Scott Lobdell continues his gritty reinvention of the popular team of teenage superheroes, but unfortunately not to the liking of this reviewer. I've had issues with this volume of Teen Titans from the very start, but mostly due to DC throwing away the long history the core characters had together in the previous DC universe. The New 52 incarnations have been barely recognisable and not even remotely as fun as their original counterparts. However, my big fault with this issue isn't due to the screwy continuity, merely that the issue itself is particularly dull. In what is meant to be 'The Bloody Origin of Wonder Girl', Cassie falls prey to the trappings of every whirlwind romance ever written. The dashing stranger, the seductive locales, the "heartbreaking" trauma that rips the lovers apart, etc. By the time any genuine plot kicks in, about some supernaturally haunted armour, I'd grown sick of the pair of them and actually WANTED something horrible to happen to split them up. Of course, all of this is told in retrospect, with Red Robin and Superboy offering snarky comments at appropriate moments. However, the one thing that did make me smile reading the issue? Seeing Superboy back in his t-shirt and jeans motif from pre-relaunch. I don't suppose it's a lasting change, but I'll always prefer an actual teenage look for the character, as opposed to his Tron suit.
3 out of 10
THE INCREDIBLE HULK #15 (MARVEL COMICS)
Bringing to a close Jason Aaron's largely botched run on the character, we have the final issue of this volume (soon to be relaunched once again as Indestructible Hulk under the far more capable Mark Waid). After well over a year of both Hulk and Banner trying to kill one another, they've decided to put their differences aside and team up to take down the real villain...like every other Hulk story known to man. I can only describe this issue, as fun as it is, as a massive reset button. The two halves of the psyche have been reunited, the villain put in their place and any lasting consequences of Banner's stint as a mad scientist erased. The last thing in the world any story should do is put everything away tidily and leave it all exactly as you found it, but this series does. In years to come, this volume will be little more than a footnote in the continuing adventures of Bruce Banner and his big green split personality. Where the cinematic incarnation soared to new heights this past summer, the comic equivalent sunk to new lows. Just when everyone wanted to read about a likable, wry, fun Bruce Banner, Marvel offered up an evil madman. Talk about a misfire.
5 out of 10
AVENGERS VS X-MEN: CONSEQUENCES #3 (MARVEL COMICS)
Picking up from last week's fantastic issue, we continue to watch Scott Summers aka Cyclops traverse the physical dangers of prison, not to mention the political ramifications, even from his locked cell. This series was initially little more than a curious exploration of the aftermath of a larger crossover, but with every passing issue becomes something more. Kieron Gillen has been doing wonderful work with the character of Scott Summers ever since his run on Uncanny X-Men began and Cyclops formed the Extinction Team. That continued guiding hand pays off in spades here, as the character remains fundamentally consistent, even in such a traumatic period of his life. Forget that Uncanny X-Men came to an end last week, this could be yet another issue and I wouldn't bat an eye. The most impressive aspect of this book is that despite the lead character's incarceration, despite the world at large hating him, despite the superhero community in an uproar over him, Cyclops has never been more in control of the situation. He may be conflicted over his role in the death of Professor X, but he continues to be the same man who united the Mutant race when no one else could and I don't get the feeling he's willing to give up that leadership role just yet. No matter how many replacements Captain America puts forward in his place. All in all, an excellent book that continues threads from Uncanny and masterfully sets up the soon to debut All-New X-Men.
8 out of 10
INVINCIBLE #96 (IMAGE COMICS)
For the past several issues, we've been witnessing flashbacks to Robot and Monster Girl's time in the hyper-accelerated Flaxan dimension. Which led to the untimely reveal that Monster Girl had secretly fathered a child with a native! Don't even get me started on the logistics of a girl fathering a child, I always assumed the Monster was a girl too, but I guess it's...confused. Anyway, the conflict with her progeny is wrapped up quickly, leaving a fair portion of the book to deal with the emotional impact of the revelation. Robot seemed to take the news quite hard previously, but if anything, it brings about a heartwarming reunion for the couple. I'm just going to ignore the deep dark secret he's hiding (even though I know it's bound to come out later!). Meanwhile, there's a hilarious little subplot about Mark (thought the series had forgotten about him, didn't you), wherein he and Eve attempt to rekindle their sex life in the wake of losing his powers. Sufficed to say, he's clearly been taking the easy road all these years, as his technique could use some finesse. Not a standout issue of the series, but it keeps the proverbial plates spinning for another month. Essential in the buildup to a landmark like issue 100.
7 out of 10
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