"Clash of the Teen Titans!"
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Mike McKone (p), Marlo Alquiza (i)
More of everything, as Johns juggles his complicated array of characters. As the team finally unites to defeat Jeri-Stroke, he jumps from body to body, easily manipulating the powers of the inexperienced team. Raven makes a surprise appearance. Robin realizes the team may all be together at last, but they're hardly cooperative. Well, Conner and Cassie at least seem to be growing very close.
The gradual rebuilding of the team continues, this time with a decidedly younger Raven reborn amidst some of her former teammates. A push to make the series more like the new cartoon seems apparent. Young Goth Girl isn't really a stretch for Raven, and it is the preferred mode for the loner characters in teen team stories (ever since the Breakfast Club, really).
The mix of different generations is the new angle for this version of the team. Johns is managing to capture some of that patented Wolfman/Perez Titans energy without replicating it slavishly.
Great to see Jericho again, even if he is a bit deranged. Gar tries to reason with him, but Joey gets more than he bargained for when he jumps into Raven. Surprise, he's consumed by her darkness! As is she, much to the consternation of the team. Deathstroke hightails it, too, leading to an unsatisfying conclusion for the team. They survived the attack, but without subduing their attackers themselves.
Robin's realization that they're not a coordinated force is right on. Something tells me Vic, Kory and Gar are going to have to start treating their young charges as equals.
The Connor/Cassie love connection seems inevitable in a book about coming of age characters, though the development on the final page indicates a big hurdle. Cassie's new lasso, a gift from Ares, has augmented her abilities. Raven may be hearing from Trigon again. But perhaps the most interesting part of the book is Bart's determination to assume responsibility and respect the Flash lineage. This is a team of legacy heroes, and their mentors (and established foes) seem destined to stay involved in their lives.
Johns' issues can be all-over smorgasbords, sometimes incoherent and disappointing, lurching from one unlikely shock to the next. Issue 3 did that a bit, but the book has been back on track since. This is one that rises like a carefully orchestrated souffle; the interest level stays up for the whole issue, and nothing to jarring happens to stop it cold.
On the art front, McKone is great on everyone save Wonder Woman, who looks a bit goofy on the final page. His sometime cartoonish proportions work better on kids than adults.
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