Review: Teen Titans #2 By Will Pfeifer & Kenneth Rocafort

Teen Titans #2 A Teen Titans #2 B Teen Titans #2 C

TEEN TITANS #2 Review

“Blinded by the Light” pt. 2

Story by: Will Pfeifer

Art by: Kenneth Rocafort
Colors by: Dan Brown
Letters by: John J. Hill
Covers by: Kenneth Rocafort, Cameron Stewart w/ Nathan Fairbairn
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Teen Titans, SO?!? I’m just going to cut to the quick. The first page replays a scene from the relaunch issue where Bunker threatens a homophobe. That in itself is a good thing. What makes me cringe is the cheesy line he delivers. Not only does he shoot himself in the foot, he inadvertently has made things worse for the general super-hero population. I get it. The book is called TEEN Titans after all. Thus, angst, rebellion, and soul-searching are the main ingredients.

At any rate, Miguel Barragan (Bunker) is watching that footage on his tablet while Beast Boy in a cute baby elephant form tells him to lighten up. I will say that I like the camaraderie between these two B’s, or is it three? I didn’t read the previous volume of TT therefore I know not how recent a development this is. Miguel has an immense chip on his shoulder (or should I say block?) and lashes out at his new buddy by putting a psionic block in Beast Boy’s ear. It’s the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Cut to the next scene — one of the lackeys from last issue is recuperating at Ryker’s Island in the Hospital. I especially like Red Robin’s entrance on page 5. After uttering “Finally they’re gone. Now…” on the previous page, you see him in a casual vampire-bat pose hanging upside down ready to interrogate said lackey. Unfortunately, the session is cut short when the machinery mysteriously malfunctions thus killing the dupe. I highly doubt Red Robin had anything to do with it but after attempting to utter a threat, this happens. Yet another disposable pawn cast aside by the unknown power players.

New character appearance!! Foreshadowing!! Ordinary citizen Theresa Cicero clearly identified as “no known superhero identity” is making her way home after closing a convenient store. She’s on the phone assuring her mother that she’ll be safe and she’s only one block away from the subway train. Of course as soon as she hangs up she’s surrounded by four no-gooders. Luckily, Wonder Girl shows up! Correction: Wonder Girls. Looks like Cassandra Sandsmark has inspired a movement. Eight females show up and make mincemeat of the young punks. There’s a full page spread here spotlighting them. The ‘leader’ has a white face mask with stars on it, a baseball bat in her hand, and roller skates. I can’t help but think that this look is inspired by Harley Quinn, be it intentional or otherwise. One other ‘Wonder Girl’ seems similar to Scandal (from Secret Six). The other two in the forefront remind me of other characters but I just can’t pinpoint who. Theresa stands by taking pics. Afterwards, the leader asks if she wants to be part of something. Theresa’s name and ‘status’ are repeated followed by ‘yet‘. Once again I say: foreshadowing!! This is the onset of a brand spanking (pun intended!) new super-heroine!!

The plot thickens. I cocked an eyebrow reading the next few pages. I was a bit stunned to see two major players now affiliated with S.T.A.R. Labs: Manchester Black (bad guy) and Josiah Power (good guy). After some quick research, it’s safe to say that this is their first appearance in the New 52. Before completing the issue, I was wondering if Black had indeed turned a new leaf. By the time I got to the end of the book, I was proven ‘wrong’ and my suspicions were correct! More on that in a bit. Black already seems ruthless and downright cold when he remarks that the organization could weaponize the unknown assailant’s power from last issue. Josiah, on the other hand, is all heart and soul.

Beast Boy and Bunker race off to the rescue towards a burning S.T.A.R. Labs building. When dealing with fiction, I’ll suspend my disbelief like any other reasonable reader but how the heck can BB&B get to the downtown core in 30 seconds?!? Gar takes on eagle form which is feasible but Miguel has no super-speed as far as I know. That’s a bit too convenient. The Big Bad from issue 1 is back and she’s pissed!! Aside from the obvious clichés of “citizens in peril”, “imminent explosion”, and “time is running out”, there’s a neat twist — the anonymous woman is a robot!!! Bunker figures it out when he uses the same move on her as he did on Beast Boy. Before you know it, BOOM! Off with her head! Kudos to Beast Boy’s newest ‘power’: spin doctor!! As soon as the danger disappears and the threat is eliminated, he sings Bunker’s praises to the media and the masses casting him in a redemptive light.

Although Cassie (the one true Wonder Girl) doesn’t appear in this issue, she’s mentioned on the news and catches her mother’s attention. At least I’ll assume that’s who it is when the woman utters: “Oh, my baby girl…What have you gotten yourself into?

The interlude with Raven is interesting in itself. She attends a local low-brow concert by the band Dark Mistress. Her name is mentioned by a fan when comparing her to the band. Raven seems to approve of this ‘cover group’. More on this subplot will likely follow. I like seeing Raven (no secret identity) unmasked. I’m not too fond of her New 52 look but here she looks like a ‘normal’ teenage girl. No Goth get-up here.

You can’t keep a good villain down. The so-called robot that Bunker took down is ‘alive’ and well and she has a designation: Algorithm! There’s been no mention of her before so she’s definitely new on the scene. Pulling the strings is none other than Manchester Black!! Dum dum daaahhh!! He wants to put S.T.A.R. Labs on the map and the only way to do so is to have human casualties. A machine would have no problem in accomplishing that endeavour. Purposely planted puzzlement: who’s the old friend that Algorithm might run into? Why does Black have the Dark Mistress poster? Is it all going back to Raven? Readers will have to wait two months since the next issue ties into Future’s End.

Rocafort’s art appears to be a bit ‘different’. Perhaps it is due to the inks. His style is still recognizable but not as bright or clear as when he illustrated SUPERMAN. Dan Brown’s colours give proper merit to the various characters’ costumes. John J. Hill letters very well distinguishing between the Chirper ‘chirps’, the narration boxes, the ID of locales and the characters.

Tantalizing tidbits:

  1. Crabby Cat is mentioned again!! I already noticed this when reviewing BATMAN ETERNAL #20. Gar is a big fan and even takes on his form on page 11. Coincidence? Unintentional crossover? Deliberate marketing?
  1. For those of you in the dark: Manchester Black is the loathsome leader of the super-group The Elite who tries to smear Superman’s good name. Check him out in the animated movie Superman vs. the Elite (free plug!) Josiah Power first appeared in JLA #61 and creates a super-hero ‘franchise’ called The Power Company.
  1. The band Dark Mistress could be referring to a character from the Dungeon Keeper video game series or a nod to Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

And, that’s a wrap!

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DC Comics New 52 Chirper

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