Wednesday, September 28

Teen Titans #99 (E. Oct 2011) and Red Robin #26 (Oct 2011)

Hmmm... There doesn't seem to be a title for this issue, and The Comic Book Database doesn't give it one either, which seems to be a rarity these days. Oh well.

The multiple alternate copies of Superboy brought as a small army by Superboy-Prime are in part due to Tim's grief-stricken efforts to clone his dead clone best friend after Connor was killed in Infinite Crisis. Not a bad touch, that. Otherwise, this issue is basically just one long battle in which Krul is allowed to explore some of the individuals among the Titans through interior monologues. There are some interesting personality developments – such as Tim's chagrin when he realizes he has partially caused this, such as Bart realizing that the new Inertia's attitude likening the mayhem he's causing to a game is uncomfortably like his own recent indulgence in virtual reality “training.” Prime has the idea that the Titans are “some kind of bizarre beacon pulling me here from my universe – from my reality. … Destroying them [and “that stupid tower”] might be the only way for me to get back home.” So he and his minions unleash an assault directly on Titans Tower – but now he finds himself facing a small army of former Teen Titans. 
“Next Issue … Titans Together!” That's right – Teen Titans also gets two issue this month (and last month) to finish out the pre-Flashpoint universe.

I was hoping that some reference would be made to the immediately previous appearance of Prime, back in the Blackest Night issue of Adventure Comics #7 (Apr 2010), but I guess we'll never know the significance of his dead girlfriend Lori seemingly about to “Black Lantern” Prime in the very last panel way back when.

What Goes Around”

… “comes around,” like a boomerang – get it?

I approached this issue with trepidation, not really sure where the confrontation between Tim Drake and his father's Blackest Night-resurrected murderer Captain Boomerang would take this character that has been through so much in his short life. Where it took us was to an excellent climax to the Old DCU story of Robin-become-Red Robin that highlights both the strengths and the flaws in the characters not just of Tim himself but also of his mentor Bruce Wayne. Briefly, Tim set up a complex scenario to lure Boomerang to his death at the hands of Mister Freeze – a sequence of decision points on Boomerang's part in which any single right decision on the part of the villain would have forstalled that outcome. Tim is, of course, expert enough in reading human nature that he knows Boomerang will consistently make the wrong choice. In the end, however, he can't live with the bit of sophistry that would supposedly absolve him of blame in Boomerang's fate. He initially frames it to himself that he can't let his father's murderer be killed by someone else, but then discovers that neither can he do the deed himself.

The whole outcome is appropriately ambiguous. When Dick, who along with Damian, got to the scene at the very end, praises him – “That took a lot of courage, Red Robin. The temptation … you could've taken the easy way out” – Tim wonders if it would have in fact been “too easy.” He knows Bruce is also there, saw the whole thing: “No praise coming from you, I take it.” – “I know what you did, Tim.” Yes, Tim made the right decision – after making many, many wrong ones. “This is me, Bruce. For good and bad, because of what you taught me and what my dad did – because of the things I think you've done poorly and the things you've done well. This is me now.” He stands at a crossroads, figuratively speaking – “So many choices … but what will be my decision ...” “End.”

I have a response to Fabian Nicieza's adieu – Thanks for giving us this to read, Mr. Nicieza! This has been a wonderful run for the past couple of years, especially since you came on as writer.

Going forward, I still have trepidation, however. It seems that the only place Tim will be appearing in the DCnU is in a Teen Titans that doesn't look very appealing. No Red Robin title. And Tim will not be in Nicieza's hands. I'm not sure whether the character development that we have just seen will be followed up at all. Which is disappointing. Tim is a character with a large fan-following, and I can't believe DC is throwing them to the curb as it seems they are.

Not that I ever liked the name “Red Robin,” however!

Thanks for reading – Cheers!

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