Review: Teen Titans #5 by Scott Lobdell & Brett Booth

Teen Titans #5 – Over Before It’s Begun

Written by: Scott Lobdell
Pencilled by: Brett Booth
Inked by: Norm Rapmund
Colored by: Andrew Dalhouse
Lettering by: Dezi Sienty

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology.

A few weeks ago, someone posted a comment on one of my columns when I mentioned Teen Titans that said, “I was reading your article, but then you said: “The current Teen Titans series has been excellent”, and right there I lost my interest. Bad writer, horrible penciller, horrible comic… ’nuff said.” When I pointed out that Teen Titants continues to sell in the top twenty comics every month, even outselling Amazing Spider-Man in December, this poster added, “Well, that’s just lousy taste in comics.”

For the most part, I can just ignore the anoymous internet troll.  He’s far from the first person to tell me I have bad taste.  And it does seem like we get a lot of trolling as web columnists, but since Teen Titans came out this week, I did want to talk about what I enjoyed about this book. So this review is dedicated to you, anonymous internet troll.

Summary (contains spoilers): Robin, Kid Flash, Bunker, and Solstice (mispelled Soltice on the front page. I am not mentioning that to be nitpicky, I was confused at first and thought I had been wrong about her name) arrive in New York to save Wonder Girl from Superboy and Project NOWHERE. Robin tries to coordinate the team, but that seems to be more difficult than he would have thought.

Kid Flash starts to pummel Superboy, who is able to use Tactile Telekinesis to drive his powers into overdrive. Wonder Girl is able to knock Kid Flash loose, but he is sent flying, so Solstice has to chase him down. Solstice ends up ripping a ship in two to save Kid Flash, which doesn’t exactly endear the locals to the superheroes.

Bunker is able to temporarily take the advantage Superboy, but Superboy quickly turns the tide again. Robin realizes that since Superboy’s powers rely on telekinesis, the best way to win this fight is to keep Superboy distracted.  Robin actually is able to take down Superboy pretty effectively.  Unfortunately, Robin stops to try and talk to Superboy. Superboy tells Robin that Project NOWHERE is only interested in superpowered youths, so Robin could just walk away.

Robin refuses, of course, and Superboy is able to once again take control of the fight. Wonder Girl tries to lasso him, but Superboy is far stronger and able to drag her underwater and practically drown her.

Solstice returns, and warns Superboy about the future, talking about a dark harvest and a culling. Superboy knocks her out, but it’s clear her words had an impact on him. Instead of turning in the Teen Titans, Superboy attacks his Project NOWHERE handlers. The issue ends with a shot of the unconscious Teen Titans members and Superboy telling Project NOWHERE “I’ve done enough damage.”

Review: For an issue that was basically just one extended fight scene, I thought this comic was great. Usually these kinds of issues are quick reads and can be kind of lifeless, more focused on the action and not the characters and story the action should be moving forward.  But Teen Titans 5 always kept the story and characterization at the forefront. Each character basically got the spotlight for a few panels, and we are easily able to understand their motivations and actions.  The quick flashes of Project NOWHERE helped remind of of what the stakes for this fight were.

Kind of odd to say this since Lobdell writes both books, but I also thought this was just about the best Superboy has been written since Relaunch. The conflict he was feeling over his actions came through strongly in this comic. The one thing I don’t understand is why the two books are so out of sync. In Superboy, he’s not even fighting Wonder Girl until issue 6, even though that fight basically happened a month ago in Teen Titans 4. To me, it seems like that kind of thing should be easy to keep in sync with the same writer and with both books being part of the Young Justice line.

My favorite parts of this comic were likely because of my deep love for the original Peter David/Todd Nauck Young Justice series. Seeing Superboy’s interactions with Kid Flash and Robin actually made me smile, even if the characters and relationship are so different from they were back in YJ.  Robin’s drive, Superboy’s confusion, and Kid Flash’s impulsive nature play perfectly off each other.  I can;t wait to see when the team is fully united.

Brett Booth’s art captures the action of this series so perfectly. I especially love the way he draws Kid Flash in action (he’s actually wearing one of Tim Drake’s old costumes in this issue because his Kid Flash costume got messed up by Project NOWHERE):

I also love all the detail be puts in to Solstice and Bunker. Though I guess equal love needs to be given to the inker and colorist for helping bring those scenes to life.

It would be so much easier for the artist and colorist to just give Bunker a simple glow around the hands or make Solstice all black, but the detail work definitely makes this comic stand out.

While some of the Relaunch books I was most excited about have disappointed (Men of War, Blackhawks, Mister Terrific, and Static Shock. All of which have been cancelled; I don’t see that as an accident), Teen Titans has met and exceeded my expectations with every issue. It has been a great balance of characterization, story, and action, and I definitely see this book as a fitting replacement for Young Justice. It only took 9 years, but hey, better late than never, right?

Final Score: 8.5 It’s always great to read an action-packed comic that doesn’t skimp on the characterization and dialouge. The art team is brilliant, and there is nothing I could possibly complain about in this issue.

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