I just want to preface this by saying that I skipped a Top 5 Wednesday post to write this, and it will not count as my Friday Read. There are problems with this book, so I won’t be recommending it without the other volumes. Therefore we’ll call this post a review.
So last week I read the first volume of the 2011 Teen Titans run because I have been a fan of this group since I was a teenager myself. Whether they call themselves Teen Titans, grown-up Titans, or Young Justice, you can bet I’ll be somewhere rooting them on. I like team books because they allow you to focus on more than one person. Like, I get bored with solo books because focusing on one character can get boring really quickly. However, you will never hear me complain too much about We Are Robin, simply because I have something like five Robins to read about at any given time.
In any case, this second volume of Teen Titans is supposed to follow up from the first in that they’ve met the guy that runs the N.O.W.H.E.R.E. facility. They deal with his minions, and we, the reader, meet some more teen metahumans, and then Titans somehow manage to end up on a Dino island. Danny the Street/Alley manages to get the team back to New York, but then the Dino teens also manages to come through. Bart deals with the Dino teens, Kiran deals with some stranger danger, and Miguel manages to fail at recruitment. The book then ends on Cassie’s run-in with an ex, and that is the most coherent that this trade gets to be.
Does that sound confusing to you? Don’t worry, it was confusing to me too, and I actually read it.
I remember reading the reviews for this book, and they would talk about how it devolved into just adding names to the roster, and I can totally see why it looks that way. The very first issue of this trade does not immediately pick up from the last issue of the first one. You can pretend to believe that the story starts in medias res, but when they never manage to flip back to the beginning, it becomes apparent that something pertinent is missing.
It was not until I had flipped all the way to the back of the book, and noticed an advertisement for other collected editions, that I realized that something was wrong: two trades worth of stories had gone on between the first Teen Titans trade and the one I just read. In fact, despite this book being named The Culling, the actual culling takes place in another book entirely. This book contains the climax and the very end of whatever “The Culling” was supposed to be.
I usually don’t try to knock people about their jobs, but whoever collected these stories messed up. The Culling was a story that happened in Legion Lost (2011) vol. 2, which would have been perfectly fine if it was all collected in one trade and not spread across two books with no references to each other. Seriously, I just spent 15 minutes on Goodreads trying to figure out what trade I was supposed to read to figure out this story. The funny part is, Legion Lost’s second trade is supposedly better than the first.
Moving on, when we do finally get out of the N.O.W.H.E.R.E./ The Culling plot, it’s kind of implied that Superboy and Wonder Girl have had a whole adventure on the other side of Dino Island. So you’re already pissed about missing what went on in the Culling, then you get to this random and mostly unexplained Dino Island plot, and the writers have the heart to imply that you missed something else. Then Danny the Street shows up, but they refer to him as Danny the Alley, and he’s almost dead for reasons that don’t make sense to you because nobody told you that there was a whole other book you were supposed to read. And it really doesn’t help that we’ve been missing a character since three pages into this trade!
I mean, it’s just a slap in the face to people who care to read these stories. The rest of the books have higher ratings, and I just don’t care to read them. What are they going to tell me?
I’m going to cut this review right here because I’m just ranting at this point.
Volume II of the 2011 Teen Titans run, written by Scott Lobdell, is a let down. It is confusing, and hard to follow. You will need to purchase Volume II of the 2011 Legion Lost run, written by Fabian Nicieza, to understand it.
Literally, the only thing that came out of this book is the hint of Red Robin and Bunker’s possible romance. A hint. You get a glimpse on Dino Island, and then Wonder Girl teases Bunker about it much later in the book. However, none of that matters, because the book immediately ends on a cliffhanger for Death of the Family. That’s only three issues, though? Why is this in a book by itself if it’s not even connected to the main Batman story?
I will give Scott Lobdell and co. a pass for having Red Robin leave to deal with it. In this new age of DC, people will be involved in whole events in Gotham, and yet still manage to be hanging out in Key West, as if these two things are not going on at the same time. I’ve given up on trying to make DC crossovers make chronological sense. They don’t care, so why should I?
I just don’t understand. I can’t understand how the same people who gave me collected editions like Batman and Son and Batman Incorporated – stories that took place over different runs of different series – could have the heart to give me this mess. Like, you could collect all the tie-in stories from Flashpoint into several different books, but you can’t give me a coherent Teen Titans crossover event?
Okay. That’s cool. I see where your priorities are.
Don’t bother with this book; you’ll just get your heart broken.
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