Page One: Our heroes stand around with facial expressions that range from empty to worried to confused.
Beast Boy: I gotta say...I really didn't see this coming! Did you guys see this coming?
Donna Troy: No.
Flash: I don't think any of us did.
Three pages later, faced with the rampaging villains running towards them, our heroes repeat the same dazed, empty, confused looks. Beast Boy still drags out the "uh, so it's not just me, right? you see them too? dude?"
And they just stand there as one of the bad guys makes a move, knocking them all down like bowling pins.
Four issues into Titans, I'm still not impressed. This makes the Wonder Dog stuff in Teen Titans seem like Watchmen. It's just not good comics, folks. This is like some bad 90s flashback, stuff you'd find in some random Image comic starring some character named DeathBlud.
The majority of the comments on Newsarama about the 3-page preview -- at least as of the third page of comments -- overwhelmingly hated this preview. Even DC/Teen Titans fans.
"I loved Winick's writing on Outsiders & elsewhere...but it just leaves me cold here on the Titans. He just doesn't seem to have a handle on the characters. After reading the first 3 issues I figured it was going to be yet another shortly ended series."
"I don't mind Winick's writing - but this story just stinks and like mentioned above, Wolfman did it better."
"why did DC put such a bad creative team on a book that could have been so good?"
" Judd Winnick, the anti Grant Morrison....."
"Bad writing, horrible art, juvenile character development, recycled plot ideas. Just the whole wretched package."
"The art ain't so bad, but the dialog! In the face of what's about to happen, what's falling out of these characters mouths is unbelievable! This reads like a rejected script from Aaron Sorkin and Thommy Schlamme! Or even worse; the last season of M.A.S.H.! Even with my LCS discount, why am I reading this book?"
"I'm so glad I dropped this after #2. The writing and art just don't seem to sync up with these characters one bit. I was so looking forward to this and so wildly disappointed. When a new writer and artist come on, I'll probably give it another look."
"Like a lot of you, evidently, I dropped this book with the second issue. The only time that I have EVER dropped a Titans related book from clear back to the original Robin, Kid Flash, Aqualad issue of Brave & Bold, but this is just horrendous."
" Wow. That is some awesomely bad dialogue -- puerile and clunky at the same time."
"I called this one, so did many others: Judd Winick = Bad Title. But I can't agree on the art. Joe Benitez is an excellent artist. He just can't deliver when the story dosn't compliment his talents. No artist could."
I could go on and on, but you can read the rest of the comments for yourself.
Why is this book still going on like this? Who's in charge of the ship? How bad do things have to be before someone puts the hammer of god down and says: enough?
In every other medium and industry, when something's not good -- especially in this economy -- it gets pulled. Even stuff that's sorta good, or has a small niche audience, but is not pulling in the numbers. Why is this the only industry where a series like Countdown can go on for a whole year and a book with the quality of Titans can move past issue three?
I think there are a few reasons:
1. Time Warner sees DC mostly as a R&D wing of their entertainment unit, and judges them on their intellectual property more than the actual content of their books. There's no magnifying glass on either the sales or the quality.
2. I don't know -- is DCU Editorial a meritocracy?
Definition of meritocracy (via Wikipedia): system of a government or another organization wherein appointments are made and responsibilities are given based on demonstrated talent and ability (merit), rather than by wealth (plutocracy), family connections (nepotism), class privilege (oligarchy), cronyism, the will of the people (as in democracy) or other historical determinants of social position and political power. In a meritocracy, society rewards (by wealth, position, and social status) those who demonstrated talent and competence, demonstrated through past actions or by competition.
I have no answer to that, I'm just throwing out the question. I can think of only one strategic appointment of an editor to that department over the last several years that fits the sort of purposeful cultivation of talent that, at the very minimum, a company needs in order to compete.
The problem is -- I think there is no sense of competition. DC has Batman & Watchmen as properties, and hence has won the comic book lottery. They slap the names "Grant Morrison" and "Alex Ross" on their books and call it a day. And if anybody questions them, they go "Dark Knight Dark Knight blah blah blah Dark Knight." It's like they have Tourettes syndrome: "Dark Knight! Dark Knight!"
Regardless of the reasons why -- this book is sorta a dog.