Friday, February 8, 2013

Graphic Novels - Teen Titans Vol. 7: Titans East

This installment of Graphic Novels is brought to you by Prestone, the best makers of anti-freeze ever! It'll cool your vehicle as well as you next door alien bounty hunter!

Well, this is it. It's the end of Geoff Johns' run on Teen Titans. We've seen the highs and the lows to his run on the book. We've also seen death and rebirth too. It took a while to do this post because... well, you'll find out below. Geoff Johns isn't the only writer in this trade. We have Adam Beechen, a writer who took over the series for a couple of issues. We also have a few artists this time around. There's Tony Daniel, Chris Batista, Al Barrinuevo, and Peter Snejbjerg. The issues contained in the trade are Teen Titans #42-47. This is going to be one of the long posts, so sit back and let's see if this volume lives up to what has come before it.

Teen Titans Volume 7: Titans East
Writers: Geoff Johns and Adam Beechen
Artists: Peter Snejbjerg, Tony Daniel, Al Barrinuevo, and
Chris Batista
Teen Titans #42
This issue is pretty much  lays everything out for Kid Devil. We start the story with him trying to get into an adults-only supernatural club. We see some members of Shadowpact, Dr. Occult, and the BMS himself: Shade (Thank you James Robinson for an awesome character!). He gets kicked out of the place and we find out that he is trying to find Blue Devil, his "sort of" mentor. We then get Eddie's story. We see that he wasn't the best sidekick and how he got hooked up with Blue Devil through his Aunt Marla. He's kinda reminding me a lot of Syndrome from The Incredibles. Anyway, Blue Devil dies at one point, but he comes back. Then, Marla dies in a helicopter crash. He tries to take her mantle in Hollywood, but doesn't work.

Eventually, he tries to live up to the Blue Devil name. He also was one of the many Titans that showed up during the missing year. He also wanted to get some powers. He went to Metropolis to join the Everyman Project (read 52 for more), but they don't accept him.  A hooded figure handed him a box with a candle in it. He knew it looked supernatural, so he went to Zatanna's cousin, Zatara. Like an idiot, Eddie lights the candle and the two are teleported to Neron (DC's Mephisto). He offers Eddie powers like Blue Devil's for a price: he must never lose his trust in Blue Devil. If he does lose his trust, he will be Neron's slave when he turns 21. Eddie accepts the deal and is given his powers. Neron tells Eddie that Danny (Blue Devil) was responsible for his aunt's death but Eddie doesn't believe him. He and Zatara are teleported back to Zatara's dressing room.
Eddie, you are one messed up dude if you always dreamed of being of looking like that.

Eventually, Eddie finally catches up with Blue Devil at a church fighting some creature. They talk and Eddie asks Danny about Marla's death. Danny confesses to him that he was responsible for her death. Eddie gets ecstatic, stops trusting Danny, and leaves the church. As he watches the sun rise, he realizes that he has about three years before he becomes Neron's slave. He decides that he is going to enjoy the time he has left, so he goes back to the Tower. Elsewhere, Neron laughs and it's revealed that he has Marla's soul.

Titans East - Part 1
The story starts out with Nightwing, Rose (Ravager), and Joey (Jericho) in New York. Nightwing welcomes the resurrected Jericho back to the land of the living. While this reunion is going on, the scene transitions to Tim's Robin Cave under Titans Tower in San Francisco. He and Cassie are trying to get Raven to bring Conner's soul back. She can't because his soul has moved on. Suddenly, the three are attacked by Inertia (a clone of Bart Allen) and Match (an imperfect clone of Superboy).

At Belle Reve Prison, Cyborg and Miss Martian try to interrogate Bombshell (she was the traitor from last volume), and it's revealed that she is part of another Titans team. At that moment, the other members of Titans East bust in. Risk causes a mess, Batgirl jumps in and kills Bombshell, and Sungirl takes out Miss Martian. Duela Dent and Riddler's Daughter (RD) mess up the security systems in the jail which leads to Cyborg getting taken out. At a church, Eddie is trying to enjoy the time he has left when Kid Crusader suddenly attacks him and knocks him out.

Tim awakens to find himself in a cave chained and surrounded by glass cases contain clothes of people he lost. Deathstroke and Batgirl are there taunting him. Slade tells him that he's doing all of this to the Titans so he can get his family back. We then find out that he himself has taken a member of the Bat family. It turns out that Cassandra (Batgirl) is on the same drug that Rose was on when she was with Slade in earlier issues. This part ends as Rose and Joey come across Titans East's lair in New York. It's in the same place where the original Titans Tower stood.
Deathstroke: Messing up young women's lives since 1983. Also, someone call "To Catch a Predator!"

Titans East - Part 2
This part starts out with Rose and Joey surveying this new Tower. We see that Deathstroke is waiting for them. Having no love for their crazy father, Rose and Joey attack him. Elsewhere, we see the other Teen Titans being tortured by members of Titans East. Risk is beating the crap out of Cyborg, Match is trying to put the moves on Wonder Girl, Sungirl is torturing M'Gann, and Raven is getting tortured by RD and Duela. The most interesting of these is Kid Devil's. Kid Crusader literally splits the demon half from Eddie which leaves him human. He then intends to kill Eddie. Harsh.
Hmm... so this is what that scene from Twilight would have really gone like.

We then switch back to the Wilson Family Throwdown. Joey takes on his father while Rose gets into a fight with Batgirl. Eventually, Joey is able to stab Deathstroke with in own sword. Somehow, the old man survives. I guess he's that bad. During the fight between the girls, one of Tim's shackles gets broken. Batgirl eventually knocks out Rose and goes in at Tim. Tim breaks out of his shackles and those two fight. He then uses a serum that was designed for Rose on Batgirl, and that breaks her out of Slade's control. The issues ends with Cassandra declaring vengeance on Slade for all that she did under his control.

Titans East - Part 3
Batgirl lunges at Deathstroke but he gets the better of her. We also see that artwork has drastically changed. Jericho sees this and leaps into Inertia's body to fight his dad some more. Deathstroke still knocks him out. Sungirl steps in and knocks out Rose. In Raven's chamber, RD and Duela beat up Raven. Luckily, Raven is able to play on Duela's nuttiness and gets her to join the Teen Titans. Duela agrees by punching out RD. The two escape and help put Cyborg back together. Elsewhere, Ms. Martian is able to stop Kid Crusader from killing Eddie. He escapes and gets M'Gann as his demon self possesses Kid Crusader.

Robin and Batgirl find Cassie in her chamber fending off Match. When they make a distraction, Cassie's able to knock Match out of the building. Those three, Eddie, and M'Gann regroup on the beach where they are attacked by Titans East. The evil team eventually overcomes our heroes. Deathstroke and Inertia are able to knock out Rose and Joey. They bring those two out to the others to see Deathstroke kill the Teen Titans. Suddenly, the odds turn in our heroes' favor as Raven has gotten reinforcements: Nightwing, Donna Troy, Beast Boy, and Flash (as Bart Allen). Oh Yeah!

Titans East - Part 4
It's an all-out battle as the Teen Titans (old and new) fight Titans East. Cyborg easily beats Risk, Ms. Martian and Sungirl fight with M'Gann winning, Beast Boy and Duela beat up RD, and Raven and Eddie take on the possessed Kid Crusader. Nightwing, Donna Troy, Batgirl, Jericho, and Rose take on Deathstroke. Somehow, he's able to best all of them in hand-to-hand. Raven is able to stop Kid Crusader and asks Eddie if he wants his powers back. He hesitates at first but he knows it's his burden to bear. Raven gives him back his powers.

Robin and Wonder Girl take on Match and it's hard for Cassie to fight him because he reminds her of Conner... I guess I can see it in the red eyes and pasty skin. Bart faces his younger clone and easily beats him. He then throws Interia's body at Match. Dang, Bart's awesome! He then joins Robin and Cassie in an reunion that's weirder than the one in the first issue of the series. After the evil team is knocked out, everyone jumps on Deathstroke.
Oh snap! I wonder how this ends...

Somehow... Deathstroke is able to keep three Batman-trained people and a bunch of of other superheroes at bay and escapes. Match wakes up and almost fries Rose, but Cassie deflects it and Joey jumps into his body. Inertia is able to get Deathstroke away from Titans island. Now that the battle is won, Flash sets off to find his evil clone, Jericho is controlling Match's body, and the older Titans decide to clean up Titans Island. This story ends with Deathstroke saying that his plan worked. He has given Rose and Joey a new family: the Teen Titans.

Teen Titans #47
The issue starts off promising as someone (a Monitor) kills Duela Dent.... wow, that sounds harsh. By the way, yes, this issue ties into the failure known as Countdown to Final Crisis. Anyway, the team (including Nightwing and Donna Troy, and Beast Boy) are flying to her funeral. Since Duela was a former Titan and she helped them during the last arc, they owed her that much. Nightwing and Robin then plan to find out who killed her in Gotham City. Donna, Rose, and Cassie elect to stay with those two while the rest of the team head back to Titans Tower to watch over Jericho. He's still in Match's body and it's getting harder for Joey to be in control of the imperfect clone.

At a movie studio in Gotham, Robin and Nightwing try to trace Duela's last steps by questioning a victim. She mentions something about Red Hood (Jason Todd) which sets the group on his tracks. Meanwhile, Cassie's depressed that Match is around because he reminds her of Conner. The group finds Jason Todd and the two former Robins accuse him of killing Duela. He says he didn't do it and promptly knocks them around a bit. Donna stops the fight and tells the two hotheads that Jason was at the funeral as well, so he couldn't have done this. The group leaves but not before Tim acts a little out of character and kicks Jason in the the soft spot. Ow.

Sorry Jason...

Back at the tower, everyone else is trying to hang lose and keep Jericho calmed down. Unfortunately, Match takes back control and goes on a rampage in the Tower. In Gotham, the other group is at the Duela's crime scene and they start to look around. Suddenly (or should I say " 'Lo and behold"), a light comes out of the sky and a voice tells them to stop with the investigation. This light also removes Donna's and Cassie's powers temporarily. The light then teleports them to the Tower in San Fran where they see the fight. They join in but Cassie is hesitant at first. Luckily, she is able to calm down Match and Jericho is back in control. The story ends with them cleaning up and Cassie going off to be with herself.

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And that ends another volume for the Teen Titans. Was this volume any good? Yes and No. This might be my least favorite volume out of all of the ones I've looked at. Instead of splitting up the good and the bad, I'm just gonna lay it out according to story.

The stand-alone story featuring Kid Devil's origins was pretty good as a whole. We finally get to see this character and understand why he acts the way he does. We find out why his relationship between his "mentor" is so messed up. I also liked the art in this story. It has  a dark, supernatural feel to it all. For those who are wondering if we get any resolution to Eddie's story, don't worry. His situation does get brought back up later on in the series.

The four-part story is somewhat of a a letdown to me. The overall story isn't bad, but there were a couple of things that irked me. I liked how all of the Titans were taken out. I liked the evil team itself. It seems like most of these members were brought on to play upon the Titans' weaknesses. Cassie has to deal with Match who is a dark image of Conner, M'Gann has to deal with the firey Sungirl, and Eddie has to deal with the nutty Kid Crusader. The artwork in the first two parts was pretty good. We also have a reason for Batgirl's turn to villainy at this era. While some wonder why she was made a villain in the first place, this reason works for me.

The artwork in the last two parts was not that good. I just wished Tony Daniel did the artwork for that whole arc. It just wasn't my cup of tea. There's also Deathstroke I had a problem with. Now, I understand why he did what he did. He says so himself. It was a little much to me. Rose and Joey were already Titans and had proven themselves to the team. I know they wouldn't turn on them especially for their father, so his reasoning for this attack feels weird to me. I also thought that Deathstroke taking on  10 Titans was a little much. I get he's supposed to be a BAMF, but come on! This is the same guy who got his butt handed to him by Batman, Nightwing, and Robin in Infinite Crisis and that fight wasn't that long.  Also, the writing in the last two parts just didn't jive with what came before. I then noticed that Adam Beechen scripted these two issues. Now I see why.

Then, there's the final story. Yeah, it ties into a horrible crossover, but this story itself is not bad. It's okay. It serves as an epilogue to the last story arc and that's about it. While I think Tim was a little out of character with that cheap shot at Jason, Jason still deserved it. Just go back to Volume 5 of the series to see why.  The artwork is decent enough. It's not great, but it's not making me want to throw it away either. All in all, the whole volume is lackluster but it has its moments.

Well, I would say that this is the end for me and the Titans, but I'm not so sure. I'm considering looking the rest of the series. I haven't read the rest of the series, but I know from word of mouth that there are some bad patches. I personally want to see for myself. I don't know when I'll do this, but it should be interesting.

Well, I'm out. Peace and God Bless because next time we're going through another not the first one or the last one. It's the one that was "A Crisis in Time!"


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