Thursday, April 28, 2016

Reader's Diary #1306- Amy Wolfram (author), Karl Kerschl (artist): Teen Titans Year One (collected)

Never having been impressed with the idea of the Teen Titans in the first place, or DC's long standing trend of simply ripping off their old ideas and slapping the same powers on as many different demographics, and even different species in some cases, as they can, I nonetheless thought it might be at least fair to give one of their comics a chance. A good writer might still be able to salvage something, sell the idea, or place them in plots that are at least original.

I'll give Wolfram credit on that last point. I didn't mind the plots and the idea of the teens' adult equivalents being turned bad by a villain known as Antithesis, forcing the Titans to take them on and save the day, was a great way of establishing that they are a force to be reckoned with.

I still, however, didn't feel that Wolfram respected these characters much more than I, but the problem was I'd been hoping she'd change my mind. Most problematic are the characters of Wonder Girl and Aqua Lad. Wonder Girl comes across as physically strong, but otherwise a boy-crazy idiot. I get that she's a hormonal teen, but she should still be a little more complex than that. Aqua Lad, meanwhile, comes across as a laughably gross weirdo. For some Aquaman has always been a tough sell, but in recent years they've made strides in showing that he's not as lame as critics would have you believe*. Unfortunately, it would seem that Wolfram did believe it and in his teen knock-off version we get a pasty face geek who reeks of fish, gets advice from turtles, and breaks out in disgusting scales.

I was also not crazy about the art. My largest issue is one I don't know if I'd ever had before: pointy-ness. Small credit, I suppose, for being stylistically different than most superhero comics but if the result is knees that look like orange juicers, I'm not entirely convinced it was worth it.

(*Though, as I'd said before, I suspect that the amount of disrespect aimed at Aquaman was exaggerated by DC themselves so that he could have a "comeback," but nevertheless my point above remains.)

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