Saturday, December 3, 2011

Bought On Reputation

Pass this up at your peril!
Given that Rapid Reviews don't really lend themselves to an omnibus (or in my case, four) I decided on dedicating a whole post to this wonder of magnificence from Marv Wolfman and George Perez. As the title of this post suggests, this was something I ordered purely based on the reputation that this era of Teen Titans has, then left it on my Read Pile for a few months, followed (some days after starting it, by ordering the second omnibus. Amazon normally charge about $75 USD (currently they've got it vastly reduced - buy it, buy it now). It's only 684 pages, and doesn't take too long to read.

Here's the deal, the opening is fairly weak. Sorry, but even Marv acknowledges it with his tale of sales figures. Robin seems to be time skipping, and there's a NEW Teen Titans he's getting involved with. As someone who's not read anything of the incarnations of the Teen Titans from before this period, that has little value to me as an idea. Especially in an age where teams are disbanded and reformed all the time. Avengers anyone? That said, even in the early issues, the art is beautiful. I do not complain about Perez art. Ever.
Past the first say 5 issues, the quality picks up as we finally start finding out what the deal is with Raven (daughter of the demon Trigon, seem to recall somewhere along the line it was retconned that her mother was raped, seems consensual throughout this omnibus). Then we deal with a fair bit of amazonian whatnot about different eras of Gods. Next up is Beast Boy and the Titans looking for the remaining members of the Doom Patrol. After that are a lot of smaller story arcs (including Starfire falling in love and then having that lover killed), mainly giving us an insight into the characters backgrounds and relationships with their parents and civilian lives. There are a number of fights with the Fearsome Five, Deadshot, and H.I.V.E., none of which truly stand out in my mind.

I know I've said before that recommending older comics can be hard if they don't have any relevance on the current comics, however I also say that a classic story or run is worth reading, not as a primer, but for the enjoyment of it. Sure this omnibus has a few stories that are superfluous, and some that are clearly encumbered by the need for Wolfman and Perez to get things started, but over the duration, it's a quality read. The Trigon material would be enough to make this a classic. Add in that for some of these characters, this was their introduction, and it's obviously interesting to compare where the characters have ended up after many different sets of hands and various Crises have had their way with them.

As someone that hadn't read Titans of any form before, nor watched the animated show, I've got to say that I had no real knowledge of the characters outside of Robin, Donna Troy, and Wally West, but the writing and the art end up pulling you in. Like 70s and 80s Chris Claremont X-Men work. It's good enough that familiarity is not required.

I'd recommend this book to anyone with a budding interest in the DC universe beyond Batman, Superman, and the JLA. Anyone that has an interest in the Titans already, and hasn't read this, should be lining up to spend their money. Anyone that likes Chris Claremont's style should also consider this book. I'm eagerly awaiting the second omnibus from this era.

Next time out: something happened to increase my read pile. Something called Black Friday sales at Things From Another World. Needless to say, it'll be another Rapid Review.

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