Thursday, 18 November 2010

New Beginnings - Teen Titans #88

This month we have a new jump on point for Teen Titans. Now if honest, this isn’t a title I have followed in the past opting more for Marvel’s Young Avengers (stifle the groans please). Even so I have an understanding of the premise and dynamics the comic has always held or steered towards from watching it on TV a few years ago.

From the start Teen Titans #88 hits you with a bright, colourful cover which screams forward movement. It’s dynamic looking and almost bursting out of the page, if it was 3D then you would be receiving a body part in the face, which makes it an appealing title to pick up even on a whim.

The story opens with a nice ambiguous narrator which unfolds nicely towards the end of the issue without having a direct impact on the Titans. The main story is used to explore who the different Titans are and how they fit without offering a deluge of their history.

Instead it focuses on the personal dilemmas of some of the more major characters. There’s an interesting moment of weakness in Superboy when Cassie leaves an open statement about their relationship. Highlighting the destructive Ravager on the team – contrary to what the Teen Titans stand for – is also a nice touch.

Yes, knowing all of the background would help to a degree but it isn’t completely essential - the story gives enough information for anyone who wants to know to find out. The running lines then pan out far enough to tempt and tease, leaving you wanting to read more.

Looking back at the cover it gives a second insight in to the new direction. The iconic Robin figure has been missing and the honour now falls to Damien, who swaggers in with his usual juvenile arrogance. My only criticism would be that this feels inconsistent with the rest of the DC universe. Personally as I’ve not seen this yet in Batman and Robin, I felt that this was misplaced. We are still awaiting the new Batman Inc. and already they are shipping Robin into another title before the Batman bombshell has fully gone off and given a full picture.

From a visual point of view I would have to say that my other minor disappointment would be the artwork. For me, Nicola Scott’s pencil work feels a little uneven and inconsistent when portraying the characters - Superboy’s muscle and body size for example. In other parts, her work seems bland and lacking detail.

It left me feeling that Doug Hazlewood’s colouring saved it on more than one occasion, creating more depth than was actually there. However, I also have to echo my thoughts on the cover which was Scott’s work too and in doing so I’ll leave this parting shot. Read the issue, take it in and then look again at the cover. Consider what is shown and also what it not. I hope you see it too.

Matt Puddy hails from a fairly normal life. He likes TV, games, playing sport and has within the last few years found a new love for reading comics.
Always happy to try something new and is a open minded person. His new found love for American comics have come more from finding Proud Lion and starting to read more DC, Marvel and Top Cow comics (to name a few); Matt has always had a fascination with Manga, Anime (such as Naruto, Bleach and One Piece) and general Japanese culture.
Jack of many trades, master of none, happy with that. He would be more apathetic but can't bothered...

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