ďLife and DeathĒ
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Tony S. Daniel (p), Marlo Alquiza (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: Jason Todd resents Timís Drake success at being Robin. Jason Todd is apparently alive again. As are several other Titans. And the Specter shows up. And it was a dark and stormy night.
Comments: This book has really lost focus. I donít know if Johns is spread too thin, but this book has lost the sense of excitement it once had. The last really good arc was the crossover with the alternate future Adult JLA, which had some real character stakes specific to our heroes.
Since then itís been all shadows of Crises Identity and Infinite. And whatís with the musical artists? The fill-ins have been mediocre Image-clones, which is what happens to a DC book no one cares about.
I thought the ultimate reveal of the Luthor-controlled Conner was an over-obvious and simplistic solution to the core tension of this title, and it also has the unfortunate effect of breaking up the core love story that keeps this title going. No, not Cassie and Kon-L: but Conner and Tim. Címon, you know theyíre the best couple on the team! We never got to have a junior Batman/Superman partnership on the old team, because Superboy was always off playing around in the future.
Instead Tim has to face his erstwhile doppelganger, and itís just not that great a conflict, because all of Jasonís history is so Ö well, over. Iíve been reading this series for its entire run, and Iím not clear on when the team picked up Mal and Bumblebee again, though I guess I get the significance of busting up the memorial statues of Donna and Lilith, since theyíre alive again. Can I explain even that? No. This issue has the most muddled ending of any supposed cliffhanger Iíve read in months. Itís simply incoherent.
Sexism watch: Thereís something wrong with a team that keeps sacrificing its heroines to keep the story going. The horrible Conner-crossover killed off Indigo because she was ďevil all along,Ē and the setup for this series killed both Lilith and Donna. And now Lilith is apparently Brother Bloodís mom? When did THAT happen? By the way, does anyone actually like that little punk, besides Johns? Heís basically a pre-teen vampire, and the perversity of his blood lust just isnít that entertaining. Plus gross demon-birthing scenes are always unpleasant, and as clichťd as Ravenís devil-worshipping origin that Johns has so far mostly avoided.
I also continue to be irked by Helena Sandsmarkís complete lack of resemblance to Cassieís mom, who was given a very strong character design by her creator, John Byrne. This frumpy non-entity looks like the last person capable of seducing a god, though thatís apparently exactly what happened and how Cassie ended up the hot and powerful young thing she is. Does Johns even know that Helena is a Greek history professor?
Color me confused by this entire issue. The distractions of Infinite Crisis are having a deleterious effect on the storytelling, and the musical artists are sub-par. This oneís going down.
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