Review: World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2

“Inside Out”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Emanuela Lupacchino
Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Steve Wands
Review by Bryant Lucas

The team face their greatest fears, as they navigate a mysterious mansion in this month’s World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2.

The issue opens with Garth and Karen meeting Donna for a day on the town: specifically, Washington, D.C. Accompanied by a local community organizer named Mal Duncan, the teens enjoy a fun-filled afternoon in the city except Aqualad, who doesn’t seem to enjoy such outings. Nevertheless, he and Donna are dating, so Garth feels obliged to suffer the afternoon’s activities with grace.

Things, however, take a turn for the worse, as the Teen Titans are summoned to a mysterious house. A young teenage girl had disappeared into the mansion after having an emotional breakdown in class. The Titans are tasked with rescuing the her; however, this house has a way of exposing a person’s greatest fear.

Format Mix-up

In a surprising twist, World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2 doesn’t directly tie into last month’s issue. While the story does technically follow issue one, it seems that the format of this series will be far more episodic, “one-and-done” style stories. In some ways, this style of storytelling feels very true to the series’ Silver Age roots, as many of the comics from the 50s and 60s followed this, easy to dip in-and-out of style.

The Silver Age was an era where comics were targeted toward kids, and the form was often considered to be disposable entertainment. Books were often written in a way where readers didn’t really need to know what happened last issue in order to understand the story. Mark Waid takes this idea to heart for this series. Unlike Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, which is a Silver Age title with modern storytelling sensibilities, World’s Finest: Teen Titans is a Silver Age title with modern teenage characters.

Waid’s goal for this series feels more narrow in scope and is more character-focused. He explores these iconic sidekicks and their relationships as if they’d grown up in the 21st Century. While I’m sure that the series will eventually form a longer, more continuity-based cohesion, for now, it seems that World’s Finest: Teen Titans is going to feel a bit more quaint in its approach to storytelling.

Comic Cartoons

I love what Emanuela Lupacchino brings to this title. While Dan Mora is fantastic, Lupacchino’s work is more cartoony, which works as a nice complement to the series’ concept. Her art brings a youthful, Saturday-morning-cartoon energy to Waid’s prose – especially during the city montage scene. Here Lupacchino does most of the storytelling, as Garth’s discomfort with the city is only seen and never vocalized. Mind you, there’s nothing subtle about the visuals. Watching Garth getting pummeled in the face by a ball is hilarious, in a Looney Tunes/slapstick kind of way. Again, this kind of throwback makes the book feel quaint and wholesome.

Conclusion

World’s Finest: Teen Titans #2 feels different from any teenage superhero story currently on the market. Often adolescent superhero tales are full of angst and drama, setting a moody tone. Waid and Lupacchino take a different approach; while there’s still relationship drama, the series lacks all the normal teen angst.

Even in an issue all about characters’ greatest fears, the series feels lighter than the average teenage superhero story, largely due to the aesthetics of the series. There’s something about Silver Age costumes that really bring out the bubbles and sunshine in a book, and this story’s is no different.

Final Verdict: Imagine nutritious cotton candy…

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment


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