Teen Titans: Life and Death

Teen Titans: Life and Death
Teen Titans Life and Death review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: DC - 1-4012-0978-5
  • Volume No.: 5
  • Release date: 2006
  • UPC: 9781401209780
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Just when it seemed that Geoff Johns had finally cracked it with this incarnation of Teen Titans, we’re back to stop-start and ho-hum. The Future is Now, was two cracking stories, but Life and Death has the misfortune of tying into a DC event, Infinite Crisis, in which several Titans played a significant role, some of them previously believed to be dead.

One of those is the Red Hood, once Robin, now returned and making it a point to confront his successor in Titans Tower. Unfortunately, however nicely it’s drawn by Tony Daniel (sample art), it’s barely credible page filler. We’re expected to believe that Jason Todd has a second chance at life, and his burning ambition is to confront his successor and point out how easy he’s had it.

We then have the Titans who’ve died restored to life and set against the current team. It’s nowhere near as interesting as it sounds, and there’s an extremely convenient conclusion.

Up next is the original Superboy from all those comics of the 1950s and the 1960s, and it’s a re-run of the Jason Todd plot, but this time with Conner Kent in the firing line. “I’m everything you should be Conner. You’re nothing.” spouts this supposed paragon of virtue, “I want my life back, I want to be special again.” Johns is toying with meta-fiction here, about how each generation’s revisions are liberal when erasing the past, but it’s a lot of sound and fury, that in the final assessment isn’t very interesting.

It does leave Superboy in a bad way, though, and two chapters by Bill Willingham (plot) and Bill Williams (script) see Robin leading the Titans in an attempt to locate a method of curing him. Scott McDaniel’s art veers more towards cartooning than any other in the book, and while perfectly functional, it just emphasises the uneven tone throughout.

Perhaps Marv Wolfman can do better with Johns scripting his plot? After all, he masterminded the successful 1980s incarnation of the Teen Titans. Sadly, no. We have a lot of background on Conner Kent, some horribly distorted art from various parties, and what’s supposed to be a touching consummation, but which is really quite tacky, particularly given what follows.

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Omnibus, gathers the entire series, and includes the issues here by other creators that tie into the story. Up next is the better Titans Around the World.