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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Titans: Should Be/Is

What Titans should be:
What Titans is:
Now please don't get me wrong. Books like Bloodstrike -- what, about FIFTEEN YEARS AGO -- had a sort of trashy charm that even today I can appreciate.

But, is that what DC wants from a franchise they are trying to build up to the level of Superman and the JLA?

I read issue #2 of Titans in the store, and -- it's bad. It's really, really bad. I mean, the art style might have been interesting in a different type of project. But, I'm totally turned off by this book. One of the first pages features a splash of a female character captured or tied up with her huge heaving breasts dead center between her bonds. You know, if I want to see that done right, I'll go buy a Milo Manara collection.

Then there are other panels with Starfire where it's like: ass, Bill Ward-sized breasts, gigantic head, empty expression, impossibly arched back. Or Nightwing just standing there in the middle of a panel saying "I don't know what the hell is going on. Duh."

Isn't Titans supposed to be anywhere near a more mature level than Teen Titans? Isn't that how it works?

This book is destined to be another one of those "quick, let's retool this sucker" aborted relaunches. Trust me. Titans takes all the good that the Teen Titans cartoon did and drags the franchise back 15 years.

And if my choice of Milligan/Allred's X-Force seems too hipster to you, then at least look at Marvel's Runaways. That book is and will continue to be a consistent seller in backlist long after this latest incarnation of the adult Titans is a memory.

29 comments:

  1. churchill is leaving Titans, so maybe you will like it with the new artist???

    Runaways by BKV = EXCELLENT.

    Runaways by Whedon? Meh, needs to hurry up and end already.

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  2. You know, I really really wonder what goes on in the offices after a new book is released. Especially one like Titans 2 that seems to be the 3rd release in a, i don't want to say reviled, disappointing relaunch of a series.

    More often then not I've seen comments along the line of 'what were they thinking' when it comes to this series so far. So I wonder, what do they do in the offices after seeing the rabid fans on the 'net eviscerate a series that in the offices seemed like a good idea at the time?

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  3. LOL! You had me at the pictures!

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  4. Yeah, the new Titans book is jaw-droppingly hideous. I don't know what they were thinking, but they need to stop thinking it tout suite.

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  5. In fairness, I think the Milligan/Alred run on X-force is one of those weird moments fo brilliance that can only exist in desperate situations. Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas were rebooting the entire x-line, and willing to try anything to stave off bankruptcy. They threw a thousand things against the wall, and most of them (i.e The Brotherhood, the icons mini-series etc...) failed, but X-force managed to stick and was an amazing little comic book run. And sure enough as soon as marvel gets some stability and starts getting it's mainstream legs back, suddenly X-statix didn't quite have a place anymore.

    But I agree about Titans. It... I don't know. It just shows such a lack of vision.

    Although seriously... if DC had a stroke and suddenly decided to put Chyna Clugston Major on Titans... I'd be there in a second. (although I'd admittedly be distressed that new Blue Monday might be pushed to a back burner) But I think it'll take that kind of crazy desperation for this franchise to get where DC wants it.

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  6. Actually, Churchill wasn't the artist in the issue she was reviewing, it was the abombinable Jo Benitez. I shouldn't say that, because he is talented, but his art is absolutely completely wrong for this title.

    It kills, me, but I dropped this title. I love the Titans - especially the adult Titans, but Benitz's art and Winick's horrible writing - I can't spend money on this. It's awful, awful, awful.

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  7. Titans has never really grabbed me at any time in it's history, can't say why. I didn't like the cartoon, either.

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  8. >>Isn't Titans supposed to be anywhere near a more mature level than Teen Titans?<<

    Heck, it should be at least as mature as Tiny Titans, which it ain't.

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  9. What I want to know is who keeps paying Judd Winick to write words. Has "Winick" not yet become a synonym for "terrible, and Nightwing will act like a retard"?

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  10. What *I* want to know is who keeps paying Ian Churchill to draw.

    He's been getting Marvel/DC work for what seems like 10 years, and I'll be damned if I can think of any of his comics that I've enjoyed the art. I don't like saying "*random artist* sucks", but he's easily one of the least enjoyable artists I've seen in the superhero scene.

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  11. I haven't been able to read anything from Judd Winnick since Barry Ween...and even *that* was just repeating itself after awhile.

    His Green Arrow just didn't move me.

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  12. Val,

    When you say Titans should be X-Statix, are you saying it should be a critique/spoof of superheroics?

    As I've said before, the biggest problem, for me, with this new series is, there seems to be no reason for it to even exist.

    Put bluntly, yes, they were childhood friends, but they've all grown up. Roy and Wally are in the JLA now, and in his own book, Dick seems happy to play things solo in the wake of his stint on the Outsiders. And Cyborg & Starfire seemed to make good mentors for the current Teen Titans. So, with the DCU populated with so many team books, why should they be doing St. Elmo's Fire II?

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  13. *hand up*. At the risk of ebign a complete arse, the artists, and I use the term extremely loosely, on titans #2 was not Churchill, instead the art was done by two guys called Joe Benitez and Victor Llamas . Cheap Churchill rip offs. And it was excruiatingly bad.
    *going back to my box now*.

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  14. Anonymous1:27 PM

    The creative team on Infinity, Inc. (Peter Milligan/Pete Woods) should be switched to this series.

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  15. "You know, I really really wonder what goes on in the offices after a new book is released. Especially one like Titans 2 that seems to be the 3rd release in a, i don't want to say reviled, disappointing relaunch of a series."

    Um, from personal observation it involves the editorial team involved lying low and packets of co-workers whispering about it behind their back in quick gusts of pity and occasionally glee.

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  16. "When you say Titans should be X-Statix, are you saying it should be a critique/spoof of superheroics?"

    not specifically. it's just that X-Statix was a smart, unique take on superheroes. it looked good, it read good. it stood out. and it was well-done.

    DC would be better served just getting some indie comic creators to just do their own interpretions of those characters.

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  17. "DC would be better served just getting some indie comic creators to just do their own interpretions of those characters."

    interpretations. i see so many red lines under my spell checks that I start missing them

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  18. "The creative team on Infinity, Inc. (Peter Milligan/Pete Woods) should be switched to this series."

    that's very true

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  19. "Um, from personal observation it involves the editorial team involved lying low and packets of co-workers whispering about it behind their back in quick gusts of pity and occasionally glee."

    So, the editorial team hangs it head, endures some ridicule, and keeps on going due to the schedule. Eventually a note appear that tells them to fix the book and go in a different direction?

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  20. "So, the editorial team hangs it head, endures some ridicule, and keeps on going due to the schedule. Eventually a note appear that tells them to fix the book and go in a different direction?"

    Oh, this is a whole post in itself.

    Several things can happen.

    1. Everyone pretends like nothing is wrong because nobody wants to admit they f**ked up. It's the first stage: denial. Everybody decides to be in denial at the same time, so nobody is blamed. The higher ups have to be in denial too -- because they signed off on the damn thing.

    2. Editorial team gets yelled at by higher ups, asked to fix.

    3. Book gets yanked from editorial team and given to another team. This will usually mean eventually a creative team change as well & new direction.

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  21. This will usually mean eventually a creative team change

    Yet somehow Winick is still being allowed to write comic books featuring these of characters.

    I mean I'm just saying I don't know how it wasn't clear to somebody somwhere around issue 2 of The Outsiders that this was a bad thing that should not have been allowed to keep happening.

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  22. I haven't read Titans, but I love the X-Force/X-Statix shout-out. Those are some beloved comics in my Pantheon of Greats. I'd love to read a Titans book by Peter Milligan... if they let him have free reign. And I'd love to see him reunited with Mike Allred- Allred's Nick Cardy number with the original Teen Titans in that DC Solo he did a couple years back rocked.

    It rocked hard.

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  23. Really, this feels like another case of "President Bartlet was right."

    Jed Barlet, Martin Sheen's character on the TV show "The West Wing," once said some rather harsh but true words to one of his staff: "Why is it for every good thing you do around here we have to endure three screw-ups?" In this case, it refers to how DC has started to put creators in their proper books, has made Batgirl a hero again, resurrectred Stephanie Brown (plus Grant Morrison gave her the Robin memorial in the cave), and then we get horrible plots on Teen Titans, despicable writing and art in Titans, and little-to-no continuity between the editors of Countdown and for Final Crisis, which was what the friggin' book was supposed to be leading up to.

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  24. Anonymous12:24 AM

    Val says, "DC would be better served just getting some indie comic creators to just do their own interpretions of those characters."

    Okay... which indie creators? Are we really going to go indy and not just with the current darlings? Are we going to look back at history and look for the indie writers who had cool stuff back in the 80s and early
    90s who got shoved out the market and have never worked at the Big Two and bring them back into the fold and let them have at it?

    Because if you're not going to take that attitude and get some veteran guys with experience, a sense of history, and who still something NEW to say, I don't think you're going to get anything more than the same recycled crap. Especially since so many of today's "hot talent" - both mainstream and indy - are mostly recycling works FROM that generation of creators who by and large are unknown by fandom today.

    **********

    hysan: "I haven't been able to read anything from Judd Winnick since Barry Ween...and even *that* was just repeating itself after awhile.

    His Green Arrow just didn't move me."

    Might I suggest you read it while using the bathroom? If it doesn't move you, maybe it's bad enough to induce movements from you. And you'll always have emergency toilet paper.

    ********

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  25. Titans. Titans? hmm no not ringing a bell. I think you must have gotten confused. I think you're thinking of that comic that DC was going to release but then realized that the art sucked and so did the writing.

    That must be it because other wise I dropped my hard earned comic buying dollars on some of the worst drek I've seen in a long time. And we all know I'd never do that. (yeah I wish).

    Seriously though I honestly think any comic with Titans in the name without the Teen part is cursed.

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  26. "Cheap Churchill rip offs."

    Well, that's certainly setting your goals low.

    It's almost like saying, "I'll skip copying John Buscema or even Sal and just imitate Ron Frenz."

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  27. Thanks for elevating the discourse.

    I don't really have a problem with Winnck adding gay or HIV positive characters into his work like some fans. It's his inability to make me care about his characters that bugs me.

    People jump on Ron Marz for killing off Kyle's gf, and rightfully so...but he made you care about Kyle Rayner on some level, even if people complained he was basically a generic white guy.

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  28. "Runaways by BKV = EXCELLENT."

    BKV on Titans. (Sigh.) What might have been.

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  29. Okay, I know I'm biased because I love Invincible so much, but I would love to see Robert Kirkman writing Titans. What do you guys think?

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