Death of the Family Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
New comic day almost caused me to have a heart attack. I didn’t. But it was close. And this month’s issue of Teen Titans was the cause. One of the most anxiously anticipated tie-ins for me personally was off to a rough start as soon as I opened up the comic to its first page and noticed something that could have completely ruined the whole experience if I was not such a vehement fan of 1990s Marvel Comics. Let me explain.
Fabian Nicieza instead of Scott Lobdell is not that big of a deal to some, but it will surely leave a sour taste in other readers’ mouths because they are so vastly different. On the surface, that is. But I know better. I got angry and complained and started doing the whole “But it says Scott Lobdell on the cover!” song and dance, then I took a chill pill and thought it out rationally. Anyone who can write the X-Men and their nearly limitless cast of hundreds of characters for the better part of a decade is a good writer. And this is something that has not been present since Grant Morrison’s departure from Marvel in the early 2000s, but that is neither here nor there. Back to the book we’re talking about, and how I got over the fact that my favorite 1990s comic writer was temporarily filled in by my second favorite 1990s comic writer.
This issue had good dialogue. It wasn’t as funny as Lobdell’s, but there is even a scene where Red Robin metaphorically breaks the third wall by saying that this is a different story, and Nicieza uses the team leader to poke fun at himself (which I love). When the Teen Titans call Batgirl to join them in Gotham City and help them rescue their kidnapped leader, Nicieza even says that Babs will try to make a joke and fail. This struck me as interesting because that is, in a sense, what he has been asked to do. After all, we were all expecting Lobdell to write this one, not just plot it out for his buddy.
The art is phenomenal. Brett Booth is amazing in just about every frame of this comic and has been the whole series. His Joker is no exception. But I could talk for days on end about my love for this former Image and Wildstorm hotshot. The true strength of this issue and series in general has been the combined dynamic of Lobdell and Booth, which was glaringly absent in this particular issue. But it was still by no means a bad comic. In fact, it was a lot better than most of the books on the shelves these days; it just seemed a bit like a fill in issue. We do get two neat things at the very end of the issue to keep us coming back for more next issue, though. First, we get Joker acknowledging that he knows everything there is to know about Red Robin. And second, we get yet another glimpse of the impending team-up between Lobdell’s two Bat books, Teen Titans and Red Hood and the Outlaws. Jason Todd and Tim Drake versus the Joker. Starfire and Arsenal versus a potentially Jokerized Teen Titans. I’m in. Can’t wait. Hopefully Lobdell writes the next part. Nicieza’s great, but come on. Don’t be lazy, Scott.