I’m not a regular reader of Teen Titans, but I picked up this issue because, you know, I’m a geek. And like a fly attracted by bright light, I was attracted by the sight of no less than twenty costumed super-heroes on the cover. I stared at the cover at the comic shop admiring all the characters. Robin and Nightwing together? Cool. CM2? Great. Bumblebee and Mal and the freaking Joker’s Daughter from the horrible ’70s incarnation of the Titans? Where’s the cash register?
Unfortunately, this comic is less awesome than its cover implies. Yeah, we get a big-ass battle between “almost everyone who was ever a Titan” (Donna Troy’s conspicuous in her absence, but she’ll be back soon), but the story feels off-key somehow, out of sync with so many old comics. I understand that Doctor Light is supposed to have become incredibly strong since the events of Identity Crisis, but he seems strong even beyond his power in that series. And the way Light is finally defeated seems out of sync with the rest of the story. It seems awfully quick and easy somehow, after all the
Still, There are some nice character moments. Captain Marvel Jr. quoting Elvis was fun, and Superboy’s dig at Duela Dent is funny.
Once Light is defeated Speedy reveals to her teammates that she has HIV, which produces a scene so cloying, it reads like an After school Special. I understand that Speedy just risked her life with her friends and has bonded as one among equals with Titans old and new, but it seems wrong for her friends’ reactions to be completely without any reservation or ambiguity. Maybe in a world where demons possess peoples’ souls on a daily basis, a revelation like that is no big deal. But the way it’s explored just doesn’t feel natural to me.
Teen Titans #23 is an entertaining comic, but it feels like it could have been much better.