Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Mike McKone (p), Marlo Alquiza & Norm Rapmund (i)
Bart thinks he can drive a Batmobile. Krypto thinks he can dig up Koriand’r’s garden. Cyborg thinks he can sleep undisturbed. Ravager thinks she has to make up for Joey’s indiscretions to her dad, Deathstroke. And Brother Blood thinks Raven’s blood tastes just right.
Johns’ affection for the characters really comes through in this book. Not that he’s above inflicting carnage upon them (such as Bart’s horrific knee injury) when it’s called for, but he really excels at these off-concept, plot-building issues where we jump from thread to thread with finesse and a sense of play.
Oh, Starfire and Cyborg are still a bit sidelined as the official adults on hand, and Robin seems comically unable to keep his young troop from getting into trouble regularly (in fact, I’d say he enables them more often than not). Allowing Bart to drive was a major misstep, not to mention requisitioning a car of his own, but it does make for an hilarious sequence that’s worth it all for the punchline.
There’s serious goings-on, too, as Raven continues to be victimized even in this new incarnation (but one hopes payback is brewing). What exactly is going on between Krypto and Conner is intriguingly vague (though we get no movement on the “Lex Luthor is one of my two Daddies” angle); while the dark deeds of Rose the Ravager (wasn’t she a good guy?) beg explanation.
The centerpiece, though, is a surprisingly eerie late night encounter between Connor and a downtime Cyborg. McKone excels with a stunning display of biotechnology, outshining any forays into the Danger Room or Cerebro I can think of. Though again a question is begged (do we know why Vic gave up the seamless gold alien bio-body and reverted to more high maintenance Earth-based tech?), the two-page spread is just beyond cool, generating a real sense of awe.
I’d like to see Raven triumph for once over the adversity in her destiny, and I’d like Starfire to be more than den mother to this crew, but overall this is another fun-filled installment of one of the best team books around.
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