STORY: Scott Lobdell
ART: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund
It seems that my issues with Teen Titans and Superboy in the first nine months of DC’s ‘New 52’ had a lot more to do with the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. arc than I realized. While I still feel that Scott Lobdell’s scripts are a bit long in the tooth for a pair of series about teenagers, I’ve been enjoying both titles loads more since the end of “The Culling”. A big part of this change of heart comes from more character development, something Lobdell neglected in favor of a convoluted, painfully intertwined plot.
Teen Titans #11 kicks off with a bang, as Kid Flash, Bunker, and Solstice come under attack by Loose Canon, a surly blue fellow who can feed on energy then weaponize it (similar to, say, Cable or
Ms. Captain Marvel). It’s actually a fun little fight scene that ends when Cassie stops moping in her room and over-charges Canon, causing him to burn out. The actual fight really isn’t all that important, while the reason for the fight boils down to Bunker’s mistake. After hearing of Red Robin’s intention to disband the Titans – in last month’s issue – most of the team disagreed with Tim’s course of action. Bunker takes things into his own hands and puts out an ad on Craigslist to recruit new members. Obviously, things don’t turn out well, but the entire episode does a great deal to bolster Bunker’s personality. Unlike Red Robin, Superboy, and Wonder Girl – who have all been revamped – Bunker is a brand new character, a fact Lobdell has been taking advantage of in Teen Titans, as well as in Superboy, where the gay Mexican guest-starred earlier this month (what a weird sentence to type).
Lobdell has been deftly building up Miguel Jose Barragan as the team’s heart and soul. Red Robin is too buys brooding, Kid Flash never takes things seriously, Superboy isn’t an actual member of the team yet, Cassie is a total basket case, Solstice is still trying to figure out how to lead a normal life, and Skitter is barely even seen these days. Bunker gets to be the straight man – the most normal character of the bunch – who has to deal with his teammates craziness. And to be honest, the whole Craigslist idea isn’t that bad in today’s modern age of technological communication.
Side note that really has nothing to do with the rest of the issue/this review: Superboy looks like he flew out of 1994. It’s 2012, Scott – wearing shades at night, black tank tops, and motorcycle gloves went out of style with Culture Club and Clear Pepsi.
The main focus of Teen Titans this month comes down to Wonder Girl and the mysterious Silent Armor she wears. After quickly defeating Loose Canon, Cassie seems to lose all control over the ancient armor “forged in the heart of the Sun…” Without much wanring, Wonder Girl attacks and defeats Solstice, Kid Flash, and Bunker before Red Robin and Superboy show up to find Cassie begging for death before she takes another life. Brett Booth makes the right decision to withhold showing the readers the full power of the Silent Armor until the final panel. Instead of revealing the blood-thirsty version of Wonder Girl mid-issue, Booth keeps her off-panel while using the Titans’ reactions to convey the horror of their friend taken by a godly power.