Tried and true would be the best way to describe Teen Titans #22. While the series so far has been unpredictable, Lobdell seems to have calmed down and do what he knows will work. However, this leaves the current run a mere echo of previous runs of the series. There’s the same mind control, the same unpredictable Raven, the same joking-in-the-wrong-situation Beast Boy, love triangles and hormones get in the way of teamwork, it’s all there, and it’s all been done before. When the New 52 was announced, a large fear was that DC was simply trying to sell the same stories to its readers again. With Teen Titans, the fear seems justified.
THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Eddy Barrows’ art is very good this issue, though many characters can be hard to distinguish outside of costume.
Raven’s stance is finally revealed, and she is, as many predicted, an agent of Trigon. It’s nice to see that they are going with the pure evil stance, but given the way the story has been written, I wouldn’t be surprised if we eventually learn that “she learned to love the team” while infiltrating it.Kid Flash’s visions finally have some payoff, as unknown agents from another time come to kidnap him for crimes he cannot remember. After issues and issues of hints, it’s nice to see something done. It will be interesting to see what happens to the new Bart Allen, and learn what crimes he has committed.
Beast Boy is back, and while he is not being written much differently at all, his humor is certainly welcome. Beast Boy’s classic brand of humor really stands out in an issue when both Bunker and Kid Flash are out of commission.
More love triangle trouble, straight from previous runs. While this isn’t necessarily a negative, the aggressor in the situation, Red Robin, was under the mind control of Trigon. This means less opportunity for characterization and drama. This is forgetting the fact that each character hurt by this love triangle revelation doesn’t deal with it for more than a panel or two before becoming distracted or simply not showing up in the issue again.
Trigon simply teleports away from the battle in order to have Raven infiltrate the Titans. Trigon is said to be focused on world domination, hoping to lead an army across “the blood plains” filled with super-powered humans. However, in the comic, he seems to be spending his time forcing his daughter to knock elbows and sow disarray with a bunch of hormonal kids who can barely work together anyway. He was absolutely winning the whole time, and while Red Robin gets a good stab in, Trigon is a dimension conquering demon warlord – the fact that he stopped for any reason other than absolute mortal danger doesn’t make sense. The fact that he switched from doing his straightforward approach to world domination (which was succeeding) to infiltrate a team of teenage metahumans is puzzling to say the least.
The art is wonderful and the humor brings laughs, but at the end of the day, this comic isn’t worth the $2.99 price point. Trigon’s sudden departure is insulting to readers, and the rest of the comic has been done before. Here’s hoping that the next arc might bring some fresh new story ideas and characterization.