Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Mike McKone (p), Marlo Alquiza (i)
Deathstroke is back in the Titans book and he's got a new mission in life, as he's done away with his former partner/manager Wintergreen, and is now calling his own shots. To this end we see the newly formed Teen Titans find their attention drawn to an attack being carried out over at Alcatraz, and after the team manages to evacuate the tourists, we see one member of the group has an encounter with Deathstroke, who is looking to send the team a message.
Damn you Geoff Johns! I mean how could you? Now yes I realize that these are all fictional characters, and that getting overly worked up every time a writer puts one of my favorite characters in a tough spot is not going to accomplish anything, but make me out to be a raving fanboy that writers can easily dismiss. However, there are times when I simply can't help but feel a surge of outright annoyance when a writer does something that endangers the core element of what I feel make a character so engaging. Now I've certainly had enough warning that Geoff Johns had plans along these lines, as he was offering up lines regarding this character getting a lesson that the real world in not one big video game, and that cold, harsh reality is going to make itself known in this character's life. However, one of the more appealing elements of this character has always been his being slightly out of step with reality, and the reaction this freedom from reality generated from the more serious minded heroes. I worry that in his effort to mature this character Geoff Johns is going to cast aside an element that set this character apart from the crowd, and frankly I'm not sure if I want to see a matured version of this character if the growth is the direct result of such a traumatic encounter. Still, I will concede that it does make for one heck of a cliffhanger.
As for the art, I've always been impressed with Mike McKone's ability to deliver the character moments, as one has to love the look on intense concentration on Robin's face as he gathers a piece of evidence on page five, or the look of pure anguish & pain in that final panel. However, the one weak area of his art would have to be his action sequences, as while he's able to deliver the flashy visuals, there are moments where the art isn't as clear as it needs to be when detailing a character's actions (e.g. what exactly does Cyborg do to put out the fire?)
Since I used up an entire column offering up my thoughts on the final pages of this issue, I'll use this one to cover the rest of the issue. First off it's great to see the villain of this issue back to being a big, bad villain, as he's a far more effective character in this arena than he ever was as a Punisher wannabe. I also like the idea that Wonder Girl is shown to be still largely uncommitted to the idea of being in the Teen Titans, as in the aftermath of the rather horrid miniseries that preceded this book's launch, it's nice to see the deaths that were offered up being acknowledged via the actives of the characters. The revelation about Superboy's genetic origins is also quite intriguing, if only for the simple fact that it should be interesting to learn if Lex Luthor is aware of his connection to Superboy. The older Titans also get some solid moments, as Beast Boy & Impulse have a fun clash of personalities, and Cyborg gets a chance to make an impressive arrival scene in this issue.
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