"Legacy Part 1"
Writer: Gail Simone
Artist: Rob Liefeld
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: The Titans come together to assist the new Hawk and Dove when Kestrel resurfaces to literally become a Lord of Chaos. Kestrel's true prey, though, is neither Hawk nor Dove and comes as a shock to the Teen Titans.
Commentary: Judging by the recent reaction I've encountered both online and in meeting and talking with other comic book fans, it seems that I am the only comic fan who has absolutely no problem with Rob Liefeld doing the art for this storyline.
I'm serious. It does not bother me in the slightest that DC tapped him for this gig. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I am not one of those fans that looks for any opportunity to bash Rob and his work. It doesn't make me better than those who choose to do so. Just different. I am not denying there is a lot there to bash. His art and writing, in the past, has left a lot to be desired and his creative choices cannot be described as innovative. Also his energy and enthusiasm far outstrip his talent, but this doesn't make him a bad guy, though it sure paints a big old bulls-eye right in his direction.
To me, Rob was asked to do this story for two reasons, the first being the fact that his first major work for DC was the Hawk and Dove mini-series from 1988. While this is not the same Hawk and Dove, he has some familiarity with the characters. It makes sense to ask him to come back when doing a story that focuses on them, which, unlike the recent Outsiders two-parter, shows that someone at DC does have some sense of history.
The other reason is that it would attract a lot of attention to have an artist with Rob's reputation to do a high profile book like this. It gets the fans talking (oh boy, did it get the fans talking) and that generates interest, which will hopefully generate sales. If DC has proven anything over the past two years it's that it is a company that knows how to market the books it wants to sell.
The thing that gets me is that all of the attention seems to be on Rob, which takes away from the great story Gail Simone wrote. This could have easily turned into a simple fill-in arc and the creative team could have "phoned it in," but that didn't happen here. Gail delivered a solid story that had its share of action, but also looked into the concept of what an orphan is and what that means to different people.
It was the emotional context that drew me in. Setting the story on Father's Day and dealing with the first Father's Day Tim spends after the death of his father created a hook that the reader can relate to on one level or another. The overall theme of being an orphan got to me too. As Gail pointed out in the story, there are different types of orphans; those who literally have no mother or father and those who have parents who ignore them. You can almost feel bad for Christina and her cohorts, and I mean almost until you realize that they are nut jobs with super powers and need to be stopped.
What surprised me more than anything is that Rob's art looked good. I mean really good. His sense of perspective and story telling are still off, but his anatomy has definitely improved. The page layouts were also an improvement over his older work, and I really liked what he did with Robin's costume. My only real complaint is that the art really didn't live up to the emotion the writing was going for, but it looked good enough to get by.
Final Thoughts: My God, this was a great issue of Teen Titans. Unlike the recent Outsiders two-part "interlude," this story has started off strong and will hopefully end strong. Gail continues to show that she can get into the heads of her characters and make you feel for them and Rob's art really stepped up to the plate.
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