Titans (vol.3) #8 (April, 2017)
“Made in Manhattan, Part One: To Bee or Not to Bee”
Writer – Dan Abnett
Penciller – Brett Booth
Inker – Norm Rapmund
Colorist – Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer – Corey Breen
Assistant Editor – Brittany Holzherr
Editor – Alex Antone
Group Editor – Marie Javins
Cover Price: $2.99
Ya know, over the past few weeks I’ve severely cut down on my “internet time”. Found that the longer I lingered online, the less happy I was… and the less satisfied with my work I became.
This has (so far) resulted in a far happier Chris… but it doesn’t come without it’s bad bits. For instance, it’s just before writing this piece that I learned that we lost Steve Ditko. Today’s book (unfortunately) has nothing to do with the man… and rather than run off and force a Steve Ditko tribute book at the last minute, we will celebrate him in a few days. He deserves more than a rushed, thrown together piece…
We have discussed the works of Steve Ditko here on the blog, so if you wanna have a look, click here.
Like I said, today’s book has nothing to do with him… but, it just felt wrong not mentioning his passing. Rest in Peace, Steve… and thanks for everything!
We open with a flashback of the Titans time… as Teens. It’s still kinda weird to see Dick Grayson’s Robin not wearing the short-pants… sometimes silly things should remain despite their silliness. Anyhoo, this is all about Mal Duncan… who was then going by Herald (and not Vox, Mal, or Hornblower). We hop into the present where Mal has escorted his wife Karen to a place called Meta Solutions so she can “deal with” her newfound metapowers.
He reveals that he’s already used Meta Solutions’ services when he… gave up his own metapowers. He didn’t want his old life (that he can barely remember anyway) to creep into their present. He doesn’t outright tell Karen to dump her powers, buuuut it’s kind of implied. They are then greeted by the creepiest creep who ever done creeped, Peter Simon… who we’re accustomed to seeing with a partially transparent dome.
Back at Titans Tower, we get a few vignettes. First, Roy and Donna chat about her old hobby (profession?) of photography. I’ll plead ignorance here… if Wally remembers Linda (and now the kids), does Donna remember ol’ T-Long? Is this something that’s been mentioned?
A few rooms over, Wally video-chats with Linda Park on his tablet. She tells him she’s too busy to get together… which feels not unlike a blow-off. Then again, I’m sure if I ran up to a perfect stranger and told her that in an alternate history that we were married… she might look for excuses to distance herself from me too. Anyhoo, Dick enters and they talk about Wally’s reacclimation to “the real life” and his very strange love-situation.
In the Training Suite, Tempest dares Lilith to punch him in the face… and she does.
Back at Meta Solutions, Karen and the Creep head off to discuss her options. It’s plain to see that she isn’t all that keen on deep-sixing her powers… and so, “Peter” instead offers her a training suit.
In the waiting area Mal spies Mammoth chatting up the receptionist, and flashes back to the attack during Titans Hunt. Dude (Mal, that is) freaks the eff out and rushes out of the building.
At which time, Lilith is hammered with a strong psionic blast… she knows Mal’s troubled, and assembles the Titans to check in on him. They find him like… right away… and he fills them in on his Mammoth-sighting.
And so, the Titans bust into Meta Solutions… where they run into Bumblebee?!
There’s something missing.
I’ve read this issue twice now… and there’s a lot to dig for the old-tyme Titans fan. We get some fun soapy-elements, superhero drama, humor, great art… but, there’s just something missing here. Call it heart or soul… call it whatever you want, this just leaves me feeling cold and completely empty. There’s not much not to like here, and in fact… I dig it. But still, there’s something really keeping me at “arm’s length” here.
The Titans themselves, as little panel-time as they received, were all well-written, and in-character. This is like… ya know, the day you and your spouse return home from your Honeymoon… or a romantic getaway. You’re kinda slapped in the face by “real life”, and you have this internal dissonance about getting back into the routine… or keeping that “away” feeling going just as long as you can.
This feels like the “Honeymoon” period is over… and the characters, hell maybe the creators… are unsure just where to go next. Not sure if all superhero teams need a “mission statement”, but… if that were the case, what would the Titans mission statement be? A group of friends who forgot ever being a team… teaming again? Not sure how far we can go with a concept like that.
Sure, today (Summer 2018) the Titans are officially the Junior Justice League… which might lead to, I dunno… purpose? Here, however… there’s just no real reason for them to be teaming. I dunno, maybe it’s just me.
Let’s briefly chat the Duncans. Mal is… horrendously boring. He used to be a pretty neat character… but here, he’s just some stick in the mud. Not even sure why they brought him back, just to depower and retire him? Karen (unwittingly) throwing in with the baddies leads to… well, a pretty predictable story that we’ve seen time and again. Just kinda dull all around… and anytime they’re on-panel, I just wish we were getting more of the Titans instead.
Overall… a pretty missable issue. If you wanna see Tempest punched in the mush, maybe give it a shot. The art, by Brett Booth is as good as ever (though his panel-layout gives my iPhone agita when snapping pics).