Friday, October 3, 2014

The New Teen Titans, Volume One

 As a young comic-book reader, Marv Wolfman & George Perez's THE NEW TEEN TITANS was the one and only DC book that I followed faithfully in the pre-Crisis days. It was THE book to discuss with like-minded friends at lunchtime in the school cafeteria. I bought a few of DC's NEW TEEN TITANS ARCHIVES years and years ago, when they were first released, and...I didn't care for them. Then DC came out with THE NEW TEEN TITANS ARCHIVES, and I skipped the first volume, but got itchy palms when Volume three was released. I grabbed volumes 2 and 3 simultaneously, but then the collector mania took hold......Volume 1 was out of print, and commanding crazy prices. Thankfully, cheapness prevailed....I bought the third Archives volume, and decided to bide my time and wait to see if DC issued a trade of the first two Archives, so I could read the whole series again. And guess what? They just released THE NEW TEEN TITANS, VOLUME ONE, and it's JUST AS BORING AS IT WAS YEARS AGO, WHEN I READ THE FIRST ARCHIVES VOLUME!!!When will I learn?? WHEN????
 Writer Marv Wolfman wrote for Marvel in the 1970's, so that means words. Block after block of stultifying text take up every page...page after page of words, words, words. Obviously I love to read....I read hundreds of books a year. But I don't love to read THIS much. I pretty much got hooked on TNTT around issue #16, so maybe the book legitimately picks up by then. I don't know. I loved it as a kid, not so much as an adult, at least not this volume, which collects DC COMICS PRESENTS #26 and THE NEW TEEN TITANS #'s 1-8. I'll be back for Volume Two, because I'm nuts, and it's a hole in my collection, but man, can Wolfman talk and talk and TALK.

 The art, by George Perez, is kind of George Perez lite....His pencils are somewhat muddied and obscured by inker Romeo Tanghal for most of the book. He's better served by guest inkers Dick Giordano and Pablo Marcos, especially Marcos, but the aty here is nowhere near the quality that he has working with an inker like Al Vey or Terry Austin.

 None of the characters, aside from the violent, naive Starfire really grabbed me, the villains were dull, and the book was so wordy that I would read a few pages and zone out, often looking for something else to distract me, so I could get away from reading the endless blocks of text. Wolfman should have trusted Perez to tell more of the story, rather than obscure so much of the art with word balloons and text blocks.

 I did enjoy the issue that was illustrated by the late, great Curt Swan...His art is always a treat, and his Titans look great.

 There's a lot of groundwork laid here, so we'll see if the pace and the writing picks up in Volume Two. I'm of two minds about DC's collected editions. One the one hand, this book runs 240 pages for $19.99- Nine full issues, 8 of them 25 pages. Great value, especially considering I just reviewed Marvel's dreadful, pamphlet-sized X-MEN: STORM, which ran a little over 100 pages at the exact same price. On the other hand, STORM was printed on nice paper, and this is printed on DC's toilet-paper. So it's a toss-up. These books looked shitty when they first came out in the early '80's, so I can live with them still looking shitty thirty-five years later. Your mileage may vary.