‘Teen Titans’ is one of DC’s biggest franchises and at times has been gloriously amazing and at other times simply dreadful.  So where does the latest iteration fall?  Let’s see…

The actual Teen Titans team has yet to assemble, so this issue bounces back and forth between Kid Flash’s prison break story and Red Robin’s story-line; his attempt to smuggle Skitter to safety.  Along the way, both encounter new young heroes.

Kid Flash frees Solstice, who formerly possessed light powers, but whom N.O.W.H.E.R.E. has experimented upon, changing her abilities to seemingly emitting black smoke.  (Luckily, she discovers she can still fly.)  Robin runs into an enthusiastic Mexican boy named Miguel Jose Barragan, a.k.a. Bunker, who can create bricks out of purple energy.  Jose, it seems, is a big fan of Red Robin’s blog, which was why he left Mexico, in order to team up with him.  The two boys arrive in a town whose populace has been possessed.  In attempting to free them, one of the heroes falls under the same influence as the townspeople, although the other doesn’t realize this.  Skitter emerges from her cocoon in human form.  Meanwhile, Kid Flash and Solstice make their escape.

Sadly, I must declare that this incarnation of the Teen Titans falls closer to the “simply dreadful” end of the spectrum.  It simply doesn’t coming together.  I used to know and love these characters, but not anymore, since DC wiped their pasts out and are starting over from scratch.  I don’t even like Red Robin and I used to LOVE Red Robin.  Kid Flash is super annoying and not amusing like the old, hyped up Bart Allen.  Wonder Girl has been reduced to an unlikeable sex object.

Bunker’s enthusiasm was probably supposed to be charming, but he just comes across as obnoxious.  As has been widely reported, he’s gay and Mexican and Lobdell falls into that trap that so many writers do: not wanting to make the character offensive, they remove any “flavor” the character might have, so they are just bland and uninteresting.  I’d have preferred him be a prancing queen than Mr. Perfect.  Who cares about that guy?

Also, Bunker is a terrible codename.  It’s soooooo nineties!  That’s part of this book’s whole problem.  Writer Scott Lobdell was at his peak during that time, ably handling team books like ‘Gen 13’ and ‘Generation X.’  Artist Brett Booth also rose to prominence in that decade, creating ‘Backlash’ with Jim Lee.  Unlike Lee and others like Marc Silvestri, though, his work hasn’t really advanced.  This whole book reeks of the nineties, like a cocktail of patchouli, CK One and Hootie & the Blowfish.  They may as well have named him Blood Brick and been done with it.  Skitter could have been Hell Bug and they could have named the book ‘Titans Xtreme.’

I gave this book a chance, because I love the Teen Titans in general, but it’s clear that the team and characters I loved are dead and gone and have been replaced by the cast of ‘California Dreams’ on steroids.  This book just isn’t working.  Yet another failure in this team’s overall history.  Y’know, the one that got erased.

Verdict: Burn

Written by Scott Lobdell
Art and Cover by Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund