Teen Titans (vol.3) #34 (2006)

Teen Titans (vol.3) #34 (May, 2006)
“New Teen Titans, Part 1: One Year Later”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Penciller – Tony Daniel
Inkers – Kevin Conrad & Art Thibert
Colorists – Richard & Tanya Horie
Letterer – Nick J. Napolitano
Assistant Editor – Jeanine Schaeffer
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

What the crap… more One Year Later?  What can I say, I’m hooked.  Well, not so much “hooked” as intrigued.  As hit-or-miss a proposition that this is… it hasn’t yet failed in making me scratch my head.  It’s pretty ambitious to take an entire comics universe and shift it ahead in time.

I also noticed that not only is this our tenth “One Year Later” in a row… it’s also our tenth Geoff Johns book in a row.  Damn, this dude was everywhere, wasn’t he?

We open on a caption which reads “One Year Later”… even though it appears as though we’re getting glimpses (from Cyborg’s point of view) from the “missing” year.  This is his system “rebooting” and catching up with the “present” day.  We hear hints of new team members joining… and quitting.  We see Raven and Beast Boy breaking up.  An odd team of mishmashed Titans including Zatara and Offspring… and finally our first look at the Wonder Twins, Wendy and Marvin.  They appear to be working on Cyborg… and finally, Vic Stone lives again!

He stumbles out of the… wherever the hell he was kept, and overhears some chatter from a pair of people he doesn’t realize are currently on the team… Kid Devil and Ravager.

Considering the last time he saw Rose, she was trying to kill the Titans… he immediately goes on the attack.  While the battle rages, Wendy and Marvin pop their geeky heads in to admire their work.  In a cute bit, Kid Devil tries to tell him that they are the “New” Teen Titans… to which, Vic informs him that he was one of the “New” Teen Titans.

Finally Robin walks in to calm Vic down.  The pair walk the grounds as Tim fills him in on everything he’s missed.  Starfire’s gone (she’s currently lost in space with Animal Man in the pages of 52)… Speedy quit… Bart retired… Raven quit… Gar rejoined the Doom Patrol… and Kon is dead.

Vic asks about Wonder Girl… and so, we shift to S.T.A.R. Labs San Francisco where the Brotherhood of Evil are stealing a Blastocyst Map (which is actually a real thing… has to do with mammalian cells).  Anyhoo, Wonder Girl has arrived to dispense justice… and it looks like they’re on the street from Full House.

The Titans arrive to give her a hand… but only really serve to distract her so Gemini can get away.  She’s overjoyed to see Vic back among the living… but a little less pleased to see Ravager.  Robin ask her to rejoin the team, but she’s all “no dice”.  We learn here that following Infinite Crisis, Robin ran off with Batman for a year of globetrotting… leaving her to pick up the pieces.

Back at the Tower, Vic is trying to get a hold of Gar over at Dayton Manor.  He gets the video answering machine, and is surprised to see that Bumblebee has also gone over to the Doom Patrol.  He and Tim have an uncomfortable chat about the state of the Titans before Tim leaves to head to his lab.

Once down there, we see what he’s working on… and it’s pretty dark.  He’s mixing the DNA of Lex Luthor and Superman in hopes of cloning him a brand new Superboy!

I remember being really disappointed by this one when it first came out.  I quite dug the pre-Infinite Crisis Teen Titans… thought they really worked well together.  I didn’t see much in adding Ravager and (especially) Kid Devil.  Really saw this as a step down for the team… and it wasn’t long before I sorta walked away from the title.

I’d check back in semi-regularly (until I lost my job in 2008, anyway)… and was never enticed to stick around.  This is the tail-end of the Johns run… after he left, we were in some really dark times as Titans fans.  It wouldn’t be until the J.T. Krul run that I decided I was “back” (and of course, went back and bought everything that I missed)… and oddly enough, I’ve been “back” ever since… even though Teen Titans has gotten horrendously terrible since The New-52!

Now… this time around, I thought this issue was pretty great.  I guess over a decade of hindsight can really alter the way we receive things.  We get the impression that ever since Infinite Crisis, the Titans have had a really rough time of it.  I remember learning that they added (and subtracted) like dozens of new members in this year alone.  I think that really opens things up for future exploration (though, I can’t say for sure that they took full advantage of it).

It’s a bit jarring, sure… but that’s sort of the name of the game for One Year Later.  I think we’re supposed to be uncomfortable, and walk away with more questions than answers.  For all the grief I give the “big two” about continuity of late, this was an actual attempt at making everything feel as though it were occurring at the same time.  From what we’ve learned since, this Infinite Crisis/52/One Year Later project was one that Didio and company took very seriously.  In reading it all these years later, that’s pretty clearly the case… of course, reading it in 2006 felt like sort of a mess.

Overall, this was a really good time… and damn, it’s a pretty book to look at.  Tony Daniel really kicks this book’s ass… it’s just looks so good.  Not really a fan of Tim’s emo haircut, but at least it’s well rendered.  I’d say this is one worth checking out.

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