Saturday, November 27, 2010

DAMN Good Comic of the Week -- TEEN TITANS #89

It's official...Damian Wayne is the new Guy Gardner.

Back in the day, Green Lantern Guy Gardner rose to prominence as a character in the pages of Justice League International, where he tormented his fellow team members with insults, obnoxious bravado and tactless criticism on a monthly basis.  Gardner's loutish behavior put him into conflict with various team members, even resulting in a legendary single knockout punch.  The point here, though, is that he also made the book considerably more interesting because of the conflict he created.  Over time, however, Guy has essentially been neutered as a character, becoming a far more mainstream hero than he once was.

But now, it seems more evident than ever that current Robin Damian Wayne has stepped into Guy Gardner's boots and the Teen Titans are the lucky group who gets to babysit him.  In "Bruised Egos," redundant Batman and Titans founder Dick Grayson asks the Titans to add Damian to their team in order to learn how to trust people.  The Teen Titans, with Ravager in particular, aren't exactly big fans of the idea, but Grayson convinces team leader Wonder Girl who basically tells the others to suck it up and deal.

So now that we have some inner team conflict to juice things up, writer J.T. Krul sends the Teen Titans off to face Barney, a genetically-augmented kid given considerable mental and psychokinetic abilities by a new villain named Doctor Caligan in the previous issue.  What follows is a standard Titans fight sequence that almost ends peacefully, until Damian abruptly steps in and stirs everything right back up, allowing Barney to escape.  Damian, true to form, remains oblivious to the potential repercussions of his actions.

What really sells this issue, though, is the stellar artwork by Nicola Scott.  After far too long of this series simply getting by month after month with mediocre artwork, it finally feels like DC Comics is making an effort to improve the book's quality.  Scott has a terrific grasp of how characters move, even in scenes where they're simply walking and conversing.  She also gives thought to their specific body types, particularly in her depictions of Dick Grayson with a leaner, more acrobatic physique compared against Superboy's more muscular frame.  The coloring by Jason Wright complements Scott's artwork as well, giving scenes such as Raven's otherdimensional realm an extra punch they might not have had with another colorist.

All in all, I'm starting to see some serious potential in this new creative team.  If they keep building on this initial momentum and deliver some well-crafted stories with some memorable villains, we could be looking at the Teen Titans' long-awaited return to greatness.  Here's hoping...

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