Yeah, yeah. Got it." It certainly doesn't try to get me emotionally invested in his pain. Although, that also might be the last five years of reading a shitty Beast Boy talking. Why the fuck would I like this asshole? Hell, he's still fucking tainted from Marv Wolfman's eighties version of him that I've been rereading lately because I guess I hate myself. I'm smiling so wide, it hurts. Also people are getting really creeped out by it.

• Anyway, Garfield is still mourning Tim Drake's death and remembering how Tim said his greatest weakness was his need for an audience. He also says he spent his uncle's money on this stuff. Who is his uncle? Is Steve Dayton not super rich and his father? You know why I don't know these things? Because none of the previous New 52 writers of this series gave a shit about building the lives of these characters!

It's getting better! That's a good use of images versus Narration Boxes! Plus a woman in her underwear!

• Gar scares the naked girl out of the pool and possibly the poop out of the naked girl. Then a shadowy figure electrocutes the pool and knocks out Gar, saying, "One down. Three to go." So Tim went around talking to people trying to get them to join the Teen Titans. It's fitting that Damian Wayne is just going to go around and force them to join. Best Robin ever!

• Next on the list: Starfire! Starfire has decided, apparently, that friendship and fun and fucking are too complicated and now the only way she feels comfortable on Earth is by working. Well, she's really changed! Unless her work is fucking friends for fun!

• Starfire's work is stopping human trafficking. Well, that sucks. Why did Percy have to bring such a serious issue into this comic book? Can't he save that shit for Green Arrow?! Now I'm going to have to ignore the fact that Damian has kidnapped Starfire away from doing something important to join a stupid club of superheroes who never actually do any real superheroing! Starfire was just about to do some before she was kidnapped by Damian! Not that she's been kidnapped yet. I'm still at the part of her story where she has all of her clothes on. She'll probably take them all off on the next page, right?

• Darn it. This Starfire is boring.

• Starfire is captured when a mysterious hand reaches out and incapacitates her with electricity. He then says, "That was shockingly easy." Since when did Damian start getting into puns?! That's more of a Dick thing to do!

Next up: Raven! And her cute little skull barrettes!

• Damian uses Goliath to help get Raven by shooting her with a Ketamine Dart and then letting her trip out on Goliath. She passes out in terror from the demonic sight. Seems a bit harsh since her father was a demonic intergalactic rapist. At least he didn't use electricity again! I wonder how he'll trap Wally? Magic mirror? Weather machine? Freeze Ray? Boomerang?

• Damian tricks Wally with the old "canister of gas disguised as a kid passed out on the subway tracks." And just like that, Damian has captured the new Teen Titans! That's a pretty good start for an incarnation of the Teen Titans. The first rule of Teen Titans is "You are going to constantly get your ass beat by a kid named Robin." Is that a rule? I'm not sure that's a rule. But it is what always happens.

Discounting Bedard, this might be the best Teen Titans' interaction since The New 52. I said might!

• Robin reveals himself with Goliath standing behind him. I'm sure they'll all be quite understanding in the first issue regarding his recruitment methods. I hope Titus, Alfred Pennyworth the Cat, and Batcow are also somewhere in the Teen Titans new headquarters.

The Ranking!
+1! So far, so good! This was a well done Rebirth book. It acquaints new readers (and old ones confused by The New 52 Teen Titans) with the members of the team. It hits on all the pertinent information of each character, even if it's a bit heavy-handed on certain character traits that I suppose Percy will be concentrating on with each character. But all in all, this did what a Rebirth title is supposed to do. Characters introduced! Premise set up! Everything is ready to roll for Issue #1. Oh, and Damian completely starts off on the wrong foot with everybody. So perfect. He's the Robin nobody likes and he just doesn't give a shit. At least not yet! He's getting to the age where he'll stop being a smarmy little pre-teen and start realizing he wants the affection and camaraderie of his peers! Poor little confused boy has a long, hard road in front of him after this recruitment disaster.

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