Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day-And-Date: Teen Titans 1, Superman 1, Aquaman 1, Flash 1

This was a good week for comics. I enjoyed all four books I read and there wasn't any appalling hypersexualization of women in any of them. Good job, DC!

Teen Titans 1
Writer: Scott Lobdell
Artists: Brett Booth & Norm Rapmund
Rating: 4 out of 5 Pixels

I was pretty hesitant about this book after reading last week's Red Hood and the Outlaws, but I was pleasantly surprised by Teen Titans. Which makes me happy, because these are some of my favorite characters. I absolutely love Tim Drake here, as the veteran teen superhero trying to work behind the scenes, causing problems for the bad guys by blogging and wiki-leaking classified information. This is true to the character I have known since I first started reading comics. Bart Allen as glory hound isn't exactly as he's been portrayed in the past (he comes across a little more like the Timmverse version of Wally West), but it's not antithetical to his character in the way that sex-without-love blowup doll Starfire is, and there is a great moment where Bart demonstrates at once the impulsiveness of his Mark Waid era and the encyclopedic knowledge of his Geoff Johns era:
And then there's Cassie as car thief. Honestly, this doesn't seem out of character at all to me. Back when John Byrne first introduced the character, she became Wonder Girl by "borrowing" Diana's wig, gauntlet, and winged sandals. The character has always been a thief.

The overarching concept of the book, meanwhile, is a winner. In a world where people have superpowers, teenagers who have superpowers and do stupid things with them (regardless of good intentions) would be a real problem. The idea of teen heroes banding together to protect a world that fears and hates them is very X-Men, but it's enough of a twist on the concept that it doesn't feel overly derivative and in fact feels true to the core of Teen Titans. From the Fab Five (or was it Four at the time?) teaming up to fight their possessed mentors to Raven seeking out the teen heroes because the adults wouldn't trust her, the Titans have always been about superpowered teens coming together because grown-ups just don't get them. Thank you, Scott Lobdell, for not screwing this up.

Superman 1
Writer: George Perez
Artist: Jesus Merino
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels

I was impressed by how much bang this comic gives for my buck. Every page is packed with panels and every panel is packed with words. And then I remembered that George Perez wrote this, and (a) Perez comes from the old school where a 22-page comic should take more than five minutes to read, and (b) Perez likely writes as if he's going to be doing the art, and heaven knows he can pack a ton into a single page of art. I'm still digging Superman's new personality, which is a little toned down here compared to Action Comics, but that makes sense since this Superman is a few years older. He's still way more interesting than Superman has been in years.

Aquaman 1
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Ivan Reis & Joe Prado
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels

In true Geoff Johns fashion, this comic is all about how awesome Aquaman is. It gets all metatextual with everyone being like, "Aquaman is lame" and "Did you see those SNL skits where they make fun of Aquaman?" and Aquaman is all like, "I'm too badass to even acknowledge your mockery of me." Not much happens, really, except that some Evil Creatures escape from The Trench and start Eating People (not sure why I capitalized that, it just seemed appropriate), Aquaman stops some bad guys, doesn't eat lunch, then tells Mera he's decided to live in the surface world. He doesn't really explain why, so one can only assume it's to prove to all the haters that he's the badassest superhero around. He does explain, however, that he doesn't talk to fish because fish are too stupid to talk, and therefore he has no problem eating them. I kind of dig this, as it goes against the obvious. I wonder whether Wonder Woman eats birds?

The Flash 1
Creators: Brian Buccellato & Francis Manapul
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Pixels

This actually reads very much like a Geoff Johns-written comic, in a good way. You've got the character-defining bits of newly-revealed backstory, the off-beat sci-fi mystery, and the shocking last-page revelation. I'm not too bothered by the somewhat murky continuity, as all the necessary basics are here: Barry is the Flash, he's a CSI guy, he's kind of dating his coworker, and Iris West is a pushy reporter who will likely be the third corner of a love triangle. Also, not only has Barry stolen Wally's costume (a hybrid of his comics and animated costumes that actually looks pretty cool), but he also totally stole Wally's opening line:

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