STORY: Scott Lobdell
ART: Ig Guara and JP Mayer
As the creative force behind Teen Titans, Superboy, and Red Hood and The Outlaws, Scott Lobdell has a lot of room to create fantastic stories that involve a great lineup of characters that could possibly evolve into a sort-of mini-universe within DC’s larger mainframe. Unfortunately, Lobdell has completely squandered both Teen Titans and Superboy with trite dialogue, a ridiculously convoluted tale about the organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E. (a pet peeve of mine is unexplained acronyms) that captures/recruits teenaged metahumans for some mysterious use. Also, some weirdo mutant thing called Harvest is the ringleader of the whole thing.
Apparently, Lobdell is building toward some ‘official’ crossover between Teen Titans and Superboy called “The Culling”. By dictionary definition, a culling means a trimming down, a reduction. I can only assume this is the central idea behind Lobdell’s crossover because there’s been absolutely no indication of what this culling actually is. This month’s Superboy carried the same “The Culling: Prelude” tag as this issue of Teen Titans, yet there’s nothing to in either issue that points to this event – the exception being the cameos of Beast Boy and Terra at the end of Superboy #8.
This month in Teen Titans, the team is somehow already balls-deep in a fight with Omen, a metahuman teenager who can manipulate reality and…minds? Maybe? It’s not really explained, like most things in Teen Titans, so I suppose I should stop complaining, huh? Mostly, Omen brings out the insecurities and fears of each team member, using these feelings to pit them against each other. But at the end, it turns out that the entire issue was a dream being collectively shared by the team. They’ve been strapped to steel lab beds the entire time, all of their struggles simply a made-up reality courtesy of Omen.
Honestly, it feels like a lot of wasted time. If all of it was a just a hallucination of-sorts, what was the point? What purpose did this entire issue serve? And with painful dialogue like, “Wha–? Last thing I remember was writhing in Omens grip…and now I’m dressed like Superboy’s prom date. And bound to this table, to boot. Super strength would normally be enough to break free but…” This monologue by Wonder Girl made me literally cringe while reading it. Nobody talks like that ever. It’s an affront to basic intelligence to make a character literally say what they are thinking. It’s abhorrent and Lobdell better start taking a look at how he treats this title or he will lose all of his readers.
Also, Superboy is on the cover, yet not in the issue. This is sooooooo aggravating I cannot tell you.