Rating: 3.5/5 – A Confusing Selection of Different Titans Teams.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall
The 1st 100 page Teen Titans sampler that DC is releasing through Walmart stores has 3 full reprinted comics and a new 12 page Teen Titans story. I’ll be reviewing all 4 of these comics and there will be a bit of repetition in this opening paragraph about the program. DC has stated that it is to get new readers into DC comics, so that is how I’ll be reviewing these, not based on the story value to an existing fan. The one exception is the “all new” 12 page story. This is not needed for the new reader and serves mostly, in my opinion, as a DC marketing hook to get their hard core fans to go to Walmart and buy these comics so they do not “miss out” on the new material. The comics themselves are displayed along with the collectible card games (Magic, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh) up by the registers, so are in a good spot to be noticed by kids. That is good. However, there do not seem to be very many copies on display, and I’m curious how many will be left to be discovered by new readers after existing DC fans have swooped in to buy copies, combined with the people who will buy them to resell on eBay.
On to the comics: the 1st story in the comic is a 12-page Teen Titans story written by Dan Jurgens with art by Scot Eaton/Wayne Fauchner. This one was peculiar because Eaton/Fauchner are the current art team on Teen Titans, but the team featured here is NOT that team. It consists of Robin (Tim Drake), Changeling, Raven, and Starfire. So a new reader is going to be exposed to a team from some point in the past in a new story made for this issue. I’m not sure I understand why DC would do this if the goal is to create new readers who will move to reading regular DC Comics in the comic shops at some point. The story is a pretty simple “stop the Disruptor from stealing a science-y device from S.T.A.R. Labs” that leads into a continuing story hook involving H.I.V.E.
The 2nd story in the issue digs back 15 years in Titans history, reprinting Teen Titans #1 (2003) by Geoff Johns & Mike McKone. This is the Titans team most prominently featured on the cover of the issue, as opposed to the team featured in the new story. Kind of an interesting choice for the main feature, since none of the characters really exist in current DC continuity, but they do live on in reprints, so if the goal of this book is to more sell collected editions from the DC backlist than to move readers to current comics, this makes a lot of sense. The 3rd story reprints Super Sons #1 (2017) by Peter Tomasi & Jorge Jimenez. A nice story featuring Damian Wayne’s Robin and Jon Kent’s Superboy, playing to the “young heroes” theme. The 4th story reprints the recent “new age of heroes” book Sideways #1, that follows the theme of stories with teenage protagonists, by Dan Didio, Justin Jordan, and Kenneth Rocafort.
If I was a new reader I think I’d walk away from this comic very confused about who the Teen Titans are. I just saw two different versions of the team, neither of which are the team I’d see if I went to a comic shop to pick up the current issue of Teen Titans, though at least I got a story with the Damian Wayne Robin who is on the current team. The overall package is nice. Good paper and print quality, an intro page before each story and a “come back in 30 days for the next installment” teaser at the end of each. There are ads for complementary trade paperbacks in several places throughout the issue, PLUS an ad for Comic Shop Locator ad to help new readers find a local shop to buy more comics if they wish to (the ad was in the Batman & Teen Titans issues, but not in Superman & JLA). It’s interesting that this issue has FAR fewer copies on display than the other 3 100 page giant (2 vs 8-10) and this was on 1st day of sale at 8am, so I don’t think someone came in and bought up a bunch of them before I got there. I have heard from other people that the Titans book was in much shorter supply than the others at shops they visited in other states as well. Ultimately, I think it is a nice package for new fans and well worth the $4.99, but the 12 page Teen Titans story is not really enough to make this worth it to existing fans other than the most hard-core completists.
Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics For Fans who Love Comics