Comic Book Review – Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 4 (of 4)

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 4 (of 4)
Reviewing stories found in Teen Titans v3 #32-46
Written by Geoff Johns and Adam Beechen
Art by Todd Nauck, Tony S. Daniel, Carlos Ferreira, Peter Snejbjerg, Al Barrionuevo

This is around the point that Johns was spread pretty thin at DC. He wrote The Flash, JSA, Hawkman, Action Comics, Infinite Crisis, and was part of the collective that penned the weekly series 52. Even though he’s one of my favorite writers of the pre-New 52 era, I have to admit this Titans work feels very rushed. I get the sense he had some big stories he wanted to tell and was trying to get them all out but possibly got burnt out on the book. Significant changes were happening with DC on the multimedia front, so I think his attention was shifting to other things.

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Comic Book Review – Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 3 (of 4)

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 3
Reviewing stories found in Teen Titans v3 #20-26, 29-31 & Outsiders #24-25
Written by Geoff Johns (with Judd Winick)
Art by Mike McKone, Marlo Alquiza, Tom Grummett, Matthew Clark, Art Thibert, Tony S. Daniel, Carlos D’Anda, Scott Shaw, Scott Roberts, Nelson, Richard Bonk, and Todd Nauck

Johns jumps into these issues, which serve as the bridge between the Identity Crisis & Infinite Crisis periods in the DC Universe. The company had gone all-in on centering its shared universe around the fallout of the former and the lead-in to the latter in a way that didn’t always flow. Johns was the chief architect of the whole thing, and I’ve always found it interesting how his writing during this time can feel very in sync with the larger picture but then have moments where he appears to be overwhelmed with how many plates to keep spinning. The opening issue here is a direct tie-in to the events of Identity Crisis and is one of the few epilogues to that event that seamlessly transitions into new stories.

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Comic Book Review – Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 2 (of 4)

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 2 (of 4)
Reviewing stories found in Teen Titans v3 #13-19, Beast Boy #1-4, Teen Titans/Legion of Super-Heroes Special, Legends of the DC Universe 80-Page Giant #2, Teen Titans: Beast Boys & Girls
Written by Geoff Johns (with Ben Raab & Mark Waid)
Art by Mike McKone, Tom Grummett, Justiniano, Joe Prado, and Ivan Reis

This second round of Geoff Johns-penned Titans tales jumps back a few years to his Beast Boy mini-series. Around the same time, Johns was handed the reins of JSA and The Flash; he also co-wrote this four-issue story with Ben Raab. Beast Boy, aka Garfield Logan, had been strongly associated with the Titans since joining the team in the early 1980s. Johns leans into the character’s lengthy history in the DCU to write a story about a former child star trying to figure out who they are as an adult. This involves going back into Beast Boy’s time with the Doom Patrol and teaming him up with Bette Kane, the long-forgotten original Bat-Girl. 

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Comic Book Review – Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 1 (of 4)

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 1 (of 4)
Reviews stories found in Teen Titans v3 #1-12, Teen Titans #½, Teen Titans/Outsiders Secret Files 2003
Written by Geoff Johns (with Judd Winick)
Art by Mike McKone, Tom Grummett, Ivan Reis, and Carlo Barberi

Geoff Johns has been one of my favorite DC Comics writers of the 21st century, especially his work on the Justice Society and The Flash. I definitely think not every character is suitable for him and his work on Teen Titans is undoubtedly some of his more mid-tier writing. That doesn’t mean it’s terrible, but I just don’t find it as exciting as those other properties. There are some interesting character arcs and plots during his tenure on the book, but it suffers from being interrupted by the Infinite Crisis event. You would think that crossover would blend better as Johns wrote it, but it awkwardly breaks up some storylines he had going at the time. However, Johns does manage to deliver some strong development for Conner Kent, aka Superboy, that has become a significant part of who he is in the stories being told today.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 9 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 9 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #12, Green Lantern #198, Infinity Inc #25, All-Star Squadron #57-60, and DC Comic Presents #94
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Robert Greenberger, and Barbara Kesel
Art by George Perez, Joe Staton, Todd McFarlane, Mike Clark, Rick Hoberg, Arvell Jones, Richard Howell, and Tom Mandrake

Throughout Crisis issue 11 and continuing into #12, there is a subplot where the Forgotten Heroes stumble across Brainiac’s ship. The Forgotten Heroes were a group of C-tier characters put together in the pages of Action Comics and DC Comics Presents. Their roster consisted of Animal Man, Atomic Knight, Dolphin, and more. When Brainiac wakes, it’s another sign of the effects of the Crisis, with the robot having no memory of the pre-Crisis timeline. However, he does detect that Earth is in the Antimatter Universe and rushes off to Apokalips to seek aid from Darkseid.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 8 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 8 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Superman #423, Action Comics #583, Crisis on Infinite Earths #11, Amethyst #13, and Green Lantern #197
Written by Alan Moore, Marv Wolfman, Robert Loren Fleming, Keith Giffen, and Steve Englehart
Art by Curt Swan, Murphy Anderson, George Perez, Ernie Colon, and Joe Staton

One of the major conventions of the Superman comics during the Silver Age was “Imaginary Stories,” these were “what if?” style scenarios revolving around changing some essential aspect of Superman’s lore and seeing how it plays out. For example, a typical story might be about Superman getting married, having children, being killed by one of his enemies, or vice versa. To wrap up this era of Superman, writer Alan Moore penned a two-point narrative that brings the story of the Man of Steel to a clear finale. It doesn’t necessarily fit with the continuity of what was happening in the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, but it was written because of what Crisis was bringing to the DC Universe.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 7 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 7 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #9-10, Green Lantern #196, Justice League of America #245, The Fury of Firestorm #42, and The Omega Men #33
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Gerry Conway, Todd Klein
Art by George Perez, Joe Staton, Luke McDonnell, Rafael Kayanan, Shawn McManus

I recently read an interview from Comics Interview (issue 26) with Marv Wolfman & Bob Greenberger about Crisis on Infinite Earths after issue eight was published. It’s an incredibly insightful piece into the thinking behind the scenes, how Wolfman worked with DC’s writers to integrate elements of the event into ongoing titles. My biggest takeaway was that Wolfman was incredibly tired from the logistics of the event. There was so much coordination needed, but it also required a light touch to not feel like blatant editorial changes happening in books. There still needed to be stories and engaging character arcs, not just plot beats. What’s interesting is how neutral he is about killing off characters. From his point of view, he was given a list of changes to make, including deaths by writers and editors. Yet, he managed to make Barry Allen’s death such a beautifully heroic moment regardless of the mandate put on him.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 6 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 6 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #8, DC Comics Presents #88, Justice League of America Annual #3, Green Lantern #195, and Superman #415
Written by Marv Wolfman, Steve Englehart, Dan Mishkin, Cary Bates
Art by George Perez, Keith Giffen, Rick Hoberg, Joe Staton, Curt Swan

Still reeling from the death of Supergirl, fans were hit with another significant death that would have some long-term effects on the DC Universe for decades. It must be noted that eight issues into these events and the heroes of the Multiverse have just really gotten their bearings on what is happening to all of reality. They even believe the Anti-Monitor was defeated at this point due to what happened in the previous issue. The surviving Earths are still a mess, and they are trying to sort that out while having no idea that the antagonist is still alive and recharging his batteries.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 5 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 5 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Crisis on Infinite Earths #6-7, Blue Devil #17-18, Infinity Inc #23-24, Legion of Super-Heroes #16,18, DC Comics Presents #87, Superman #414, The Omega Men #31
Written by Marv Wolfman, Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Paul Levitz, Elliot S. Maggin, Todd Klein
Art by George Perez, Alan Kupperberg, Todd McFarlane, Ron Harris, Steve Lightle, Greg LaRocque, Curt Swan, Shawn McManus, Ernie Colon

The Anti-Monitor has been fully revealed and explains that the Multiverse will be his to destroy when the Monitor’s protective energy fades completely. His plan is to first draw Earth S (Shazam), Earth 4 (Charlton), and Earth X (The Freedom Fighters) to the anti-matter universe. Once consumed, they will give him enough power to wipe out Earths 1 and 2, the most powerful of all the worlds in the Multiverse. Harbinger has made the Multiverse heroes aware of what the stakes are, and now they are rushing to deal with the immediate catastrophes befalling their worlds and determine how to defeat the Anti-Monitor.

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Comic Book Review – Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 4 (of 9)

Crisis on Infinite Earths Part 4 (of 9)
Reviewing stories found in Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis Special, Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, All-Star Squadron #53-56, Infinity Inc. #22, Superman #413, and DC Comics Presents #95
Written by Marv Wolfman, Roy Thomas, Dann Thomas, Cary Bates, Tony
Isabella, and Alan Gold
Art by Paul Ryan, George Perez, Mike Clark, Arvell Jones, Mike Harris, Todd McFarlane, Curt Swan, and Richard Howell

The Multiverse is on the verge of extinction. The antimatter waves sweep across realities destroying universes en masse. Barry Allen, the Flash, has retired and lives in the future with his wife Iris, but the Crisis is pulling him back into action. He tries to use the antimatter destroying his own point in time to go back but finds himself transferred to Earth-D. Here the superheroes are much more diverse than on Earth-1. Tanaka Rei is the Flash of this world, and he teams up with Barry carrying on a tradition of the Flashes of the Multiverse helping each other out. Pariah and Lady Quark are transported here following their escape from Earth-6 in the pages of Crisis. Pariah realizes what has pulled him to this world; it is about to be destroyed. This leads to a team-up between Earth-D’s Justice Alliance and the Justice League for a fight that is destined to be lost. 

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