New Teen Titans Volume 10
Reprints New Teen Titans v2 #10-15, Annual v2 #1
Written by Marv Wolfman
Art by Eduardo Barreto, Stan Woch, Romeo Tanghal, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez
This volume of the New Teen Titans is a bit of a mess. Marv Wolfman is entirely at the helm of the book’s direction and doesn’t seem to know exactly what kind of stories he wants to tell. The Titans feel directionless with multiple issues that have no weight on the characters or progressing any arcs. These issues are so far removed from iconography and characters most associated with the Titans that it feels like an entirely different comic at times. Other than the connections to the Crisis event, these are stories existing in their inconsequential pocket of the DC Universe.
The collection opens with the wrap up of the Lilith/Titans of Myth story, our first example that stories will not focus on the characters we’re most interested in. Wolfman spends some time writing the befuddling and forgettable Azrael out of the title for now and then shifts his focus to, of all people, Jericho and Kole. I don’t think most readers picked up Titans every month for stories about these characters, and if they did, they would expect something a little better plotted. Kole is such a rushed character in regards to her introduction and inclusion on the team I felt myself still trying to figure out exactly who she is as the book focuses on her entirely. The backstory given to Kole is odd and feels way too derivative to what Alan Moore was doing with Swamp Thing and Dr. Arcane around the same time.
We get a strange one-off murder mystery that has the Titans tracking down the killer of a little girl from fifty years prior. There’s no action here, and I think this might have worked better as a solo Nightwing story, being that he is a detective and all. We get an annual with an extended one-shot story introducing The Vanguard, an attempt to spin off another group of young heroes. Superman guests in this issue with Brainiac featured as the villain. The conclusion has the Vanguard traveling off into space to begin their journeys, while this has been their only appearance to date. The Vanguard is a mix of the Fantastic Four and the Omega Men but not compelling in any way.
The closing chapters of the book are “Crisis” crossovers but mostly because the backgrounds are drawn with red skies. The story is a hodgepodge of arc updates: Arella searches for her lost daughter Raven, the Tamaraneans have arrived to take Starfire back home, Azrael is in the clutches of the Church of Blood, Changeling is trying to manage Steve Dayton’s mental breakdown. The new material rarely has to do with the core team members, and when someone like Cyborg or Starfire do get the spotlight, the stories feel like retreading old territory. Cyborg struggles with his perceptions of himself while Starfire is hinted to have a rematch with Blackfire, the same villain she faced in her last major arc much earlier in the series.
Marv Wolfman was a writer in search of ideas. Nightwing was introduced, and then there was a struggle to figure out what to do with him. Wolfman doesn’t define what it means for Dick Grayson to be Nightwing other than “grown-up Robin.” It would be authors like Chuck Dixon that would flesh the character out. For new characters that are fresh slates (Jericho, Kole), we get some intriguing ideas but nothing that ever adds up to strong arcs. We finish up this journey into the New Teen Titans on a down note as Wolfman finds himself entirely in charge of his creation.