Current Reviews


Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003

Posted: Tuesday, November 4, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

Writers: Geoff Johns, Judd Winick, Phil Jimenez, Jeremy Johns and Mike McAvennie

Artists: Ivan Reis, Carlo Barberi, Phil Jimenez, Rick Mays, Mike McKone, Ale Garza, Will Conrad, Jason Pearson, Karl Kerschl, Mike Turner, Geoff Johns, Judd Winick, Tom Raney, Kilian Plunkett, Jim Mahfood and Pascual Ferry

Publisher: D.C. Comics

In the aftermath of the deaths of Lilith and Donna Troy we see the various members of Young Justice and the Titans are dealing with their own feelings of guilt, as well as the sense that in spite of the deaths of their friends they need to move on with their lives and not turn their back on the concept of working together to fight evils they couldn't face alone, because they discovered that occasionally the price to be paid for forming friendship with other heroes is the painful loss that comes from forming attachments with others in such a dangerous profession.

This issue is entirely for the completist fan who has to have every bit of information spelled out for them. This is also the Secret Files one-shot that has convinced me that never again am I going to pick up one of these overpriced one-shots as they simply don't deliver anything of any genuine importance. The first story of this book is a look back on how the two groups were brought together in the aftermath of Lilith and Donna Troy's deaths. Now we get a bit of insight into the life of Thunder as she has a falling out with her father, and the scene where we learn more about Metamorpho's problem, but these two little bits of information are simply not enough to make me overlook the simple fact that most of this story is devoted to filling in the blanks where the answers had already been penciled in. It also doesn't help matters that the story attempts to create a feeling of indecision when we already know which choice is going to be made by the characters. However the biggest disappointment is that the story utterly fails to address the one question that was left hanging, as this story simply skates past the question of why Roy would make the android that killed two of his friends into a member of his new team. As for the second story it's a solid look at the life of Donna Troy, though Phil Jimenez manages to make this tribute to our fallen hero feel cramped and I rather feel sorry for any newer readers who find their way into this incredibly dense eight page affair. The who's who profile pages are impressive in that pretty much every member of the two teams receives one, but outside of the new characters like Grace and Thunder, these pages are largely a recap of old information.

As for the art, the work by Ivan Reis and Carlo Barberi on the opening story is an interesting mix of styles, as the more realistic work of Ivan Reis is used to deliver the scenes that center around the members of the Outsiders which is a darker book, while the Teen Titans scenes are handled by Carlo Barberi's more cartoonish style, which is also a nice fit to that book's more youthful cast. Now there's not much in the way of action in this opening story so this is largely a talking heads affair, but the art offers up some visually interesting places for these conversations to take place, with the visit to Gotham City in the final pages being particularly impressive. As for Phil Jimenez's Donna Troy tribute, as always he turns in a wonderfully detailed affair, and the grief expressed by several characters during this story comes across as quite genuine. The profile page artwork is also quite strong, and in an interesting twist we get to see art from writers Geoff John and Judd Winick, both of whom turn in pretty solid efforts.

Final Word:
This one-shot is a bit like of of those cost saving episodes of a television series where we receive a series of clips from the old episodes that are inter-cut by some new material of the cast lamenting days gone by. Now yes this is all new material that hasn't been offered up before, but it's certainly ground that has been gone over quite thoroughly in the monthly titles with the only real new insight coming from a brief little scene with Metamorpho where we learn his problem is rather serious. Now the scene where Thunder has it out with her father was fairly interesting, and since I'm a big Impulse fan the brief little scene with Bart held my attention, but in the end this was a thirty page story where precious little actually occurred that hadn't already been set in stone in the pages of the monthly titles. As for the eight page tribute to Donna Troy, it's clear Phil Jimenez is deeply invested in the character, as he offers up a wide range of elements from her life and pretty much touches all the bases, though the scene where Terry's ex-wife throws her little hissy fit felt rather contrived. The profile pages were rather uninspired efforts though, as they were basically plot recaps with nothing new to reveal.

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