With Teen Titans: Titans Around the World, Geoff Johns knocks another story out of the park. I know there's a general outcry over "writing for the trade," but Johns shows great skill in the two four-part stories collected here. Though connected, each story contains its own beginning, middle, and end, and each balances well between being self-contained and setting up future storylines. Indeed, as a One Year Later story, Titans Around the World is specifically geared toward new readers; Cyborg has been comatose for the missing year, and as such serves as the reader's guide to the Titans' new status quo. At the same time, the story is a long-time Titans fan's dream, checking in with a bevy of Titans past.
Johns also appears to have been given carte blanche to create a number of new Titans to replace the departed Superboy and Kid Flash; we see here, among others, kid sidekicks for Captain Atom, Black Adam, Power Girl, Plastic Man, and especially Martian Manhunter. Though Miss Martian's origin is completely inconceivable (perhaps suggesting there's more to it than initially revealed), there's a certain joy to this, as if in the New Earth continuity won't get in the way of positive character developments. Superboy and Kid Flash's absences are still palpable in the title, but Johns offers compelling additions in Kid Devil, Ravager, and Miss Martian.
If anything, Johns appears to have given himself almost too much fodder to address in future stories, from the lost Doom Patrol Members to the untold mission to New Azarath, Kid Devil's secret origin, and even the mysterious substitute Titan Talon, evocative of the animated Titan Red X. This confusion is only increased by the sense that Johns not only foreshadows, but "back-shadows" at times to events playing out in the missing year told in 52. The most effective subplot, however, is the distinctly creepy romance between Robin and Wonder Girl in the wake of Superboy's passing; Johns imbues this with all the awkwardness it merits, though whether the plot is resolved or not at the end of this trade is unclear.
There may, perhaps, be a "Johnsian arc" to the stories that Geoff Johns writes; be it Titans or JSA, there's something that always feels imminently familiar when I'm reading a story by Geoff Johns. At the same time, these stories are for the most part solid, cogent, and well-written, enough so that treading plowed ground doesn't seem like such a bad thing. If you still haven't picked up Teen Titans (who are you?), Titans Around the World is a good place to start.
[Contains full covers, brief One Year Later page.]
So, who's your favorite "world Titan?"
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Posted at 9:05 AM (Permalink) | 3 comments | Tags: DC Comics, Geoff Johns, One Year Later, review, Teen Titans