TEEN TITANS #2 written by Will Pfeifer, art by Kenneth Rocafort and color by Dan Brown is something I never imagined myself saying about a recent Teen Titans issue; it’s good. Really good. Like. I’m so shocked here.
Teen Titans has been a spotty title for nearly a decade; it gets to a good spot, and then everything goes to hell. The team formed right before the reboot, with the introduction of Kiran and the return of Kon and Bart, was one of the strongest and most solid the title has been in a long time. Then the reboot. Disaster.
I’m happy to say however that Lobdell has been scrubbed away pretty well, and well…this is actually really good stuff. It’s violent, but this is looking a lot better than it’s been in a long time.
After the Titans thwarted a terrorist attempting to blow up a bus full of children in the first issue, we now have the fallout. Bunker in particular takes center stage here; his comments after taking out a homophobic jerk last issue have gone viral. He angsts about it, and Beast Boy tries to make him relax a bit more. If you needed Beast Boy as a baby elephant and “Crabby Cat” in your life, look no further. S.T.A.R. Labs’ Manchester Black and Josiah Power try to solve a murder that occurred on base.
Cassie is MIA this issue, but a new vigilante gang of women are starting to dress up like her and attack men who bother women on the street. They take out a bunch of guys trying to bother a new character, Therese Cicero, who looks to be an eventual adversary or even team member with a “no superhero identity….yet” tease.
Raven, meanwhile has sparked a fandom too and Rachel attends a tribute concert to Raven by a band called Dark Mistress.
Tim meanwhile in classic Tim mode, interrogates the suicide bomber that Cassie tossed against a wall in the first issue. He had survived, but then someone (not Tim) pulls the plug, and S.T.A.R. Labs downtown building explodes. Beast Boy and Bunker go investigate and the lead terrorist that got away is responsible. Bunker fights, revealing them to be a robot. Bunker blows them up and saves the day- again. However, she later rebuilds, and it’s revealed that Manchester Black isn’t really that good of a guy.
This finally has a reasonably authentic “teen” feel to the characters. Lobdell is seriously out of touch when it comes to how teens are and the feel Pfeifer does here is a lot better. It’s fresher and brings to mind Young Avengers, though not neccesarily as try-hard as Kieron Gillen can be at times. The clothing looks a lot better too, it’s modern and Therese looks very “now”. It’s touches like these, the band, mentioning “Chirper” (Twitter), a Grumpy Cat cameo form for Gar, and the actual presence and affect teenage superheroes have on the community with the wannabe Wonder Girls that make the book much more fresh than it previously was. Why writers can’t stop and think about this type of stuff more often is a shame. Cause it works.
Beast Boy and Bunker completely steal the show here and their friendship is awesome. I really can’t wait to see what antics they can get into. Gar is a great foil, and their pairing here is a good one.
The art here is looking better and better too. Rocafort still over-details costumes (yikes Tim) but his work here is loads better than the first issue. The paneling is fun and expressive, is a lot less stiff and makes more narrative sense than the first issue, and the colors from Brown are really looking good. I’m really impressed with the jump; it looks a lot better and Rocafort is showing some moderate restraint.
Oh, and Helen, Cassie’s mom (post boot) has a brief appearance; look out for more of her I’m sure.
No Cassie, and once again Raven is underutilized, though she’s at a concert so I give her a pass. Tim disappearing and not responding to the the exploding lab, which was curious, and I hope will be explained. The villain seems evil and fun enough, and the added element of the vigilante gang as a third “force” to deal with hopefully makes for good storytelling.
I’m actually pretty engrossed here. It feels fun. Bunker is being given a huge push. It’s not entirely anything new, but this is a lot fresher and better than Teen Titans has been in three years. Hopefully it stays this way.