Friday, April 13, 2007

Comic Book Review: Teen Titans #45

The Revolution’s interest in the Teen Titans has declined during the course of this Titans East story arc. That is not a positive sign for the chances of The Revolution enjoying the Teen Titans when Geoff Johns leaves and Adam Beechen assumes full control of this title. The Titans East story arc has definitely not lived up to the hype. It has been rather disappointing.

Of course, there is still the possibility that Johns and Beechen can turn this story arc around and get me interested with Teen Titans #45. Let’s hit this review.

Creative Team
Writer
: Adam Beechen & Geoff Johns
Penciller: Al Barrionuevo
Inker: Bit

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: You can check out Tenzil’s fine synopsis of Teen Titans #45 here.

Comments
The Good
: Teen Titans #45 was a slightly better than average issue. Quite honestly, if it wasn’t for the ending of this issue then I would have been rather unimpressed with this issue.

We definitely get plenty of brawling in Teen Titans #45. So, if you are an action freak then you will enjoy this issue. The pacing to this issue is quick as we go from one fight to another fight through this entire issue.

I certainly didn’t expect to see Duela pulling a face turn in this issue. It certainly was a neat twist that kept the reader on his toes. Kid Crusader assuming Kid Devil’s powers was another unexpected twist. Both moves were nice efforts to spice up this story arc and give this story a feeling of unpredictability.

I really dig how Johns and Beechen are handling Match in this story arc and the impact that he is having on Wonder Girl and Robin. I love how Johns, and now Beechen, have handled how Wonder Girl and Robin have dealt with their grief over Conner’s death. Conner has been dead for a little over a year. However, Wonder Girl and Robin are still emotionally wounded and crippled from his death.

This has been the best handling of a death that I have seen in the world of comics. Usually, comic book characters rebound from a death of a friend or teammate over the course of a couple of issues and then it isn’t touched on much again. That is not realistic.

The death of a close friend can cripple people and Wonder Girl and Robin’s reaction and continued grief has been very realistic. Wonder Girl’s pain as she hits Match and cries and yells that she wants Conner back was raw and emotional.

It is interesting that Robin mentions how Match sounds so much like Conner. Wonder Girl even comments how much Match is like Conner. We know that Robin has been trying to bring Conner back to life. Is it possible that Match may provide the genetic material necessary for Robin to use to perfect his attempts to bring Conner back to life? You know that Conner is going to be brought back at some point. It is just a matter of time.

It was a pretty harsh scene near the end of this issue when Deathstroke told Ravager that all Deathstroke ever wanted was a son to carry on his name. That Rose was just an accident and a means to an end to get revenge on the Titans after they cost Deathstroke his oldest son in Grant and a way to bring Joseph back to him. Regardless of whether Deathstroke meant everything he said, it just further shows what a real bastard he is.


Of course, the best part of Teen Titans #45 was the ending. Without this ending, Teen Titans #45 would have just been an ordinary read. I completely geeked out seeing Cyborg and Raven appear on the scene with some of the old school Titans in Donna Troy, Beast and best of all, Nightwing! Oh yeah, Bart tags along as well wearing Barry and Wally’s Flash outfit.

It is awesome seeing Nightwing back in the pages of the Teen Titans. To me, Dick Grayson is the quintessential Teen Titan and it is great to see him back in this title. This was an excellent hook ending that definitely got me excited for the next issue.

Barrionuevo, who provided solid artwork to the Martian Manhunter mini-series, takes over the art duties with this issue. Barrionuevo is a dependable artist. He has a nice attention to detail and draws great bodies for his characters.

However, Barrionuevo’s weakness is the faces he draws for his characters. The faces all tend to look similar to each other. Plus, they all seem cold and vacant and they lack any emotion.

The Bad: Teen Titans #45 has plenty of defects. This issue wasn’t well paced and plotted and lacked any enjoyable flow. This issue seemed choppy and frenetic. All we got were various fight scenes crammed right next to each other connected by poorly done transitions.

The dialogue was very ordinary. And I was worried about this once I saw that Johns would be handing over the writing duties to Beechen. Johns has done an excellent job fleshing out the characters of each Titan and giving them their own fully developed personalities.

Teen Titans #45 was nothing but brawling. It was a superficial read with no character work at all. All the Titans pretty much have generic voices and there is little in the way of personality differences between the various Titans. I was worried that Beechen may write the Titans a bit too generic and too similar to one and other. This issue shows that we may be headed in that direction.

I still find Duela to be incredibly annoying. Her face turn and subsequent helping out the Titans did nothing for me to change my opinion about her character. She is still a boring derivative character.

We know that Beechen is going to unveil a new roster for the Titans with the next issue to mark the beginning of his run on this title. We also know that a Titan dies in issue #47. I certainly hope that Beechen does not have Duela or Batgirl join the Titans.

I’m already on the fence about continuing collecting this title with Beechen as the writer. If Beechen assembles a roster that I have no interest in then I definitely will be dropping this title.

Overall: Teen Titans #45 was a slightly better than average read. The ending was the saving grace to this issue and is the only thing that gives me hope that Beechen will deliver a wild ending to this story arc. I definitely have that sinking feeling that Beechen’s Teen Titans is going to completely fail to reach the high standards that Johns’s Teen Titans set.

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