DC: Stop the ‘Teen Titans’ Crossover Madness

Posted: September 20, 2012 by Ian Gaudreau in Comicology - Comic Books, DC Comics
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Teen Titans ‘The Culling’ Cover from DC Comics

Has anyone else been frustrated by this?  Keep reading to see how DC took an awesome series and made it incredibly frustrating.

For those that may be new to the comic world or are only casual reader,  crossovers are when the characters in a particular series ‘cross over’ and make an appearance in another series.  The positive aspect is that the parallel series both receive appearances from different characters.  This often results in team-ups and general butt-kicking and a fun storyline.  However, Teen Titans has left me pulling my hair out.

When I originally saw the Teen Titans series hit the shelves last year, I thought that it was going to be the original cast from the animated television show.  In reality, Red Robin and soon-to-be Raven are the only two that are in this comic series. Cyborg is part of Justice League, Terra and Beast Boy are in Ravagers, and a very promiscuous Starfire is in Red Hood and the Outlaws.

Although the original gang has been disbanded, I was thoroughly impressed with the characters that did join the new group.  After reading the first couple issues,  I was completely sold on Teen Titan, written by Scott Lobdell.  It just struck a good note with me.  The art is great, the characters are new, and the whole series had potential.

But then everything changed when the fire nation attacked….in the form of crossovers.

In my opinion, the cons of crossovers are twofold.  First, you have to actually buy an additional comic to get the rest of the story.  For a college student, I am buying what I can and do not really budget for extra purchases.  Second, if I am reading Teen Titans and they make an appearance in Legion Lost (which happens), I have no idea what the heck is happening in Legion Lost.  I can understand crossovers once in a while, but there have been two major crossover events events spanning over 4 separate series.  And the story has only been running for a year!

But the thing that gets me the most is the little writer anecdotes that appear throughout the series.  When a reference to a crossover event occurs, they author will put something like “It happened in issue #4 of Superboy!” which is helpful.  But then they add the punch in the gut: “Buy them all!”.

I find this to be extremely condescending.  I cannot afford to buy extra comics every month.  Heck, you should be grateful that I am spending my money on your comic in the first place.

DC should stop the crossovers and start focusing on building up a solid story.  There have been so many different story lines occurring that every time I read an issue, I can hardly tell what is going on.  Teen Titans has great potential.  Like I said before, the first couple issues were awesome and are definitely worth checking out.  I want to read a smooth, exciting, and continuous story that I can look forward to each month.  I feel bad giving a series I really like such a tough review, but these crossovers have been driving me nuts.

To describe Teen Titans in a nutshell, it’s like picking up an old box of Legos.  Imaging looking at the box and seeing a really great picture of what you can make on the front.  “I want to build that” says my excited self.  But, when I open the box, I realize the directions are missing.  Teen Titans has all the write ingredients to be a hit, it just needs to be fine tuned to work all the kinks out.

Here are the covers from other series that have experienced crossovers:

Cover for Superboy #9 DC Comics

Cover for Legion Lost #9 DC Comics

Cover for DC Universe Presents #12 DC Comics

On a related Teen Titans note, there has been overwhelming controversy over the Teen Titans trade paperback (TPB) that recently came out, which is the collection of the first few comics.  The writers did what is called a ‘retcon’, which means changed the backstory of a character in the TPB.  In the comics, Robin (Tim Drake) opens up the first issue by referring to the fact that he used to be ‘Robin, The Boy Wonder’, who is well-known throughout the DC universe.  Batman has had a number of individuals play the role of ‘Robin’, and Tim Drake was referred to as a Robin in a number of different series.  However, in the TPB, which should be the exact same thing as the comics, Tim Drake’s dialogue was altered to say ‘I used to be Batman’s ‘Boy Wonder'”.  To be clear, Tim Drake has the superhero persona as Robin.  But the TPB has eliminated the fact that he was Batman’s ‘Robin’.  Basically he IS Robin, but he is no longer A Robin with the retcon.  Confusing, but it has made a lot of fans upset because there is now an inconsistency in the DC universe.  You can see the edits here.

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