Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Team Titans #21

Team Titans is an anagram for a tit stamen.

In this modern era, anything you say online can eventually come back to haunt you. But back before the Internet existed (or was mostly just drunk assholes and minors in AOL chat rooms), the main thing that could come back to haunt a person was writing into a comic book and asking for a pin-up issue. Sure, I had young person crushes on a few comic book characters. But I never wrote to Mike W. Barr and asked him to write a story where Halo spends most of the issue in her underwear. No, I wrote that letter to Jim Aparo.

"Come on, Jim! Just have her coming out of the shower in some scene! I can't prove this yet because it's 1984 but it'll probably become common practice to draw characters in towels getting out of showers when artists like David Finch and Tony S. Daniel become popular! And their renditions of adult women will look even younger than your rendition of Halo!"

I find the amount of "Ooh la la"s and "Ha cha cha cha"s I've had to read in the letters pages of The New Titans since they published a swimsuit shot of the women of the Titans incomprehensible. And I'd find it incomprehensible even if that amount were just one. Which it was not. I wouldn't be too flabbergasted if I didn't think mostly grown ass men wrote to comic books. I know kids did too! Take Roy Thomas as an example. But no way are young people the majority of letter writers.

Speaking of comic books, I just read Terry Moore's "Five Years" and it pissed me off. Mostly because eight out of the twenty pages were blank. After the first blank page, I thought, "That was a weird choice." But it kind of fit because it was squarely at the point in the narrative where the phi bomb goes off in Katchoo's dream. But then a few pages later, it was a double spread of blank pages. Being a Master Comic Book Reader, I thought, "This can't be right." And it wasn't right! Not at all! Now I have to purchase a new copy so I can see what I missed. And, no, I won't be taking this copy back to the comic book store. It has my greasy fingerprints all over that stupid glossy black cover that Terry Moore insists on doing!

Not that I think the store would resell it. But I do know they'd have a great set of my fingerprints to use for nefarious purposes. Or possibly legal purposes that would just get me in trouble.

At least "Five Years #1" had blank pages so I knew something was missing. It took me 20 years to finish reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman because I didn't realize there were something like eighteen pages missing from The Kindly Ones trade paperback I own.

This issue begins with the U.S. military surveying the damage from the Team Titans battle with Lazarium.

Being that Lazarium was only killing Titans, this means the Team Titans have killed 36 more civilians than Lazarium. Way to go, heroes!

Writer Jeff Jensen didn't have the balls to kill all of the extra Titans in the black hole so he decides to have most of the survivors attack Battalion and the other Titans. Enough comic book readers accept the premise that at least half of the battles in comic books have to be good guy against good guy, no matter how stupid the reason. And the reason doesn't get any stupider than having a bunch of Titans that were just battling alongside Battlion to suddenly decide the only sane reaction to Battalion suggesting they clean up the mess is to shoot Donna Troy in the face. At the very least, it gives Mirage a chance to mention that 500 Titans just died. After coming up with Wonder Boy and Two Gallon Hat and Liquid Joe, Jensen realized he was out of ideas so he just killed most of the others. And yet he seemed so excited to build a new Titans universe with hundreds of new characters! I wonder if he did come up with five hundred characters whose names were even worse than Liquid Joe and Two Gallon Hat, so the editors told him he was fucking crazy if he thought DC was going to use any of them.

The Titans seek refuges at the Justice League Embassy in New York. I forgot there was a time when the Justice League forwent their headquarters to run embassies all over the world. Giffen and DeMatteis must have thought there'd be big bureaucratic Marx Brothers type laughs in trying to run an embassy. And I suppose there could have been! Did they ever do a story with some Assange-like villain like Calendar Man or The Riddler seeking asylum from Batman's fists?

At the embassy, Donna Troy works out a sweet deal with the government to allow the Titans a life free from being blamed for every little problem that crops up in New York.

Great negotiating, Donna! "Do whatever the government wants or be hunted like vermin!" She's the fucking Trump of the Titans.

The government's deal amounts to the same deal the Team Titans had already accepted in their future life. The government will provide them with basic necessities and education in exchange for working in small military groups united under some mysterious leader. They all jump at the chance to not do anything different with their lives, especially considering that the other option was to be shot on sight whenever they mentioned their stupid names.

The government, with the help of gossip reporter Cokie Roberts, concoct a story to cover up the Titans murder of two hundred people. I know it was reported earlier by me that they only killed three dozen non-Titans. But it turns out, according to Cokie and the government, two hundred non-Titans were killed by the black hole. I suppose they're including all of Lazarium's henchmen and also all the people the government killed when they realized they had the perfect excuse to disappear them with the Titans' black hole. It's interesting that nobody worries about all the people killed in the black hole because that was an "accident" and yet everybody loses their minds when they think about Nightrider killing the guy ultimately responsible for it all. Maybe they're all just grossed out that he drank blood.

I'm just going to assume the Wonder Woman look-a-like's name is Frottage Girl.

Mirage feels badly about deceiving the public since she pretended to be Lazarium so that the world wouldn't know the Team Titans killed him. But Cokie Walters is all, "Don't fucking worry about it, slut! The news lies all the time!" I guess when you're a celebrity gossip reporter, you don't really worry too much about journalistic ethics. A proper reporter wouldn't have lied about this story. They would have just interviewed some government agent who would lie about the story and then they'd shrug their shoulders and go, "Well, I guess that's one side of the issue! If only there were somebody who could investigate the story to find out how true it is. I don't know who that would be though. A doctor? Or an astronaut? It's a mystery!"

While the Team Titans film another puff piece with Cokie Walters, Donna Troy approaches Wonder Woman with a problem: she wants her powers back.

If the graph of an argument doesn't look like an ouroboros, Donna Troy wants no part of that argument.

Donna wants to petition the Greek Gods to get her powers back and she needs Diana to be her arbiter. Diana says, "You have my support in everything you do," and now I don't know why I'm so aroused.

Maybe it's due to panels like these that I can't help reading out of context.

Donna confronts the Titans, pleading with them to return her powers. But the Gods have a law: "No take backs. Too bad, so sad." So they send her back to Earth where she lands in the yard of Terry Long's ex-wife. She looks in the window and sees a happy family scene starring Terry and his ex-wife and Terry's daughter and their son. She lets her low self-esteem get the better of her and runs away thinking her marriage is probably over before she can hear Terry yell at his ex-wife for being a snarky jerk. So a happy ending for once!

Team Titans #21 Rating:: C-. My main question for Marv Wolfman and Jeff Jensen is this: how the fuck did you manage to make a comic book with this much potential so fucking tedious?! Maybe you need to have a teenager's sense of drama to find any enjoyment out of this comic book at all. Killowat loves Mirage but he's a racist and she's all, "No way! Probably! We'll talk!" And Nightrider needs to eat people but he won't so he almost dies but then he eats a person! Donna Troy was happily married until she saw Terry and his ex-wife getting along for five seconds and now their marriage might be over! Battalion constantly calls people cheeseheads and their heads aren't even really made out of cheese! Terra loves Gar but Gar is all, "The boner you give me makes me feel guilty! Go away!" Redwing is all, "Prester Jon, my brother! We can finally hug!" But Prester Jon is all, "Ew! You're gross with the pointy ears and talons and veiny wings! Get away!"

Also, what happened to Deathwing? I really hope Mirage dismembered him. Hopefully Jensen will devote a full issue for a flashback of that scene.

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