JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL ANNUAL #1

STORY: Geoff Johns and Dan Didio
ART: Jason Fabok

It really is the end for the Justice League International. After a year of amazing stories, a slowly-expanding roster, and a death in the family, the JLI all but disintegrates before our eyes as Geoff Johns and Dan Didio bid farewell to one of DC’s quirkiest titles. It came as a bit of a surprise when DC announced it would cancel Justice League International after it’s Annual issue, especially since it wasn’t a low performer like other cancelled series such as Mister Fantastic, Men of War, or Resurrection Man. For months, fans and critics have been speculating as to reasons why; was it to set-up a bigger event? Was JLI going to be relaunched under a different name? Was DC planning on revising it’s number of monthly titles? We didn’t have a lot to go on, and the editorial executives were staying tight-lipped. And this week, DC announced that Geoff Johns and David Finch would be starting a new series, Justice League of America. After I read the initial press release concerning JLA, I immediately knew why JLI was cancelled. It makes sense, on a certain level, to want to expand the ‘Justice League’ franchise without diluting the name itself. Justice League and Justice League Dark both have clear-cut plot-centric premises, while JLI told more character-driven stories. It really is a shame to see the series go, but Justice League International Annual #1 goes the book justice and sends the team off in an appropriately dour – yet potentially promising – way.

Annual #1 picks up a few weeks after the events of JLI #12, wherein Batwing resigned, the team fought the late Lightweaver’s delusional brother, and the future of these characters rested in Batman’s capable hands. Bringing the series full-circle, Booster’s primary concern is now increasing the team’s visibility and public image by way of impressing the United Nations by taking on dangerous missions around the globe. We drop in with our lovable band of misfits in Central Africa, where Guy Gardner is leading a squad against a vicious warlord named Aki Mukassa. As Batwing flies the violent revolutionary away from the riot below, the warlord activates a bomb and kills himself mid-air. The entire situation is symbolic of the JLI’s status quo as the team that gets it done, but not very well. While the rest of the team is satisfied with saving numerous innocent lives, Booster is upset that the JLI couldn’t hand Mukassa over to the UN.

The breaking point comes later, when Booster informs the team that he’s expanded the roster by recruiting Olympian and Blue Beetle. “Where are Superman and Wonder Woman?” asks Beetle, which sends Guy Gardner into a rage that results in his resignation from the JLI. With Rocket Red already dead, as well as Vixen, Fire, and Ice in the hospital, it’s as though Booster takes one step forward for every two steps back. He sees that their numbers are dwindling, and he does whatever it takes (a la lying to Beetle about the JLI’s roster) to make his team better.

And while the first half of the book is really all about Booster and his insecurities, the latter half focuses on O.M.A.C., who becomes possessed by Brother Eye, the sentient satellite and computer program designed and built by Batman to observe and analyze every metahuman on Earth in order to develop defenses against them if necessary. Since the ‘New 52’ relaunch, it’s been interesting to see what has survived the editorial culling and now exists in the ner universe – the events of Infinite Crisis aren’t mentioned anywhere else in the ‘New 52’ (that I know of), so it could stand to reason the whole thing never happened, but that Brother Eye was still created. And just like in Infinite Crisis, Brother Eye’s been hijacked! With a new ‘programmer’ calling the shots, Brother Eye takes complete control of Kevin Kho’s body and mind as it attempts to destroy the JLI and re-upload himself to the satellite orbiting Earth. During the confrontation, O.M.A.C. (apparently) kills Olympian, then uses his overwhelming technology to send Blue Beetle back to the Reach, the alien society where Jaime’s scarab originated.

There’s a lot of action going on during the finale, but in the end, Booster Gold is the only one who’s able to stand up to the brutish, unstoppable O.M.A.C. Using 25th century anti-virus protection, (easter-eggedly called the ‘Skeets Protocols’) Booster is able to stop Brother Eye’s uplink to the satellite and separate Kevin from the O.M.A.C. programming that was making his life a living hell. Of course, this victory is short-lived as Booster Gold from the future-future comes back to warn our Booster of horrible things to come before he simply disappears, as if he never existed. Then suddenly, the same thing happens to our Booster Gold!

By the time we reach the final pages, the team is technically down to just Godiva and a heavily-injured August General in Iron. Rocket Red and Olympian are dead, Batwing and Guy Gardner have resigned Blue Beetle is on the other side of the galaxy, and Booster is deleted from time and space. Justice League International Annual #1 is not only the JLI’s most exciting issue, but it sets up the next chapter of the collective ‘Justice League’ story very well. At the very end, Batman has a chilling conversation with his creation, Brother Eye: “Eye am home and eye will be waiting for my new programmer’s signal. He is coming, Batman. And you will join him or die.” recites Brother Eye as if from a script. The emotionless, yet highly sophisticated, Brother Eye looks to be the focal point of things to come. Perhaps in the same vein as Infinite Crisis, Batman’s presumptuousness concerning other heroes became paranoia, resulting in some of the darkest days in DCU history.

GRADE
A+
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GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1

STORY: Geoff Johns
ART: Ethan Van Sciver

There’s a lot going on in Green Lantern Annual #1. There’s so much happening, in fact, that the amount of information is almost too much. This over-sized issue has two goals: to finish up “The Revenge of Black Hand” as well as preluding “Rise of the Third Army”, the Green Lantern Family-wide crossover starting in October that will see the Guardians of the Universe’s new legion of soldiers attempt to eradicate the Green Lantern Corps as well as the rest of the multicolored Corps littered throughout the universe. While Geoff Johns has been slowly dragging the Guardians into madness over the past few years, this singular issue really drives the point home, showing just how ruthless these little blue guys can be.

Johns does an apt job flowing from one focus to the next. The beginning of the issue is all about Hal Jordan, Sinestro, and Black Hand. Slowly, scenes of the Guardians start to trickle in before their crazy crusade against emotion takes center stage. It’s an interesting way to segue from one plot point to the next, and Johns knows these characters so well, he can interweave the stories without actually having them connect. Amid major revelations every few pages, Johns manages to keep things light and well-paced throughout the issue, taking time to make emotional jabs when can, and relying on readers’ visceral connection to the story to keep the momentum going.

As a whole, Green Lantern Annual #1 is really all about the Guardians and their descent into madness. After millennia of attempting and failing to squelch chaos across the universe, the Guardians have obviously started to show the cracks in their armor. Starting back in Green Lantern: Rebirth when it was revealed that the Blue Ones had imprisoned a ‘fear entity’ within the Green Lantern Central Battery, causing the yellow impurity that had plagued the rings for eons. The list of their grievances goes on and on, but now, with a universe more chaotic than ever, the Guardians have reached the end of their rope. Plagued by insubordination within their ranks and throughout the cosmos, the Guardians turn to their last hope (if you can call it ‘hope’), the First Lantern. While there is virtually still nothing known about the individual encased within a shimmering crystal lantern, it stands to reason that he/she is the origin of the emotional entities that power the seven differently colored lanterns (not counting the Black Lanterns because death isn’t an emotion).

One of the best parts of the issue is the meeting between the Guardians and the Hidden Guardians. Billions of years prior, the Guardians decided to leave half of their people behind in the Chamber of Shadows to guard the First Lantern from any who would attempt to steal his power, while the other half would venture out into the universe to create peace in place of the chaos. The Hidden Ones immediately question the Guardians’ motives when they demand the First Lantern and his awesome power. The fight that ensues is not only cool for the simple comic-bookiness of it (little blue aliens fighting each other with sci-fi energy ball beams!), but also because it really gives a visual interpretation of the Guardian’s insanity as Ganthet kills the Hidden Ones’ leader with a knife to the throat. It’s chilling, watching a Guardians murder in cold blood. It’s the kind of thing Geoff Johns is known for: emotional backhanding that takes you by surprise through shock and awe.

After the Guardians defeat the Hidden Ones and take the First Lantern, the crap really hits the fan. Ganthet uses the First Lantern’s power to step through time and space into the cemetery where Hal and Sinestro are facing Black Hand. With his fellow brain-addled Guardians, Ganthet soaks Black Hand in energy, charging up the lone Black Lantern to become their tool against Hal, Sinestro, and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps. After the dust settles, the Guardians throw Hand into the Chamber of Shadows with the surviving Hidden Ones before locking them all up for future use. It’s small, but sick detail that reinforces the Guardians’ cruelty.

And then there’s the Third Army. The Guardians – in their infinite madness – use their own genetic material to create a new creature. I hesitate to call it a ‘life’-form because the Guardians make sure it doesn’t have a heart or soul, just a direct connection to the Guardians’ hive mind. Basically, the little blue guys are waging a war on free will, a frightening endgame if there ever was one.

Next month’s Green Lantern #0 focuses on new GL, Baz. Up until now, I’d been confused as to how DC was going to shoehorn a new Green Lantern into the mythos, but after reader Green Lantern Annual #1, things are starting to make a lot more sense. Already, some have criticized this issue – and Johns’ direction with the GLU in general – for being a rehash of previously tread ground. To that, I say what isn’t? This year’s amazing “Court of Owls” is based on any secret society trope, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting and fresh. “Rise of the Third Army” promises to be a huge (if not long) event that will change the landscape of the Green Lantern books and the DCU at-large for a long time to come.

GRADE
A

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12

STORY: Geoff Johns
ART: Jim Lee and Scott Williams (et al)

I’m going to start this review off by saying that the kiss between Superman and Wonder Woman is a lot less ‘awe-inspiring’ than DC let on. In fact, one could argue that the reasons behind the titular tongue-tying should have been raised years ago, even decades. But more on that later. Justice League #12 wraps up not only the first year of the title, but also “The Villain’s Journey”, the second arc for the series that dealt with new villain Graves who was out to destroy the League and remake the world in his own way. The thing is, that phrase holds a significantly different meaning for Graves in the pages of Justice League than it normally ever does. While even I’ll admit that using spectres of long-lost loved ones is a bit cliche, Johns employs this narrative strategy to get to the heart of the main issue with the team as a whole: the Justice League is not and cannot be held accountable for their actions.

The fight with climactic battle that opens the issue is only significant for Graves’ vocalized thoughts. While having the team come face-to-face with dead loved ones sounds emotionally relevant, the whole ordeal comes off as trite after Graves weighs in. “I’ve destroyed the Justice League, but I’m not here to destroy each one of you,” laments Graves as he watches them, a twinkle of glee in his eyes. The whole point of the League was for the sum to be greater than it’s individual parts. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When you gather seven god-like beings together, it’s a good idea to have someone around to ground them once in a while. While Steve Trevor was supposed to fill this void, his prior relationship with Wonder Woman hindered his ability to see the unbiased truths when it came to the League. However twisted and painful, Graves assumes the role of ‘moral conscience’, making the team question themselves for the first time since they banded together.

And that, dear readers, is where the real meat of this issue lies. The truth of the matter is, superheroes are not held accountable for their actions – they can’t be if they hope to do their jobs well. The Justice League is an organization unlike any other on the planet, especially now that the ‘New 52’ rebooted most of the fringe teams out of existence. And while it might be cool to see costumed heroes battling aliens for a while, eventually, the novelty wears off and people want the truth over everything else.

They’re not wrong for wanting it.

Johns does a fantastic job, this month, delving into philosophically-charged territory. And with the ‘New 52’ freedom under his belt, the characters get an interesting take on the subject – Flash insists that the League has to be better, while Batman sees the subjectivity of their situation. Green Lantern is the one who gets to the answer first: even though the League might not be perfect, it still has to try because the world needs the League. Because bad news always accompanies deed of sacrifice such as these, Hal Jordan resigns from the League. Citing his instigation of the fight between the Leaguers that aired across the world, Hal offers himself up as a scapegoat. The people of Earth get someone to blame, while the League gets to continue doing what they do, even though they know that the world could turn on them at any moment if they slip up again, even a little bit.

Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor (technically) break up again, sending Steve into fits of angry muttering and a final demand for Diana to leave, and a preview for the next year of stories looks like the League will have their hands full with Steve Trevor’s A.R.G.U.S.-operated Justice League of America, a team that looks to be in direct conflict with the League proper, for more reasons than one.

Justice League #12 does an excellent job capping off a first year that saw the team come together and face more than just villains. Geoff Johns is slowly figuring out the team’s voice and how they honestly fit into the greater DC universe. It’s a difficult task, no doubt, but Johns has a long history with Teen Titans, and his pre-‘New 52’ work on Green Lantern included some of the characters best stories in years. Now, after taking the time to give us readers the basic stuff, it’s time to go into new territory. Obviously, Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship is leading this trend, and coupled with Hal Jordan’s resignation, we’re sure to be in for an exciting 2013.

GRADE
A-

UPCOMING REVIEWS (AUG 29 – SEP 4)

Aquaman #12
(Johns, Reis)
– It’s the end of the line for “The Others” as Geoff Johns finishes up his stellar first year with the King of Atlantis. The traitor in the team is revealed, and Black Manta’s endgame comes to light!

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #3 of 6
(Cooke, Cooke)

– Per usual, there’s not a whole lot of preview for this entry of Before Watchmen. Seeing as a lot of information was revealed last issue, one could surmise that this time through, we’ll get to see some of the ramifications of those reveals.

Captain Marvel #3
(DeConnick, Soy)
– Carol Danvers is a woman after my own heart. With only two issues under her belt, the new Captain Marvel is dominating Marvel’s lineup, not only in story quality, but also in sales. This month, Carol’s gone back in time to take on the Banshee Squadron!

The Flash Annual #1
(Manapul, Buccaletto)

– The Rogues are assembled, they’ve double-crossed a pissed-off Captain Cold, and Flash arrived just in time to get in on the mayhem. It’s time for an all-out war.

Green Lantern Annual #1
(Johns, Van Sciver)
– Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Sciver join forces once again to bring the prelude to “Rise of the Third Army”, the Green Lantern event coming in October and November that will change the landscape for Hal Jordan, Sinestro, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and the rest.

Justice League #12
(Johns, Lee)

– Everyone’s been talking about it, and it’s finally here! The relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman that will set the status quo for the foreseeable future begins with a single kiss. “The Villain’s Journey” wraps up this week, too. As if anyone cared at this point.

Justice League International Annual #1
(Johns, Didio, Fabok)
– Read this one after Justice League #12 as the final mission of the JLI begins! Truths will be revealed, new characters will make appearances, and more than likely, we’ll get some set-up for next year’s upcoming Justice League of America written by Geoff Johns.

4-Sentence Reviews, Part 1
AvX: VS #5 of 6
Detective Comics Annual #1
Gambit #2
Superman Annual #1


4-Sentence Reviews, Part 2
National Comics: Looker
Phantom Lady #1
Wolverine and The X-Men #15
X-Treme X-Men #2

4-SENTENCE REVIEWS (AUG 22-28)

Batman Incorporated #3
(Morrison, Burnham)


While last month’s Bat-outing from Grant Morrison was interesting for it’s historical context, an issue dedicated to Talia al Ghul was the wrong choice for a second issue in an already over-complex and intricate title, and after being pushed back due to the events in Aurora, Colorado last month, Batman Incorporated #3 finally gets its day in the sun. Grant Morrison pens the return of Matches Malone – Bruce’s gangster alter-ego that hasn’t been seen/used for years – in Batman’s ongoing investigation into Leviathan and it’s growing stranglehold on Gotham City. After a debut issue that only raised questions about everything, and last month’s Talia-centricness, it’s nice to see an actual plot emerging from this series. Oh, and Damian has a new alter-ego: Redbird.

GRADE: A


Before Watchmen: Doctor Manhattan #1 of 4
(Straczynski, Hughes)

If you have been following Before Watchmen at all, it’s quite possible you understand the black-and-white situation being presented to us readers: each mini-series has it’s own chance to succeed, but unless it blows our socks off (like Minutemen), it’s not really worth the time or effort. Watchmen is such a mainstay, and so many people know the story that these prequels are having a hard time giving readers any new information worth giving. Doctor Manhattan #1 sits in this category as a series too mired in it’s own bombast and philosophical mumbo-jumbo to really be engaging or interesting for a broader audience – unless you understand time travel mechanics and quantum theory, you’re mostly just reading about a big blue guy who’s having an identity crisis. I understand what J. Michael Straczynski was going for – a sort-of ‘larger than life’ take on some of humanity’s most basic questions – but it comes off as sappy and derivative.

GRADE: C




Captain America and Namor #635.1
(Bunn, Conrad)

Though Captain America and… just finished up it’s arc with Iron Man, Cullen Bunn throws us WWII-era Captain America fans a bone with Captain America and Namor #635.1, a ‘point one’ issue that details Cap and Namor facing the Kraken, an ancient weapon tied to the history of Atlantis that can unleash unspeakable power and destruction. The Thule society takes center stage in an episode that’s meant to hearken back to those days – the days when Captain America and Namor fought side by side instead of standing against one another, when the bigger picture was more important than petty arguments. Overall, I really enjoy this look back on  Cap and Namor’s WWII days – it’s a time period that’s often referenced and flashed-back to, but rarely used in actual arcs. I’m a big nerd for Namor, so seeing him at a time when he wasn’t so completely “holier than thou” is a refreshing treat. (BONUS SENTENCE) The only thing that irked me was how Cap explains that he’ll be fighting right beside his men the entire time they’re engaging enemy forces, then he just runs off to help Namor without so much as a “Thank you, Sally.”

GRADE: B


Superman #12
(Jurgens, McCarthy)

While Grant Morrison takes Superman to the weirdest corners of the character’s world over in Action Comics, Dan Jurgens has been slowly getting Superman back on track after George Perez’s abysmal opening arc. Splitting up the Man of Steel’s adventures into two-issue, easier-to-swallow stories has be excellent for the character and his growth – though some of these minor baddies might seem redundant or uninspired (our inter-dimensional friend this month looks like a poor man’s Predator), they serve to build Superman’s ‘Rogues Gallery’. Without a lineup of adversaries, what would our Big Blue Boy Scout do all day? One of my only real complaints (and this is really for the ‘New 52’ as a whole, not just this issue) is that Superman doesn’t look young at all; instead, he actually looks far older than he should, like he’s just about to celebrate his 40th birthday. Overall, Superman is slowly transforming from one of DC’s most forgettable series into a high-quality title that does it’s job: telling stories about Superman.

GRADE: B-

THE FLASH #12

STORY: Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelatto
ART: Francis Manapul

A few months back, I was all in a tiff about The Flash. I finally decided I should start reviewing the series here on “The Endless Reel”, and the first issue that comes around is nonstop speech bubbles about Weather Wizard’s past. It was excruciating and I honestly almost stopped reading the book. Fortunately, July’s excellent Captain Cold vs. Heat Wave was amazing, especially since it was precipitated by Barry giving himself a new identity and conversing with Cold in an old Rogues bar. The Flash #12 is like a flash of genius. Francis Manapul and Brian Buccelatto have finally found a pacing that works for Flash and his villains. Up through last month, there was always a bit of indecision when it came to the speed of the plot. Now, we’re beginning to see the reshaping of the Rogues under Captain Cold’s sister, Glider, and a massive conflict between the Rogues, Cold, and Flash.

Manapul and Buccelatto have developed such a tight grasp of the Flash that it’s uncanny how well they tell his stories. Barry Allen is mild-mannered, yes, but only to a certain point – in this issue, we see how Barry gets when he’s pushed past his comfort zone. There’s never any moments of doubt when it comes to how Manapul and Buccelatto write Barry; they understand his nuances and why the Flash can do and say so much more than Barry ever can. Before the ‘New 52’ relaunch, Barry was very much the same person in and out of costume – his sense of morality and his personality didn’t flinch. It was something that honestly held the Flash back from being a true A-Lister getting his own movies and the such. These days, there’s a clear distinction between the two sides of this man’s life and it makes his character all the better for it.

Captain Cold deserves mention as well. His radical revamp in his new universe suits him well. Like many reimagined characters, getting an age makeover does wonders for Captain Cold’s persona. It was always weird to see such an old, crotchety man on the streets battling a hero half his age for no other reason than to be bad. Cold has been reworked as a ‘rebel without a cause’ type who once had a purpose, but now lives life to the wind. It’s a dilemma many 20-somethings face, making Cold all the more relatable and grounded, despite the fact that he can create walls of ice in mere seconds.

Manapul and Buccelatto’s frantic script this month feels clustered at first, but eventually straightens out and packs about four big punches in a row before moving directly into the ‘reeling in awe’ stage. Rogues start coming out of the woodwork left and right, Glider takes steps to murder her brother and steal a monorail full of civilians, Flash confronts Dr. Darwin Elias about his accusations and slandering against the Scarlet Speedster, while Cold seeks revenge against his mutinous sister. There’s a lot more to everything than what I just outlined, but that’s the gist of things. Really, The Flash comes down to the details. Manapul and Buccelatto have mastered the art of subtle development and are now ready to tackle a full-scale super war starting in October, and I couldn’t be more excited.

GRADE
A

TEEN TITANS #12

STORY: Scott Lobdell
ART: Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund

Whenever I review Teen Titans, I find my thoughts tend to devolve into “Scott Lobdell can’t write.” That’s a harsh accusation and one that’s barely accurate. Scott Lobdell does indeed have a lot of good ideas – he thinks big and writes even bigger. Too often, unfortunately, those thoughts are simply too big, causing Lobdell’s entire structure to fall apart. This was the case for “The Culling”, which was rooted in interesting causes, but was conveyed in such disarray, that it ended up being one of the weakest story arcs of 2012. On the flip side, Teen Titans #12 points out another monthly problem with Lobdell’s writing: the inability to accurately express teenage dialogue.

Just like in the real world, each character in DC’s universe has their own voice. One of the chief goals of a comic book writer is to convey said voice effectively while simultaneously injecting their own narrative flair. Writers like Geoff Johns and Scott Snyder understand this concept – one doesn’t change so much as bend a character in an effort to develop something new. Pushing these heroes to their limits is acceptable, but Bruce Wayne’s favorite band or hairstyle doesn’t change from creative team to creative team.

One of the reasons Teen Titans feels so half-baked is because there hasn’t been any effective character development. Basically, he’s so wrapped up in his plot to pay any close attention to smaller details that build a character from the ground up. I’ve spent paragraphs outlining Lobdell’s missteps, so I’ll spare those of you who follow my coverage of TT. But this lack of development is really only the beginning of the problem.

Having cardboard cutouts as your main characters in issue 12 is a huge fault with Teen Titans #12. Without more concrete personalities, each member of the Titans ends up sounding like an uptight, 30-something rather than adventurous teenagers who have already seen more horrible things than most of us will ever see in our entire lives. “I’m sorry…but the longer I am fully covered in the Silent Armor, the less control I have over my actions,” is about the blandest way this concept can be conveyed. Seriously, what kid talks like that? A much more believable sentence might read, “This armor…the more I wear it, the more I lose control” – it get’s the same point across without sounding cold and clinical, like reading from a script or cue cards. Later, Red Robin chimes in with this gem, in reference to Cassie’s soul becoming engulfed by the mystic armor: “I know that is you inside that armor!” A sentence so awkwardly structured that I had to read it again just to make sense of it in my head.

This strained, clumsy working of the English language isn’t even normal for refined adults, let alone superpowered teenagers. In a motel off the Jersey Turnpike, Bunker, Kid Flash, and Solstice are holed up while Miguel recovers. As the ever-tenacious Bunker attempts to go help Superboy and Red Robin, only to fall to the floor in pain, Solstice analyze’s the team’s situation in yet another terribly awkward sentence: “Miguel, if we’re going to be a team, which you have been such a strident proponent of, then we have to take our leader’s orders seriously.” (Aside from the atrocious substitution of commas in place of hyphens) When writing, it’s a general rule of thumb to use the least amount of words possible while still effectively conveying your idea. The revised version of the above sentence could easily read, “If you want this team to work – something you’ve been fighting for quite adamantly – then you’ve got to follow Red Robin’s orders.” While not wildly different, the latter sentence flows so much more easily and naturally.

But enough of Jay’s English Class.

Teen Titans #12 continues to look at the origin of Wonder Girl. And honestly, this arc has been far more interesting than anything so far – I really enjoyed the mythology and mystery surrounding the Silen Armor. Last month, we found out the Silent Armor was forged in the center of the sun and somehow causes Cassie pain and cuts years off her life. Now, things are getting harry as Cassie loses control to the armor more and more, harming her teammates in the process. Red Robin and Superboy hatch a plan to give Kon-El a sliver of separation between Cassie and the armor so he can use his telekinesis to separate them, thereby destroying the armor.

That’s when homeboy Diesel shows up. Honestly, he’s not that important yet. After taking the essence of the armor from Cassie while ripping her a new one for leaving him for dead, Diesel doesn’t even try and fight Cassie – he just flies away. Cassie’s remarks about the situation on the last page help make things interesting as far as cliffhangers go, but nonetheless, Diesel is still a pretty big enigma.

I spent a lot of time on this post, mostly because I feel that in the past, I may have lambasted Scott Lobdell without anything to back it up. Sure, I explained my general misgivings with his style, but I really wanted to find examples, evidence to my claims that the man just keeps tripping over one of the easiest character archetypes in the literary world: the awkward teenager. So while I’m admittedly impressed with this arc’s mythological aspects, the Teen Titans themselves are still about as interesting as a plank of wood.

Also, where’s Skitter?

GRADE
C+