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    Review: Teen Titans #6

    By | February 24th, 2012
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Written by Scott Lobdell
    Illustrated by Brett Booth

    In the aftermath of their battle with Superboy, the Teen Titans make a horrifying discovery: Kid Flash has been knocked out of synch! If they are going to save their teammate, the badly beaten and battered teens need to sneak into the New York branch of S.T.A.R. Labs — which means that this issue guest-stars none other than Virgil Hawkins, a.k.a. Static! But if the team was hoping to use the lab for some downtime, they are going to be disappointed, because now they must battle a new, young team of supervillains known only as 2.0! All this and the debut of Kid Flash’s new costume!

    Is the march towards “The Culling” increasing anticipation for the youth movement crossover coming in May, or is Teen Titans still not performing titanically enough?

     Hit the cut to find out.

    In general, I can be a bit of a control freak. When I’m prepping something big, at work or at home, I like to have everything lined up ahead of time so that the process of doing what I’ve set out to goes as smoothly as possible.

    That part of me enjoys the fact the Scott Lobdell is the architect of the New 52’s youth division. To have a consistent voice across multiple titles is a smart thing, even if that voice isn’t always your favorite. Teen Titans #6 continues to prep the series, and the aforementioned youth division as a whole, for the upcoming storyline known as “The Culling,” which will crossover with Legion Lost, Superboy, and the upcoming series The Ravagers. Leaving “The Culling” aside for now , this issue does a lot of interesting things to push the story forward, as well as to start getting the book to have a more normal direction.

    What I mean by that is this: the book has felt like a toy car going down a big hill – momentum is carrying this story along, but the path is a little erratic. While its energy has been one of the book’s strengths, Teen Titans has been missing the most key element, and that is the familial bond between these heroes. Now, call me old fashioned, but that is the crux of every great Titans run – these people love each other, even throughout all the bickering and sex and breakups and betrayals.

    Lobdell has been doing pretty good work in giving each of the team members their own voice, with Bunker in particular really shining here. With all the recent controversy about openly gay young characters, Bunker is handled really well. Yes, he is presented as gay, but he doesn’t feel like he’s simply filling the diversity quota. He has been shown to be surprisingly powerful, and is really trying to keep everyone together. It is a sad comment on mainstream comics that a gay character has to be praised for not being a stereotype, but Lobdell deserves credit for writing Bunker as a fully formed character.

    This issue also teases an almost certain to be new member of the team, and that is Static. His series is not long for this world, and his youth, along with his friendship with Red Robin, makes him a perfect fit for this team. Diversity in comics is a tricky issue, and it can be hard to make a team diverse by not simply playing minority bingo. However, Static is a great character, with immense power and a strong fanbase, and he would fit perfectly in with the team. Let’s hope that move happens sooner rather than later, as the team is still lacking a little bit in terms of firepower and, with Superboy still absent, Static could be that extra boost they need.

    Brett Booth does a nice job in this issue of showing Kid Flash as the blur of uncontrollable speed that he is since his powers were amped up by Superboy last issue. His work throughout the series has been serviceable, if not anything too special. I’ve continued to enjoy all the non-feathered costume designs so far, and he certainly knows how to draw his way around an action sequence. What is improving, though, is his sense of fun with these characters; each issue seems to be just a little more carefree than the last, and that is a good thing. He also handles the new villain Grymm, a promising villain rendered lame by the psionic bricks of Bunker, nicely, and shows that he can draw crazy well.

    Continued below

    (I also hope that Red Robin wearing a Green Lantern shirt under his uniform is a nod to Bruce Wayne wearing a Green Lantern shirt when he finally decides to get dressed in Batman Odyssey)

    Kid Flash is beginning to become a major player in this book, and while Tim Drake is a great leader for the book, Bart stories tend to interest me more – especially when there is some heavy foreshadowing on his time-traveling past/future. This, along with Skitter’s story, are the most intriguing plots from this book so far. So far, the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. plot has been the story’s main focus and, while interesting on a grand scale, the book needed to do more to make each issue engaging. And with Bart’s time travel history, Superboy going AWOL from N.O.W.H.E.R.E., and Red Robin’s continued tech-knowledge, it is easy to spot the seeds of an actual, functioning team starting.

    This issue in particular begins to sow those seeds, hints at future members, and gives the book a little more of an overall direction. Superboy is still absent, but with Static being teased, Bunker growing into the glue that holds the team together, and the blossoming friendship between Solstice and Kid Flash, this is starting to resemble more of the classic Titans stories each month. And that makes me very happy.

    The Ravagers still is a bit of a mystery to me, and Red Hood and the Outlaws has been a major let down month in and month out, but each issue of Teen Titans or Superboy lulls me into a sense of comfort with the direction Lobdell is taking these heroes.

    In Scott I trust?

    Final Verdict: 7.4 – Buy

    Brian Salvatore

    Brian Salvatore is an editor, podcaster, reviewer, writer at large, and general task master at Multiversity. When not writing, he can be found playing music, hanging out with his kids, or playing music with his kids. He also has a dog named Lola, a rowboat, and once met Jimmy Carter. Feel free to email him about good beer, the New York Mets, or the best way to make Chicken Parmagiana (add a thin slice of prosciutto under the cheese).