Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pull List Review: Teen Titans #14

What a pile of crap.
     Let's start with Bunker. When, exactly, did he go from being an excellent example of how to handle gay characters (treat them like everyone else) to an offensive set of ridiculous stereotypes? Is this the result of some new editorial mandate? Is it Fabian Nicieza's script "assistance" that's to blame? Because Bunker is absurd here. Almost every line he speaks is a gay cliche, most idiotically when he gets excited to change his clothes multiple times. And his down time outfit is equally moronic. I'm not saying there aren't teenagers like this in the world, but it's new for this character, and it's a huge step down from the way he acted before. Where once we had a fun-loving kid who happened to be gay but was more focused on being the best, most enthusiastic superhero he could be, now we have an over-the-top gay kid who just happens to be a superhero once in a while. Awful.
     But not even the worst part. The worst part was Diesel. Quick writing tip: using the line, "This is what I get for NOT killing you when I had the chance," is not different than using the hackneyed, "I shoud've killed you when I had the chance." Those are the same, and they are both so dumb. Even dumber is, "Kill them! Kill them dead!" I mean the guy is just laughable. He looks like a fool and he acts like a bigger one. And then Wonder Girl defeats him too easily, and spouts off a poorly-written and unconvincing speech about how much she loves him. No, Cassie, you don't. You were infatuated with him when you guys were a pair of risk-taking teenagers who thought of themselves as badasses but were basically just petty crooks. That is not love, and neither is taking on the burden of his weird sentient armor. It may be the right thing to do, and it may be done out of concern for his well-being, but I do not buy the true love angle. Pull the other one.
      So Scott Lobdell and Fabian Nicieza's script is a big fat misfire. I haven't even talked about how Superboy and Red Robin both take off suddenly and awkwardly so that they can go be in other titles. And that's another thing I hated: the excessive ads for other titles. Birds of Prey, Superboy, and  Batman all got shout outs via obnoxious captions. Is it not possible for DC to have a team book without pulling this crap? They did it in Justice League Dark and now they're doing it here, to a truly unbearable degree. Even the cliffhanger ending of Teen Titans #14 was an ad for the "Death of the Family" event. I understand that the cast of this title are involved in other things, but that shouldn't make it impossible for the book to stand on its own.
     So was the art any better? Yes, but barely. Alé Garza does a servicable job for much of the issue, but there are definitely a few odd/confusing layout choices. What really bothered me, though, was the way he drew the female characters. It's not just that they were overly busty, but their breasts were highlighted as often as possible by what they were wearing (or not wearing), the way the shots were angled or lit, or even just by having Kiran continuously try to cover hers up with her hands. These are supposed to be teenagers. Any chance it could be the one book where gross fantasies can be set aside? Evidently not. And of course there is Bunker's clothing, which I mentioned above, plus Kid Flash looking weirdly gaunt and big-eyed. I know that this is all taste-based stuff, as opposed to a technical critique of the artwork, but so be it. Garza's work apparently runs counter to my tastes. Strongly so.
     What can I say, Teen Titans? You're getting dropped. You used to be a lot of fun, but basically ever since "The Culling" you've been a jumbled mess. And with this dreadful issue, I'm giving up entirely. Peace.

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