Teen Titans: Scott Lobdell, Tom DeFalco, Ig Guara, JP Mayer, Andrew Dalhouse, Dezi Sienty, Brett Booth, Norm Rapmund
Oh man, FINALLY. The end of The Culling! And I say that not because I’m excited. I say that because I can’t wait to get past this ugly mess.
Speaking of ugly, Guara’s still on-duty for this issue while Booth handled the Annual. I’m just not a big fan of this representation with the characters. They have awkward proportions and look like none of them are wearing underwear. It’s the whole no-belts thing, I think…which isn’t necessarily Guara’s fault. But it’s just odd. Other artists don’t make these characters look strange without belts…so maybe some of it is because of Guara.
Speaking of more ugly, I hate Harvest. He just might be the worst villain of the whole New 52. And it’s really a shame because what a concept! What a great idea for a villain! A dude who kidnaps superpowered teens and makes them fight to the death to earn the right to fight for him!
Here’s the problem(s): We never learn WHY he needs his Ravagers to fight for him. Who will they be fighting? Why? What are they fighting for? It’s fairly obvious they’re to be an “evil” team, but is it a misunderstood thing? Like stealing to feed your family? Also, Harvest is way too powerful! Right on the first page here, he says he was able to beat the strongest of them with “a shrug of [his] shoulders.” So…why does he NEED Ravagers? What’s his motive? It would make more sense if he just wanted to kill all the superpowered teens in a cruel, sadistic, voyeuristic way. But instead he needs a team to do his bidding? What is he, agoraphobic?
Every single page is full of drawn-out, lengthy dialog that’s just god-awful. I seriously hurt my brain reading through it all. Here’s Red Robin, literally: “No sane person could think it was a good idea to pluck teenagers from across the globe — meta or otherwise — and set them against each other in a battle royal where the survivors are forced to serve your insane cause as Ravagers!”
That’s…what is…NOBODY TALKS LIKE THAT!! Is it supposed to sound proper and well-enunciated? Because, yeah, Tim’s a smart kid, but not even HE talks like that! It’s so expository! It’s so LONG! Why isn’t Harvest blinking him out of existence Rorschach-style-at-the-end-of-Watchmen while he’s yakking away? WTH?!
In this issue, Harvest FINALLY reveals his purpose, his goal in all of this. Again, as I’ve said before, everything was going “according to plan,” which is another reason he’s the worst villain ever. A villain in complete control of everything that happens is not exciting (Palpatine). A villain that is capable of losing control and becoming extremely frustrated is much more interesting. That makes them fallible and vulnerable.
Harvest was hoping that the Titans would help the children in the Crucible escape to all over the world so that they could, quote, “[create] fear, chaos and confusion in their wake,” and get the public to cry out for a controlling organization like NOWHERE. …Are you kidding me? So Harvest expects the average Joe public to follow a monster who looks like HIM?! Don’t think so.
You know what I realized at one point, reading through this? It feels like a video game. A poorly written video game, but a video game nonetheless. It’s like…the Titans did all their work together, took down and recruited Superboy, infiltrated NOWHERE, got into the Culling, teamed up with the Legion, defeated the Ravagers…and here’s the FINAL LEVEL BOSS!!! Harvest!! The most powerful mofo in the universe!!
I don’t want to read a video game. I have video games I can play for that. I want to read good, involved, complex stories about the Teen Titans. We were getting some exciting seeds planted in the first few issues with Lobdell…but this whole Culling thing was just a complete bust. And it feels like nearly a year was wasted on this title. A YEAR. Nobody thinks of it like that, I think. It’s always, “oh well that’s just 12 issues.”
No, it’s a full, stinking year.
Teen Titans #9, the verdict: A severely disappointing end to a frustrating chapter in the Teen Titans annals. I’ve been looking forward to this event, thinking it was going to be epic and awesome. I didn’t think it’d be 90s action movie epic. Which is to say…terrible. Kids, little kids, will probably love this book. Because that’s the target audience for those terrible 90s action movies. I’m talking “Surf Ninjas,” and “Masters of the Universe.” Hell, Harvest does kind of seem like a mix between Skeletor and Leslie Nielsen’s metal-faced villain in “Surf Ninjas.” I think I just unlocked the inspiration to this story arc. If I didn’t know Lobdell and Booth were coming back next issue, I’d be dropping this book, sadly.
(Photo Source: Newsarama)