STORY: Fabian Nicieza
ART: Jorge Jimenez
Thus far, DC Universe Presents has done a grand job reintroducing DC characters into the ‘New 52’ universe. The first five issues revamped Deadman with a grander scope and better development than years of pre-‘New 52’ stories did. And while “Challengers of the Unknown” was a bit out there, “Savage” brought James Robinson’s visceral interpretation of Vandal Savage and the relationship he shares with his estranged daughter. This month, Fabian Nicieza and Jorge Jimenez bring a single issue dedicated to Kid Flash, a fan-favorite whose ‘New 52’ retool has been sparse, to put it lightly. Up to now, Bart Allen has existed to provide Teen Titans with some much needed (yet frustratingly bad) comic relief. When the announcement went out that DC Universe Presents #12 would focus on the youngest speedster in the DCU, I got pretty excited at the prospect of learning more about Kid Flash. Unfortunately, all that Nicieza and Jimenez accomplished was introducing some lame new villains. What started out as a promised look into the origins of Bart Allen turned into a by-the-books solo adventure for Bart that puts him at odds with the Dinosoids…or the Saurians…the cover says one thing while the story says another.
Sure, ‘Dinosaurs in Manhattan!’ is an astounding prospect, but Nicieza manages to find the lamest way to present the idea. After breaking the fourth wall for a moment – something that would be far more effective if Kid Flash did that…ever – Bart takes us to New York City, where he’s in hot pursuit of the flying Dinosoid. It’s a real tragedy that the faintly developed Kid Flash’s only real characterization has been his lust for girls. Sure, it’s a tried and true teenage stereotype that’s used to convey a variety of different stories, but isn’t Bart dating Solstice? Did they break up? On top of that, Bart goes on a tangent about Mystery Island, claiming that it “bisects time and space and is a sinkhole for the impossible”. In what issue was any of that explained? I went back and reread the Superboy-Teen Titans two-parter and found no mention of any of this. If the intention was for this issue to continue the mystery surrounding the island filled with dinosaurs, it does so in the most blunt and frustrating way possible. But back to the Dinosoids (I feel so silly every time I type that.)
The three rogue Dinosoids go by the mega-cliched Dac, Teryx, and Steg. In a bout of utter mediocrity and laziness, Dac is a Pterodactyl-like dino-kid, Teryx is your run-of-the-mill variety just so he can look the coolest (basically a human with a tail and red skin); and Steg, with a bardb-lined tail akin to those of a Stegosaurus. They hoped a ride on Danny the Street to Earth from their dimension that’s somehow connected to Mystery Island, and what starts out as seemingly innocent fun in a new dimension turns into a Dinosoid Power convention when Steg and Dac reveal that they’d like to turn all of humanity into Dinosoids and build a Dinosoid empire on Earth. If I never have to write the word ‘Dinosoid’ again after this review, I’ll be happy. Oh, and the story isn’t over. You have to read the ending in Teen Titans #12. So, yeah.
In interviews, Nicieza outlined his idea for this Kid Flash story, how it would begin as a back-up story in Teen Titans #11, continue on into DC Universe Presents #12 with a bulk of the story and a lot more revealed about Kid Flash’s origins, and end in a back-up in Teen Titans #12. While in theory this sounds interesting, in reality, it’s utter silliness. The five-page ‘opening act’ is so bare-bones on story that it’s completely not worth reading, and the fact that you’re forced to buy Teen Titans #12 just to get the finale is money-grubbing. I really was looking forward to this odd little three-part experiment. And perhaps in better hands, it could have been pulled off. But trying to convey a story in such odd increments seems almost backwards, so unconventional that it actually doesn’t work. If this story is the model for the technique, it will be quite some time before anyone tries it a second time.