STORY: Scott Lobdell
ART: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
And just like that, Scott Lobdell is getting it right! This month’s Superboy acted as part one of “The Mysterious Mystery of Mystery Island”, and Teen Titans #10 brings us the other half of the post-“Culling” aftermath with Red Robin, Kid Flash, Solstice, and Bunker.
Since Lobdell used the first nine months of the ‘New 52’ to tell his sprawling, epically nonsensical arc about N.O.W.H.E.R.E., it makes sense to break this “cool down” into two parts, allowing for each character to get a bit more panel time as a result. While the writing isn’t as personal as the scenes between Superboy and Wonder Girl, Lobdell still manages to give each character a lot more depth. For one, Kid Flash and Solstice have a thing. I’m sure Lobdell would argue that he planted the seeds for this relationship throughout the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. N.O.N.S.E.N.S.E., but he really didn’t. Either way, the scene doesn’t come off as forced or pandering – these kids actually seem like they enjoy each other’s company.
About seven pages in, we meet up with Superboy and Wonder Girl at the point where Superboy #10 ended, bringing them to the ‘other side’ of the island, which meant it literally flipped over. With the team reassembled, Kon-El and Cassie discuss telling the others about the crazy flipped island thingy they discovered, but ultimately decide to not say anything based on the fact that no one knows what it means, so why cause more anxiety. After that, the island’s nature isn’t touched on again. This would be one of my only criticisms of this issue – Lobdell totally drops the island story in favor of one-on-one character dialogues. Honestly, the character development is much better anyway (and very much needed), so it’s not even that big of a deal. It’s mostly annoying on principle.
Tim Drake has a major crisis of conscience this month as he fails to see his succes beyond the failures that that came with it. Artemis was murdered (still confused as to why such a minor character made such a big impact), Danny the Street was destroyed, and Skitter is still missing. Tim feels like he didn’t do enough, and decides to disband the Titans while chatting with Bunker. It’s a childish decision – one based on fear – and Bunker stops Tim to knock some sense into him. Like many other heroes before him, Tim gets the ‘responsibility’ from Bunker about being a leader, taking initiative, making the tough decisions, and pressing on even when the going gets tough.
This, of course, leads us into the most awkward one-on-one of the issue between Superboy and Red Robin where Kon-El asks Tim exactly why he came to rescue him in the first place. Like a pretentious middle-aged accountant talking to a child, Tim tells Superboy to wait six months and learn before asking that question again. I’m sure Lobdell didn’t intend for Tim to come worse than Bono, but it feels that way. Poor Kon-El – clones are sooooooo dumb, right?
I began reading this issue groaning each time N.O.W.H.E.R.E. or the Culling was mentioned. I wasn’t a fan of that storyline, and at first, it felt like Lobdell basically doesn’t have any other ideas, so he’s forced to keep reminding us about this big thing that happened in order to fill speech bubble space. After a while, though, I realized that this is Lobdell’s transition period – soon, new enemies will show up (like Amanda Waller – all around bad-ass) and the convoluted tale of N.O.W.H.E.R.E. can be relegated to the “early mistakes” pile.