Friday, July 17, 2020

Reboot: Teen Titans #16

Teen Titans (v3) #16 (November 2004)
title: "Superboy and the Legion, Part One"
writer: Geoff Johns
penciller: Mike McKone
inker: Marlo Alquiza
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Jeremy Cox
associate editor: Tom Palmer Jr.
editor: Eddie Berganza
cover: Mike McKone and Marlo Alquiza

reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Dreamer, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Saturn Girl, Shikari, Spark, Star Boy, Superboy II, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Wildfire

Beast Boy, Chuck Taine (voice), Cyborg, Kid Flash II, Raven, Robin III, Starfire II, Wonder Girl II; Sea Lion Café waiter

Fatal Five-Hundred (Emerald, Eye, Empress, Mano, Persuader, Tharok, Validus)

Some time ago, Superboy (Kon-El) appeared in the 31st Century as part of Darkseid's plan to recruit and corrupt heroes from the past. The Legion has been trying to get him back to his time since then...

In the present day, Superboy and Wonder Girl meet at a restaurant to talk about their relationship. In the middle of the conversation, he is sucked into a time warp and disappears, then almost immediately reappears, dressed in the classic Superboy costume, back from months of hanging with the Legion of Super-Heroes. He collapses and Cass brings him to Titans Tower where his old team mates find he's been clutching Legion flight rings. The Persuader cuts through reality with his Atomic Axe and they push him back to the future, then follow at Superboy's request, wearing those rings.
They find themselves in space between 31st-Century Earth and Legion World where they meet the Legion of Super-Heroes and get their bearings. The Titans are told it's been hell for months and several Legionnaires are wounded. Dreamer has a vision that neither team will return home, and there's a massive explosion on Legion World, sending the artificial satellite crashing down to Earth. The two teams try to slow its descent even as, below, the Fatal Five-Hundred, a group of Fatal Five members from across various dimensions, brought together by the Persuader slicing through reality, are wreaking havoc.
I know very little of the Teen Titans. I’ve watched the latest animated movie Teen Titans Go to the Movies, and that’s pretty much the extent of what I know about them. I never even knew there was a Wonder Girl! And who is that Flash relative that comes from the 30th Century? Kid-Flash according to the roll call… There are so many of them super-speedsters!! [Siskoid: Yes but one less than you think. That's Impulse, he just wanted a change.] So, going in without much knowledge of their teamwork or their powers, I must say that I’m with Wildfire and Umbra... If the Titans couldn’t even handle one Persuader, how are they expected to help with A HUNDRED OF THEM!
Destroying Legion World is quite the symbolic gesture. No wonder Dreamer had a vision of them never returning. I will have to take some and leave some from that vision though, as while the Legion is getting yet another reboot, is Teen Titans also getting that treatment? If the answer’s no, then we can’t really imagine that they’ll meet their end in this VERY short story. Seriously though, the Fatal Five Hundred and there’s only one comic left!! Is this also going to be a story proving that the Fatal Five does not really deserve its name? I may not be Dreamer, but I can predict that the next issue will have a rushed and far-fetched ending that will make me miss the Legion. I am glad we got the Gail Simone four-parter, but I could’ve also done without it if it meant a cleaner ending for this entire run.
Speaking of Gail Simone, it bugs the hell out of me that the Persuader was in her story - and it could have been almost ANY villain in that role - but his appearance here doesn't connect with it in any way. We're in a big rush to get the Legion and Titans off in their new directions, going twice-monthly with both titles so their team-up happens on cue, and things have fallen by the wayside. Was Simone ASKED to include the Persuader? Did plans then change? What was the point of giving him a daughter, etc. when really, what he should have been doing is escaping from prison to set this up. They do manage to connect the dots on Superboy's disappearance (it's a good scene), but I feel like more could have been done.
At least there are some good character moments between the two teams, though outrageously the Titans didn't leave much of a stamp on history (though individually, at least Robin did), and Superboy was really meant to get the Justice League. If they have 500 foes waiting for them, and are even down in numbers, they really needed to get every hero in history, Crisis-style. Cuz we haven't even seen with the other Fatal Five (Hundred) members can do (I mean in the context of this story), but Persuader was made DAMN cool. Must have been fun to create multiple variations on each of the designs too. Essentially, this issue's focus is on the Titans (well, it's their title), while the Legion's role is to infodump a story that was never set up in their own title. Here's hoping it's a lot more balanced (or for our purposes, leaning the Legion's way) in the Special.
Science Police Notes:  
  • The story continues in the Teen Titans/Legion of Super-Heroes Special.
  • Superboy is pulled to the future (The Legion #25) on page 5, and returns from the future (The Legion #38) on page 6.
  • Robin is reeling from the death of Spoiler during the War Games event in the Batman books.
  • Robin's final battle is meant to be with the Joker's Daughter (spoilers!).
  • Beast Boy makes a Karate Kid (the film) joke, but of course, the Legionnaire came first and DC Comics got a credit for the name in the movie.
  • Superboy was in the 31st Century for about five months, from his point of view, but the adventures actually chronicled took place in a briefer time, as he says things went to hell "months ago" and then describes events we never saw.
  • The Legionnaires not in this story are presumably on the list of the wounded, though XS and M'Onel are specifically mentioned as leading the fight on Earth, and Gear is evacuating Legion World. The Legion Cadets also rate a mention.
  • For some reason, history remembers the Power Company, but not the Teen Titans.
  • Though Tamaran was destroyed in the contemporary era, history records it was destroyed "several times" and rebuilt by the Tamaranians, who are still known and respected as a people, even if they've never been seen in the Legion's era.
  • After a massive explosion on Legion World, it's impossible to say if Chuck Taine, Gear, the Cadets, or any of the wounded Legionnaires aboard survived.
  • Titans Tower, though in ruins, still exists in the 31st Century, in Old San Francisco.
  • There is no continuity between the Persuader biding his time in his cell at the end of The Legion and this issue, nor does his daughter feature.