Friday, February 26, 2010

The Teen Titans return (again)

Not long before the first issue hit the stands, DC let creators Marv Wolfman and George Perez take their new Teen Titans idea for a test drive. A short, 16-page story was inserted into the pages of the Superman team-up book DC Comics Presents to let a wider audience get a look at the series. It was not only a savvy business idea, but a solid story, as well.
Wolfman forgoes the usual introductions by throwing a very confused Robin into a future where a thriving new group of Teen Titans — which had been disbanded for months in his reality —
battle an extra-dimensional organism. The story tricks both Robin and the reader into off-the-cuff introductions and character exposition without ever bogging down the story (which is something a 16-page sampler couldn't afford to do.)
The tale has an interesting structure. Robin begins to lose his equilibrium while dealing with a mundane terrorist threat (so mundane that, like the jewel heist in Reservoir Dogs, it is never shown in panel). He loses consciousness several times, awakening in a false future where he and a new group of Teen Titans fight to send an alien blob back to its dimension. The story collapses inward as Robin's "dream" threatens to pull him into a third reality of an alien dimension before he's hastily pulled back to his own reality. By this point, though, neither the character nor the reader know what to think about the events of the story.
It’s revealed that Raven, the mysterious new “witch” on the team, has manipulated Robin into confronting his own doubts about the Titans in anticipation of a more aggressive effort to draw her players to the battlefield in the first issue of the on-going series. The fact that Robin’s vision of the future comes to pass — though this particular conflict never does — is only icing on the cake.
Wolfman and Perez leap the usual hurdles of introduction stories with ease and set the stage for a much more elaborate “cute meet” in the first issue of the on-going series. It's not every team that gets two origin stories.

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