Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! Volume 4: Ready for Action Review


Time for a Teen Titans Go collection! Of course, I’m not talking about the current flash animated show, but the original Teen Titans Go adventures. It’s basically the classic TV show team with the original designs so you can’t go wrong there. The art can be a little sketchy at times, but it’s definitely a pretty fun collection. We get quite a few stories and always some action around. As always, Robin also manages to steal the show.

The first comic deals with a bunch of zombies attacking. They seem to attack every place where a musician takes the stage so that seems awfully suspicious. The Titans head over there while Raven goes to fight the mastermind directly. He seems to have manipulation over the shadows so he is someone that you definitely have to be careful with. Of course, Raven has a lot of experience in this field herself so she’s certainly not worried. A pretty good start to the collection. It may not have had a lot of action, but I liked the mastermind who was in the shadows. Raven taking care of him with minimal difficulty definitely makes sense since there is no way this guy should pose much of a threat to her. Raven is simply on another level when it comes to powers from the shadows.

The next comic had Raven fall inside the video game world when Atlas made his big return. Cyborg has apparently been hiding from him for a while, but you can’t escape Wifi and lag switches. A lot of technical glitches occur which is why people keep falling into the game. Can the Titans clear the game and get out or will a cop out occur? Unfortunately it’s the latter, but it’s still a fun issue. The original Atlas episode is actually one of the most underrated ones in the series if you ask me and I thought it was pretty good. I would have liked for Atlas to have actually fought here. So it’s not as good as the first story, but still solid.

Next up is the Beast Boy adventure. He gets turned into a Godzilla homage so the Teen Titans have to team up with the East branch to bring him down. They take out the Voltron robot that Cyborg had been saving and manage to really knock the fight out of Beast Boy. Who doesn’t like a giant monster comic right? I prefer humanoid opponents, but it’s hard to say no to a Godzilla homage. At the very least it was also fun seeing the East squad again. Speedy and Robin had a nice team up as well.

Things changed a bit with the next comic as it was actually two mini stories. The first story is about Raven lending all of the Titans her super spooky book except for Beast Boy since she figured he couldn’t handle it. He’s not mature enough. He decides to prove her point by breaking into her room and stealing her book. It’s the wrong one though so he unleashes a monster to the world. Pretty decent comic and I’m glad we got the moral at the end that Beast Boy isn’t ready for it. The second half story was a lot better though as Robin faces off against Slade and they have an epic battle until Starfire wakes Robin up from his day dream. Hey, it might not have been real but it makes for a fun adventure. The art got very water colored for some reason for this issue. I’m not really a fan of that style, I’ll take the classic look.

The next two comics are definitely the best in the volume. First off is the return of Red X. He’s here with a vengeance as he starts committing a lot of crimes. The strange thing is that when the Titans try to stop him, he seems to be in 5 places at once. Most of them are robots but is the real one the real Red X? He’s never used such a tactic before. The Titans assemble and get ready to take him down. It’s a pretty action packed comic with Robin as the focus, how could this not win? Robin is also the only member to do well against his Red X counterpart which is worth mentioning. Yeah, all told, I was pretty satisfied with how the comic went. Even the art seemed to be at its peak here.

Next up was a sequel to the Master of Games story. The Titans are taking down crooks as per usual when a red gem shatters and they all switch powers. Robin gets Starfire’s abilities while Raven gets Robin’s hand to hand skills for example. It’s a pretty interesting development and as expected, Robin and Raven handle the changes the best. The others have a pretty tough time of it but they’ll have to stay strong since crime never takes a holiday. It’s not a super action packed episode or anything, but swapping powers can always be an amusing plot line for an episode. This one handled it pretty well at that.

Finally, we end off with a Christmas episode. The team has to deal with the Multiple Man. (I’m not positive if that’s his name, but it would make sense) He’s ruining Christmas for everyone. Robin manages to stop him with a good trick, but Beast Boy is sad because Robin has to give his present to a random guy whose present was ruined. The secret santa may not have worked out for everyone, but it’s the thought that counts. It’s a pretty happy comic that is fitting for a Christmas story and it’s a reasonable way to end the collection. It captures the spirit of the TV show as an action packed adventure that had a good amount of humor.

It’s always nostalgic seeing the old cast. The Titans Go series was definitely a blast so it’ll be cool seeing the other issues at some point. The art could use a bit of a tune up at times, but I like the overall color scheme and character designs. The author just has trouble with the faces from time to time. Either way it is certainly a style that is easy to read and stands out though so I’d call that a win in my book.

Overall, You should definitely check this comic out. Think of the issues as the lost episodes that you never got to see when you were a kid. Hopefully the series got quite a few more volumes before ending. The array of stories is pretty solid and it felt like a good amount of content was squeezed into the volume. In these troubled times of Chibi Teen Titans Go episodes, it’s always helpful to remember the original. Perhaps these stories will be adapted into a one season sequel show someday. You never know…it could happen.

Overall 7/10

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Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Teen Titans: The Judas Contract Review


Now I can finally be caught up with the main DC films. They’ve been on a solid roll and it’s good to have DC finally reclaim the throne. That being said, it’s not nearly as good as Bad Blood or Justice League vs Titans. Those films did set quite a high bar though and this film is still pretty solid. The action scenes are on point and all of the characters get to show off their skills. Considering that fans had been waiting for this film for around a decade, it was nice for them to finally get a payoff.

The Teen Titans are finally a pretty close knit team. They’ve even got a new member named Terra who is useful for breaking into enemy bases. Nightwing does his best to get back into the swing of things since he left the team for a long time. It looks like he showed up just in time since the assassin Deathstroke has shown up once again and he has his sights set on the Titans. The Justice League aren’t available to help in this round so Nightwing has to put his training to good use and solve this issue on his own.

The film starts off with a decent action sequence as we learn about one of the Teen Titans first missions. At the very least, it was how they first met Starfire and ultimately she would become the leader. I have to say that the old roster may have been a little stronger since they had Kid Flash, but Starfire’s a pretty decent replacement. The actual Titans from that era were fairly unlikable as expected since the film really played up the whole Teens angle. That also ends up hurting the main cast to an extent as well.

The main plot with Deathstroke taking everyone down was a lot of fun though. I was wondering how they would incorporate Deathstroke into the film since he met an untimely demise a while back, but the reason was satisfactory and the most plausible one of the bunch. Fortunately for him, Deathstroke also got a lot stronger and became better at hand to hand combat. He looked so terrible in Son of Batman, but this was a great way to finally treat the character with respect. I’m definitely a Deathstroke fan and his portrayal here was spot on.

Naturally, Terra also gets a big role, but I can’t say that she was likable here at all. I’d actually say that her TV show version was probably better. This one’s subplot with Deathstroke was pretty unnecessary and her “Too tough for everyone” personality didn’t work well. If you want an example of a character who pulled it off, look no further than Damian! Damian’s role here was fairly small since he wasn’t in the comic and the writers didn’t want to upset the fans. Still, he looked good in his brief appearance as he put up a fight against Deathstroke and seemed to be the only member with common sense. I know the Titans are about acceptance and all, but letting in random people with no background checks is extremely risky. Damian’s hunch proved to be correct as it always is.

A minor subplot is how Starfire is worried that the other members treat Nightwing as more of a leader than her. It’s to be expected since he was the leader for a while, but he’s a nice guy and does his best not to usurp her authority. Starfire’s not a bad character and still a big step up from the TV show version. She could be better though. This also wasn’t Nightwing’s best appearance and all of the scenes with him and Starfire typically just slow the film down. He still does well in combat though.

Beast Boy’s still as annoying as ever. There’s no way Terra should fall for him just because he is constantly pestering her. He was basically asking to be betrayed the whole time and it’ll probably be tough for me to ever be a big fan of his. Blue Beetle’s scarab continues to act up and it’ll be fun to see if a film tackles that plot at some point. His subplot was pretty boring though and definitely didn’t need to be in the film. It’s nice of him to help out, but did it have to immediately have to also become a romance subplot? What happened to just having nice co-workers?

Raven gets the smallest role here, but she already had her own film so that makes sense. Unfortunately, she is heavily nerfed as a result. Honestly, the power levels are pretty bad all around here which is a shame since the previous film did pretty good with them. Raven losing to Terra is one of those “I can’t believe that happened” moments and the Titans just ganging up on Brother Blood at the end was also pretty iffy. His powers seemed to magically vanish and suddenly he was getting wrecked by everyone. The only main fight that I was really okay with was Deathstroke taking on Damian and Nightwing since a super soldier serum can definitely make that plausible. Every bit of strength and speed helps a lot in a fight like that.

The animation is definitely sharp as expected. All of the fights are pretty sharp and the character designs on point. DC’s never disappointed in this area though so it’s hardly a surprise at all. Unfortunately, the soundtrack didn’t return from Justice League vs Teen Titans. That one had some really good tunes, but this one went for a more generic ensemble. It wasn’t bad, but I can’t remember a single tune, you’d think that it was a silent film.

Ultimately what holds this one back from being as good as the others is the writing. It’s a little more sub par this time around as it’s a TEEN Titans film as opposed to being a Teen Titans film. There’s a lot of romance and drama everywhere with some rather iffy lines being thrown around. We did get our fair share of superhero action as well, but these elements definitely weakened the film just enough. It also doesn’t help that I’m not a Brother Blood fan and he’s as boring as ever. At least he got a power up so he could actually fight here. Still, you can easily forget that HIVE is in the film and it wouldn’t really change much.

Overall, The Judas Contract is a good film. It’s not as sharply written as the last few films and Raven was nerfed way too hard, but it’s still enjoyable to watch. The film breezes by since it’s so short and that allows then pacing to always be pretty quick. Damian’s a highlight as always and Deathstroke has fully reclaimed his glory. I look forward to seeing what the rest of 2017 can bring for DC animation. I want to see a Justice League movie now that DC is bringing its A game back. A Trinity War adaption could be a lot of fun or we could even skip to the Darkseid War at this point. Wherever we go, it should be hype!

Overall 6/10

Animated Movie Reviews, Animated Movies, Reviews

Justice League vs Teen Titans Review


The DC movies continue as I finally got to check out this film. As you may remember, I was pleasantly surprised by how Batman: Bad Blood was and hoped that this one would continue things on track. It’s definitely a solid film and I’d say that it is 2nd only to the former in the post Flashpoint era. I have more issues with it than I did for Bad Blood and it never reached the same level of intensity and animation that the former had, but it is a quality film. So don’t let the cover art scare you, it’s just DC’s way of reducing sales for all of its current films.

A demonic being by the name of Trigon has set his sights on the planet Earth. His ticket there is his daughter Raven, who is currently a member of the Teen Titans. She had trapped him in hell and he is unable to break free so he sends his subordinates to capture her. Can Raven defeat them and keep her friends safe? Meanwhile, Robin completely embarrasses the Justice League in front of the city so Batman demotes him from League member to Teen Titan. Robin doesn’t take it well, but learns that sometimes it is good to protect those who are weaker.

As you hopefully probably guessed, the title is pure clickbait. The Justice League vs Teen Titans fight lasts for only about 2-4 minutes. The rest of the film is mainly about the Titans although the Justice League gets their moments as well. That’s fine, I know that most Vs titles never actually go anywhere. Just look at Batman vs Robin although admittedly, that fight certainly lasted longer than this one. There’s a lot to talk about in this film so lets start with the Justice League.

They’re on the backburner in this film. While it is a sequel to Throne of Atlantis, the world just doesn’t revolve around them this time. Superman looks both good and bad. It was interesting to see him at first because he acts like the protagonist in a B grade horror film. A monster whizzes past, the door slams, and the room is even chilled to the core. Superman’s only reaction is the classic “If this is a joke…then it’s not funny!” and then he even yells in terror as he is taken over. For starters, the whole “Superman has no willpower” thing that the New 52 made popular is total nonsense. Superman doesn’t get taken over and his reaction times are good enough so he wouldn’t be taken in like that. It happens though. There is a lot of plot hax here. Nothing that hurts the film as a whole, but it does make you shake your head.

Superman getting steamrolled by Trigon at the end is another moment where you have to tilt your head. Superman beats guys like that for breakfast. The rest of the League didn’t do much better. Too bad Green Lantern wasn’t here to save the day eh? Superman’s fight against Wonder Woman and Flash was brilliant though. As I’ve always said, Superman is easily the strongest comic book character of all time. It’s not even close. I like how he’s faster than the Flash, Smarter than Batman, and a better warrior than Wonder Woman. It’s part of why he’s a good character, he invalidates the rest of the League with his existence. Effortlessly breaking Flash’s leg and then trapping Wonder Woman with her lasso is something for the record books. It was the best part of the film hands down and should answer any debates as to who would win in a fight. As Flash pointed out, it was a bit of a brutal way to take him down, but it was effective. It was also good to see Flash’s accelerated healing factor be acknowledged for once. I feel like most animated features don’t even remember this. On a final note, Superman’s voice has got to go. It was awful in this film. Maybe the guy was out of practice or something, but it sounded nothing like Superman.

Flash didn’t actually get a role beyond that. He got the shaft from the League members. Batman was good as always. It’s definitely unfortunate for him that Damian always acts out when they’re in public. Still, Batman takes control of the situation as always and even prevents himself from being mind controlled. He handled the whole thing quite well. His plan to have Wonder Woman hide herself and not engaging Superman as well was a little iffy though. Didn’t seem as brave a move as you’d expect. Wonder Woman didn’t hide which is a good thing, but she didn’t pursue either. I would have liked for her to have gone after Superman anyway. Her terribly irrelevant relationship with Superman can drag both characters down if it keeps up so hopefully that goes away soon. I don’t want it to be a main plot though, let it be a one line thing.

One last note on the Justice League, I can’t buy into the whole confrontation that happened later on. They want to take Raven in for questioning and basically arrest her? These aren’t the Avengers. The Justice League don’t randomly shoot civilians or kidnap teenagers for no reason. I can’t picture the heroes doing this. They could have handled the situation with more tact and I also don’t see how they didn’t notice Trigon the whole time. There were some stretches in logic to be sure, but at least it was still good to see the League. They got a bit more of a role than I had expected them too.

Now lets talk about the Teen Titans. As you’d expect, it’ll take a few minutes to get used to their new designs and voices. Starfire’s is an improvement from the start for me as I never liked her “I don’t understand human culture” gimmick. The jokes with it were never that funny so seeing her as a capable team leader was a nice change of pace. I feel like she was a little underpowered here. I do agree with her losing to Wonder Woman of course, but she did absolutely terrible against the Trigon demons to the point where Blue Beetle and Robin were doing far better. I’m just not sure I totally buy that, but it’s not an issue with her character.

Beast Boy was annoying as per usual. He was just a bit much the whole time and I also had to chuckle when I saw his undercover getup. It’s something that you usually see the mysterious heroine wear in an anime. I have a co-worker who has the same get up and she is not a guy. It’s just not something that you really see a guy wearing or maybe it’s just the way that it was animated. Either way, it was funny because that style isn’t for a character like Beast Boy. His personality would make you think that he’d be wearing something a lot brighter or more outlandish.

Raven was great as per usual. I think she did panic a little too quickly with the Trigon situation though. As she explained, he is still trapped in the crystal so it’s not as if he can do anything. All he can do is summon his minions and she can handle those right? Admittedly, she looked a little too weak in the first confrontation until she used her demonic powers, but they shouldn’t be a serious threat. Of course, once the Titans were held hostage, she didn’t really have any other choice. So long as we don’t get any random romance between her and Robin, their friendship is also a good subplot. They definitely do have similar pasts and aren’t good with others. Raven just handles it by keeping to herself while Robin likes to insult everyone. The Titans definitely would be in a jam without Raven’s powers so they’re lucky that she stays as a hero.

Robin was also a very solid character. Yeah, he’s a little meaner here and may have regressed a little in character development, (He still thinks Ra’s is a great man with good ideals? I feel like he should have moved on from that by now considering how crazy the guy was) but I still like his confidence. Robin does well in a fight and saving the Titans was a good way to start. He was also handling Blue Beetle pretty well until the unexpected attack. That’s why you should never let your guard down, even in a sparring session. At first I wasn’t thrilled about DC forcing Damian into every single plot, but now I’m okay with it. I’m still gonna say that Dick Grayson is my favorite Robin, but Damian is better than Nightwing. Nightwing appears for a few minutes here and never really looks good anymore. His era is really done at this point.

Blue Beetle is effectively Cyborg’s replacement on the team. For him, I didn’t have to get used to a new voice, but the new design would take some getting used too. The buzzcut look just didn’t feel quite as right as the Young Justice look. Still, he was a good character. He got less of a role than the others, but that’s probably because the Blue Beetle will get his own film like Raven at some point. There’s certainly a lot they can do with him. I definitely had no problems with him and I’ve always liked the Beetle. It definitely doesn’t take any nonsense from anyone and always goes out swinging. There’s not much to say about Cyborg to be honest. Of course, I had hoped that this film would help him see what team he should really be on. I can’t say that happens, but I can say that Cyborg has always acted more like a Teen Titan than a League member. It’s like how the Beast never quite fit in as an Avenger since he was an X-Man for so long. It’s hard to just switch teams.

I’d say that one thing which holds this film back a little is the writing. It is a lot weaker than the last film and maybe even last few films. It could be the Teen Titans angle I suppose, but a lot of the dialogue is pretty forced. Most of the lines are either from Beast Boy or about Beast Boy. Batman asking Cyborg what happens to the food that he eats was also completely out of left field. Those are just a few examples and the dialogue could be a little distracting at times. It got serious when necessary though and don’t get me wrong. It’s not overwhelming or constantly in your face, but it’s still consistent enough to be noticeable.

The animation for the film is pretty solid. That being said, it is certainly a step under Batman: Bad Blood. You’ll notice that for the hand to hand fight scenes, the camera starts to be a little shaky as to hide the actual animation. I found that to be a little odd, as if the animators weren’t too confident. The energy displays were on point though and the energy that all of the Trigon creations emitted was similar to Bass’ iconic energies or any cool anime villain. It worked quite well and since this film was a lot more supernatural than the last few, it got to use all of these effects quite a lot. I also like the fact that Batman and Robin’s eyes are always glowing through the suit. It does make them look more menacing.

The soundtrack is also a step down, but it’s reasonably good. There aren’t really any battle themes this time around or none that I can recall. That being said, we did get some lyrical songs for the montages. The song that played during Robin and Beast Boy’s duel was pretty catchy. The one for the amusement park adventures was also solid. They easily made up for the lack of battle themes although the best of both worlds would be to include them all. The sound effects for the hits was a little lower which was unfortunate, but I guess it’s tough to get that perfect balance.

I need to give a quick shoutout to Lex and the Legion of Doom for the worst villain plan ever as well. A little hyperbole thrown in there, but what were they thinking? So, Lex, Solomon Grundy, Toyman, Weather Wizard, and Cheetah thought that they could defeat the Justice League? They may have had the element of surprise, but they never had a chance of victory. Each individual fighter was outranked by his/her counterpart. There was just no strategy or gameplan here which was odd. Lex had a great line though. It went along the lines of “You guys are always fighting (Demons, gods, Superheroes, Machines, etc) and I’m just a poor industrialist caught in the middle.” Superman even had to sarcastically admit that Lex had a point there. It was just an awesome line to be honest. Plus, it’s a nice way to think about things and it could give you newfound respect for his predicament. That being said, Lex still needs to up his game. He may have had an after credits scene in a previous film, but apparently the writers decided to ditch that. Ah well, it happens. We’ll see if this post credits scene leads to something more direct. Well..we know it does since the next film is already out.

Overall, Justice League vs Teen Titans continues DC’s path into the light. This marks two films in a row where DC is looking like their old selves. I could definitely recommend this film to anyone. It moves very quickly and there is a lot of action. Superman’s scenes are great and went a long way to ensuring that this film got a solid 8. It was a team effort though with the film just being solid all around. Seeing the Justice League and Teen Titans in a movie together is pretty fun. While I’d like the film to be a little longer, being under 90 minutes does guarantee good pacing. It’s a tradeoff, but one that makes the film a little more accessible to everyone. Next up is Teen Titans: Judas Contract so we’ll see how that goes. I don’t expect it to be quite as good since Terra’s annoying and the whole arc will probably be annoying, but if handled well it could be good. I did like the comic after all and Damian can easily fill in for Grayson’s role since he is so skilled already. Also, it’s time to redeem Deathstroke since he looked completely terrible last time. Here’s to hoping that DC pulls out another winner. If they do manage this, then I think we can officially say that DC animation is back to quality for the forseeable future. Now they just need to fix their DVD covers.

Overall 8/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Teen Titans Volume 1 It’s Our Right to Fight Review

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It’s time to look at the start of the New 52 Teen Titans run. I always thought the comics looked like fun with the dynamic covers and the cool new costumes. I can imagine how it may be a little too flashy for some readers, but it helped capture what the New 52 was supposed to be all about. The only thing that I was a little wary about is the fact that one of the main characters is gay and I believe that it may become a bit more of a focus in the future, but hopefully it simply remains a background element that doesn’t come into play. This comic series doesn’t need any romance of any kind. Simply focus on the action and this title should stay solid.

Red Robin/Tim Drake finds out that teenage meta humans are being targeted and kidnapped by an organization known as NOWHERE. He has written many blog posts to warn fellow heroes about this, but decides that he’ll finally have to step in to save them. He dons the Red Robin costume and finds Wonder Girl first. The two of them fight off the agents and Red Robin decides that he’ll save everyone else in the same way. Unfortunately, the two of them do not get along very well and the other members like Kid Flash, Bunker, Skitter, Solstice, and Danny are all not used to being on a team. Red Robin has his work cut out for them as the team ends the graphic novel embarking on their first big mission. They need to save Superboy!

There’s a lot of action in this first graphic novel. Superboy gets to fight the whole group of Teen Titans as he works for NOWHERE in this continuity. I suppose that they built him or that there will be a plot twist about that at some point. As with other modern day trades there are some events that happen in other issues so you won’t fully see them here. After all, Superboy already had his own comic series at the time so the timing must have been interesting. (Granted, the same thing happened in Civil War as well) You can still understand everything that is happening with no extra effort though. The best part of this comic was certainly the battle with Superboy.

As it stands, Superboy completely outclasses the Teen Titans in a fight though. This isn’t exactly evenly matched after all. Superboy is the strongest member around and since he has telekinesis at his disposal, he can even stop Kid Flash. I’ll still take classic Super Strength and speed like Superman any day, but it is always handy to have an extra power. Superboy seems like a reasonable guy even if he isn’t thinking things through a whole lot. It’s obvious that NOWHERE is suspect and even if his mission is to serve them, he should think about what kind of reception he’ll get for failing his mission. That was a good hero move on his part though.

The art is really good and continues to show why DC is leading the industry in this area. It holds its own as well as any other comic on the shelf and that is especially true for the action scenes and character designs. It’s been a long time since Red Robin was such a starring member so it’s good to see that his new design is so sharp. I imagine that Kid Flash’s is the one that people would find too colorful, but it works well for the character.

Unfortunately, the writing is what I’d call the weak point of the comic. The dialogue between Red Robin and Wonder Girl in particular can be a little sad as both of them really try your patience. A line should always be cool sounding or at least it should push the plot along. Some of the conversations that they have are just filler and usually it is just Wonder Girl accusing Red Robin of being a creep. He doesn’t seem to deny it typically so that doesn’t bode well for him at all. Even the conversation leading up to Bunko’s big revelation is rather forced as well. Characters don’t need to be talking about flirting all of the time!

Anyway, as you’d expect I didn’t think too highly of Red Robin. It’s unfortunate since I do like the Robins quite a bit, but he had too many iffy moments. Red Robin tends to look good when he’s on his own taking down criminals and making deductions, but he’ll have to work on himself when he’s with the team. I’m sure that he’ll gradually get used to being a team player. As it is, he also makes a very questionable call at the end of the comic which I naturally disagree with. He lets other meta humans get hunted and injured just so he can have some more proof. Definitely a bad call.

Wonder Girl plays up the “tough girl” angle a little too much most of the time, but granted I can see why she is always annoyed at Red Robin. He constantly calls her Wonder Girl even though she doesn’t want to be called that. She is not as eager to fight as Wonder Woman, but still seems to get a thrill out of it so that’s always a good personality trait. She’s easily the strongest member of the team, but not quite as Superboy’s level yet. Her dialogue needs to get better for her to be more likable, but she’s still better than Red Robin, Bunko, and Skitter.

Skitter has very weak will power. She lets her animal form take control rather easily and comes across as a self-defeating person the entire time. She definitely needs to work on getting a little more confident. Her Skitter form has a cool design and seems to be decently strong so she should grow into a being a good character. She just needs more will power and confidence is a good way to increase that quality. Bunko was a fan of Red Robin from the start so he’s one of the only members who is really glad to be on the team. His telekinetic powers will surely be useful as the fights go on. That being said, his costume is a complete rip off from Iron Fist’s. DC didn’t even try to give him something original. Right now he is a rather bland character, but at least he is optimistic which is more than I can say for some of the others. Danny has no role as of yet and he’s a living street. That’s got to be one of the worst powers of all time. I hope it doesn’t hurt when people step on him. There’s really nothing to say about him at the moment though there may never be since it seems like he’ll never take human form. I suppose having enough written lines as an object could still give him a personality…maybe.

Solstice has mysterious dark powers so it’s good that Raven’s not on the team yet. She seems fairly powerful, but we haven’t really gotten to see her fight yet. Energy Projection and flight is a good start though. She is the only one to realize that Red Robin is up to something iffy and she is also very optimistic. Solstice is definitely off to a solid start as one of the best members, maybe even the best. Kid Flash acts as you would expect him too. He has great speed and it naturally goes to his head. The concept of a backdraft following him into a burning house makes sense even if it feels like he just had some bad luck there. I could swear that the Flash has done the same thing many times with no ill side effects. Kid Flash will be integral to the plot as time travelling shenanigans are already starting and Kid Flash may not be what he seems. It’ll be sort of neat to see his true story, but it’s not interesting enough to warrant a full comic flashback so hopefully it just gets a few panels. His blue costume seems neat though.

The comic ends with a fairly great cliffhanger as the founder of NOWHERE shows up to fight the full team along with an injured Superboy. That should make for a solid fight even if this guy seems completely outclassed. His Grim Reaper design is another great one and the New 52 has done a good job creating original villains. His powers seem shadow based and those are usually difficult to fight against. I look forward to seeing what he has got in the next volume.

Overall, This was a solid comic. It ends up being just shy of the 8 due to the weak writing at times, but still makes for a fun read. It’s a good start to the Teen Titans adventures. The roster is also surprisingly strong as Kid Flash, Wonder Girl, and Superboy are all power hitters with Solstice and Bunker being decent in combat as well. It’ll be interesting to see which villains are pitted against this group as it will be tough to stop them. After enough issues, I naturally want to see the Justice League fight the Teen Titans. It should be a blowout, but just the concept of a crossover fight is always fun. On an ending note, I’d also like to point out that the group fight against Superboy is exactly how all team comics should begin.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Teen Titans Go! Volume 1 Truth Justice and Pizza Review

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Teen Titans was a great TV show and I definitely enjoyed the animation and action scenes back in the day. It was so good that I still consider it to be better than Young Justice and is the best DC show that wasn’t in the DCAU. Teen Titans Go, the current comedy show is pretty bad, but this comic is about their normal return so it’s still shown seriously and the characters are in their original designs. The stories are fun for the most part and it’s great to see the old characters back, but the art is verry wonky. It feels like the artists are either very bad or some of the illustrations were done on purpose because some of the pictures feel like they must have been on purpose…right!?

There are quite a few stories here and each one is a stand alone, which naturally means that some will be good and some will be bad. One of the decent stories involved Cyborg feeling bad because some kids thought that he was boring. His reaction to this was very overblown though and the plot could have been a side issue instead of the whole issue. It seemed to be a little out of character if you ask me. It was a decent story aside from Cyborg randomly getting a crush on the teacher. That basically wrecked the story and destroyed the moral at the end. Cyborg shouldn’t have needed to be reminded that he’s a cool fighter.

The worst story of the bunch involved Raven getting a zit and having the rest of the Titans tease her about it. That’s something that I would expect from their parody selves in the flash cartoon, not the characters form the real deal. Even Robin and Starfire get in on it at one point and the whole thing is pretty grating. The Trigon appearance comes out of nowhere and even though we did get a little action, there was nothing that could save the story at the end. You could tell that the writers were simply desperate for attention at that point.

The best story was the first one, which is pretty good from the writer’s point of view since it means that you can hook the readers in very quickly even if the stories go downhill from there. The Teen Titans had a blast playing video games, but little did they know that the HIVE was using the intel to see how the heroes were able to fight. It’s pretty ingeniious and computer software can help villains to try and anticipate what the heroes will do next. That being said, the villains have to still be strong enough to do something about this and I feel like Gizmo and his little crew will never be a match for the Teen Titans. Even Slade gets a small appearance here, which was neat. Action and video games make for a deadly combo and that’s really why this story could not be beat.

Another story featured the Gordanians. As I had just seen Justice League Starcrossed, it was neat to see them again. They arrive on Earth looking for the Dodo birds, but as the creature is basically extinct, that will be tough. Beast Boy must get his teammates to trust him so that they can all stop this alien menace. Unfortunately, BB has a tendency to lie for fun and his teammates can’t be sure if he’s telling the truth or not. It wasn’t a bad comic, but Beast Boy was way too mean and there’s no way that Starfire should have brought him a pizza at all since he tricked her in such a mean way. There was some action though and that’s always good.

There was also a Valentines comic where Robin had to take Starfire to an amusement park to show her why the day isn’t celebrated quite as nationally as days like Christmas and Thanksgiving. Unlike Teen Titans Go, this version of Robin isn’t interested in romance and it was a nice contrast to his parody self. He was too busy breaking high scores in DDR to worry about anything else and that’s the Robin that I remember. A fight is squeezed in there somewhere I think, but it was only a decent comic. Not a bad one though since Robin looked quite good and that’s always a big positive.

Finally, Thunder and Lightning returned as they had an argument with each other. It’s pretty nonsensical and they start fighting for no real reason, but the Teen Titans decide to join in and the big brawl starts very quickly. It’s mainly through misunderstandings, but it was good to see Robin charge in to stop the nuisances. Thunder and Lightning made for good villains in the TV show, but as heroes they aren’t very interesting and don’t add anything to the table. They certainly won’t be the next Dynamic Duo.

As for the art….it’s pretty bad. I still feel like it must have been at least partially intentional because of how bad it was. Seriously, I’ve seen fan art and fan comics that were drawn more accurately than some of these issues. The issues have many artists so the style keeps changing, but most of them turn out to be subpar. The anatomies will be seriously out of proportion in some moments and then the characters will have odd facial expressions in another. There is no sense of consistency and this also makes it difficult for any fight scenes to gain a whole lot of traction. The first issue was the best and had the best art, I don’t think that this is a coincidence. The art is clear and easy to read so it automatically beats some other styles like, dare I say, The Dark Knight Returns? Still, it’s way too spacy for me to call it anything other than bad art. It may not take a full star away, but coupled with the fact that the stories don’t knock it out of the park, I can’t give this comic the usual 7. It’s just not fun or good enough to get that kind of praise.

This is much better than the new Teen Titans Go and I’ll look forward to reading future collections of this series, but Teen Titans can do so much better. The series had a rich cast of super villains to choose from and the characters are also interesting enough to hold their own stories so the comics shouldn’t be afraid to give us some epic battles. The art needs to improve though and in this modern age there is no excuse for the art to not be dynamite. Daredevil and Black Widow’s new series may have bad art, but in their case it is completely intentional. For this collection, it’s just hard to say for sure if that is the case.

Overall, I recommend this comic to Teen Titans fans and to people who enjoyed the TV show. It’s nice to see the old characters back and that they are in character. Unfortunately, the stories aren’t the greatest and while some are good, others are downright bad. It’s the problem with stand alone stories since the quality always varies. The next comic that I’m reviewing has a similar format, but it works a lot better since the stories are all decently action packed.

Overall 6/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

The New Teen Titans The Judas Contract Review

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I haven’t read a Teen Titans comic in a long while so it was fun to check out this collection. The library has two other graphic novels from The New Teen Titans run so maybe I’ll check those out at some point. I wouldn’t count on it being too soon though and can any of them beat the iconic Judas Contract? It’s a fun story-line and it is cool that the TV show loosely adapted it.

The graphic novel essentially picks up with a Brother Blood plot. He’s one of my least favorite Teen Titan villains so this was unfortunate, but at least we’re getting that part over with quickly. Brother Blood has a large cult, which kidnaps and brainwashes people. He has already tricked the media so the Teen Titans decide to go after him. It will prove to be difficult since political clout can go far. With their new teammate, Tara, The Teen Titans are ready for anything!

This arc wasn’t too important as it was really just setting up future events. For starters, Terra started to show the viewers her true colors through her conversations with Deathstroke. This was sowing the seeds for the Judas Contract arc and the team began to trust her a lot. The Brother Blood group also gains more power as a result of Blood being defeated as the world feels bad for the group now. Kid Flash also decided to leave the team, which was regrettable and Robin decided that his costume was not appropriate for his new role as the leader of the Teen Titans. He was Robin no more!

The Judas Contract started off with a bang as Terra and Deathstroke began to take out the Titans one by one. It was rather easy, which is a little embarrassing and Robin is the only guy to escape. He is joined up by Deathstroke’s wife and son as they tell Robin of Terra’s betrayal. Robin also formally turns into Nightwing in time for the big battle. Can the Titans really defeat Deathstroke and Terra? H.I.V.E. hopes so since a lot of money is riding on this deal.

This was the big Titans arc and it was definitely a fun adventure. I suppose that the reason why it is so big is that Terra never turned good. She ended up being evil from start to finish and that was likely quite the twist at the time. The introduction by the writer was fun as he mentioned how seriously people took this fact as well as the rivalry between DC and Marvel. I’m sure that quite a few people were enraged about what had happened. It was certainly a very bold move.

Robin is a solid lead for the group and I’m glad that he switched to the Nightwing persona quickly. Having him just act as Dick Grayson wasn’t quite as thrilling as when he was in costume. He looks very bad in the fight against Deathstroke, but he had just finished being Robin so I suppose that he wasn’t much of a fighter by this point. At least, now compared to guys like Batman and Deathstroke. Wonder Girl gets one of the smallest roles from the Titan members although she temporarily becomes the leader while Robin is finding his identity. She seems to only have a mild degree of super strength here as she is strong enough to take down Deathstroke, but Starfire seems to have the edge otherwise. Wonder Girl is definitely one of the nicest members on the team.

Cyborg was definitely a lot different from his New 52 self here and it’s in a good way. He isn’t afraid to break out the occasional pun and he’s a good fighter. Cyborg wants to show that he is more than just a machine and proves it by going past his limits. He’s a charismatic fighter and makes a reference to the Captain Carrot (I think that’s the name) comics that I plan to check out at some point. He gets a thumbs up for that alone. Starfire is much less naive than her TV show counterpart and a large part of her character is that she was raised by gladiators. Her hand to hand skills are even better than those of Wonder Girl. Add in Starfire’s energy blasts and she is easily the strongest member of the team. Unfortunately, her costume or lack thereof is addressed within the comic through a poorly veiled attempt at getting more readers on board through one of the covers. For the most part, the costume is just around and the comic doesn’t put any emphasis on it, but a better costume would certainly be ideal. Also, as much as the Titans remind Terra that they never destroy people, Starfire threatens to destroy Deathstroke several times. Since she is a warrior Starfire wouldn’t hesitate to do such a thing…it’s something that the Titans should keep in mind.

Beast Boy is easily the worst member of the group and most of his appearances are just there to remind us what a bad character he is. He turns into a mouse just to be able to look at Starfire from that viewpoint and it reminds you what a petty individual he is. He may not be great in the TV show, but he’s worlds better than how he was in the comics. He went from being a rather uninspired character to a terrible one and I like to think that he’s better in the New 52. We finally have a winner over there! Raven also looks terrible, but in a different way. I have no qualms with her personality, but she looks terribly weak. Raven is constantly going on about how she can sense evil, but since she can’t tell when a villain is right in front of her, it’s basically pointless. Her dark magic was overcome by Brother Blood and Terra defeated her twice. Once with a casual back fist and another time with a flying rock. Seriously, Raven was laughably weak and I could see Robin easily overpowering her.

I didn’t care for Jericho. He just seemed to be a little too full of himself and sucker punching Robin was definitely not cool. No, Jericho just couldn’t become a good character for me. Deathstroke’s wife was certainly a lot more interesting and she looked good in the origin story. Deathstroke’s origin story is definitely tragic. The army looked bad when they refused to let a super soldier stay in the ranks. Deathstroke then became a gun for hire, which is where he stepped into the side of darkness. Deathstroke is a very fun villain and with his narration it can be easy to forget. He sounds like a good guy and you are just reminded that he is on the side of evil whenever he tries to destroy someone.

That being said, I did think that the wife overreacted when Deathstroke made the decision to save Jericho. At that point, his best option was to try to take them out before they hurt him. If the wife had not been there, the situation would have likely been much easier. Still, Jericho kept his life and Deathstroke defeated the villains. Jericho got injured, but nothing could have prevented that. Deathstroke could have surrendered and then the villains would probably just destroy them all. Never trust another villain and that’s why I didn’t find Deathstroke’s decision to be all that bad. As he said, it was a calculated risk.

Terra is certainly much more experienced with her powers here than she was in the show. From the start, she’s already strong enough to take down Deathstroke and most of the Titans with ease. She can control parts of the Earth that are miles away from her present vicinity and her powers continued to grow. She’s a villain from start to finish although her act quickly convinces the Titans. (Which is sad, since she left quite a few clues.) As a villain, she’s decently likable, but I didn’t care for her cover as a hero. She went too overboard to pretend that she was one of them. Terra’s tough, but the Titans should still be able to take her on and it’s a little embarrassing for the team that they actually fell for her act.

There’s a lot of action in this graphic novel and the Deathstroke vs Robin match was probably the best fight even though Robin was completely outmatched. The sparring session between Starfire and Wonder Girl was also quite good. I also enjoyed most of the subplots like Robin helping a few senators get their reputations back. There was no point during the comic that I felt bored with the title. I dislike Brother Blood and his subplot wasn’t that good, but it would only be around for a few pages at a time and things would get good again once the Titans were back. They’re definitely a group that is easy to root for.

The art looks good and it’s in the classic DC style that is too old to be new, but too modern to be retro. This style works well for me and most of the character designs resemble the modern (Pre 52) ones that I am used too. I still can’t take Nightwing’s original design seriously after watching the Batman series, but I suppose that it may have worked well for its time….maybe. Deathstroke is one of those characters who looks essentially the same no matter what continuity he is in. You just can’t change the guy.

Overall, This was a fun comic. You’ll be reading through the comics quickly as they are all short and interesting. At times, the characters can go a little overboard in how annoying they can be and Terra/Beast Boy are the main perpetrators here. I don’t think that the writer really knew what to do with Raven either as she just looks really bad the whole time. I would have liked to have seen a full Robin vs Deathstroke fight, but I suppose that their brief skirmish does tell us all that we need to know about who would win the battle. I definitely recommend checking this out if you’re looking for a fun action comic to read. It is fairly similar to the X-Men comics at the time and the team dynamic does work whenever Beast Boy and Terra aren’t trying to wreck it. What would be perfect would be for Beast Boy to be dropped from the team and for Kid Flash to return. The Teen Titans would really be ready for action! (Also, I gotta say that there is no way that Beast Boy should have a 6 pack. He does not train at all so I seriously think that this is another one of those cases where the artist tried to make the characters look a little too tough. It’s fitting for everyone except Beast Boy) Also, be on the lookout for Batman’s guest star appearance!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Teen Titans GO and Scooby Doo Team Up Review

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It’s time for DC’s counter to the Marvel comic! This is a double comic as the title suggests and those can always be interesting, but they also mean that each story will be a little on the short side. In this case, I wish that the Scooby Doo comic could have gotten more pages as it was infinitely better than the Teen Titans adventure. Ah well, it can’t be perfect right?

In the Teen Titans comic, the girls decide to have a slumber party. Naturally, no guys are allowed so Beast Boy and Cyborg decide to have some fun bowling. Robin disappears…to do some spying. His role is pretty bad here and it is sad that he would go to such lengths to spy on Starfire. His help is almost valuable against Trigon, but not quite. In the end, we realize that even Trigon can’t infiltrate a slumber party and get away with it!

The art was decent I suppose as it looks like the TV show. Teen Titans GO is a cartoon that really varies from episode to episode. Some episodes can be genuinely good while the majority of them range from decent to downright terrible. This would be one of the weaker episodes if it was animated. There are no scenes that will get you to laugh and seeing as how this is a comedy…that’s a bit of a bad thing. The sideplot involving bowling was better than the main one for me and that’s considering that the food distractions weren’t up to snuff. Cyborg should have led off with pizza and donuts!

The Scooby Doo team up is worlds better than the Titans story. The Mystery Gang are enlisted by the Super Friends to vanquish the ghosts that have taken over the headquarters. They would do it themselves, but even Superman was no match for these guys. The Man of Steel was disintegrated by a single ray blast. Impersonating former Super Friend members, (From the big Showcase book that I read, which was neat since I apparently read that collection in the nick of time!) the mystery gang must stop the ghosts at any cost!

The body count continued to rise in that story and the whole group of Super Friends was taken down. The ending is both startling and unsurprising. It’s still a superb ending and you can bet dollars to donuts that I am interested in finding out how the story ends. Scooby Doo Team Up looks like it has the makings of an incredible comic series and I hope that it goes on for a long while. This story was just about perfect and it was both interesting and funny. The Mystery Gang were all in character and they have always been enjoyable individuals to have in an adventure. Since I also like all of the Super Friends, it makes sense that this comic would be an all star.

The art was very good as well as the issue looked like a retro Super Friends adventure. It’s not quite as high budget as those comics, but it looks fairly authentic. You’re definitely missing out if you don’t read this half of the comic so don’t let Teen Titans GO stop you. This story is worth it even if it is just to see Superman get taken down by a ghost. Who would have ever thought that Scooby Doo and friends would save Earth’s mightiest heroes?

Overall, This was a collection that was hampered by the first story. The Scooby Doo one could have gotten an easy 8, but it will have to sacrifice 2 stars to hang onto Teen Titans. Teen Titans wasn’t terrible so you shouldn’t get that impression, but it just wasn’t that good. I probably would have given it a 5 on its own. I’m still glad that I’m watching Teen Titans Go as it has certainly had its moments, but the comic would likely work better if I was reading a whole collection. That way there’s more of a chance that there would be good stories along with the bad ones. Just grabbing a random story is like gambling. You don’t always come out on top.

Overall 6/10